Catholic Prayer Revival

True Devotion To The Blessed Virgin



1. It was through the Blessed Virgin Mary that Jesus came
into the world, and it is also through her that he must reign
in the world.

2. Because Mary remained hidden during her life she is
called by the Holy Spirit and the Church "Alma Mater", Mother
hidden and unknown. So great was her humility that she desired
nothing more upon earth than to remain unknown to herself and
to others, and to be known only to God.

3. In answer to her prayers to remain hidden, poor and
lowly, God was pleased to conceal her from nearly every other
human creature in her conception, her birth, her life, her
mysteries, her resurrection and assumption. Her own parents
did not really know her; and the angels would often ask one
another, "Who can she possibly be?", for God had hidden her
from them, or if he did reveal anything to them, it was
nothing compared with what he withheld.

4. God the Father willed that she should perform no miracle
during her life, at least no public one, although he had given
her the power to do so. God the Son willed that she should
speak very little although he had imparted his wisdom to her.
Even though Mary was his faithful spouse, God the Holy
Spirit willed that his apostles and evangelists should say
very little about her and then only as much as was necessary
to make Jesus known.

5. Mary is the supreme masterpiece of Almighty God and he
has reserved the knowledge and possession of her for himself.
She is the glorious Mother of God the Son who chose to humble
and conceal her during her lifetime in order to foster her
humility. He called her "Woman" as if she were a stranger,
although in his heart he esteemed and loved her above all men
and angels. Mary is the sealed fountain and the faithful
spouse of the Holy Spirit where only he may enter. She is the
sanctuary and resting-place of the Blessed Trinity where God
dwells in greater and more divine splendour than anywhere else
in the universe, not excluding his dwelling above the cherubim
and seraphim. No creature, however pure, may enter there
without being specially privileged.

6. I declare with the saints: Mary is the earthly paradise
of Jesus Christ the new Adam, where he became man by the power
of the Holy Spirit, in order to accomplish in her wonders
beyond our understanding. She is the vast and divine world of
God where unutterable marvels and beauties are to be found.
She is the magnificence of the Almighty where he hid his only
Son, as in his own bosom, and with him everything that is most
excellent and precious. What great and hidden things the all-
powerful God has done for this wonderful creature, as she
herself had to confess in spite of her great humility, "The
Almighty has done great things for me." The world does not
know these things because it is incapable and unworthy of
knowing them.

7. The saints have said wonderful things of Mary, the holy
City of God, and, as they themselves admit, they were never
more eloquent and more pleased than when they spoke of her.
And yet they maintain that the height of her merits rising up
to the throne of the Godhead cannot be perceived; the breadth
of her love which is wider than the earth cannot be measured;
the greatness of the power which she wields over one who is
God cannot be conceived; and the depths of her profound
humility and all her virtues and graces cannot be sounded.
What incomprehensible height! What indescribable breadth! What
immeasurable greatness! What an impenetrable abyss!

8. Every day, from one end of the earth to the other, in the
highest heaven and in the lowest abyss, all things preach, all
things proclaim the wondrous Virgin Mary. The nine choirs of
angels, men and women of every age, rank and religion, both
good and evil, even the very devils themselves are compelled
by the force of truth, willingly or unwillingly, to call her
According to St. Bonaventure, all the angels in heaven
unceasingly call out to her: "Holy, holy, holy Mary, Virgin
Mother of God." They greet her countless times each day with
the angelic greeting, "Hail, Mary", while prostrating
themselves before her, begging her as a favour to honour them
with one of her requests. According to St. Augustine, even St.
Michael, though prince of all the heavenly court, is the most
eager of all the angels to honour her and lead others to
honour her. At all times he awaits the privilege of going at
her word to the aid of one of her servants.

9. The whole world is filled with her glory, and this is
especially true of Christian peoples, who have chosen her as
guardian and protectress of kingdoms, provinces, dioceses, and
towns. Many cathedrals are consecrated to God in her name.
There is no church without an altar dedicated to her, no
country or region without at least one of her miraculous
images where all kinds of afflictions are cured and all sorts
of benefits received. Many are the confraternities and
associations honouring her as patron; many are the orders
under her name and protection; many are the members of
sodalities and religious of all congregations who voice her
praises and make known her compassion. There is not a child
who does not praise her by lisping a Hail Mary. There is
scarcely a sinner, however hardened, who does not possess some
spark of confidence in her. The very devils in hell, while
fearing her, show her respect.

10. And yet in truth we must still say with the saints: De
Maria numquam satis : We have still not praised, exalted,
honoured, loved and served Mary adequately. She is worthy of
even more praise, respect, love and service.

11. Moreover, we should repeat after the Holy Spirit, "All
the glory of the king's daughter is within", meaning that all
the external glory which heaven and earth vie with each other
to give her is nothing compared to what she has received
interiorly from her Creator, namely, a glory unknown to
insignificant creatures like us, who cannot penetrate into the
secrets of the king.

12. Finally, we must say in the words of the apostle Paul,
"Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has the heart of man
understood" the beauty, the grandeur, the excellence of Mary,
who is indeed a miracle of miracles of grace, nature and
glory. "If you wish to understand the Mother," says a saint,
"then understand the Son. She is a worthy Mother of God." Hic
taceat omnis lingua : Here let every tongue be silent.

13. My heart has dictated with special joy all that I have
written to show that Mary has been unknown up till now, and
that that is one of the reasons why Jesus Christ is not known
as he should be.
If then, as is certain, the knowledge and the kingdom of
Jesus Christ must come into the world, it can only be as a
necessary consequence of the knowledge and reign of Mary. She
who first gave him to the world will establish his kingdom in
the world.



1. Mary's part in the Incarnation

14. With the whole Church I acknowledge that Mary, being a
mere creature fashioned by the hands of God is, compared to
his infinite majesty, less than an atom, or rather is simply
nothing, since he alone can say, "I am he who is".
Consequently, this great Lord, who is ever independent and
self-sufficient, never had and does not now have any absolute
need of the Blessed Virgin for the accomplishment of his will
and the manifestation of his glory. To do all things he has
only to will them.

15. However, I declare that, considering things as they are,
because God has decided to begin and accomplish his greatest
works through the Blessed Virgin ever since he created her, we
can safely believe that he will not change his plan in the
time to come, for he is God and therefore does not change in
his thoughts or his way of acting.

16. God the Father gave his only Son to the world only
through Mary. Whatever desires the patriarchs may have
cherished, whatever entreaties the prophets and saints of the
Old Law may have had for 4,000 years to obtain that treasure,
it was Mary alone who merited it and found grace before God by
the power of her prayers and the perfection of her virtues.
"The world being unworthy," said Saint Augustine, "to receive
the Son of God directly from the hands of the Father, he gave
his Son to Mary for the world to receive him from her."
The Son of God became man for our salvation but only in
Mary and through Mary.
God the Holy Spirit formed Jesus Christ in Mary but only
after having asked her consent through one of the chief
ministers of his court.

17. God the Father imparted to Mary his fruitfulness as far
as a mere creature was capable of receiving it, to enable her
to bring forth his Son and all the members of his mystical

18. God the Son came into her virginal womb as a new Adam
into his earthly paradise, to take his delight there and
produce hidden wonders of grace.
God-made-man found freedom in imprisoning himself in her
womb. He displayed power in allowing himself to be borne by
this young maiden. He found his glory and that of his Father
in hiding his splendours from all creatures here below and
revealing them only to Mary. He glorified his independence and
his majesty in depending upon this lovable virgin in his
conception, his birth, his presentation in the temple, and in
the thirty years of his hidden life. Even at his death she had
to be present so that he might be united with her in one
sacrifice and be immolated with her consent to the eternal
Father, just as formerly Isaac was offered in sacrifice by
Abraham when he accepted the will of God. It was Mary who
nursed him, fed him, cared for him, reared him, and sacrificed
him for us.
The Holy Spirit could not leave such wonderful and
inconceivable dependence of God unmentioned in the Gospel,
though he concealed almost all the wonderful things that
Wisdom Incarnate did during his hidden life in order to bring
home to us its infinite value and glory. Jesus gave more glory
to God his Father by submitting to his Mother for thirty years
than he would have given him had he converted the whole world
by working the greatest miracles. How highly then do we
glorify God when to please him we submit ourselves to Mary,
taking Jesus as our sole model.

19. If we examine closely the remainder of the life of Jesus
Christ, we see that he chose to begin his miracles through
Mary. It was by her word that he sanctified Saint John the
Baptist in the womb of his mother, Saint Elizabeth; no sooner
had Mary spoken than John was sanctified. This was his first
and greatest miracle of grace. At the wedding in Cana he
changed water into wine at her humble prayer, and this was his
first miracle in the order of nature. He began and continued
his miracles through Mary and he will continue them through
her until the end of time.

20. God the Holy Spirit, who does not produce any divine
person, became fruitful through Mary whom he espoused. It was
with her, in her and of her that he produced his masterpiece,
God-made-man, and that he produces every day until the end of
the world the members of the body of this adorable Head. For
this reason the more he finds Mary his dear and inseparable
spouse in a soul the more powerful and effective he becomes in
producing Jesus Christ in that soul and that soul in Jesus

21. This does not mean that the Blessed Virgin confers on the
Holy Spirit a fruitfulness which he does not already possess.
Being God, he has the ability to produce just like the Father
and the Son, although he does not use this power and so does
not produce another divine person. But it does mean that the
Holy Spirit chose to make use of our Blessed Lady, although he
had no absolute need of her, in order to become actively
fruitful in producing Jesus Christ and his members in her and
by her. This is a mystery of grace unknown even to many of the
most learned and spiritual of Christians.

2. Mary's part in the sanctification of souls

22. The plan adopted by the three persons of the Blessed
Trinity in the Incarnation, the first coming of Jesus Christ,
is adhered to each day in an invisible manner throughout the
Church and they will pursue it to the end of time until the
last coming of Jesus Christ.

23. God the Father gathered all the waters together and
called them the seas (maria). He gathered all his graces
together and called them Mary (Maria). The great God has a
treasury or storehouse full of riches in which he has enclosed
all that is beautiful, resplendent, rare, and precious, even
his own Son. This immense treasury is none other than Mary
whom the saints call the "treasury of the Lord". From her
fullness all men are made rich.

24. God the Son imparted to his mother all that he gained by
his life and death, namely, his infinite merits and his
eminent virtues. He made her the treasurer of all his Father
had given him as heritage. Through her he applies his merits
to his members and through her he transmits his virtues and
distributes his graces. She is his mystical channel, his
aqueduct, through which he causes his mercies to flow gently
and abundantly.

25. God the Holy Spirit entrusted his wondrous gifts to Mary,
his faithful spouse, and chose her as the dispenser of all he
possesses, so that she distributes all his gifts and graces to
whom she wills, as much as she wills, how she wills and when
she wills. No heavenly gift is given to men which does not
pass through her virginal hands. Such indeed is the will of
God, who has decreed that we should have all things through
Mary, so that, making herself poor and lowly,, and hiding
herself in the depths of nothingness during her whole life,
she might be enriched, exalted and honoured by almighty God.
Such are the views of the Church and the early Fathers.

26. Were I speaking to the so-called intellectuals of today,
I would prove at great length by quoting Latin texts taken
from Scripture and the Fathers of the Church all that I am now
stating so simply. I could also instance solid proofs which
can be read in full in Fr. PoirÇ's book "The Triple Crown of
the Blessed Virgin". But I am speaking mainly for the poor and
simple who have more good will and faith than the common run
of scholars. As they believe more simply and more
meritoriously, let me merely state the truth to them quite
plainly without bothering to quote Latin passages which they
would not understand. Nevertheless, I shall quote some texts
as they occur to my mind as I go along.

27. Since grace enhances our human nature and glory adds a
still greater perfection to grace, it is certain that our Lord
remains in heaven just as much the Son of Mary as he was on
earth. Consequently he has retained the submissiveness and
obedience of the most perfect of all children towards the best
of all mothers.
We must take care, however, not to consider this
dependence as an abasement or imperfection in Jesus Christ.
For Mary, infinitely inferior to her Son, who is God, does not
command him in the same way as an earthly mother would command
her child who is beneath her. Since she is completely
transformed in God by that grace and glory which transforms
all the saints in him, she does not ask or wish or do anything
which is contrary to the eternal and changeless will of God.
When therefore we read in the writings of Saint Bernard, Saint
Bernardine, Saint Bonaventure, and others that all in heaven
and on earth, even God himself, is subject to the Blessed
Virgin, they mean that the authority which God was pleased to
give her is so great that she seems to have the same power as
God. Her prayers and requests are so powerful with him that he
accepts them as commands in the sense that he never resists
his dear mother's prayer because it is always humble and
conformed to his will.
Moses by the power of his prayer curbed God's anger
against the Israelites so effectively that the infinitely
great and merciful Lord was unable to withstand him and asked
Moses to let him be angry and punish that rebellious people.
How much greater, then, will be the prayer of the humble
Virgin Mary, worthy Mother of God, which is more powerful with
the King of heaven than the prayers and intercession of all
the angels and saints in heaven and on earth.

28. Mary has authority over the angels and the blessed in
heaven. As a reward for her great humility, God gave her the
power and the mission of assigning to saints the thrones made
vacant by the apostate angels who fell away through pride.
Such is the will of almighty God who exalts the humble,
that the powers of heaven, earth and hell, willingly or
unwillingly, must obey the commands of the humble Virgin Mary.
For God has made her queen of heaven and earth, leader of his
armies, keeper of his treasures, dispenser of his graces,
worker of his wonders, restorer of the human race, mediatrix
on behalf of men, destroyer of his enemies, and faithful
associate in his great works and triumphs.

29. God the Father wishes Mary to be the mother of his
children until the end of time and so he says to her, "Dwell
in Jacob", that is to say, take up your abode permanently in
my children, in my holy ones represented by Jacob, and not in
the children of the devil and sinners represented by Esau.

30. Just as in natural and bodily generation there is a
father and a mother, so in the supernatural and spiritual
generation there is a father who is God and a mother who is
Mary. All true children of God have God for their father and
Mary for their mother; anyone who does not have Mary for his
mother, does not have God for his father. This is why the
reprobate, such as heretics and schismatics, who hate, despise
or ignore the Blessed Virgin, do not have God for their father
though they arrogantly claim they have, because they do not
have Mary for their mother. Indeed if they had her for their
mother they would love and honour her as good and true
children naturally love and honour the mother who gave them
An infallible and unmistakable sign by which we can
distinguish a heretic, a man of false doctrine, an enemy of
God, from one of God's true friends is that the heretic and
the hardened sinner show nothing but contempt and indifference
for our Lady. He endeavours by word and example, openly or
insidiously - sometimes under specious pretexts - to belittle
the love and veneration shown to her. God the Father has not
told Mary to dwell in them because they are, alas, other

31. God the Son wishes to form himself, and, in a manner of
speaking, become incarnate every day in his members through
his dear Mother. To her he said: "Take Israel for your
inheritance." It is as if he said, God the Father has given me
as heritage all the nations of the earth, all men good and
evil, predestinate and reprobate. To the good I shall be
father and advocate, to the bad a just avenger, but to all I
shall be a judge. But you, my dear Mother, will have for your
heritage and possession only the predestinate represented by
Israel. As their loving mother, you will give them birth, feed
them and rear them. As their queen, you will lead, govern and
defend them.

32. "This one and that one were born in her." According to
the explanation of some of the Fathers, the first man born of
Mary is the God-man, Jesus Christ. If Jesus Christ, the head
of mankind, is born of her, the predestinate, who are members
of this head, must also as a necessary consequence be born of
her. One and the same mother does not give birth to the head
without the members nor to the members without the head, for
these would be monsters in the order of nature. In the order
of grace likewise the head and the members are born of the
same mother. If a member of the mystical body of Christ, that
is, one of the predestinate, were born of a mother other than
Mary who gave birth to the head, he would not be one of the
predestinate, nor a member of Jesus Christ, but a monster in
the order of grace.

33. Moreover, Jesus is still as much as ever the fruit of
Mary, as heaven and earth repeat thousands of times a day:
"Blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus." It is therefore
certain that Jesus is the fruit and gift of Mary for every
single man who possesses him, just as truly as he is for all
mankind. Consequently, if any of the faithful have Jesus
formed in their heart they can boldly say, "It is thanks to
Mary that what I possess is Jesus her fruit, and without her I
would not have him." We can attribute more truly to her what
Saint Paul said of himself, "I am in labour again with all the
children of God until Jesus Christ, my Son, is formed in them
to the fullness of his age." Saint Augustine, surpassing
himself as well as all that I have said so far, affirms that
in order to be conformed to the image of the Son of God all
the predestinate, while in the world, are hidden in the womb
of the Blessed Virgin where they are protected, nourished,
cared for and developed by this good Mother, until the day she
brings them forth to a life of glory after death, which the
Church calls the birthday of the just. This is indeed a
mystery of grace unknown to the reprobate and little known
even to the predestinate!

34. God the Holy Spirit wishes to fashion his chosen ones in
and through Mary. He tells her, "My well-beloved, my spouse,
let all your virtues take root in my chosen ones that they may
grow from strength to strength and from grace to grace. When
you were living on earth, practising the most sublime virtues,
I was so pleased with you that I still desire to find you on
earth without your ceasing to be in heaven. Reproduce yourself
then in my chosen ones, so that I may have the joy of seeing
in them the roots of your invincible faith, profound humility,
total mortification, sublime prayer, ardent charity, your firm
hope and all your virtues. You are always my spouse, as
faithful, pure, and fruitful as ever. May your faith give me
believers; your purity, virgins; your fruitfulness, elect and
living temples."

35. When Mary has taken root in a soul she produces in it
wonders of grace which only she can produce; for she alone is
the fruitful virgin who never had and never will have her
equal in purity and fruitfulness. Together with the Holy
Spirit Mary produced the greatest thing that ever was or ever
will be: a God-man. She will consequently produce the marvels
which will be seen in the latter times. The formation and the
education of the great saints who will come at the end of the
world are reserved to her, for only this singular and wondrous
virgin can produce in union with the Holy Spirit singular and
wondrous things.

36. When the Holy Spirit, her spouse, finds Mary in a soul,
he hastens there and enters fully into it. He gives himself
generously to that soul according to the place it has given to
his spouse. One of the main reasons why the Holy Spirit does
not work striking wonders in souls is that he fails to find in
them a sufficiently close union with his faithful and
inseparable spouse. I say "inseparable spouse", for from the
moment the substantial love of the Father and the Son espoused
Mary to form Jesus, the head of the elect, and Jesus in the
elect, he has never disowned her, for she has always been
faithful and fruitful.

3. Consequences

37. We must obviously conclude from what I have just said:
First, that Mary received from God a far-reaching
dominion over the souls of the elect. Otherwise she could not
make her dwelling-place in them as God the Father has ordered
her to do, and she could not conceive them, nourish them, and
bring them forth to eternal life as their mother. She could
not have them for her inheritance and her possession and form
them in Jesus and Jesus in them. She could not implant in
their heart the roots of her virtues, nor be the inseparable
associate of the Holy Spirit in all these works of grace. None
of these things, I repeat, could she do unless she had
received from the Almighty rights and authority over their
souls. For God, having given her power over his only-begotten
and natural Son, also gave her power over his adopted children
- not only in what concerns their body - which would be of
little account - but also in what concerns their soul.

38. Mary is the Queen of heaven and earth by grace as Jesus
is king by nature and by conquest. But as the kingdom of Jesus
Christ exists primarily in the heart or interior of man,
according to the words of the Gospel, "The kingdom of God is
within you", so the kingdom of the Blessed Virgin is
principally in the interior of man, that is, in his soul. It
is principally in souls that she is glorified with her Son
more than in any visible creature. So we may call her, as the
saints do, Queen of our hearts.

39. Secondly, we must conclude that, being necessary to God
by a necessity which is called "hypothetical", (that is,
because God so willed it), the Blessed Virgin is all the more
necessary for men to attain their final end. Consequently we
must not place devotion to her on the same level as devotion
to the other saints as if it were merely something optional.

40. The pious and learned Jesuit, Suarez, Justus Lipsius, a
devout and erudite theologian of Louvain, and many others have
proved incontestably that devotion to our Blessed Lady is
necessary to attain salvation. This they show from the
teaching of the Fathers, notably St. Augustine, St. Ephrem,
deacon of Edessa, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, St. Germanus of
Constantinople, St. John Demascene, St. Anselm, St. Bernard,
St. Bernardine, St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure. Even according
to Oecolampadius and other heretics, lack of esteem and love
for the Virgin Mary is an infallible sign of God's
disapproval. On the other hand, to be entirely and genuinely
devoted to her is a sure sign of God's approval.

41. The types and texts of the Old and New Testaments prove
the truth of this, the opinions and examples of the saints
confirm it, and reason and experience teach and demonstrate
it. Even the devil and his followers, forced by the evidence
of the truth, were frequently obliged against their will to
admit it. For brevity's sake, I shall quote one only of the
many passages which I have collected from the Fathers and
Doctors of the Church to support this truth. "Devotion to you,
O Blessed Virgin, is a means of salvation which God gives to
those whom he wishes to save" (St. John Damascene).

42. I could tell many stories in evidence of what I have just
(1) One is recorded in the chronicles of St. Francis. The
saint saw in ecstasy an immense ladder reaching to heaven, at
the top of which stood the Blessed Virgin. This is the ladder,
he was told, by which we must all go to heaven.
(2) There is another related in the Chronicles of St.
Dominic. Near Carcassonne, where St. Dominic was preaching the
Rosary, there was an unfortunate heretic who was possessed by
a multitude of devils. These evil spirits to their confusion
were compelled at the command of our Lady to confess many
great and consoling truths concerning devotion to her. They
did this so clearly and forcibly that, however weak our
devotion to our Lady may be, we cannot read this authentic
story containing such an unwilling tribute paid by the devils
to devotion to our Lady without shedding tears of joy.

43. If devotion to the Blessed Virgin is necessary for all
men simply to work out their salvation, it is even more
necessary for those who are called to a special perfection. I
do not believe that anyone can acquire intimate union with our
Lord and perfect fidelity to the Holy Spirit without a very
close union with the most Blessed Virgin and an absolute
dependence on her support.

44. Mary alone found grace before God without the help of any
other creature. All those who have since found grace before
God have found it only through her. She was full of grace when
she was greeted by the Archangel Gabriel and was filled with
grace to overflowing by the Holy Spirit when he so
mysteriously overshadowed her. From day to day, from moment to
moment, she increased so much this twofold plenitude that she
attained an immense and inconceivable degree of grace. So much
so, that the Almighty made her the sole custodian of his
treasures and the sole dispenser of his graces. She can now
ennoble, exalt and enrich all she chooses. She can lead them
along the narrow path to heaven and guide them through the
narrow gate to life. She can give a royal throne, sceptre and
crown to whom she wishes. Jesus is always and everywhere the
fruit and Son of Mary and Mary is everywhere the genuine tree
that bears that Fruit of life, the true Mother who bears that

45. To Mary alone God gave the keys of the cellars of divine
love and the ability to enter the most sublime and secret ways
of perfection, and lead others along them. Mary alone gives to
the unfortunate children of unfaithful Eve entry into that
earthly paradise where they may walk pleasantly with God and
be safely hidden from their enemies. There they can feed
without fear of death on the delicious fruit of the tree of
life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They can
drink copiously the heavenly waters of that beauteous fountain
which gushes forth in such abundance. As she is herself the
earthly paradise, that virgin and blessed land from which
sinful Adam and Eve were expelled she lets only those whom she
chooses enter her domain in order to make them saints.

46. All the rich among the people, to use an expression of
the Holy Spirit as explained by St. Bernard, all the rich
among the people will look pleadingly upon her countenance
throughout all ages and particularly as the world draws to its
end. This means that the greatest saints, those richest in
grace and virtue will be the most assiduous in praying to the
most Blessed Virgin, looking up to her as the perfect model to
imitate and as a powerful helper to assist them.

47. I said that this will happen especially towards the end
of the world, and indeed soon, because Almighty God and his
holy Mother are to raise up great saints who will surpass in
holiness most other saints as much as the cedars of Lebanon
tower above little shrubs. This has been revealed to a holy
soul whose life has been written by M. de Renty.

48. These great souls filled with grace and zeal will be
chosen to oppose the enemies of God who are raging on all
sides. They will be exceptionally devoted to the Blessed
Virgin. Illumined by her light, strengthened by her food,
guided by her spirit, supported by her arm, sheltered under
her protection, they will fight with one hand and build with
the other. With one hand they will give battle, overthrowing
and crushing heretics and their heresies, schismatics and
their schisms, idolaters and their idolatries, sinners and
their wickedness. With the other hand they will build the
temple of the true Solomon and the mystical city of God,
namely, the Blessed Virgin, who is called by the Fathers of
the Church the Temple of Solomon and the City of God . By
word and example they will draw all men to a true devotion to
her and though this will make many enemies, it will also bring
about many victories and much glory to God alone. This is what
God revealed to St. Vincent Ferrer, that outstanding apostle
of his day, as he has amply shown in one of his works.
This seems to have been foretold by the Holy Spirit in
Psalm 58: "The Lord will reign in Jacob and all the ends of
the earth. They will be converted towards evening and they
will be as hungry as dogs and they will go around the city to
find something to eat." This city around which men will roam
at the end of the world seeking conversion and the appeasement
of the hunger they have for justice is the most Blessed
Virgin, who is called by the Holy Spirit the City of God .

4. Mary's part in the latter times

49. The salvation of the world began through Mary and through
her it must be accomplished. Mary scarcely appeared in the
first coming of Jesus Christ so that men, as yet
insufficiently instructed and enlightened concerning the
person of her Son, might not wander from the truth by becoming
too strongly attached to her. This would apparently have
happened if she had been known, on account of the wondrous
charms with which Almighty God had endowed even her outward
appearance. So true is this that St. Denis the Areopagite
tells us in his writings that when he saw her he would have
taken her for a goddess, because of her incomparable beauty,
had not his well-grounded faith taught him otherwise. But in
the second coming of Jesus Christ, Mary must be known and
openly revealed by the Holy Spirit so that Jesus may be known,
loved and served through her. The reasons which moved the Holy
Spirit to hide his spouse during her life and to reveal but
very little of her since the first preaching of the gospel
exist no longer.

1) God wishes to make Mary better known in the latter times.

50. God wishes therefore to reveal Mary, his masterpiece, and
make her more known in these latter times:
(1) Because she kept herself hidden in this world and in
her great humility considered herself lower than dust, having
obtained from God, his apostles and evangelists the favour of
being made known.
(2) Because, as Mary is not only God's masterpiece of
glory in heaven, but also his masterpiece of grace on earth,
he wishes to be glorified and praised because of her by those
living upon earth.
(3) Since she is the dawn which precedes and discloses
the Sun of Justice Jesus Christ, she must be known and
acknowledged so that Jesus may be known and acknowledged.
(4) As she was the way by which Jesus first came to us,
she will again be the way by which he will come to us the
second time though not in the same manner.
(5) Since she is the sure means, the direct and
immaculate way to Jesus and the perfect guide to him, it is
through her that souls who are to shine forth in sanctity must
find him. He who finds Mary finds life, that is, Jesus Christ
who is the way, the truth and the life. But no one can find
Mary who does not look for her. No one can look for her who
does not know her, for no one seeks or desires something
unknown. Mary then must be better known than ever for the
deeper understanding and the greater glory of the Blessed
(6) In these latter times Mary must shine forth more than
ever in mercy, power and grace; in mercy, to bring back and
welcome lovingly the poor sinners and wanderers who are to be
converted and return to the Catholic Church; in power, to
combat the enemies of God who will rise up menacingly to
seduce and crush by promises and threats all those who oppose
them; finally, she must shine forth in grace to inspire and
support the valiant soldiers and loyal servants of Jesus
Christ who are fighting for his cause.
(7) Lastly, Mary must become as terrible as an army in
battle array to the devil and his followers, especially in
these latter times. For Satan, knowing that he has little time
- even less now than ever - to destroy souls, intensifies his
efforts and his onslaughts every day. He will not hesitate to
stir up savage persecutions and set treacherous snares for
Mary's faithful servants and children whom he finds more
difficult to overcome than others.

51. It is chiefly in reference to these last wicked
persecutions of the devil, daily increasing until the advent
of the reign of anti-Christ, that we should understand that
first and well-known prophecy and curse of God uttered against
the serpent in the garden of paradise. It is opportune to
explain it here for the glory of the Blessed Virgin, the
salvation of her children and the confusion of the devil. "I
will place enmities between you and the woman, between your
race and her race; she will crush your head and you will lie
in wait for her heel" (Gen. 3:15).

52. God has established only one enmity - but it is an
irreconcilable one - which will last and even go on increasing
to the end of time. That enmity is between Mary, his worthy
Mother, and the devil, between the children and the servants
of the Blessed Virgin and the children and followers of
Thus the most fearful enemy that God has set up against
the devil is Mary, his holy Mother. From the time of the
earthly paradise, although she existed then only in his mind,
he gave her such a hatred for his accursed enemy, such
ingenuity in exposing the wickedness of the ancient serpent
and such power to defeat, overthrow and crush this proud
rebel, that Satan fears her not only more than angels and men
but in a certain sense more than God himself. This does not
mean that the anger, hatred and power of God are not
infinitely greater than the Blessed Virgin's, since her
attributes are limited. It simply means that Satan, being so
proud, suffers infinitely more in being vanquished and
punished by a lowly and humble servant of God, for her
humility humiliates him more than the power of God. Moreover,
God has given Mary such great power over the evil spirits
that, as they have often been forced unwillingly to admit
through the lips of possessed persons, they fear one of her
pleadings for a soul more than the prayers of all the saints,
and one of her threats more than all their other torments.

53. What Lucifer lost by pride Mary won by humility. What Eve
ruined and lost by disobedience Mary saved by obedience. By
obeying the serpent, Eve ruined her children as well as
herself and delivered them up to him. Mary by her perfect
fidelity to God saved her children with herself and
consecrated them to his divine majesty.

54. God has established not just one enmity but "enmities",
and not only between Mary and Satan but between her race and
his race. That is, God has put enmities, antipathies and
hatreds between the true children and servants of the Blessed
Virgin and the children and slaves of the devil. They have no
love and no sympathy for each other. The children of Belial,
the slaves of Satan, the friends of the world, - for they are
all one and the same - have always persecuted and will
persecute more than ever in the future those who belong to the
Blessed Virgin, just as Cain of old persecuted his brother
Abel, and Esau his brother Jacob. These are the types of the
wicked and of the just. But the humble Mary will always
triumph over Satan, the proud one, and so great will be her
victory that she will crush his head, the very seat of his
pride. She will unmask his serpent's cunning and expose his
wicked plots. She will scatter to the winds his devilish plans
and to the end of time will keep her faithful servants safe
from his cruel claws.
But Mary's power over the evil spirits will especially
shine forth in the latter times, when Satan will lie in wait
for her heel, that is, for her humble servants and her poor
children whom she will rouse to fight against him. In the eyes
of the world they will be little and poor and, like the heel,
lowly in the eyes of all, down-trodden and crushed as is the
heel by the other parts of the body. But in compensation for
this they will be rich in God's graces, which will be
abundantly bestowed on them by Mary. They will be great and
exalted before God in holiness. They will be superior to all
creatures by their great zeal and so strongly will they be
supported by divine assistance that, in union with Mary, they
will crush the head of Satan with their heel, that is, their
humility, and bring victory to Jesus Christ.

2) Devotion to Mary is especially necessary in the latter

55. Finally, God in these times wishes his Blessed Mother to
be more known, loved and honoured than she has ever been. This
will certainly come about if the elect, by the grace and light
of the Holy Spirit, adopt the interior and perfect practice of
the devotion which I shall later unfold. Then they will
clearly see that beautiful Star of the Sea, as much as faith
allows. Under her guidance they will perceive the splendours
of this Queen and will consecrate themselves entirely to her
service as subjects and slaves of love. They will experience
her motherly kindness and affection for her children. They
will love her tenderly and will appreciate how full of
compassion she is and how much they stand in need of her help.
In all circumstances they will have recourse to her as their
advocate and mediatrix with Jesus Christ. They will see
clearly that she is the safest, easiest, shortest and most
perfect way of approaching Jesus and will surrender themselves
to her, body and soul, without reserve in order to belong
entirely to Jesus.

56. But what will they be like, these servants, these slaves,
these children of Mary?
They will be ministers of the Lord who, like a flaming
fire, will enkindle everywhere the fires of divine love. They
will become, in Mary's powerful hands, like sharp arrows, with
which she will transfix her enemies.
They will be as the children of Levi, thoroughly purified
by the fire of great tribulations and closely joined to God.
They will carry the gold of love in their heart, the
frankincense of prayer in their mind and the myrrh of
mortification in their body. They will bring to the poor and
lowly everywhere the sweet fragrance of Jesus, but they will
bring the odour of death to the great, the rich and the proud
of this world.

57. They will be like thunder-clouds flying through the air
at the slightest breath of the Holy Spirit. Attached to
nothing, surprised at nothing, troubled at nothing, they will
shower down the rain of God's word and of eternal life. They
will thunder against sin, they will storm against the world,
they will strike down the devil and his followers and for life
and for death, they will pierce through and through with the
two-edged sword of God's word all those against whom they are
sent by Almighty God.

58. They will be true apostles of the latter times to whom
the Lord of Hosts will give eloquence and strength to work
wonders and carry off glorious spoils from his enemies. They
will sleep without gold or silver and, more important still,
without concern in the midst of other priests, ecclesiastics
and clerics. Yet they will have the silver wings of the dove
enabling them to go wherever the Holy Spirit calls them,
filled as they are with the resolve to seek the glory of God
and the salvation of souls. Wherever they preach, they will
leave behind them nothing but the gold of love, which is the
fulfilment of the whole law.

59. Lastly, we know they will be true disciples of Jesus
Christ, imitating his poverty, his humility, his contempt of
the world and his love. They will point out the narrow way to
God in pure truth according to the holy Gospel, and not
according to the maxims of the world. Their hearts will not be
troubled, nor will they show favour to anyone; they will not
spare or heed or fear any man, however powerful he may be.
They will have the two-edged sword of the word of God in their
mouths and the blood-stained standard of the Cross on their
shoulders. They will carry the crucifix in their right hand
and the rosary in their left, and the holy names of Jesus and
Mary on their heart. The simplicity and self-sacrifice of
Jesus will be reflected in their whole behaviour.
Such are the great men who are to come. By the will of
God Mary is to prepare them to extend his rule over the
impious and unbelievers. But when and how will this come
about? Only God knows. For our part we must yearn and wait for
it in silence and in prayer: "I have waited and waited."


1. Basic principles of devotion to Mary

60. Having spoken briefly of the necessity of devotion to the
Blessed Virgin, I must now explain what this devotion consists
in. This I will do with God's help after I have laid down
certain basic truths which throw light on the remarkable and
sound devotion which I propose to unfold.

First principle: Christ must be the ultimate end
of all devotions

61. Jesus, our Saviour, true God and true man must be the
ultimate end of all our other devotions; otherwise they would
be false and misleading. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the
beginning and end of everything. "We labour," says St. Paul,
"only to make all men perfect in Jesus Christ."
For in him alone dwells the entire fullness of the
divinity and the complete fullness of grace, virtue and
perfection. In him alone we have been blessed with every
spiritual blessing; he is the only teacher from whom we must
learn; the only Lord on whom we should depend; the only Head
to whom we should be united and the only model that we should
imitate. He is the only Physician that can heal us; the only
Shepherd that can feed us; the only Way that can lead us; the
only Truth that we can believe; the only Life that can animate
us. He alone is everything to us and he alone can satisfy all
our desires.
We are given no other name under heaven by which we can
be saved. God has laid no other foundation for our salvation,
perfection and glory than Jesus. Every edifice which is not
built on that firm rock, is founded upon shifting sands and
will certainly fall sooner or later. Every one of the faithful
who is not united to him is like a branch broken from the stem
of the vine. It falls and withers and is fit only to be burnt.
If we live in Jesus and Jesus lives in us, we need not fear
damnation. Neither angels in heaven nor men on earth, nor
devils in hell, no creature whatever can harm us, for no
creature can separate us from the love of God which is in
Christ Jesus. Through him, with him and in him, we can do all
things and render all honour and glory to the Father in the
unity of the Holy Spirit; we can make ourselves perfect and be
for our neighbour a fragrance of eternal life.

62. If then we are establishing sound devotion to our Blessed
Lady, it is only in order to establish devotion to our Lord
more perfectly, by providing a smooth but certain way of
reaching Jesus Christ. If devotion to our Lady distracted us
from our Lord, we would have to reject it as an illusion of
the devil. But this is far from being the case. As I have
already shown and will show again later on, this devotion is
necessary, simply and solely because it is a way of reaching
Jesus perfectly, loving him tenderly, and serving him

63. Here I turn to you for a moment, dear Jesus, to complain
lovingly to your divine Majesty that the majority of
Christians, and even some of the most learned among them, do
not recognise the necessary bond that unites you and your
Blessed Mother. Lord, you are always with Mary and Mary is
always with you. She can never be without you because then she
would cease to be what she is. She is so completely
transformed into you by grace that she no longer lives, she no
longer exists, because you alone, dear Jesus, live and reign
in her more perfectly than in all the angels and saints. If we
only knew the glory and the love given to you by this
wonderful creature, our feelings for you and for her would be
far different from those we have now. So intimately is she
united to you that it would be easier to separate light from
the sun, and heat from the fire. I go further, it would even
be easier to separate all the angels and saints from you than
Mary; for she loves you ardently, and glorifies you more
perfectly than all your other creatures put together.

64. In view of this, my dear Master, is it not astonishing
and pitiful to see the ignorance and short-sightedness of men
with regard to your holy Mother? I am not speaking so much of
idolaters and pagans who do not know you and consequently have
no knowledge of her. I am not even speaking of heretics and
schismatics who have left you and your holy Church and
therefore are not interested in your holy Mother. I am
speaking of Catholics, and even of educated Catholics, who
profess to teach the faith to others but do not know you or
your Mother except speculatively, in a dry, cold and sterile
These people seldom speak of your Mother or devotion to
her. They say they are afraid that devotion to her will be
abused and that you will be offended by excessive honour paid
to her. They protest loudly when they see or hear a devout
servant of Mary speak frequently with feeling, conviction and
vigour of devotion to her. When he speaks of devotion to her
as a sure means of finding and loving you without fear or
illusion, or when he says this devotion is a short road free
from danger, or an immaculate way free from imperfection, or a
wondrous secret of finding you, they put before him a thousand
specious reasons to show him how wrong he is to speak so much
of Mary. There are, they say, great abuses in this devotion
which we should try to stamp out and we should refer people to
you rather than exhort them to have devotion to your Mother,
whom they already love adequately.
If they are sometimes heard speaking of devotion to your
Mother, it is not for the purpose of promoting it or
convincing people of it but only to destroy the abuses made of
it. Yet all the while these persons are devoid of piety or
genuine devotion to you, for they have no devotion to Mary.
They consider the Rosary and the Scapular as devotions
suitable only for simple women or ignorant people. After all,
they say, we do not need them to be saved. If they come across
one who loves our Lady, who says the rosary or shows any
devotion towards her, they soon move him to a change of mind
and heart. They advise him to say the seven penitential psalms
instead of the Rosary, and to show devotion to Jesus instead
of to Mary.
Dear Jesus, do these people possess your spirit? Do they
please you by acting in this way? Would it please you if we
were to make no effort to give pleasure to your Mother because
we are afraid of offending you? Does devotion to your holy
Mother hinder devotion to you? Does Mary keep for herself any
honour we pay her? Is she a rival of yours? Is she a stranger
having no kinship with you? Does pleasing her imply
displeasing you? Does the gift of oneself to her constitute a
deprivation for you? Is love for her a lessening of our love
for you?

65. Nevertheless, my dear Master, the majority of learned
scholars could not be further from devotion to your Mother, or
show more indifference to it even if all I have just said were
true. Keep me from their way of thinking and acting and let me
share your feelings of gratitude, esteem, respect and love for
your holy Mother. I can then love and glorify you all the
more, because I will be imitating and following you more

66. As though I had said nothing so far to further her
honour, grant me now the grace to praise her more worthily, in
spite of all her enemies who are also yours. I can then say to
them boldly with the saints, "Let no one presume to expect
mercy from God, who offends his holy Mother."

67. So that I may obtain from your mercy a genuine devotion
to your blessed Mother and spread it throughout the whole
world, help me to love you wholeheartedly, and for this
intention accept the earnest prayer I offer with St. Augustine
and all who truly love you.

Prayer of Saint Augustine

O Jesus Christ, you are my Father, my merciful God, my
great King, my good Shepherd, my only Master, my best helper,
my beloved friend of overwhelming beauty, my living Bread, my
eternal priest. You are my guide to my heavenly home, my one
true light, my holy joy, my true way, my shining wisdom, my
unfeigned simplicity, the peace and harmony of my soul, my
perfect safeguard, my bounteous inheritance, my everlasting
My loving Lord, Jesus Christ, why have I ever loved or
desired anything else in my life but you, my God? Where was I
when I was not in communion with you? From now on, I direct
all my desires to be inspired by you and centred on you. I
direct them to press forward for they have tarried long
enough, to hasten towards their goal, to seek the one they
yearn for.
O Jesus, let him who does not love you be accursed, and
filled with bitterness. O gentle Jesus, let every worthy
feeling of mine show you love, take delight in you and admire
you. O God of my heart and my inheritance, Christ Jesus, may
my heart mellow before the influence of your spirit and may
you live in me. May the flame of your love burn in my soul.
May it burn incessantly on the altar of my heart. May it glow
in my innermost being. May it spread its heat into the hidden
recesses of my soul and on the day of my consummation may I
appear before you consumed in your love. Amen.

Second principle: We belong to Jesus and Mary
as their slaves

68. From what Jesus Christ is in regard to us we must
conclude, as St. Paul says, that we belong not to ourselves
but entirely to him as his members and his slaves, for he
bought us at an infinite price - the shedding of his Precious
Blood. Before baptism, we belonged to the devil as slaves, but
baptism made us in very truth slaves of Jesus.
We must therefore live, work and die for the sole purpose
of bringing forth fruit for him, glorifying him in our body
and letting him reign in our soul. We are his conquest, the
people he has won, his heritage.
It is for this reason that the Holy Spirit compares us:
1) to trees that are planted along the waters of grace in the
field of the Church and which must bear their fruit when the
time comes; 2) to branches of the vine of which Jesus is the
stem, which must yield good grapes; 3) to a flock of sheep of
which Jesus is the Shepherd, which must increase and give
milk; 4) to good soil cultivated by God, where the seed will
spread and produce crops up to thirty-fold, sixty-fold, or a
hundred-fold. Our Lord cursed the barren fig-tree and
condemned the slothful servant who wasted his talent.
All this proves that he wishes to receive some fruit from
our wretched selves, namely, our good works, which by right
belong to him alone, "created in Jesus Christ for good works".
These words of the Holy Spirit show that Jesus is the sole
source and must be the sole end of all our good works, and
that we must serve him not just as paid servants but as slaves
of love. Let me explain what I mean.

69. There are two ways of belonging to another person and
being subject to his authority. One is by ordinary service and
the other is by slavery. And so we must use the terms
"servant" and "slave". Ordinary service in Christian countries
is when a man is employed to serve another for a certain
length of time at a wage which is fixed or agreed upon. When a
man is totally dependent on another for life, and must serve
his master without expecting any wages or recompense, when he
is treated just like a beast of the field over which the owner
has the right of life and death, then it is slavery.

70. Now there are three kinds of slavery; natural slavery,
enforced slavery, and voluntary slavery. All creatures are
slaves of God in the first sense, for "the earth and its
fullness belong to the Lord". The devils and the damned are
slaves in the second sense. The saints in heaven and the just
on earth are slaves in the third sense. Voluntary slavery is
the most perfect of all three states, for by it we give the
greatest glory to God, who looks into the heart and wants it
to be given to him. Is he not indeed called the God of the
heart or of the loving will? For by this slavery we freely
choose God and his service before all things, even if we were
not by our very nature obliged to do so.

71. There is a world of difference between a servant and a
slave. 1) A servant does not give his employer all he is, all
he has, and all he can acquire by himself or through others. A
slave, however, gives himself to his master completely and
exclusively with all he has and all he can acquire. 2) A
servant demands wages for the services rendered to his
employer. A slave, on the other hand, can expect nothing, no
matter what skill, attention or energy he may have put into
his work. 3) A servant can leave his employer whenever he
pleases, or at least when the term of his service expires,
whereas the slave has no such right. 4) An employer has no
right of life and death over a servant. Were he to kill him as
he would a beast of burden, he would commit murder. But the
master of a slave has by law the right of life and death over
him, so that he can sell him to anyone he chooses or - if you
will pardon the comparison - kill him as he would kill his
horse. 5) Finally, a servant is in his employer's service only
for a time; a slave for always.

72. No other human state involves belonging more completely
to another than slavery. Among Christian peoples, nothing
makes a person belong more completely to Jesus and his holy
Mother than voluntary slavery. Our Lord himself gave us the
example of this when out of love for us he "took the form of a
slave". Our Lady gave us the same example when she called
herself the handmaid or slave of the Lord. The Apostle
considered it an honour to be called "slave of Christ".
Several times in Holy Scripture, Christians are referred to as
"slaves of Christ".
The Latin word "servus" at one time signified only a
slave because servants as we know them did not exist. Masters
were served either by slaves or by freedmen. The Catechism of
the Council of Trent leaves no doubt about our being slaves of
Jesus Christ, using the unequivocal term "Mancipia Christi",
which plainly means: slaves of Christ.

73. Granting this, I say that we must belong to Jesus and
serve him not just as hired servants but as willing slaves
who, moved by generous love, commit themselves to his service
after the manner of slaves for the honour of belonging to him.
Before we were baptised we were the slaves of the devil, but
baptism made us the slaves of Jesus. Christians can only be
slaves of the devil or slaves of Christ.

74. What I say in an absolute sense of our Lord, I say in a
relative sense of our Blessed Lady. Jesus, in choosing her as
his inseparable associate in his life, glory and power in
heaven and on earth, has given her by grace in his kingdom all
the same rights and privileges that he possesses by nature.
"All that belongs to God by nature belongs to Mary by grace",
say the saints, and, according to them, just as Jesus and Mary
have the same will and the same power, they have also the same
subjects, servants and slaves.

75. Following therefore the teaching of the saints and of
many great men we can call ourselves, and become, the loving
slaves of our Blessed Lady in order to become more perfect
slaves of Jesus. Mary is the means our Lord chose to come to
us and she is also the means we should choose to go to him,
for she is not like other creatures who tend rather to lead us
away from God than towards him, if we are over-attached to
them. Mary's strongest inclination is to unite us to Jesus,
her Son, and her Son's strongest wish is that we come to him
through his Blessed Mother. He is pleased and honoured just as
a king would be pleased and honoured if a citizen, wanting to
become a better subject and slave of the king, made himself
the slave of the queen. That is why the Fathers of the Church,
and St. Bonaventure after them, assert that the Blessed Virgin
is the way which leads to our Lord.

76. Moreover, if, as I have said, the Blessed Virgin is the
Queen and Sovereign of heaven and earth, does she not then
have as many subjects and slaves as there are creatures? "All
things, including Mary herself, are subject to the power of
God. All things, God included, are subject to the Virgin's
power", so we are told by St. Anselm, St. Bernard, St.
Bernardine and St. Bonaventure. Is it not reasonable to find
that among so many slaves there should be some slaves of love,
who freely choose Mary as their Queen? Should men and demons
have willing slaves, and Mary have none? A king makes it a
point of honour that the queen, his consort, should have her
own slaves, over whom she has right of life and death, for
honour and power given to the queen is honour and power given
to the king. Could we possibly believe that Jesus, the best of
all sons, who shared his power with his Blessed Mother, would
resent her having her own slaves? Has he less esteem and love
for his Mother than Ahasuerus had for Esther, or Solomon for
Bathsheba? Who could say or even think such a thing?

77. But where is my pen leading me? Why am I wasting my time
proving something so obvious? If people are unwilling to call
themselves slaves of Mary, what does it matter? Let them
become and call themselves slaves of Jesus Christ, for this is
the same as being slaves of Mary, since Jesus is the fruit and
glory of Mary. This is what we do perfectly in the devotion we
shall discuss later.

Third principle: We must rid ourselves
of what is evil in us

78. Our best actions are usually tainted and spoiled by the
evil that is rooted in us. When pure, clear water is poured
into a foul-smelling jug, or wine into an unwashed cask that
previously contained another wine, the clear water and the
good wine are tainted and readily acquire an unpleasant odour.
In the same way when God pours into our soul, infected by
original and actual sin, the heavenly waters of his grace or
the delicious wines of his love, his gifts are usually spoiled
and tainted by the evil sediment left in us by sin. Our
actions, even those of the highest virtue, show the effects of
it. It is therefore of the utmost importance that, in seeking
the perfection that can be attained only by union with Jesus,
we rid ourselves of all that is evil in us. Otherwise our
infinitely pure Lord, who has an infinite hatred for the
slightest stain in our soul, will refuse to unite us to
himself and will drive us from his presence.

79. To rid ourselves of selfishness, we must first become
thoroughly aware, by the light of the Holy Spirit, of our
tainted nature. Of ourselves we are unable to do anything
conducive to our salvation. Our human weakness is evident in
everything we do and we are habitually unreliable. We do not
deserve any grace from God. Our tendency to sin is always
present. The sin of Adam has almost entirely spoiled and
soured us, filling us with pride and corrupting every one of
us, just as leaven sours, swells and corrupts the dough in
which it is placed. The actual sins we have committed, whether
mortal or venial, even though forgiven, have intensified our
base desires, our weakness, our inconstancy and our evil
tendencies, and have left a sediment of evil in our soul.
Our bodies are so corrupt that they are referred to by
the Holy Spirit as bodies of sin, as conceived and nourished
in sin, and capable of any kind of sin. They are subject to a
thousand ills, deteriorating from day to day and harbouring
only disease, vermin and corruption.
Our soul, being united to our body, has become so carnal
that it has been called flesh. "All flesh had corrupted its
way". Pride and blindness of spirit, hardness of heart,
weakness and inconstancy of soul, evil inclinations,
rebellious passions, ailments of the body, - these are all we
can call our own. By nature we are prouder than peacocks, we
cling to the earth more than toads, we are more base than
goats, more envious than serpents, greedier than pigs, fiercer
than tigers, lazier than tortoises, weaker than reeds, and
more changeable than weather-cocks. We have in us nothing but
sin, and deserve only the wrath of God and the eternity of

80. Is it any wonder then that our Lord laid down that anyone
who aspires to be his follower must deny himself and hate his
very life? He makes it clear that anyone who loves his life
shall lose it and anyone who hates his life shall save it.
Now, our Lord, who is infinite Wisdom, and does not give
commandments without a reason, bids us hate ourselves only
because we richly deserve to be hated. Nothing is more worthy
of love than God and nothing is more deserving of hatred than

81. Secondly, in order to empty ourselves of self, we must
die daily to ourselves. This involves our renouncing what the
powers of the soul and the senses of the body incline us to
do. We must see as if we did not see, hear as if we did not
hear and use the things of this world as if we did not use
them. This is what St. Paul calls "dying daily". Unless the
grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a
single grain and does not bear any good fruit. If we do not
die to self and if our holiest devotions do not lead us to
this necessary and fruitful death, we shall not bear fruit of
any worth and our devotions will cease to be profitable. All
our good works will be tainted by self-love and self-will so
that our greatest sacrifices and our best actions will be
unacceptable to God. Consequently when we come to die we shall
find ourselves devoid of virtue and merit and discover that we
do not possess even one spark of that pure love which God
shares only with those who have died to themselves and whose
life is hidden with Jesus Christ in him.

82. Thirdly, we must choose among all the devotions to the
Blessed Virgin the one which will lead us more surely to this
dying to self. This devotion will be the best and the most
sanctifying for us. For we must not believe that all that
glitters is gold, all that is sweet is honey, or all that is
easy to do and is done by the majority of people is the most
sanctifying. Just as in nature there are secrets enabling us
to do certain natural things quickly, easily and at little
cost, so in the spiritual life there are secrets which enable
us to perform works rapidly, smoothly and with facility. Such
works are, for example, emptying ourselves of self-love,
filling ourselves with God, and attaining perfection.
The devotion that I propose to explain is one of these
secrets of grace, for it is unknown to most Christians. Only a
few devout people know of it and it is practised and
appreciated by fewer still. To begin the explanation of this
devotion here is a fourth truth which is a consequence of the

Fourth principle: It is more humble to have an
intermediary with Christ

83. It is more perfect because it supposes greater humility
to approach God through a mediator rather than directly by
ourselves. Our human nature, as I have just shown, is so
spoilt that if we rely on our own work, effort and
preparedness to reach God and please him, it is certain that
our good works will be tainted and carry little weight with
him. They will not induce him to unite himself to us or answer
our prayers. God had his reasons for giving us mediators with
him. He saw our unworthiness and helplessness and had pity on
us. To give us access to his mercies he provided us with
powerful advocates, so that to neglect these mediators and to
approach his infinite holiness directly and without help from
any one of them, is to be lacking in humility and respect
towards God who is so great and holy. It would mean that we
have less esteem for the King of kings than for an earthly
king or ruler, for we would not dare approach an earthly king
without a friend to speak for us.

84. Our Lord is our Advocate and our Mediator of redemption
with God the Father. It is through him that we must pray with
the whole Church, triumphant and militant. It is through him
that we have access to God the Father. We should never appear
before God, our Father, unless we are supported by the merits
of his Son, and, so to speak, clothed in them, as young Jacob
was clothed in the skin of the young goats when he appeared
before his father Isaac to receive his blessing.

85. But have we no need at all of a mediator with the
Mediator himself? Are we pure enough to be united directly to
Christ without any help? Is Jesus not God, equal in every way
to the Father? Therefore is he not the Holy of Holies, having
a right to the same respect as his Father? If in his infinite
love he became our security and our Mediator with his Father,
whom he wished to appease in order to redeem us from our
debts, should we on that account show him less respect and
have less regard for the majesty and holiness of his person?
Let us not be afraid to say with St. Bernard that we need
a mediator with the Mediator himself and the divinely-honoured
Mary is the one most able to fulfil this office of love.
Through her, Jesus came to us; through her we should go to
him. If we are afraid of going directly to Jesus, who is God,
because of his infinite greatness, or our lowliness, or our
sins, let us implore without fear the help and intercession of
Mary, our Mother. She is kind, she is tender, and there is
nothing harsh or forbidding about her, nothing too sublime or
too brilliant. When we see her, we see our own human nature at
its purest. She is not the sun, dazzling our weak sight by the
brightness of its rays. Rather, she is fair and gentle as the
moon, which receives its light from the sun and softens it and
adapts it to our limited perception.
She is so full of love that no one who asks for her
intercession is rejected, no matter how sinful he may be. The
saints say that it has never been known since the world began
that anyone had recourse to our Blessed Lady, with trust and
perseverance, and was rejected. Her power is so great that her
prayers are never refused. She has but to appear in prayer
before her Son and he at once welcomes her and grants her
requests. He is always lovingly conquered by the prayers of
the dear Mother who bore him and nourished him.

86. All this is taken from St. Bernard and St. Bonaventure.
According to them, we have three steps to take in order to
reach God. The first, nearest to us and most suited to our
capacity, is Mary; the second is Jesus Christ; the third is
God the Father. To go to Jesus, we should go to Mary, our
mediatrix of intercession. To go to God the Father, we must go
to Jesus, our Mediator of redemption. This order is perfectly
observed in the devotion I shall speak about further on.

Fifth principle: It is difficult to keep the
graces received from God

87. It is very difficult, considering our weakness and
frailty, to keep the graces and treasures we have received
from God.
1. We carry this treasure,which is worth more than heaven
and earth, in fragile vessels, that is, in a corruptible body
and in a weak and wavering soul which requires very little to
depress and disturb it.

88. 2. The evil spirits, cunning thieves that they are, can
take us by surprise and rob us of all we possess. They are
watching day and night for the right moment. They roam
incessantly seeking to devour us and to snatch from us in one
brief moment of sin all the grace and merit we have taken
years to acquire. Their malice and their experience, their
cunning and their numbers ought to make us ever fearful of
such a misfortune happening to us. People, richer in grace and
virtue, more experienced and advanced in holiness than we are,
have been caught off their guard and robbed and stripped of
everything. How many cedars of Lebanon, how many stars of the
firmament have we sadly watched fall and lose in a short time
their loftiness and their brightness!
What has brought about this unexpected reverse? Not the
lack of grace, for this is denied no one. It was a lack of
humility; they considered themselves stronger and more self-
sufficient than they really were. They thought themselves well
able to hold on to their treasures. They believed their house
secure enough and their coffers strong enough to safeguard
their precious treasure of grace. It was because of their
unconscious reliance on self - although it seemed to them that
they were relying solely on the grace of God - that the most
just Lord left them to themselves and allowed them to be
despoiled. If they had only known of the wonderful devotion
that I shall later explain, they would have entrusted their
treasure to Mary, the powerful and faithful Virgin. She would
have kept it for them as if it were her own possession and
even have considered that trust an obligation of justice.

89. 3. It is difficult to persevere in holiness because of
the excessively corrupting influence of the world. The world
is so corrupt that it seems almost inevitable that religious
hearts be soiled, if not by its mud, at least by its dust. It
is something of a miracle for anyone to stand firm in the
midst of this raging torrent and not be swept away; to weather
this stormy sea and not be drowned, or robbed by pirates; to
breathe this pestilential air and not be contaminated by it.
It is Mary, the singularly faithful Virgin over whom Satan had
never any power, who works this miracle for those who truly
love her.

2. Marks of false and authentic devotion to Mary

90. Now that we have established these five basic truths, it
is all the more necessary to make the right choice of the true
devotion to our Blessed Lady, for now more than ever there are
false devotions to her which can easily be mistaken for true
ones. The devil, like a counterfeiter and crafty, experienced
deceiver, has already misled and ruined many Christians by
means of fraudulent devotions to our Lady. Day by day he uses
his diabolical experience to lead many more to their doom,
fooling them, lulling them to sleep in sin and assuring them
that a few prayers, even badly said, and a few exterior
practices, inspired by himself, are authentic devotions. A
counterfeiter usually makes coins only of gold and silver,
rarely of other metals, because these latter would not be
worth the trouble. Similarly, the devil leaves other devotions
alone and counterfeits mostly those directed to Jesus and
Mary, for example, devotion to the Holy Eucharist and to the
Blessed Virgin, because these are to other devotions what gold
and silver are to other metals.

91. It is therefore very important, first, to recognise false
devotions to our Blessed Lady so as to avoid them, and to
recognise true devotion in order to practise it. Second, among
so many different forms of true devotion to our Blessed Lady
we should choose the one most perfect and the most pleasing to
her, the one that gives greater glory to God and is most
sanctifying for us.

1. False devotion to our Lady

92. There are, I find, seven kinds of false devotion to Mary,
namely, the devotion of (1) the critical, (2) the scrupulous,
(3) the superficial, (4) the presumptuous, (5) the inconstant,
(6) the hypocritical, (7) the self-interested.

Critical devotees

93. Critical devotees are for the most part proud scholars,
people of independent and self-satisfied minds, who deep down
in their hearts have a vague sort of devotion to Mary.
However, they criticise nearly all those forms of devotion to
her which simple and pious people use to honour their good
Mother just because such practices do not appeal to them. They
question all miracles and stories which testify to the mercy
and power of the Blessed Virgin, even those recorded by
trustworthy authors or taken from the chronicles of religious
orders. They cannot bear to see simple and humble people on
their knees before an altar or statue of our Lady, or at
prayer before some outdoor shrine. They even accuse them of
idolatry as if they were adoring the wood or the stone. They
say that as far as they are concerned they do not care for
such outward display of devotion and that they are not so
gullible as to believe all the fairy tales and stories told of
our Blessed Lady. When you tell them how admirably the Fathers
of the Church praised our Lady, they reply that the Fathers
were exaggerating as orators do, or that their words are
misrepresented. These false devotees, these proud worldly
people are greatly to be feared. They do untold harm to
devotion to our Lady. While pretending to correct abuses, they
succeed only too well in turning people away from this

Scrupulous devotees

94. Scrupulous devotees are those who imagine they are
slighting the Son by honouring the Mother. They fear that by
exalting Mary they are belittling Jesus. They cannot bear to
see people giving to our Lady the praises due to her and which
the Fathers of the Church have lavished upon her. It annoys
them to see more people kneeling before Mary's altar than
before the Blessed Sacrament, as if these acts were at
variance with each other, or as if those who were praying to
our Lady were not praying through her to Jesus. They do not
want us to speak too often of her or to pray so often to her.
Here are some of the things they say: "What is the good
of all these rosaries, confraternities and exterior devotions
to our Lady? There is a great deal of ignorance in all this.
It is making a mockery of religion. Tell us about those who
are devoted to Jesus (and they often pronounce his name
without uncovering their heads). We should go directly to
Jesus, since he is our sole Mediator. We must preach Jesus;
that is sound devotion." There is some truth in what they say,
but the inference they draw to prevent devotion to our Lady is
very insidious. It is a subtle snare of the evil one under the
pretext of promoting a greater good. For we never give more
honour to Jesus than when we honour his Mother, and we honour
her simply and solely to honour him all the more perfectly. We
go to her only as a way leading to the goal we seek - Jesus,
her Son.

95. The Church, with the Holy Spirit, blesses our Lady first,
then Jesus, "Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the
fruit of thy womb, Jesus." Not that Mary is greater than
Jesus, or even equal to him - that would be an intolerable
heresy. But in order to bless Jesus more perfectly we should
first bless Mary. Let us say with all those truly devoted to
her, despite these false and scrupulous devotees: "O Mary,
blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy
womb, Jesus."

Superficial devotees

96. Superficial devotees are people whose entire devotion to
our Lady consists in exterior practices. Only the externals of
devotion appeal to them because they have no interior spirit.
They say many rosaries with great haste and assist at many
Masses distractedly. They take part in processions of our Lady
without inner fervour. They join her confraternities without
reforming their lives or restraining their passions or
imitating Mary's virtues. All that appeals to them is the
emotional aspect of this devotion, but the substance of it has
no appeal at all. If they do not feel a warmth in their
devotions, they think they are doing nothing; they become
upset, and give up everything, or else do things only when
they feel like it. The world is full of these shallow
devotees, and there are none more critical of men of prayer
who regard the interior devotion as the essential aspect and
strive to acquire it without, however, neglecting a reasonable
external expression which always accompanies true devotion.

Presumptuous devotees

97. Presumptuous devotees are sinners who give full rein to
their passions or their love of the world, and who, under the
fair name of Christian and servant of our Lady, conceal pride,
avarice, lust, drunkenness, anger, swearing, slandering,
injustice and other vices. They sleep peacefully in their
wicked habits, without making any great effort to correct
them, believing that their devotion to our Lady gives them
this sort of liberty. They convince themselves that God will
forgive them, that they will not die without confession, that
they will not be lost for all eternity. They take all this for
granted because they say the Rosary, fast on Saturdays, are
enrolled in the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary or the
Scapular, or a sodality of our Lady, wear the medal or the
little chain of our Lady.
When you tell them that such a devotion is only an
illusion of the devil and a dangerous presumption which may
well ruin them, they refuse to believe you. God is good and
merciful, they reply, and he has not made us to damn us. No
man is without sin. We will not die without confession, and a
good act of contrition at death is all that is needed.
Moreover, they say they have devotion to our Lady; that they
wear the scapular; that they recite faithfully and humbly
every day the seven Our Fathers and seven Hail Marys in her
honour; that sometimes they even say the Rosary and the Office
of our Lady, as well as fasting and performing other good
Blinding themselves still more, they quote stories they
have heard or read - whether true or false does not bother
them - which relate how people who had died in mortal sin were
brought back to life again to go to confession, or how their
soul was miraculously retained in their bodies until
confession, because in their lifetime they said a few prayers
or performed a few pious acts, in honour of our Lady. Others
are supposed to have obtained from God at the moment of death,
through the merciful intercession of the Blessed Virgin,
sorrow and pardon for their sins, and so were saved.
Accordingly, these people expect the same thing to happen to

98. Nothing in our Christian religion is so deserving of
condemnation as this diabolical presumption. How can we
truthfully claim to love and honour the Blessed Virgin when by
our sins we pitilessly wound, pierce, crucify and outrage her
Son? If Mary made it a rule to save by her mercy this sort of
person, she would be condoning wickedness and helping to
outrage and crucify her Son. Who would even dare to think of
such a thing?

99. I declare that such an abuse of devotion to her is a
horrible sacrilege and, next to an unworthy Communion, is the
greatest and the least pardonable sin, because devotion to our
Lady is the holiest and best after devotion to the Blessed
I admit that to be truly devoted to our Lady, it is not
absolutely necessary to be so holy as to avoid all sin,
although this is desirable. But at least it is necessary (note
what I am going to say), (1) to be genuinely determined to
avoid at least all mortal sin, which outrages the Mother as
well as the Son; (2) to practise self-restraint in order to
avoid sin; (3) to join her confraternities, say the Rosary and
other prayers, fast on Saturdays, and so on.

100. Such means are surprisingly effective in converting even
the hardened sinner. Should you be such a sinner, with one
foot in the abyss, I advise you to do as I have said. But
there is an essential condition. You must perform these good
works solely to obtain from God, through the intercession of
our Lady, the grace to regret your sins, obtain pardon for
them and overcome your evil habits, and not to live
complacently in the state of sin, disregarding the warning
voice of conscience, the example of our Lord and the saints,
and the teaching of the holy gospel.

Inconstant devotees

101. Inconstant devotees are those whose devotion to our Lady
is practised in fits and starts. Sometimes they are fervent
and sometimes they are lukewarm. Sometimes they appear ready
to do anything to please our Lady, and then shortly afterwards
they have completely changed. They start by embracing every
devotion to our Lady. They join her confraternities, but they
do not faithfully observe the rules. They are as changeable as
the moon, and like the moon Mary puts them under her feet.
Because of their fickleness they are unworthy to be included
among the servants of the Virgin most faithful, because
faithfulness and constancy are the hallmarks of Mary's
servants. It is better not to burden ourselves with a
multitude of prayers and pious practices but rather adopt only
a few and perform them with love and perseverance in spite of
opposition from the devil the world and the flesh.

Hypocritical devotees

102. There is another category of false devotees of our
Lady, - hypocritical ones. These hide their sins and evil
habits under the mantle of the Blessed Virgin so as to appear
to their fellow-men different from what they are.

Self-interested devotees

103. Then there are the self-interested devotees who turn to
her only to win a court-case, to escape some danger, to be
cured of some ailment, or have some similar need satisfied.
Except when in need they never think of her. Such people are
acceptable neither to God not to his Mother.

104. We must, then, carefully avoid joining the critical
devotees, who believe nothing and find fault with everything;
the scrupulous ones who, out of respect for our Lord, are
afraid of having too much devotion to his Mother; the exterior
devotees whose devotion consists entirely in outward
practices; the presumptuous devotees who under cover of a
fictitious devotion to our Lady wallow in their sins; the
inconstant devotees who, being unstable, change their
devotional practices or abandon them altogether at the
slightest temptation; the hypocritical ones who join
confraternities and wear emblems of our Lady only to be
thought of as good people; finally, the self-interested
devotees who pray to our Lady only to be rid of bodily ills or
to obtain material benefits.

2. Marks of authentic devotion to our Lady

105. After having explained and condemned false devotions to
the Blessed Virgin we shall now briefly describe what true
devotion is. It is interior, trustful, holy, constant and

106. First, true devotion to our Lady is interior, that is, it
comes from within the mind and the heart and follows from the
esteem in which we hold her, the high regard we have for her
greatness, and the love we bear her.

107. Second, it is trustful, that is to say, it fills us with
confidence in the Blessed Virgin, the confidence that a child
has for its loving Mother. It prompts us to go to her in every
need of body and soul with great simplicity, trust and
affection. We implore our Mother's help always, everywhere,
and for everything. We pray to her to be enlightened in our
doubts, to be put back on the right path when we go astray, to
be protected when we are tempted, to be strengthened when we
are weakening, to be lifted up when we fall into sin, to be
encouraged when we are losing heart, to be rid of our
scruples, to be consoled in the trials, crosses and
disappointments of life. Finally, in all our afflictions of
body and soul, we naturally turn to Mary for help, with never
a fear of importuning her or displeasing our Lord.

108. Third, true devotion to our Lady is holy, that is, it
leads us to avoid sin and to imitate the virtues of Mary. Her
ten principal virtues are: deep humility, lively faith, blind
obedience, unceasing prayer, constant self-denial, surpassing
purity, ardent love, heroic patience, angelic kindness, and
heavenly wisdom.

109. Fourth, true devotion to our Lady is constant. It
strengthens us in our desire to do good and prevents us from
giving up our devotional practices too easily. It gives us the
courage to oppose the fashions and maxims of the world, the
vexations and unruly inclinations of the flesh and the
temptations of the devil. Thus a person truly devoted to our
Blessed Lady is not changeable, fretful, scrupulous or timid.
We do not say however that such a person never sins or that
his sensible feelings of devotion never change. When he has
fallen, he stretches out his hand to his Blessed Mother and
rises again. If he loses all taste and feeling for devotion,
he is not at all upset because a good and faithful servant of
Mary is guided in his life by faith in Jesus and Mary, and not
by feelings.

110. Fifth, true devotion to Mary is disinterested. It
inspires us to seek God alone in his Blessed Mother and not
ourselves. The true subject of Mary does not serve his
illustrious Queen for selfish gain. He does not serve her for
temporal or eternal well-being but simply and solely because
she has the right to be served and God alone in her. He loves
her not so much because she is good to him or because he
expects something from her, but simply because she is lovable.
That is why he loves and serves her just as faithfully in
weariness and dryness of soul as in sweet and sensible
fervour. He loves her as much on Calvary as at Cana. How
pleasing and precious in the sight of God and his holy Mother
must these servants of Mary be, who serve her without any
self-seeking. How rare they are nowadays! It is to increase
their number that I have taken up my pen to write down what I
have been teaching with success both publicly and in private
in my missions for many years.

111. I have already said many things about the Blessed Virgin
and, as I am trying to fashion a true servant of Mary and a
true disciple of Jesus, I have still a great deal to say,
although through ignorance, inability, and lack of time, I
shall leave infinitely more unsaid.

112. But my labour will be well rewarded if this little book
falls into the hands of a noble soul, a child of God and of
Mary, born not of blood nor the will of the flesh nor of the
will of man. My time will be well spent if, by the grace of
the Holy Spirit, after having read this book he is convinced
of the supreme value of the solid devotion to Mary I am about
to describe. If I thought that my guilty blood could help the
reader to accept in his heart the truths that I set down in
honour of my dear Mother and Queen, I, her most unworthy child
and slave, would use it instead of ink to write these words. I
would hope to find faithful souls who, by their perseverance
in the devotion I teach, will repay her for the loss she has
suffered through my ingratitude and infidelity.

113. I feel more than ever inspired to believe and expect the
complete fulfilment of the desire that is deeply engraved on
my heart and what I have prayed to God for over many years,
namely, that in the near or distant future the Blessed Virgin
will have more children, servants and slaves of love than ever
before, and that through them Jesus, my dear Lord, will reign
more than ever in the hearts of men.

114. I clearly foresee that raging beasts will come in fury to
tear to pieces with their diabolical teeth this little book
and the one the Holy Spirit made use of to write it, or they
will cause it at least to lie hidden in the darkness and
silence of a chest and so prevent it from seeing the light of
day. They will even attack and persecute those who read it and
put into practice what it contains. But no matter! So much the
better! It even gives me encouragement to hope for great
success at the prospect of a mighty legion of brave and
valiant soldiers of Jesus and Mary, both men and women, who
will fight the devil, the world, and corrupt nature in the
perilous times that are sure to come.
"Let the reader understand. Let him accept this teaching
who can."

3. Principal practices of devotion to Mary

115. There are several interior practices of true devotion to
the Blessed Virgin. Here briefly are the main ones:
(1) Honouring her, as the worthy Mother of God, by the
cult of hyperdulia, that is, esteeming and honouring her more
than all the other saints as the masterpiece of grace and the
foremost in holiness after Jesus Christ, true God and true
(2) Meditating on her virtues, her privileges and her
(3) Contemplating her sublime dignity.
(4) Offering to her acts of love, praise and gratitude.
(5) Invoking her with a joyful heart.
(6) Offering ourselves to her and uniting ourselves to
(7) Doing everything to please her.
(8) Beginning, carrying out and completing our actions
through her, in her, with her, and for her in order to do them
through Jesus, in Jesus, with Jesus, and for Jesus, our last
end. We shall explain this last practice later.

116. True devotion to our Lady has also several exterior
practices. Here are the principal ones:
(1) Enrolling in her confraternities and joining her
(2) Joining religious orders dedicated to her.
(3) Making her privileges known and appreciated.
(4) Giving alms, fasting, performing interior and
exterior acts of self-denial in her honour.
(5) Carrying such signs of devotion to her as the rosary,
the scapular, or a little chain.
(6) Reciting with attention, devotion and reverence the
fifteen decades of the Rosary in honour of the fifteen
principal mysteries of our Lord, or at least five decades in
honour of the Joyful mysteries - the Annunciation, the
Visitation, the Birth of our Lord, the Purification, the
Finding of the Child Jesus in the temple; or the Sorrowful
mysteries: the Agony in the Garden, the Scourging, the
Crowning with thorns, the Carrying of the Cross, and the
Crucifixion; or the Glorious mysteries: The Resurrection of
our Lord, the Ascension, the Descent of the Holy Spirit, the
Assumption of our Lady, body and soul, into heaven, the
Crowning of Mary by the Blessed Trinity.
One may also choose any of the following prayers: the
Rosary of six or seven decades in honour of the years our Lady
is believed to have spent on earth; the Little Crown of the
Blessed Virgin in honour of her crown of twelve stars or
privileges; the Little Office of our Lady so widely accepted
and recited in the Church; the Little Psalter of the Blessed
Virgin, composed in her honour by St. Bonaventure, which is so
heart-warming, and so devotional that you cannot recite it
without being moved by it; the fourteen Our Fathers and Hail
Marys in honour of her fourteen joys. There are various other
prayers and hymns of the Church, such as, the hymns of the
liturgical seasons, the Ave Maris Stella, the O Gloriosa
Domina ; the Magnificat and other prayers which are found in
all prayer-books.
(7) Singing hymns to her or teaching others to sing them.
(8) Genuflecting or bowing to her each morning while
saying for example sixty or a hundred times, "Hail Mary,
Virgin most faithful", so that through her intercession with
God we may faithfully correspond with his graces throughout
the day; and in the evening saying "Hail Mary, Mother of
Mercy", asking her to obtain God's pardon for the sins we have
committed during the day.
(9) Taking charge of her confraternities, decorating her
altars, crowning and adorning her statues.
(10) Carrying her statues or having others carry them in
procession, or keeping a small one on one's person as an
effective protection against the evil one.
(11) Having statues made of her, or her name engraved and
placed on the walls of churches or houses and on the gates and
entrances of towns, churches and houses.
(12) Solemnly giving oneself to her by a special

117. The Holy Spirit has inspired saintly souls with other
practices of true devotion to the Blessed Virgin, all of which
are conducive to holiness. You can read of them in detail in
"Paradise opened to Philagia", a collection of many devotions
practised by holy people to honour the Blessed Virgin,
compiled by Fr. Paul Barry of the Society of Jesus. These
devotions are a wonderful help for souls seeking holiness
provided they are performed in a worthy manner, that is:
(1) With the right intention of pleasing God alone,
seeking union with Jesus, our last end, and giving edification
to our neighbour.
(2) With attention, avoiding wilful distractions.
(3) With devotion, avoiding haste and negligence.
(4) With decorum and respectful bodily posture.

4. The Perfect Practice

118. Having read nearly every book on devotion to the Blessed
Virgin and talked to the most saintly and learned people of
the day, I can now state with conviction that I have never
known or heard of any devotion to our Lady which is comparable
to the one I am going to speak of. No other devotion calls for
more sacrifices for God, none empties us more completely of
self and self-love, none keeps us more firmly in the grace of
God and the grace of God in us. No other devotion unites us
more perfectly and more easily to Jesus. Finally no devotion
gives more glory to God, is more sanctifying for ourselves or
more helpful to our neighbour.

119. As this devotion essentially consists in a state of soul,
it will not be understood in the same way by everyone. Some -
the great majority - will stop short at the threshold and go
no further. Others - not many - will take but one step into
its interior. Who will take a second step? Who will take a
third? Finally who will remain in it permanently? Only the one
to whom the Spirit of Jesus reveals the secret. The Holy
Spirit himself will lead this faithful soul from strength to
strength, from grace to grace, from light to light, until at
length he attains transformation into Jesus in the fullness of
his age on earth and of his glory in heaven.



1. A complete consecration to Mary

120. As all perfection consists in our being conformed, united
and consecrated to Jesus it naturally follows that the most
perfect of all devotions is that which conforms, unites, and
consecrates us most completely to Jesus. Now of all God's
creatures Mary is the most conformed to Jesus. It therefore
follows that, of all devotions, devotion to her makes for the
most effective consecration and conformity to him. The more
one is consecrated to Mary, the more one is consecrated to
That is why perfect consecration to Jesus is but a
perfect and complete consecration of oneself to the Blessed
Virgin, which is the devotion I teach; or in other words, it
is the perfect renewal of the vows and promises of holy

121. This devotion consists in giving oneself entirely to Mary
in order to belong entirely to Jesus through her. It requires
us to give:
(1) Our body with its senses and members;
(2) Our soul with its faculties;
(3) Our present material possessions and all we shall
acquire in the future;
(4) Our interior and spiritual possessions, that is, our
merits, virtues and good actions of the past, the present and
the future.
In other words, we give her all that we possess both in
our natural life and in our spiritual life as well as
everything we shall acquire in the future in the order of
nature, of grace, and of glory in heaven. This we do without
any reservation, not even of a penny, a hair, or the smallest
good deed. And we give for all eternity without claiming or
expecting, in return for our offering and our service, any
other reward than the honour of belonging to our Lord through
Mary and in Mary, even though our Mother were not - as in fact
she always is - the most generous and appreciative of all
God's creatures.

122. Note here that two things must be considered regarding
our good works, namely, satisfaction and merit or, in other
words, their satisfactory or prayer value and their
meritorious value. The satisfactory or prayer value of a good
work is the good action in so far as it makes condign
atonement for the punishment due to sin or obtains some new
grace. The meritorious value or merit is the good action in so
far as it merits grace and eternal glory. Now by this
consecration of ourselves to the Blessed Virgin we give her
all satisfactory and prayer value as well as the meritorious
value of our good works, in other words, all the satisfactions
and the merits. We give her our merits, graces and virtues,
not that she might give them to others, for they are, strictly
speaking, not transferable, because Jesus alone, in making
himself our surety with his Father, had the power to impart
his merits to us. But we give them to her that she may keep,
increase and embellish them for us, as we shall explain later,
and we give her our acts of atonement that she may apply them
where she pleases for God's greater glory.

123. It follows then:
(1) that by this devotion we give to Jesus all we can
possibly give him, and in the most perfect manner, that is,
through Mary's hands. Indeed we give him far more than we do
by other devotions which require us to give only part of our
time, some of our good works or acts of atonement and
penances. In this devotion everything is given and
consecrated, even the right to dispose freely of one's
spiritual goods and the satisfactions earned by daily good
works. This is not done even in religious orders. Members of
religious orders give God their earthly goods by the vow of
poverty, the goods of the body by the vow of chastity, their
free will by the vow of obedience, and sometimes their freedom
of movement by the vow of enclosure. But they do not give him
by these vows the liberty and right to dispose of the value of
their good works. They do not despoil themselves of what a
Christian considers most precious and most dear - his merits
and satisfactions.

124. (2) It follows then that anyone who in this way
consecrates and sacrifices himself voluntarily to Jesus
through Mary may no longer dispose of the value of any of his
good actions. All his sufferings, all his thoughts, words, and
deeds belong to Mary. She can then dispose of them in
accordance with the will of her Son and for his greater glory.
This dependence, however, is without detriment to the duties
of a person's present and future state of life. One such duty,
for example, would be that of a priest who, by virtue of his
office or otherwise, must apply the satisfactory or prayer
value of the Holy Mass to a particular person. For this
consecration can only be made in accordance with the order
established by God and in keeping with the duties of one's
state of life.

125. (3) It follows that we consecrate ourselves at one and
the same time to Mary and to Jesus. We give ourselves to Mary
because Jesus chose her as the perfect means to unite himself
to us and unite us to him. We give ourselves to Jesus because
he is our last end. Since he is our Redeemer and our God we
are indebted to him for all that we are.

2. A perfect renewal of baptismal promises

126. I have said that this devotion could rightly be called a
perfect renewal of the vows and promises of holy baptism.
Before baptism every Christian was a slave of the devil
because he belonged to him. At baptism he has either
personally or through his sponsors solemnly renounced Satan,
his seductions and his works. He has chosen Jesus as his
Master and sovereign Lord and undertaken to depend upon him as
a slave of love. This is what is done in the devotion I am
presenting to you. We renounce the devil, the world, sin and
self, as expressed in the act of consecration, and we give
ourselves entirely to Jesus through Mary. We even do something
more than at baptism, when ordinarily our god-parents speak
for us and we are given to Jesus only by proxy. In this
devotion we give ourselves personally and freely and we are
fully aware of what we are doing.
In holy baptism we do not give ourselves to Jesus
explicitly through Mary, nor do we give him the value of our
good actions. After baptism we remain entirely free either to
apply that value to anyone we wish or keep it for ourselves.
But by this consecration we give ourselves explicitly to Jesus
through Mary's hands and we include in our consecration the
value of all our actions.

127. "Men" says St. Thomas, "vow in baptism to renounce the
devil and all his seductions." "This vow," says St. Augustine,
"is the greatest and the most indispensable of all vows."
Canon Law experts say the same thing: "The vow we make at
baptism is the most important of all vows." But does anyone
keep this great vow? Does anyone fulfil the promises of
baptism faithfully? Is it not true that nearly all Christians
prove unfaithful to the promises made to Jesus in baptism?
Where does this universal failure come from, if not from man's
habitual forgetfulness of the promises and responsibilities of
baptism and from the fact that scarcely anyone makes a
personal ratification of the contract made with God through
his sponsors?

128. This is so true that the Council of Sens, convened by
order of the Emperor Louis the Debonair to remedy the grave
disorders of Christendom, came to the conclusion that the main
cause of this moral breakdown was man's forgetfulness of his
baptismal obligations and his disregard for them. It could
suggest no better way of remedying this great evil than to
encourage all Christians to renew the promises and vows of

129. The Catechism of the Council of Trent, faithful
interpreter of that holy Council, exhorts priests to do the
same and to encourage the faithful to remember and hold fast
to the belief that they are bound and consecrated as slaves to
Jesus, their Redeemer and Lord. "The parish priest shall
exhort the faithful never to lose sight of the fact that they
are bound in conscience to dedicate and consecrate themselves
for ever to their Lord and Redeemer as his slaves."

130. Now the Councils, the Fathers of the Church and
experience itself, all indicate that the best remedy for the
frequent lapses of Christians is to remind them of the
responsibilities of their baptism and have them renew the vows
they made at that time. Is it not reasonable therefore to do
this in our day and in a perfect manner by adopting this
devotion with its consecration to our Lord through his Blessed
Mother? I say "in a perfect manner", for in making this
consecration to Jesus they are adopting the perfect means of
giving themselves to him, which is the most Blessed Virgin

131. No one can object that this devotion is novel or of no
value. It is not new, since the Councils, the Fathers of the
Church, and many authors both past and present, speak of
consecration to our Lord or renewal of baptismal vows as
something going back to ancient times and recommended to all
the faithful. Nor is it valueless, since the chief source of
moral disorders and the consequent eternal loss of Christians
spring from the forgetfulness of this practice and
indifference to it.

132. Some may object that this devotion makes us powerless to
help the souls of our relatives, friends and benefactors,
since it requires us to give our Lord, through Mary, the value
of our good works, prayers, penances, and alms-giving.
To them I reply:
(1) It is inconceivable that our friends, relatives and
benefactors should suffer any loss because we have dedicated
and consecrated ourselves unconditionally to the service of
Jesus and Mary; it would be an affront to the power and
goodness of Jesus and Mary who will surely come to the aid of
our relatives, friends and benefactors whether from our meagre
spiritual assets or from other sources.
(2) This devotion does not prevent us from praying for
others, both the living and the dead, even though the
application of our good works depends on the will of our
Blessed Lady. On the contrary, it will make us pray with even
greater confidence. Imagine a rich man, who, wanting to show
his esteem for a great prince, gives his entire fortune to
him. Would not that man have greater confidence in asking the
prince to help one of his friends who needed assistance?
Indeed the prince would only be too happy to have such an
opportunity of proving his gratitude to one who had sacrificed
all that he possessed to enrich him, thereby impoverishing
himself to do him honour. The same must be said of our Lord
and our Lady. They will never allow themselves to be outdone
in gratitude.

133. Some may say, perhaps, if I give our Lady the full value
of my actions to apply it to whom she wills, I may have to
suffer a long time in purgatory. This objection, which arises
from self-love and from an unawareness of the generosity of
God and his holy Mother, refutes itself.
Take a fervent and generous soul who values God's
interests more than his own. He gives God all he has without
reserve till he can give no more. He desires only that the
glory and the kingdom of Jesus may come through his Mother,
and he does all he can to bring this about. Will this generous
and unselfish soul, I ask, be punished more in the next world
for having been more generous and unselfish than other people?
Far from it! For we shall see later that our Lord and his
Mother will prove most generous to such a soul with gifts of
nature, grace and glory in this life and in the next.

134. We must now consider as briefly as possible: (1) The
motives which commend this devotion to us, (2) the wonderful
effects it produces in faithful souls, and (3) the practices
of this devotion.


1. By it we give ourselves completely to God

135. This first motive shows us the excellence of the
consecration of ourselves to Jesus through Mary.
We can conceive of no higher calling than that of being
in the service of God and we believe that the least of God's
servants is richer, stronger, and nobler than any earthly
monarch who does not serve God. How rich and strong and noble
then must the good and faithful servant be, who serves God as
unreservedly and as completely as he possibly can! Just such a
person is the faithful and loving slave of Jesus in Mary. He
has indeed surrendered himself entirely to the service of the
King of kings through Mary, his Mother, keeping nothing for
himself. All the gold of the world and the beauties of the
heavens could not recompense him for what he has done.

136. Other congregations, associations, and confraternities
set up in honour of our Lord and our Blessed Lady, which do so
much good in the Church, do not require their members to give
up absolutely everything. They simply prescribe for them the
performance of certain acts and practices in fulfilment of
their obligations. They leave them free to dispose of the rest
of their actions as well as their time. But this devotion
makes us give Jesus and Mary all our thoughts, words, actions,
and sufferings and every moment of our lives without
exception. Thus, whatever we do, whether we are awake or
asleep, whether we eat or drink, whether we do important or
unimportant work, it will always be true to say that
everything is done for Jesus and Mary. Our offering always
holds good, whether we think of it or not, unless we
explicitly retract it. How consoling this is!

137. Moreover, as I have said before, no other act of devotion
enables us to rid ourselves so easily of the possessiveness
which slips unnoticed even into our best actions. This is a
remarkable grace which our dear Lord grants us in return for
the heroic and selfless surrender to him through Mary of the
entire value of our good works. If even in this life he gives
a hundredfold reward to those who renounce all material,
temporal and perishable things out of love for him, how
generously will he reward those who give up even interior and
spiritual goods for his sake!

138. Jesus, our dearest friend, gave himself to us without
reserve, body and soul, grace and merits. As St. Bernard says,
"He won me over entirely by giving himself entirely to me."
Does not simple justice as well as gratitude require that we
give him all we possibly can? He was generous with us first,
so let us be generous to him in return and he will prove still
more generous during life, at the hour of death, and
throughout eternity. "He will be generous towards the

2. It helps us to imitate Christ

139. Our good Master stooped to enclose himself in the womb of
the Blessed Virgin, a captive but loving slave, and to make
himself subject to her for thirty years. As I said earlier,
the human mind is bewildered when it reflects seriously upon
this conduct of Incarnate Wisdom. He did not choose to give
himself in a direct manner to the human race though he could
easily have done so. He chose to come through the Virgin Mary.
Thus he did not come into the world independently of others in
the flower of his manhood, but he came as a frail little child
dependent on the care and attention of his Mother. Consumed
with the desire to give glory to God, his Father, and save the
human race, he saw no better or shorter way to do so than by
submitting completely to Mary.
He did this not just for the first eight, ten or fifteen
years of his life like other children, but for thirty years.
He gave more glory to God, his Father, during all those years
of submission and dependence than he would have given by
spending them working miracles, preaching far and wide, and
converting all mankind. Otherwise he would have done all these
What immeasurable glory then do we give to God when,
following the example of Jesus, we submit to Mary! With such a
convincing and well-known example before us, can we be so
foolish as to believe that there is a better and shorter way
of giving God glory than by submitting ourselves to Mary, as
Jesus did?

140. Let me remind you again of the dependence shown by the
three divine Persons on our Blessed Lady. Theirs is the
example which fully justifies our dependence on her. The
Father gave and still gives his Son only through her. He
raises children for himself only through her. He dispenses his
graces to us only through her. God the Son was prepared for
mankind in general by her alone. Mary, in union with the Holy
Spirit, still conceives him and brings him forth daily. It is
through her alone that the Son distributes his merits and
virtues. The Holy Spirit formed Jesus only through her, and he
forms the members of the Mystical Body and dispenses his gifts
and his favours through her.
With such a compelling example of the three divine
Persons before us, we would be extremely perverse to ignore
her and not consecrate ourselves to her. Indeed we would be
blind if we did not see the need for Mary in approaching God
and making our total offering to him.

141. Here are a few passages from the Fathers of the Church
which I have chosen to prove what I have just said: "Mary has
two sons, the one a God-man, the other, mere man. She is
Mother of the first corporally and of the second spiritually"
(St. Bonaventure and Origen).
"This is the will of God who willed that we should have
all things through Mary. If then, we possess any hope or grace
or gift of salvation, let us acknowledge that it comes to us
through her" (St. Bernard).
"All the gifts, graces, virtues of the Holy Spirit are
distributed by the hands of Mary, to whom she wills, when she
wills, as she wills, and in the measure she wills" (St.
"As you were not worthy that anything divine should be
given to you, all graces were given to Mary so that you might
receive through her all graces you would not otherwise
receive" (St. Bernard).

142. St. Bernard tells us that God, seeing that we are
unworthy to receive his graces directly from him, gives them
to Mary so that we might receive from her all that he decides
to give us. His glory is achieved when he receives through
Mary the gratitude, respect and love we owe him in return for
his gifts to us. It is only right then that we should imitate
his conduct, "in order", as St. Bernard again says, "that
grace might return to its author by the same channel through
which it came to us".
This is what we do by this devotion. We offer and
consecrate all we are and all we possess to the Blessed Virgin
in order that our Lord may receive through her as intermediary
the glory and gratitude that we owe to him. We deem ourselves
unworthy and unfit to approach his infinite majesty on our
own, and so we avail ourselves of Mary's intercession.

143. Moreover, this devotion is an expression of great
humility, a virtue which God loves above all others. A person
who exalts himself debases God, and a person who humbles
himself exalts God. "God opposes the proud, but gives his
graces to the humble." If you humble yourself, convinced that
you are unworthy to appear before him, or even to approach
him, he condescends to come down to you. He is pleased to be
with you and exalts you in spite of yourself. But, on the
other hand, if you venture to go towards God blindly without a
mediator, he vanishes and is nowhere to be found. How dearly
he loves the humble of heart! It is to such humility that this
devotion leads us, for it teaches us never to go alone
directly to our Lord, however gentle and merciful though he
may be, but always to use Mary's power of intercession,
whether we want to enter his presence, speak to him, be near
him, offer him something, seek union with him or consecrate
ourselves to him.

3. It obtains many blessings from our Lady

144. The Blessed Virgin, mother of gentleness and mercy, never
allows herself to be surpassed in love and generosity. When
she sees someone giving himself entirely to her in order to
honour and serve her, and depriving himself of what he prizes
most in order to adorn her, she gives herself completely in a
wondrous manner to him. She engulfs him in the ocean of her
graces, adorns him with her merits, supports him with her
power, enlightens him with her light, and fills him with her
love. She shares her virtues with him - her humility, faith,
purity, etc. She makes up for his failings and becomes his
representative with Jesus. Just as one who is consecrated
belongs entirely to Mary, so Mary belongs entirely to him. We
can truthfully say of this perfect servant and child of Mary
what St. John in his gospel says of himself, "He took her for
his own."

145. This produces in his soul, if he is persevering, a great
distrust, contempt, and hatred of self, and a great confidence
in Mary with complete self-abandonment to her. He no longer
relies on his own dispositions, intentions, merits, virtues
and good works, since he has sacrificed them completely to
Jesus through his loving Mother. He has now only one treasury,
where all his wealth is stored. That treasury is not within
himself: it is Mary. That is why he can now go to our Lord
without any servile or scrupulous fear and pray to him with
great confidence. He can also share the sentiments of the
devout and learned Abbot Rupert, who, referring to the victory
which Jacob won over an angel, addressed our Lady in these
words, "O Mary, my Queen, Immaculate Mother of the God-man,
Jesus Christ, I desire to wrestle with this man, the Divine
Word, armed with your merits and not my own."
How much stronger and more powerful are we in approaching
our Lord when we are armed with the merits and prayers of the
worthy Mother of God, who, as St. Augustine says, has
conquered the Almighty by her love!

146. Since by this devotion we give to our Lord, through the
hands of his holy Mother, all our good works, she purifies
them, making them beautiful and acceptable to her Son.
(1) She purifies them of every taint of self-love and of
that unconscious attachment to creatures which slips unnoticed
into our best actions. Her hands have never been known to be
idle or uncreative. They purify everything they touch. As soon
as the Blessed Virgin receives our good works, she removes any
blemish or imperfection she may find in them.

147. (2) She enriches our good works by adorning them with her
own merits and virtues. It is as if a poor peasant, wishing to
win the friendship and favour of the king, were to go the
queen and give her an apple - his only possession - for her to
offer it to the king. The queen, accepting the peasant's
humble gift, puts it on a beautiful golden dish and presents
it to the king on behalf of the peasant. The apple in itself
would not be a gift worthy of a king, but presented by the
queen in person on a dish of gold, it becomes fit for any

148. (3) Mary presents our good works to Jesus. She does not
keep anything we offer for herself, as if she were our last
end, but unfailingly gives everything to Jesus. So by the very
fact we give anything to her, we are giving it to Jesus.
Whenever we praise and glorify her, she sings today as she did
on the day Elizabeth praised her, "My soul glorifies the

149. At Mary's request, Jesus accepts the gift of our good
works, no matter how poor and insignificant they may be for
one who is the King of kings, the Holiest of the holy. When we
present anything to Jesus by ourselves, relying on our own
dispositions and efforts, he examines our gift and often
rejects it because it is stained with self-love, just as he
once rejected the sacrifices of the Jews because they were
imbued with selfish motives.
But when we present something to him by the pure,
virginal hands of his beloved Mother, we take him by his weak
side, in a manner of speaking. He does not consider so much
the present itself as the person who offers it. Thus Mary, who
is never slighted by her Son but is always well received,
prevails upon him to accept with pleasure everything she
offers him, regardless of its value. Mary has only to present
the gift for Jesus graciously to accept it. This is what St.
Bernard strongly recommended to all those he was guiding along
the pathway to perfection. "When you want to offer something
to God, to be welcomed by him be sure to offer it through the
worthy Mother of God, if you do not wish to see it rejected."

150. Does not human nature itself, as we have seen, suggest
this mode of procedure to the less important people of this
world with regard to the great? Why should grace not inspire
us to do likewise with regard to God? He is infinitely exalted
above us. We are less than atoms in his sight. But we have an
advocate so powerful that she is never refused anything. She
is so resourceful that she knows every secret way to win the
heart of God. She is so good and kind that she never passes
over anyone no matter how lonely and sinful.
Further on, I shall relate the story of Jacob and Rebecca
which exemplifies the truths I have been setting before you.

4. It is an excellent means of giving glory to God

151. This devotion, when faithfully undertaken, is a perfect
means of ensuring that the value of all our good works is
being used for the greater glory of God. Scarcely anyone works
for that noble end, in spite of the obligation to do so,
either because men do not know where God's greatest glory is
to be found or because they do not desire it. Now Mary, to
whom we surrender the value and merit of our good actions,
knows perfectly well where God's greatest glory lies and she
works only to promote that glory. The devout servant of our
Lady, having entirely consecrated himself to her as I have
described above, can boldly claim that the value of all his
actions, words and thoughts is used for the greatest glory of
God, unless he has explicitly retracted his offering. For one
who loves God with a pure and unselfish love and prizes God's
glory and interests far above his own, could anything be more

5. It leads to union with our Lord

152. This devotion is a smooth, short, perfect and sure way of
attaining union with our Lord, in which Christian perfection
(a) This devotion is a smooth way. It is the path which
Jesus Christ opened up in coming to us and in which there is
no obstruction to prevent us reaching him. It is quite true
that we can attain to divine union by other roads, but these
involve many more crosses and exceptional setbacks and many
difficulties that we cannot easily overcome. We would have to
pass through spiritual darkness, engage in struggles for which
we are not prepared, endure bitter agonies, scale precipitous
mountains, tread upon painful thorns, and cross frightful
deserts. But when we take the path of Mary, we walk smoothly
and calmly.
It is true that on our way we have hard battles to fight
and serious obstacles to overcome, but Mary, our Mother and
Queen, stays close to her faithful servants. She is always at
hand to brighten their darkness, clear away their doubts,
strengthen them in their fears, sustain them in their combats
and trials. Truly, in comparison with other ways, this virgin
road to Jesus is a path of roses and sweet delights. There
have been some saints, not very many, such as St. Ephrem, St.
John Damascene, St. Bernard, St. Bernardine, St. Bonaventure,
and St. Francis de Sales, who have taken this smooth path to
Jesus Christ, because the Holy Spirit, the faithful Spouse of
Mary, made it known to them by a special grace. The other
saints, who are the greater number, while having a devotion to
Mary, either did not enter or did not go very far along this
path. That is why they had to undergo harder and more
dangerous trials.

153. Why is it then, a servant of Mary might ask, that devoted
servants of this good Mother are called upon to suffer much
more than those who serve her less generously? They are
opposed, persecuted, slandered, and treated with intolerance.
They may also have to walk in interior darkness and through
spiritual deserts without being given from heaven a single
drop of the dew of consolation. If this devotion to the
Blessed Virgin makes the path to Jesus smoother, how can we
explain why Mary's loyal servants are so ill-treated?

154. I reply that it is quite true that the most faithful
servants of the Blessed Virgin, being her greatest favourites,
receive from her the best graces and favours from heaven,
which are crosses. But I maintain too that these servants of
Mary bear their crosses with greater ease and gain more merit
and glory. What could check another's progress a thousand
times over, or possibly bring about his downfall, does not
balk them at all, but even helps them on their way. For this
good Mother, filled with the grace and unction of the Holy
Spirit, dips all the crosses she prepares for them in the
honey of her maternal sweetness and the unction of pure love.
They then readily swallow them as they would sugared almonds,
though the crosses may be very bitter. I believe that anyone
who wishes to be devout and live piously in Jesus will suffer
persecution and will have a daily cross to carry. But he will
never manage to carry a heavy cross, or carry it joyfully and
perseveringly, without a trusting devotion to our Lady, who is
the very sweetness of the cross. It is obvious that a person
could not keep on eating without great effort unripe fruit
which has not been sweetened.

155. (b) This devotion is a short way to discover Jesus,
either because it is a road we do not wander from, or because,
as we have just said, we walk along this road with greater
ease and joy, and consequently with greater speed. We advance
more in a brief period of submission to Mary and dependence on
her than in whole years of self-will and self-reliance. A man
who is obedient and submissive to Mary will sing of glorious
victories over his enemies It is true, his enemies will try to
impede his progress, force him to retreat or try to make him
fall. But with Mary's help, support and guidance, he will go
forward towards our Lord. Without falling, retreating and even
without being delayed, he will advance with giant strides
towards Jesus along the same road which, as it is written,
Jesus took to come to us with giant strides and in a short

156. Why do you think our Lord spent only a few years here on
earth and nearly all of them in submission and obedience to
his Mother? The reason is that "attaining perfection in a
short time, he lived a long time", even longer than Adam,
whose losses he had come to make good. Yet Adam lived more
than nine hundred years!
Jesus lived a long time, because he lived in complete
submission to his Mother and in union with her, which
obedience to his Father required. The Holy Spirit tells us
that the man who honours his mother is like a man who stores
up a treasure. In other words, the man who honours Mary, his
Mother, to the extent of subjecting himself to her and obeying
her in all things will soon become very rich, because he is
amassing riches every day through Mary who has become his
secret philosopher's stone.
There is another quotation from Holy Scripture, "My old
age will be found in the mercy of the bosom". According to the
mystical interpretation of these words it is in the bosom of
Mary that people who are young grow mature in enlightenment,
in holiness, in experience and in wisdom, and in a short time
reach the fullness of the age of Christ. For it was Mary's
womb which encompassed and produced a perfect man. That same
womb held the one whom the whole universe can neither
encompass nor contain.

157. (c) This devotion is a perfect way to reach our Lord and
be united to him, for Mary is the most perfect and the most
holy of all creatures, and Jesus, who came to us in a perfect
manner, chose no other road for his great and wonderful
journey. The Most High, the Incomprehensible One, the
Inaccessible One, He who is, deigned to come down to us poor
earthly creatures who are nothing at all. How was this done?
The Most High God came down to us in a perfect way
through the humble Virgin Mary, without losing anything of his
divinity or holiness. It is likewise through Mary that we poor
creatures must ascend to almighty God in a perfect manner
without having anything to fear.
God the Incomprehensible, allowed himself to be perfectly
comprehended and contained by the humble Virgin Mary without
losing anything of his immensity. So we must let ourselves be
perfectly contained and led by the humble Virgin without any
reserve on our part.
God, the Inaccessible, drew near to us and united himself
closely, perfectly and even personally to our humanity through
Mary without losing anything of his majesty. So it is also
through Mary that we must draw near to God and unite ourselves
to him perfectly, intimately, and without fear of being
Lastly, He who is deigned to come down to us who are not
and turned our nothingness into God, or He who is. He did this
perfectly by giving and submitting himself entirely to the
young Virgin Mary, without ceasing to be in time He who is
from all eternity. Likewise it is through Mary that we, who
are nothing, may become like God by grace and glory. We
accomplish this by giving ourselves to her so perfectly and so
completely as to remain nothing, as far as self is concerned,
and to be everything in her, without any fear of illusion.

158. Show me a new road to our Lord, pave it with all the
merits of the saints, adorn it with their heroic virtues,
illuminate and enhance it with the splendour and beauty of the
angels, have all the angels and saints there to guide and
protect those who wish to follow it. Give me such a road and
truly, truly, I boldly say - and I am telling the truth - that
instead of this road, perfect though it be, I would still
choose the immaculate way of Mary. It is a way, a road without
stain or spot, without original sin or actual sin, without
shadow or darkness,. When our loving Jesus comes in glory once
again to reign upon earth - as he certainly will - he will
choose no other way than the Blessed Virgin, by whom he came
so surely and so perfectly the first time. The difference
between his first and his second coming is that the first was
secret and hidden, but the second will be glorious and
resplendent. Both are perfect because both are through Mary.
Alas, this is a mystery which we cannot understand, "Here let
every tongue be silent."

159. (d) This devotion to our Lady is a sure way to go to
Jesus and to acquire holiness through union with him.
(1) The devotion which I teach is not new. Its history
goes back so far that the time of its origin cannot be
ascertained with any precision, as Fr. Boudon, who died a holy
death a short time ago, states in a book which he wrote on
this devotion. It is however certain that for more than seven
hundred years we find traces of it in the Church.
St. Odilo, abbot of Cluny, who lived about the year 1040,
was one of the first to practise it publicly in France as is
told in his life.
Cardinal Peter Damian relates that in the year 1076 his
brother, Blessed Marino, made himself the slave of the Blessed
Virgin in the presence of his spiritual director in a most
edifying manner. He placed a rope around his neck, scourged
himself and placed on the altar a sum of money as a token of
his devotion and consecration to our Lady. He remained so
faithful to this consecration all his life that me merited to
be visited and consoled on his death-bed by his dear Queen and
hear from her lips the promise of paradise in reward for his
Caesarius Bollandus mentions a famous knight, Vautier de
Birback, a close relative of the Dukes of Louvain, who about
the year 1300 consecrated himself to the Blessed Virgin.
This devotion was also practised privately by many people
up to the seventeenth century, when it became publicly known.

160. Father Simon de Rojas of the Order of the Holy Trinity
for the Redemption of Captives, court preacher to Philip III,
made this devotion popular throughout Spain and Germany.
Through the intervention of Philip III, he obtained from
Gregory XV valuable indulgences for those who practised it.
Father de los Rios, of the Order of St. Augustine,
together with his intimate friend, Father de Roias, worked
hard, propagating it throughout Spain and Germany by preaching
and writing. He composed a large volume entitled "Hierarchia
Mariana", where he treats of the antiquity, the excellence and
the soundness of this devotion, with as much devotion as
The Theatine Fathers in the seventeenth century
established this devotion in Italy and Savoy.

161. Father Stanislaus Phalacius of the Society of Jesus
spread this devotion widely in Poland.
Father de los Rios in the book quoted above mentions the
names of princes and princesses, bishops and cardinals of
different countries who embraced this devotion.
Father Cornelius a Lapide, noted both for holiness and
profound learning, was commissioned by several bishops and
theologians to examine it. The praise he gave it after mature
examination, is a worthy tribute to his own holiness. Many
other eminent men followed his example.
The Jesuit Fathers, ever zealous in the service of our
Blessed Lady, presented on behalf of the sodalities of Cologne
to Duke Ferdinand of Bavaria, the then archbishop of Cologne,
a little treatise on the devotion, and he gave it his approval
and granted permission to have it printed. He exhorted all
priests and religious of his diocese to do their utmost to
spread this solid devotion.

162. Cardinal de BÇrulle, whose memory is venerated throughout
France, was outstandingly zealous in furthering the devotion
in France, despite the calumnies and persecutions he suffered
at the hands of critics and evil men. They accused him of
introducing novelty and superstition. They composed and
published a libellous tract against him and they - rather the
devil in them - used a thousand stratagems to prevent him from
spreading the devotion in France. But this eminent and saintly
man responded to their calumnies with calm patience. He wrote
a little book in reply and forcefully refuted the objections
contained in it. He pointed out that this devotion is founded
on the example given by Jesus Christ, on the obligations we
have towards him and on the promises we made in holy baptism.
It was mainly this last reason which silenced his enemies. He
made clear to them that this consecration to the Blessed
Virgin, and through her to Jesus, is nothing less than a
perfect renewal of the promises and vows of baptism. He said
many beautiful things concerning this devotion which can be
read in his works.

163. In Fr. Boudon's book we read of different popes who gave
their approval to this devotion, the theologians who examined
it, the hostility it encountered and overcame, the thousands
who made it their own without censure from any pope. Indeed it
could not be condemned without overthrowing the foundations of
Christianity. It is obvious then that this devotion is not
new. If it is not commonly practised, the reason is that it is
too sublime to be appreciated and undertaken by everyone.

164. (2) This devotion is a safe means of going to Jesus
Christ, because it is Mary's role to lead us safely to her
Son; just as it is the role of our Lord to lead us to the
eternal Father. Those who are spiritually-minded should not
fall into the error of thinking that Mary hinders our union
with God. How could this possibly happen? How could Mary, who
found grace with God for everyone in general and each one in
particular, prevent a soul from obtaining the supreme grace of
union with him? Is it possible that she who was so completely
filled with grace to overflowing, so united to Christ and
transformed in God that it became necessary for him to be made
flesh in her, should prevent a soul from being perfectly
united to him?
It is quite true that the example of other people, no
matter how holy, can sometimes impair union with God, but not
so our Blessed Lady, as I have said and shall never weary of
repeating. One reason why so few souls come to the fullness of
the age of Jesus is that Mary who is still as much as ever his
Mother and the fruitful spouse of the Holy Spirit is not
formed well enough in their hearts. If we desire a ripe and
perfectly formed fruit, we must possess the tree that bears
it. If we desire the fruit of life, Jesus Christ, we must
possess the tree of life which is Mary. If we desire to have
the Holy Spirit working within us, we must possess his
faithful and inseparable spouse, Mary the divinely-favoured
one whom, as I have said elsewhere, he can make fruitful.

165. Rest assured that the more you turn to Mary in your
prayers, meditations, actions and sufferings, seeing her if
not perhaps clearly and distinctly, at least in a general and
indistinct way, the more surely you will discover Jesus. For
he is always greater, more powerful, more active, and more
mysterious when acting through Mary than he is in any other
creature in the universe, or even in heaven. Thus Mary, so
divinely-favoured and so lost in God, is far from being an
obstacle to good people who are striving for union with him.
There has never been and there never will be a creature so
ready to help us in achieving that union more effectively, for
she will dispense to us all the graces to attain that end. As
a saint once remarked, "Only Mary knows how to fill our minds
with the thought of God." Moreover, Mary will safeguard us
against the deception and cunning of the evil one.

166. Where Mary is present, the evil one is absent. One of the
unmistakable signs that a person is led by the Spirit of God
is the devotion he has to Mary, and his habit of thinking and
speaking of her. This is the opinion of a saint, who goes on
to say that just as breathing is a proof that the body is not
dead, so the habitual thought of Mary and loving converse with
her is a proof that the soul is not spiritually dead in sin.

167. Since Mary alone has crushed all heresies, as we are told
by the Church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit (Office of
B.V.M.), a devoted servant of hers will never fall into formal
heresy or error, though critics may contest this. He may very
well err materially, mistaking lies for truth or an evil
spirit for a good one, but he will be less likely to do this
than others. Sooner or later he will discover his error and
will not go on stubbornly believing and maintaining what he
mistakenly thought was the truth.

168. Whoever then wishes to advance along the road to holiness
and be sure of encountering the true Christ, without fear of
the illusions which afflict many devout people, should take up
with valiant heart and willing spirit this devotion to Mary
which perhaps he had not previously heard about. Even if it is
new to him, let him enter upon this excellent way which I am
now revealing to him. "I will show you a more excellent way."
It was opened up by Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Wisdom.
He is our one and only Head, and we, his members, cannot go
wrong in following him. It is a smooth way made easy by the
fullness of grace, the unction of the Holy Spirit. In our
progress along this road, we do not weaken or turn back. It is
a quick way and leads us to Jesus in a short time. It is a
perfect way without mud or dust or any vileness of sin.
Finally, it is a reliable way, for it is direct and sure,
having no turnings to right or left but leading us straight to
Jesus and to life eternal.
Let us then take this road and travel along it night and
day until we arrive at the fullness of the age of Jesus

6. It gives great liberty of spirit

169. It gives great liberty of spirit - the freedom of the
children of God - to those who faithfully practise it. Through
this devotion we make ourselves slaves of Jesus by
consecrating ourselves entirely to him. To reward us for this
enslavement of love, our Lord frees us from every scruple and
servile fear which might restrict, imprison or confuse us; he
opens our hearts and fills them with holy confidence in God,
helping us to regard God as our Father; he inspires us with a
generous and filial love.

170. Without stopping to prove this truth, I shall simply
relate an incident which I read in the life of Mother Agnes of
Jesus, a Dominican nun of the convent of Langeac in Auvergne,
who died a holy death there in 1634.
When she was only seven years old and was suffering great
spiritual anguish, she heard a voice telling her that if she
wished to be delivered from her anguish and protected against
all her enemies, she should make herself the slave of our Lord
and his Blessed Mother as soon as possible. No sooner had she
returned home than she gave herself completely to Jesus and
Mary as their slave, although she had never known anything
about this devotion before. She found an iron chain, put it
round her waist and wore it till the day she died. After this,
all her sufferings and scruples disappeared and she found
great peace of soul.
This led her to teach this devotion to many others who
made rapid progress in it - among them, Father Olier, the
founder of the Seminary of Saint-Sulpice, and several other
priests and students from the same seminary. One day the
Blessed Virgin appeared to Mother Agnes and put a gold chain
around her neck to show her how happy she was that Mother
Agnes had become the slave of both her and her Son. And St.
Cecilia, who accompanied our Lady, said to her, "Happy are the
faithful slaves of the Queen of heaven, for they will enjoy
true freedom." Tibi servire libertas.

7. It is of great benefit to our neighbour

171. It is of great benefit to our neighbour, for by it we
show love for our neighbour in an outstanding way since we
give him through Mary's hands all that we prize most highly -
that is, the satisfactory and prayer value of all our good
works, down to the least good thought and the least little
suffering. We give our consent that all we have already
acquired or will acquire until death should be used in
accordance with our Lady's will for the conversion of sinners
or the deliverance of souls from Purgatory.
Is this not perfect love of our neighbour? Is this not
being a true disciple of our Lord, one who should always be
recognised by his love? Is this not the way to convert sinners
without any danger of vainglory, and deliver souls from
Purgatory by doing hardly anything more than what we are
obliged to do by our state of life?

172. To appreciate the excellence of this motive we must
understand what a wonderful thing it is to convert a sinner or
to deliver a soul from Purgatory. It is an infinite good,
greater than the creation of heaven and earth, since it gives
a soul the possession of God. If by this devotion we secured
the release of only soul from Purgatory or converted only one
sinner in our whole lifetime, would that not be enough to
induce any person who really loves his neighbour to practise
this devotion?
It must be noted that our good works, passing through
Mary's hands, are progressively purified. Consequently, their
merit and their satisfactory and prayer value are also
increased. That is why they become much more effective in
relieving the souls in Purgatory and in converting sinners
than if they did not pass through the virginal and liberal
hands of Mary. Stripped of self-will and clothed with
disinterested love, the little that we give to the Blessed
Virgin is truly powerful enough to appease the anger of God
and draw down his mercy. It may well be that at the hour of
death a person who has been faithful to this devotion will
find that he has freed many souls from Purgatory and converted
many sinners, even though he performed only the ordinary
actions of his state of life. Great will be his joy at the
judgement. Great will be his glory throughout eternity.

8. It is a wonderful means of perseverance

173. Finally, what draws us in a sense more compellingly to
take up this devotion to the most Blessed Virgin is the fact
that it is a wonderful means of persevering in the practice of
virtue and of remaining steadfast.
Why is it that most conversions of sinners are not
lasting? Why do they relapse so easily into sin? Why is it
that most of the faithful, instead of making progress in one
virtue after another and so acquiring new graces, often lose
the little grace and virtue they have? This misfortune arises,
as I have already shown, from the fact that man, so prone to
evil, so weak and changeable, trusts himself too much, relies
on his own strength, and wrongly presumes he is able to
safeguard his precious graces, virtues and merits.
By this devotion we entrust all we possess to Mary, the
faithful Virgin. We choose her as the guardian of all our
possessions in the natural and supernatural sphere. We trust
her because she is faithful, we rely on her strength, we count
on her mercy and charity to preserve and increase our virtues
and merits in spite of the efforts of the devil, the world,
and the flesh to rob us of them. We say to her as a good child
would say to its mother or a faithful servant to the mistress
of the house, "My dear Mother and Mistress, I realise that up
to now I have received from God through your intercession more
graces than I deserve. But bitter experience has taught me
that I carry these riches in a very fragile vessel and that I
am too weak and sinful to guard them by myself. Please accept
in trust everything I possess, and in your faithfulness and
power keep it for me. If you watch over me, I shall lose
nothing. If you support me, I shall not fail. If you protect
me, I shall be safe from my enemies."

174. This is exactly what St. Bernard clearly pointed out to
encourage us to take up this devotion, "When Mary supports
you, you will not fail. With her as your protector, you will
have nothing to fear. With her as your guide, you will not
grow weary. When you win her favour, you will reach the port
of heaven." St. Bonaventure seems to say the same thing in
even more explicit terms, "The Blessed Virgin," he says, "not
only preserves the fullness enjoyed by the saints, but she
maintains the saints in their fullness so that it does not
diminish. She prevents their virtues from fading away, their
merits from being wasted and their graces from being lost. She
prevents the devils from doing them harm and she so influences
them that her divine Son has no need to punish them when they

175. Mary is the Virgin most faithful who by her fidelity to
God makes good the losses caused by Eve's unfaithfulness. She
obtains fidelity to God and final perseverance for those who
commit themselves to her. For this reason St. John Damascene
compared her to a firm anchor which holds them fast and saves
them from shipwreck in the raging seas of the world where so
many people perish through lack of such a firm anchor. "We
fasten souls," he said, "to Mary, our hope, as to a firm
anchor." It was to Mary that the saints who attained salvation
most firmly anchored themselves as did others who wanted to
ensure their perseverance in holiness.
Blessed, indeed, are those Christians who bind themselves
faithfully and completely to her as to a secure anchor! The
violent storms of the world will not make them founder or
carry away their heavenly riches. Blessed are those who enter
into her as into another Noah's ark! The flood waters of sin
which engulf so many will not harm them because, as the Church
makes Mary say in the words of divine Wisdom, "Those who work
with my help - for their salvation - shall not sin." Blessed
are the unfaithful children of unhappy Eve who commit
themselves to Mary, the ever-faithful Virgin and Mother who
never wavers in her fidelity and never goes back on her trust.
She always loves those who love her, not only with deep
affection, but with a love that is active and generous. By an
abundant outpouring of grace she keeps them from relaxing
their effort in the practice of virtue or falling by the
wayside through loss of divine grace.

176. Moved by pure love, this good Mother always accepts
whatever is given her in trust, and, once she accepts
something, she binds herself in justice by a contract of
trusteeship to keep it safe. Is not someone to whom I entrust
the sum of a thousand francs obliged to keep it safe for me so
that if it were lost through his negligence he would be
responsible for it in strict justice? But nothing we entrust
to the faithful Virgin will ever be lost through her
negligence. Heaven and earth would pass away sooner than Mary
would neglect or betray those who trusted in her.

177. Poor children of Mary, you are extremely weak and
changeable. Your human nature is deeply impaired. It is sadly
true that you have been fashioned from the same corrupted
nature as the other children of Adam and Eve. But do not let
that discourage you. Rejoice and be glad! Here is a secret
which I am revealing to you, a secret unknown to most
Christians, even the most devout.
Do not leave your gold and silver in your own safes which
have already been broken into and rifled many times by the
evil one. They are too small, too flimsy and too old to
contain such great and priceless possessions. Do not put pure
and clear water from the spring into vessels fouled and
infected by sin. Even if sin is no longer there, its odour
persists and the water would be contaminated. You do not put
choice wine into old casks that have contained sour wine. You
would spoil the good wine and run the risk of losing it.

178. Chosen souls, although you may already understand me, I
shall express myself still more clearly. Do not commit the
gold of your charity, the silver of your purity to a
threadbare sack or a battered old chest, or the waters of
heavenly grace or the wines of your merits and virtues to a
tainted and fetid cask, such as you are. Otherwise you will be
robbed by thieving devils who are on the look-out day and
night waiting for a favourable opportunity to plunder. If you
do so all those pure gifts from God will be spoiled by the
unwholesome presence of self-love, inordinate self-reliance,
and self-will.
Pour into the bosom and heart of Mary all your precious
possessions, all your graces and virtues. She is a spiritual
vessel, a vessel of honour, a singular vessel of devotion.
Ever since God personally hid himself with all his perfections
in this vessel, it has become completely spiritual, and the
spiritual abode of all spiritual souls. It has become
honourable and has been the throne of honour for the greatest
saints in heaven. It has become outstanding in devotion and
the home of those renowned for gentleness, grace and virtue.
Moreover, it has become as rich as a house of gold, as strong
as a tower of David and as pure as a tower of ivory.

179. Blessed is the man who has given everything to Mary, who
at all times and in all things trusts in her, and loses
himself in her. He belongs to Mary and Mary belongs to him.
With David he can boldly say, "She was created for me", or
with the beloved disciple, "I have taken her for my own", or
with our Lord himself, "All that is mine is yours and all that
is yours is mine."

180. If any critic reading this should imagine that I am
exaggerating or speaking from an excess of devotion, he has
not, alas, understood what I have said. Either he is a carnal
man who has no taste for the spiritual; or he is a worldly man
who has cut himself off from the Holy Spirit; or he is a proud
and critical man who ridicules and condemns anything he does
not understand. But those who are born not of blood, nor of
flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God and Mary, understand
and appreciate what I have to say. It is for them that I am

181. Nevertheless, after this digression, I say to both the
critics and the devout that the Blessed Virgin, the most
reliable and generous of all God's creatures, never lets
herself be surpassed by anyone in love and generosity. For the
little that is given to her, she gives generously of what she
has received from God. Consequently, if a person gives himself
to her without reserve, she gives herself also without reserve
to that person provided his confidence in her is not
presumptuous and he does his best to practise virtue and curb
his passions.

182. So the faithful servants of the Blessed Virgin may
confidently say with St. John Damascene, "If I confide in you,
Mother of God, I shall be saved. Under your protection I shall
fear nothing. With your help I shall rout all my enemies. For
devotion to you is a weapon of salvation which God gives to
those he wishes to save."


183. The Holy Spirit gives us in Sacred Scripture, a striking
allegorical figure of all the truths I have been explaining
concerning the Blessed Virgin and her children and servants.
It is the story of Jacob who received the blessing of his
father Isaac through the care and ingenuity of his mother
Here is the story as the Holy Spirit tells it. I shall
expound it further later on.

The Story of Jacob

184. Several years after Esau had sold his birthright to
Jacob, Rebecca, their mother, who loved Jacob tenderly,
secured this blessing for him by a holy stratagem full of
mystery for us.
Isaac, realising that he was getting old, wished to bless
his children before he died. He summoned Esau, who was his
favourite son, and told him to go hunting and bring him
something to eat, in order that he might then give him his
blessing. Rebecca immediately told Jacob what was happening
and sent him to fetch two small goats from the flock. When
Jacob gave them to his mother, she cooked them in the way
Isaac liked them. Then she dressed Jacob in Esau's clothes
which she had in her keeping, and covered his hands and neck
with the goat-skin. The father, who was blind, although
hearing the voice of Jacob, would think that it was Esau when
he touched the skin on his hands.
Isaac was of course surprised at the voice which he
thought was Jacob's and told him to come closer. Isaac felt
the hair on the skin covering Jacob's hands and said that the
voice was really like Jacob's but the hands were Esau's. After
he had eaten, Isaac kissed Jacob and smelt the fragrance of
his scented clothes. He blessed him and called down on him the
dew of heaven and the fruitfulness of earth. He made him
master of all his brothers and concluded his blessing with
these words, "Cursed be those who curse you and blessed be
those who bless you."
Isaac had scarcely finished speaking when Esau came in,
bringing what he had caught while out hunting. He wanted his
father to bless him after he had eaten. The holy patriarch was
shocked when he realised what had happened. But far from
retracting what he had done, he confirmed it because he
clearly saw the finger of God in it all. Then, as Holy
Scripture relates, Esau began to protest loudly against the
treachery of his brother. He then asked his father if he had
only one blessing to give. In so doing, as the early Fathers
point out, Esau was the symbol of those who are too ready to
imagine that there is an alliance between God and the world,
because they themselves are eager to enjoy, at one and the
same time, the blessings of heaven and the blessings of the
earth. Isaac was touched by Esau's cries and finally blessed
him only with a blessing of the earth, and he subjected him to
his brother. Because of this, Esau conceived such a venomous
hatred for Jacob that he could hardly wait for his father's
death to kill him. And Jacob would not have escaped death if
his dear mother Rebecca had not saved him by her ingenuity and
her good advice.

Interpretation of the story

185. Before explaining this beautiful story, let me remind you
that, according to the early Fathers and the interpreters of
Holy Scripture, Jacob is the type of our Lord and of souls who
are saved, and Esau is the type of souls who are condemned. We
have only to examine the actions and conduct of both in order
to judge each one.
(1) Esau, the elder brother, was strong and robust,
clever, and skilful with the bow and very successful at
(2) He seldom stayed at home and, relying only on his own
strength and skill, worked out of doors.
(3) He never went out of his way to please his mother
Rebecca, and did little or nothing for her.
(4) He was such a glutton and so fond of eating that he
sold his birthright for a dish of lentils.
(5) Like Cain, he was extremely jealous of his brother
and persecuted him relentlessly.

186. This is the usual conduct of sinners:
(1) They rely upon their own strength and skill in
temporal affairs. They are very energetic, clever and well-
informed about things of this world but very dull and ignorant
about things of heaven.

187. (2) And they are never or very seldom at home, in their
own house, that is, in their own interior, the inner,
essential abode that God has given to every man to dwell in,
after his own example, for God always abides within himself.
Sinners have no liking for solitude or the spiritual life or
interior devotion. They consider those who live an interior
life, secluded from the world, and who work more interiorly
than exteriorly, as narrow-minded, bigoted and uncivilized.

188. (3) Sinners care little or nothing about devotion to
Mary, the Mother of the elect. It is true that they do not
really hate her. Indeed they even speak well of her sometimes.
They say they love her and they practise some devotion in her
honour. Nevertheless, they cannot bear to see anyone love her
tenderly, for they do not have for her any of the affection of
Jacob; they find fault with the honour which her good children
and servants faithfully pay her to win her affection. They
think this kind of devotion is not necessary for salvation,
and as long as they do not go as far as hating her or openly
ridiculing devotion to her they believe they have done all
they need to win her good graces. Because they recite or
mumble a few prayers to her without any affection and without
even thinking of amending their lives, they consider they are
our Lady's servants.

189. (4) Sinners sell their birthright, that is, the joys of
paradise, for a dish of lentils, that is, the pleasures of
this world. They laugh, they drink, they eat, they have a good
time, they gamble, they dance and so forth, without taking any
more trouble than Esau to make themselves worthy of their
heavenly Father's blessing. Briefly, they think only of this
world, love only the world, speak and act only for the world
and its pleasures. For a passing moment of pleasure, for a
fleeting wisp of honour, for a piece of hard earth, yellow or
white, they barter away their baptismal grace, their robe of
innocence and their heavenly inheritance.

190. (5) Finally, sinners continually hate and persecute the
elect, openly and secretly. The elect are a burden to them.
They despise them, criticise them, ridicule them, insult them,
rob them, deceive them, impoverish them, hunt them down and
trample them into the dust; while they themselves are making
fortunes, enjoying themselves, getting good positions for
themselves, enriching themselves, rising to power and living
in comfort.

191. Jacob, the younger son, was of a frail constitution,
gentle and peaceable and usually stayed at home to please his
mother, whom he loved so much. If he did go out it was not
through any personal desire of his, nor from any confidence in
his own ability, but simply out of obedience to his mother.

192. He loved and honoured his mother. That is why he remained
at home close to her. He was never happier than when he was in
her presence. He avoided everything that might displease her,
and did everything he thought would please her. This made
Rebecca love him all the more.

193. He was submissive to his mother in all things. He obeyed
her entirely in everything, promptly without delay and
lovingly without complaint. At the least indication of her
will, young Jacob hastened to comply with it. He accepted
whatever she told him without questioning. For instance, when
she told him to get two small goats and bring them to her so
that she might prepare something for his father Isaac to eat,
Jacob did not reply that one would be enough for one man, but
without arguing he did exactly what she told him to do.

194. He had the utmost confidence in his mother. He did not
rely on his own ability; he relied solely on his mother's care
and protection. He went to her in all his needs and consulted
her in all his doubts. For instance, when he asked her if his
father, instead of blessing him, would curse him, he believed
her and trusted her when she said she would take the curse
upon herself.

195. Finally, he adopted, as much as he could, the virtues he
saw in his mother. It seems that one of the reasons why he
spent so much time at home was to imitate his dear mother, who
was so virtuous, and to keep away from evil companions - who
might lead him into sin. In this way, he made himself worthy
to receive the double blessing of his beloved father.

196. It is in a similar manner that God's chosen ones usually
act. They stay at home with their mother - that is, they have
an esteem for quietness, love the interior life, and are
assiduous in prayer. They always remain in the company of the
Blessed Virgin, their Mother and Model, whose glory is wholly
interior and who during her whole life dearly loved seclusion
and prayer. It is true, at times they do venture out into the
world, but only to fulfil the duties of their state of life,
in obedience to the will of God and the will of their Mother.
No matter how great their accomplishments may appear to
others, they attach far more importance to what they do within
themselves in their interior life, in the company of the
Blessed Virgin. For there they work at the great task of
perfection, compared to which all other work is mere child's
play. At times their brothers and sisters are working outside
with great energy, skill and success, and win the praise and
approbation of the world. But they know by the light of the
Holy Spirit that there is far more good, more glory and more
joy in remaining hidden and recollected with our Lord, in
complete and perfect submission to Mary than there is in
performing by themselves marvellous works of nature and grace
in the world, like so many Esaus and sinners. Glory for God
and riches for men are in her house.
Lord Jesus, how lovely is your dwelling-place! The
sparrow has found a house to dwell in, and the turtle-dove a
nest for her little ones! How happy is the man who dwells in
the house of Mary, where you were the first to dwell! Here in
this home of the elect, he draws from you alone the help he
needs to climb the stairway of virtue he has built in his
heart to the highest possible points of perfection while in
this vale of tears. "How lovely is your dwelling-place, Lord,
God of hosts!"

197. The elect have a great love for our Lady and honour her
truly as their Mother and Queen. They love her mot merely in
word but in deed. They honour her not just outwardly, but from
the depths of their heart. Like Jacob, they avoid the least
thing that might displease her, and eagerly do whatever they
think might win her favour. Jacob brought Rebecca two young
goats. They bring Mary their body and their soul, with all
their faculties, symbolised by Jacob's two young goats, 1) so
that she may accept them as her own; 2) that she may make them
die to sin and self by divesting them of self-love, in order
to please Jesus her Son, who wishes to have as friends and
disciples only those who are dead to sin and self; 3) that she
may clothe them according to their heavenly Father's taste and
for his greater glory, which she knows better than any other
creature; 4) that through her care and intercession, this body
and soul of theirs, thoroughly cleansed from every stain,
thoroughly dead to self, thoroughly stripped and well-
prepared, may be pleasing to the heavenly Father and deserving
of his blessing.
Is this not what those chosen souls do who, to prove to
Jesus and Mary how effective and courageous is their love,
live and esteem the perfect consecration to Jesus through Mary
which we are now teaching them?
Sinners may say that they love Jesus, that they love and
honour Mary, but they do not do so with their whole heart and
soul. Unlike the elect, they do not love Jesus and Mary enough
to consecrate them their body with its senses and their soul
with its passions.

198. They are subject and obedient to our Lady, their good
Mother, and here they are simply following the example set by
our Lord himself, who spent thirty of the thirty-three years
he lived on earth glorifying God his Father in perfect and
entire submission to his holy Mother. They obey her, following
her advice to the letter, just as Jacob followed that of
Rebecca, when she said to him, "My son, follow my advice"; or
like the stewards at the wedding in Cana, to whom our Lady
said, "Do whatever he tells you."
Through obedience to his mother, Jacob received the
blessing almost by a miracle, because in the natural course of
events he should not have received it. As a reward for
following the advice of our Lady, the stewards at the wedding
in Cana were honoured with the first of our Lord's miracles
when, at her request he changed water into wine. In the same
way, until the end of time, all who are to receive the
blessing of our heavenly Father and who are to be honoured
with his wondrous graces will receive them only as a result of
their perfect obedience to Mary. On the other hand, the
"Esaus" will lose their blessing because of their lack of
submission to the Blessed Virgin.

199. They have great confidence in the goodness and power of
the Blessed Virgin, their dear Mother, and incessantly implore
her help. They take her for their pole-star to lead them
safely into harbour. They open their hearts to her and tell
her their troubles and their needs. They rely on her mercy and
kindness to obtain forgiveness for their sins through her
intercession and to experience her motherly comfort in their
troubles and anxieties. They even cast themselves into her
virginal bosom, hide and lose themselves there in a wonderful
manner. There they are filled with pure love, they are
purified from the least stain of sin, and they find Jesus in
all his fullness. For he reigns in Mary as if on the most
glorious of thrones. What incomparable happiness! Abbot
Guerric says, "Do not imagine there is more joy in dwelling in
Abraham's bosom than in Mary's, for it is in her that our Lord
placed his throne."
Sinners, on the other hand, put all their confidence in
themselves. Like the prodigal son, they eat with the swine.
Like toads they feed on earth. Like all worldlings, they love
only visible and external things. They do not know the
sweetness of Mary's bosom. They do not have that reliance and
confidence which the elect have for the Blessed Virgin, their
Mother. Deplorably they choose to satisfy their hunger
elsewhere, as St. Gregory says, because they do not want to
taste the sweetness already prepared within themselves and
within Jesus and Mary.

200. Finally, chosen souls keep to the ways of the Blessed
Virgin, their loving Mother - that is, they imitate her and so
are sincerely happy and devout and bear the infallible sign of
God's chosen ones. This loving Mother says to them "Happy are
those who keep my ways", which means, happy are those who
practise my virtues and who, with the help of God's grace,
follow the path of my life. They are happy in this world
because of the abundance of grace and sweetness I impart to
them out of my fullness, and which they receive more
abundantly than others who do not imitate me so closely. They
are happy at the hour of death, which is sweet and peaceful
for I am usually there myself to lead them home to everlasting
joy. Finally, they will be happy for all eternity, because no
servant of mine who imitated my virtues during life has ever
been lost.
On the other hand, sinners are unhappy during their life,
at their death, and throughout eternity, because they do not
imitate the virtues of our Lady. They are satisfied with going
no further than joining her confraternities, reciting a few
prayers in her honour, or performing other exterior devotional
O Blessed Virgin, my dear Mother, how happy are those who
faithfully keep your ways, your counsels and your commands;
who never allow themselves to be led astray by a false
devotion to you! But how unhappy and accursed are those who
abuse devotion to you by not keeping the commandments of your
Son! "They are accursed who stray from your commandments."

Services of our Lady to her faithful servants

201. Here now are the services which the Virgin Mary, as the
best of all mothers, lovingly renders to those loyal servants
who have given themselves entirely to her in the manner I have
described and following the figurative meaning of the story of
Jacob and Rebecca.

1. She loves them.

"I love those who love me." She loves them:
a) Because she is truly their Mother. What mother does
not love her child, the fruit of her womb?
b) She loves them in gratitude for the active love they
show to her, their beloved Mother.
c) She loves them because they are loved by God and
destined for heaven. "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."
d) She loves them because they have consecrated
themselves entirely to her and belong to her portion, her
inheritance. "In Israel receive your inheritance."

202. She loves them tenderly, more tenderly than all the
mothers in the world together. Take the maternal love of all
the mothers of the world for their children. Pour all that
love into the heart of one mother for an only child. That
mother's love would certainly be immense. Yet Mary's love for
each of her children has more tenderness than the love of that
mother for her child.
She loves them not only affectively but effectively, that
is, her love is active and productive of good like Rebecca's
love for Jacob -and even more so, for Rebecca was, after all,
only a symbolic figure of Mary. Here is what this loving
Mother does for her children to obtain for them the blessings
of their heavenly Father:

203. 1) Like Rebecca she looks out for favourable
opportunities to promote their interests, to ennoble and
enrich them. She sees clearly in God all that is good and all
that is evil; fortunate and unfortunate events; the blessings
and condemnations of God. She arranges things in advance so as
to divert evils from her servants and put them in the way of
abundant blessings. If there is any special benefit to be
gained in God's sight by the faithful discharge of an
important work, Mary will certainly obtain this opportunity
for a beloved child and servant and at the same time, give him
the grace to persevere in it to the end. "She personally
manages our affairs," says a saintly man.

204. 2) She gives them excellent advice, as Rebecca did to
Jacob. "My son, follow my counsels." Among other things, she
persuades them to bring her the two young goats, that is,
their body and soul, and to confide them to her so that she
can prepare them as a dish pleasing to God. She inspires them
to observe whatever Jesus Christ, her Son, has taught by word
and example. When she does not give these counsels herself in
person, she gives them through the ministry of angels who are
always pleased and honoured to go at her request to assist one
of her faithful servants on earth.

205. 3) What does this good Mother do when we have presented
and consecrated to her our soul and body and all that pertains
to them without excepting anything? Just what Rebecca of old
did to the little goats Jacob brought her. (a) She kills them,
that is, makes them die to the life of the old Adam. (b) She
strips them of their skin, that is, of their natural
inclinations, their self-love and self-will and their every
attachment to creatures. (c) She cleanses them from all stain,
impurity and sin. (d) She prepares them to God's taste and to
his greater glory. As she alone knows perfectly what the
divine taste is and where the greatest glory of God is to be
found, she alone without any fear of mistake can prepare and
garnish our body and soul to satisfy that infinitely refined
taste and promote that infinitely hidden glory.

206. 4) Once this good Mother has received our complete
offering with our merits and satisfactions through the
devotion I have been speaking about, and has stripped us of
our own garments, she cleanses us and makes us worthy to
appear without shame before our heavenly Father.
She clothes us in the clean, new, precious and fragrant
garments of Esau, the first born, namely, her Son Jesus
Christ. She keeps these garments in her house, that is to say,
she has them at her disposal. For she is the treasurer and
universal dispenser of the merits and virtues of Jesus her
Son. She gives and distributes them to whom she pleases, when
she pleases, as she pleases, and as much as she pleases, as we
have said above.
She covers the neck and hands of her servants with the
skins of the goats that have been killed and flayed, that is,
she adorns them with the merits and worth of their own good
actions. In truth, she destroys and nullifies all that is
impure and imperfect in them. She preserves and enhances this
good so that it adorns and strengthens their neck and hands,
that is, she gives them the strength to carry the yoke of the
Lord and the skill to do great things for the glory of God and
the salvation of their poor brothers.
She imparts new perfume and fresh grace to those garments
and adornments by adding to them the garments of her own
wardrobe of merits and virtues. She bequeathed these to them
before her departure for heaven, as was revealed by a holy nun
of the last century, who died a holy death. Thus all her
domestics, that is, all her servants and slaves, are clothed
with double garments, her own and those of her Son. Now they
have nothing to fear from that cold which sinners, naked and
stripped as they are of the merits of Jesus and Mary, will be
unable to endure.

207. 5) Finally, Mary obtains for them the heavenly Father's
blessing. As they are the youngest born and adopted, they are
not really entitled to it. Clad in new, precious, and sweet-
smelling garments, with body and soul well-prepared and
dressed, they confidently approach their heavenly Father. He
hears their voice and recognises it as the voice of a sinner.
He feels their hands covered with skins, inhales the aroma of
their garments. He partakes with joy of what Mary, their
Mother, has prepared for him, recognising in it the merits and
good odour of his Son and his Blessed Mother.
a) He gives them a twofold blessing, the blessing of the
dew of heaven, namely, divine grace, which is the seed of
glory. "God has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual
blessing," and also the blessing of the fertility of the
earth, for as a provident Father, he gives them their daily
bread and an ample supply of the goods of the earth.
b) He makes them masters of their other brothers, the
reprobate sinners. This domination does not always show in
this fleeting world, where sinners often have the upper hand.
"How long shall the wicked glory, mouthing insolent
reproaches?" "I have seen the wicked triumphant and lifted up
like the cedars of Lebanon." But the supremacy of the just is
real and will be seen clearly for all eternity in the next
world, where the just, as the Holy Spirit tells us, will
dominate and command all peoples.
c) The God of all majesty is not satisfied with blessing
them in their persons and their possessions, he blesses all
who bless them and curses all who curse and persecute them.

2. She provides for all their needs

208. Our Lady's charity towards her faithful servants goes
further. She provides them with everything they need for body
and soul. We have just seen that she gives them double
garments. She also nourishes them with the most delicious food
from the banquet table of God. She gives them the Son she has
borne, the Bread of Life, to be their food. "Dear children,"
she says in the words of divine Wisdom, "take your fill of my
fruits," that is to say, of the Fruit of Life, Jesus, "whom I
brought into the world for you." "Come," she repeats in
another passage, "eat the bread which is Jesus. Drink the wine
of his love which I have mixed" for you with the milk of my
As Mary is the treasurer and dispenser of the gifts and
graces of the Most High God, she reserves a choice portion,
indeed the choicest portion, to nourish and sustain her
children and servants. They grow strong on the Bread of Life;
they are made joyful with the wine that brings forth virgins.
They are carried at her breast. They bear with ease the yoke
of Christ scarcely feeling its weight because of the oil of
devotion with which she has softened its wood.

3. She leads and guides them

209. A third service which our Lady renders her faithful
servants is to lead and direct them according to the will of
her Son. Rebecca guided her little son Jacob and gave him good
advice from time to time, which helped him obtain the blessing
of his father and saved him from the hatred and persecution of
his brother Esau. Mary, Star of the sea, guides all her
faithful servants into safe harbour. She shows them the path
to eternal life and helps them avoid dangerous pitfalls. She
leads them by the hand along the path of holiness, steadies
them when they are liable to fall and helps them rise when
they have fallen. She chides them like a loving mother when
they are remiss and sometimes she even lovingly chastises
them. How could a child that follows such a mother and such an
enlightened guide as Mary take the wrong path to heaven?
Follow her and you cannot go wrong, says St. Bernard. There is
no danger of a true child of Mary being led astray by the
devil and falling into heresy. Where Mary leads, Satan with
his deceptions and heretics with their subtleties are not
encountered. "When she upholds you, you will not fall."

4. She defends and protects them

210. The fourth good office our Lady performs for her children
and faithful servants is to defend and protect them against
their enemies. By her care and ingenuity Rebecca delivered
Jacob from all dangers that beset him and particularly from
dying at the hands of his brother, as he apparently would have
done, since Esau hated and envied him just as Cain hated his
brother Abel.
Mary, the beloved Mother of chosen souls, shelters them
under her protecting wings as a hen does her chicks. She
speaks to them, coming down to their level and accommodating
herself to all their weaknesses. To ensure their safety from
the hawk and vulture, she becomes their escort, surrounding
them as an army in battle array. Could anyone surrounded by a
well-ordered army of say a hundred thousand men fear his
enemies? No, and still less would a faithful servant of Mary,
protected on all sides by her imperial forces, fear his enemy.
This powerful Queen of heaven would sooner despatch millions
of angels to help one of her servants than have it said that a
single faithful and trusting servant of hers had fallen victim
to the malice, number and power of his enemies.

5. She intercedes for them

211. Finally, the fifth and greatest service which this loving
Mother renders her faithful followers is to intercede for them
with her Son. She appeases him with her prayers, brings her
servants into closer union with him and maintains that union.
Rebecca made Jacob approach the bed of his father. His
father touched him, embraced him and even joyfully kissed him
after having satisfied his hunger with the well-prepared
dishes which Jacob had brought him. Then inhaling most
joyfully the exquisite perfume of his garments, he cried:
"Behold the fragrance of my son is as the fragrance of a field
of plenty which the Lord has blessed." The fragrance of this
rich field which so captivated the heart of the father, is
none other than the fragrance of the merits and virtues of
Mary who is the plentiful field of grace in which God the
Father has sown the grain of wheat of the elect, his only Son.
How welcome to Jesus Christ, the Father of the world to
come, is a child perfumed with the fragrance of Mary! How
readily and how intimately does he unite himself to that
child! But this we have already shown at length.

212. Furthermore, once Mary has heaped her favours upon her
children and her faithful servants and has secured for them
the blessing of the heavenly Father and union with Jesus
Christ, she keeps them in Jesus and keeps Jesus in them. She
guards them, watching over them unceasingly, lest they lose
the grace of God and fall into the snares of their enemies.
"She keeps the saints in their fullness" (St. Bonaventure),
and inspires them to persevere to the end, as we have already
Such is the explanation given to this ancient allegory
which typifies the mystery of predestination and reprobation.


213. My dear friend, be sure that if you remain faithful to
the interior and exterior practices of this devotion which I
will point out, the following effects will be produced in your

1. Knowledge of our unworthiness

By the light which the Holy Spirit will give you through
Mary, his faithful spouse, you will perceive the evil
inclinations of your fallen nature and how incapable you are
of any good apart from that which God produces in you as
Author of nature and of grace. As a consequence of this
knowledge you will despise yourself and think of yourself only
as an object of repugnance. You will consider yourself as a
snail that soils everything with its slime, as a toad that
poisons everything with its venom, as a malevolent serpent
seeking only to deceive. Finally, the humble Virgin Mary will
share her humility with you so that, although you regard
yourself with distaste and desire to be disregarded by others,
you will not look down slightingly upon anyone.

2. A share in Mary's faith

214. Mary will share her faith with you. Her faith on earth
was stronger than that of all the patriarchs, prophets,
apostles and saints. Now that she is reigning in heaven she no
longer has this faith, since she sees everything clearly in
God by the light of glory. However, with the consent of
almighty God she did not lose it when entering heaven. She has
preserved it for her faithful servants in the Church militant.
Therefore the more you gain the friendship of this noble Queen
and faithful Virgin the more you will be inspired by faith in
your daily life. It will cause you to depend less upon
sensible and extraordinary feelings. For it is a lively faith
animated by love enabling you to do everything from no other
motive than that of pure love. It is a firm faith, unshakable
as a rock, prompting you to remain firm and steadfast in the
midst of storms and tempests. It is an active and probing
faith which like some mysterious pass-key admits you into the
mysteries of Jesus Christ and of man's final destiny and into
the very heart of God himself. It is a courageous faith which
inspires you to undertake and carry out without hesitation
great things for God and the salvation of souls. Lastly, this
faith will be your flaming torch, your very life with God,
your secret fund of divine Wisdom, and an all-powerful weapon
for you to enlighten those who sit in darkness and the shadow
of death. It inflames those who are lukewarm and need the gold
of fervent love. It restores life to those who are dead
through sin. It moves and transforms hearts of marble and
cedars of Lebanon by gentle and convincing argument. Finally,
this faith will strengthen you to resist the devil and the
other enemies of salvation.

3. The gift of pure love

215. The Mother of fair love will rid your heart of all
scruples and inordinate servile fear. She will open and
enlarge it to obey the commandments of her Son with alacrity
and with the holy freedom of the children of God. She will
fill your heart with pure love of which she is the treasury.
You will then cease to act as you did before, out of fear of
the God who is love, but rather out of pure love. You will
look upon him as a loving Father and endeavour to please him
at all times. You will speak trustfully to him as a child does
to its father. If you should have the misfortune to offend him
you will abase yourself before him and humbly beg his pardon.
You will offer your hand to him with simplicity and lovingly
rise from your sin. Then, peaceful and relaxed and buoyed up
with hope you will continue on your way to him.

4. Great confidence in God and in Mary

216. Our Blessed Lady will fill you with unbounded confidence
in God and in herself:
1) Because you will no longer approach Jesus by yourself
but always through Mary, your loving Mother.
2) Since you have given her all your merits, graces and
satisfactions to dispose of as she pleases, she imparts to you
her own virtues and clothes you in her own merits. So you will
be able to say confidently to God: "Behold Mary, your
handmaid, be it done unto me according to your word."
3) Since you have now given yourself completely to Mary,
body and soul, she, who is generous to the generous, and more
generous than even the kindest benefactor, will in return give
herself to you in a marvellous but real manner. Indeed you may
without hesitation say to her, "I am yours, O Blessed Virgin,
obtain salvation for me," or with the beloved disciple, St.
John, "I have taken you, Blessed Mother, for my all." Or again
you may say with St. Bonaventure, "Dear Mother of saving
grace, I will do everything with confidence and without fear
because you are my strength and my boast in the Lord," or in
another place, "I am all yours and all that I have is yours, O
glorious Virgin, blessed above all created things. Let me
place you as a seal upon my heart, for your love is as strong
as death." Or adopting the sentiments of the prophet, "Lord,
my heart has no reason to be exalted nor should my looks be
proud; I have not sought things of great moment nor wonders
beyond my reach; nevertheless, I am still not humble. But I
have roused my soul and taken courage. I am as a child, weaned
from earthly pleasures and resting on its mother's breast. It
is upon this breast that all good things come to me."
4) What will still further increase your confidence in
her is that, after having given her in trust all that you
possess to use or keep as she pleases, you will place less
trust in yourself and much more in her whom you have made your
treasury. How comforting and how consoling when a person can
say, "The treasury of God, where he has placed all that he
holds most precious, is also my treasury." "She is," says a
saintly man, "the treasury of the Lord."

5. Communication of the spirit of Mary

217. The soul of Mary will be communicated to you to glorify
the Lord. Her spirit will take the place of yours to rejoice
in God, her Saviour, but only if you are faithful to the
practices of this devotion. As St. Ambrose says, "May the soul
of Mary be in each one of us to glorify the Lord! May the
spirit of Mary be in each one of us to rejoice in God!" "When
will that happy day come," asks a saintly man of our own day
whose life was completely wrapped up in Mary, "when God's
Mother is enthroned in men's hearts as Queen, subjecting them
to the dominion of her great and princely Son? When will souls
breathe Mary as the body breathes air?" When that time comes
wonderful things will happen on earth. The Holy Spirit,
finding his dear Spouse present again in souls, will come down
into them with great power. He will fill them with his gifts,
especially wisdom, by which they will produce wonders of
grace. My dear friend, when will that happy time come, that
age of Mary, when many souls, chosen by Mary and given her by
the most High God, will hide themselves completely in the
depths of her soul, becoming living copies of her, loving and
glorifying Jesus? That day will dawn only when the devotion I
teach is understood and put into practice. Ut adveniat regnum
tuum, adveniat regnum Mariae: "Lord, that your kingdom may
come, may the reign of Mary come!"

6. Transformation into the likeness of Jesus

218. If Mary, the Tree of Life, is well cultivated in our soul
by fidelity to this devotion, she will in due time bring forth
her fruit which is none other than Jesus. I have seen many
devout souls searching for Jesus in one way or another, and so
often when they have worked hard throughout the night, all
they can say is, "Despite our having worked all night, we have
caught nothing." To them we can say, "You have worked hard and
gained little; Jesus can only be recognised faintly in you."
But if we follow the immaculate path of Mary, living the
devotion that I teach, we will always work in daylight, we
will work in a holy place, and we will work but little. There
is no darkness in Mary, not even the slightest shadow since
there was never any sin in her. She is a holy place, a holy of
holies, in which saints are formed and moulded.

219. Please note that I say that saints are moulded in Mary.
There is a vast difference between carving a statue by blows
of hammer and chisel and making a statue by using a mould.
Sculptors and statue-makers work hard and need plenty of time
to make statues by the first method. But the second method
does not involve much work and takes very little time. St.
Augustine speaking to our Blessed Lady says, "You are worthy
to be called the mould of God." Mary is a mould capable of
forming people into the image of the God-man. Anyone who is
cast into this divine mould is quickly shaped and moulded into
Jesus and Jesus into him. At little cost and in a short time
he will become Christ-like since he is cast into the very same
mould that fashioned a God-man.

220. I think I can very well compare some spiritual directors
and devout persons to sculptors who wish to produce Jesus in
themselves and in others by methods other than this. Many of
them rely on their own skill, ingenuity and art and chip away
endlessly with mallet and chisel at hard stone or badly-
prepared wood, in an effort to produce a likeness of our Lord.
At times, they do not manage to produce a recognisable
likeness either because they lack knowledge and experience of
the person of Jesus or because a clumsy stroke has spoiled the
whole work. But those who accept this little-known secret of
grace which I offer them can rightly be compared to smelters
and moulders who have discovered the beautiful mould of Mary
where Jesus was so divinely and so naturally formed. They do
not rely on their own skill but on the perfection of the
mould. They cast and lose themselves in Mary where they become
true models of her Son.

221. You may think this a beautiful and convincing comparison.
But how many understand it? I would like you, my dear friend,
to understand it. But remember that only molten and liquefied
substances may be poured into a mould. That means that you
must crush and melt down the old Adam in you if you wish to
acquire the likeness of the new Adam in Mary.

7. The greater glory of Christ

222. If you live this devotion sincerely, you will give more
glory to Jesus in a month than in many years of a more
demanding devotion. Here are my reasons for saying this:
1) Since you do everything through the Blessed Virgin as
required by this devotion, you naturally lay aside your own
intentions no matter how good they appear to you. You abandon
yourself to our Lady's intentions even though you do not know
what they are. Thus you share in the high quality of her
intentions, which are so pure that she gave more glory to God
by the smallest of her actions, say, twirling her distaff, or
making a stitch, than did St. Laurence suffering his cruel
martyrdom on the grid-iron, and even more than all the saints
together in all their most heroic deeds! Mary amassed such a
multitude of merits and graces during her sojourn on earth
that it would be easier to count the stars in heaven, the
drops of water in the ocean or the sands of the sea-shore than
count her merits and graces. She thus gave more glory to God
than all the angels and saints have given or will ever give
him. Mary, wonder of God, when souls abandon themselves to
you, you cannot but work wonders in them!

223. 2) In this devotion we set no store on our own thoughts
and actions but are content to rely on Mary's dispositions
when approaching and even speaking to Jesus. We then act with
far greater humility than others who imperceptibly rely on
their own dispositions and are self-satisfied about them; and
consequently we give greater glory to God, for perfect glory
is given to him only by the lowly and humble of heart.

224. 3) Our Blessed Lady, in her immense love for us, is eager
to receive into her virginal hands the gift of our actions,
imparting to them a marvellous beauty and splendour, and
presenting them herself to Jesus most willingly. More glory is
given to our Lord in this way than when we make our offering
with our own guilty hands.

225. 4) Lastly, you never think of Mary without Mary thinking
of God for you. You never praise or honour Mary without Mary
joining you in praising and honouring God. Mary is entirely
relative to God. Indeed I would say that she was relative only
to God, because she exists uniquely in reference to him.
She is an echo of God, speaking and repeating only God.
If you say "Mary" she says "God". When St. Elizabeth praised
Mary calling her blessed because she had believed, Mary, the
faithful echo of God, responded with her canticle, "My soul
glorifies the Lord." What Mary did on that day, she does every
day. When we praise her, when we love and honour her, when we
present anything to her, then God is praised, honoured and
loved and receives our gift through Mary and in Mary.


1. Exterior Practices

226. Although this devotion is essentially an interior one,
this does not prevent it from having exterior practices which
should not be neglected. "These must be done but those not
omitted." If properly performed, exterior acts help to foster
interior ones. Man is always guided by his senses and such
practices remind him of what he has done or should do. Let no
worldling or critic intervene to assert that true devotion is
essentially in the heart and therefore externals should be
avoided as inspiring vanity, or that real devotion should be
hidden and private. I answer in the words of our Lord, "Let
men see your good works that they may glorify your Father who
is in heaven." As St. Gregory says, this does not mean that
they should perform external actions to please men or seek
praise; that certainly would be vanity. It simply means that
we do these things before men only to please and glorify God
without worrying about either the contempt or the approval of
I shall briefly mention some practices which I call
exterior, not because they are performed without inner
attention but because they have an exterior element as
distinct from those which are purely interior.

1. Preparation and Consecration

227. Those who desire to take up this special devotion, (which
has not been erected into a confraternity, although this would
be desirable), should spend at least twelve days in emptying
themselves of the spirit of the world, which is opposed to the
spirit of Jesus, as I have recommended in the first part of
this preparation for the reign of Jesus Christ. They should
then spend three weeks imbuing themselves with the spirit of
Jesus through the most Blessed Virgin. Here is a programme
they might follow:

228. During the first week they should offer up all their
prayers and acts of devotion to acquire knowledge of
themselves and sorrow for their sins.
Let them perform all their actions in a spirit of
humility. With this end in view they may, if they wish,
meditate on what I have said concerning our corrupted nature,
and consider themselves during six days of the week as nothing
but sails, slugs, toads, swine, snakes and goats. Or else they
may meditate on the following three considerations of St.
Bernard: "Remember what you were - corrupted seed; what you
are - a body destined for decay; what you will be -food for
They will ask our Lord and the Holy Spirit to enlighten
them saying, "Lord, that I may see," or "Lord, let me know
myself," or the "Come, Holy Spirit". Every day they should say
the Litany of the Holy Spirit, with the prayer that follows,
as indicated in the first part of this work. They will turn to
our Blessed Lady and beg her to obtain for them that great
grace which is the foundation of all others, the grace of
self-knowledge. For this intention they will say each day the
Ave Maris Stella and the Litany of the Blessed Virgin.

229. Each day of the second week they should endeavour in all
their prayers and works to acquire an understanding of the
Blessed Virgin and ask the Holy Spirit for this grace. They
may read and meditate upon what we have already said about
her. They should recite daily the Litany of the Holy Spirit
and the Ave Maris Stella as during the first week. In
addition they will say at least five decades of the Rosary for
greater understanding of Mary.

230. During the third week they should seek to understand
Jesus Christ better. They may read and meditate on what we
have already said about him. They may say the prayer of St.
Augustine which they will find at the beginning of the second
part of this book. Again with St. Augustine, they may pray
repeatedly, "Lord, that I may know you," or "Lord, that I may
see." As during the previous week, they should recite the
Litany of the Holy Spirit and the Ave Maris Stella, adding
every day the Litany of the Holy Name of Jesus.

231. At the end of these three weeks they should go to
confession and Holy Communion with the intention of
consecrating themselves to Jesus through Mary as slaves of
love. When receiving Holy Communion they could follow the
method given later on. They then recite the act of
consecration which is given at the end of this book. If they
do not have a printed copy of the act, they should write it
out or have it copied and then sign it on the very day they
make it.

232. It would be very becoming if on that day they offered
some tribute to Jesus and his Mother, either as a penance for
past unfaithfulness to the promises made in baptism or as a
sign of their submission to the sovereignty of Jesus and Mary.
Such a tribute would be in accordance with each one's ability
and fervour and may take the form of fasting, an act of self-
denial, the gift of an alms or the offering of a votive
candle. If they gave only a pin as a token of their homage,
provided it were given with a good heart, it would satisfy
Jesus who considers only the good intention.

233. Every year at least, on the same date, they should renew
the consecration following the same exercises for three weeks.
They might also renew it every month or even every day by
saying this short prayer: "I am all yours and all I have is
yours, O dear Jesus, through Mary, your holy Mother."

2. The Little Crown of the Blessed Virgin

234. If it is not too inconvenient, they should recite every
day of their lives the Little Crown of the Blessed Virgin,
which is composed of three Our Fathers and twelve Hail Marys
in honour of the twelve glorious privileges of Mary. This
prayer is very old and is based on Holy Scripture. St. John
saw in a vision a woman crowned with twelve stars, clothed
with the sun and standing upon the moon. According to biblical
commentators, this woman is the Blessed Virgin.

235. There are several ways of saying the Little Crown but it
would take too long to explain them here. The Holy Spirit will
teach them to those who live this devotion conscientiously.
However, here is a simple way to recite it. As an introduction
say:" Virgin most holy, accept my praise; give me strength to
fight your foes", then say the Creed. Next, say the following
sequence of prayers three times: one Our Father, four Hail
Marys and one Glory be to the Father. In conclusion say the
prayer Sub tuum - "We fly to thy patronage".

3. The Wearing of Little Chains

236. It is very praiseworthy and helpful for those who have
become slaves of Jesus in Mary to wear, in token of their
slavery of love, a little chain blessed with a special
It is perfectly true, these external tokens are not
essential and may very well be dispensed with by those who
have made this consecration. Nevertheless, I cannot help but
give the warmest approval to those who wear them. They show
they have shaken off the shameful chains of the slavery of the
devil, in which original sin and perhaps actual sin had bound
them, and have willingly taken upon themselves the glorious
slavery of Jesus Christ. Like St. Paul, they glory in the
chains they wear for Christ. For though these chains are made
only of iron they are far more glorious and precious than all
the gold ornaments worn by monarchs.

237. At one time, nothing was considered more contemptible
than the Cross. Now this sacred wood has become the most
glorious symbol of the Christian faith. Similarly, nothing was
more ignoble in the sight of the ancients, and even today
nothing is more degrading among unbelievers than the chains of
Jesus Christ. But among Christians nothing is more glorious
than these chains, because by them Christians are liberated
and kept free from the ignoble shackles of sin and the devil.
Thus set free, we are bound to Jesus and Mary not by
compulsion and force like galley-slaves, but by charity and
love as children are to their parents. "I shall draw them to
me by chains of love" said God Most High speaking through the
prophet. Consequently, these chains are as strong as death,
and in a way stronger than death, for those who wear them
faithfully till the end of their life. For though death
destroys and corrupts their body, it will not destroy the
chains of their slavery, since these, being of metal, will not
easily corrupt. It may be that on the day of their
resurrection, that momentous day of final judgement, these
chains, still clinging to their bones, will contribute to
their glorification and be transformed into chains of light
and splendour. Happy then, a thousand times happy, are the
illustrious slaves of Jesus in Mary who bear their chains even
to the grave.

238. Here are the reasons for wearing these chains:
a) They remind a Christian of the promises of his baptism
and the perfect renewal of these commitments made in his
consecration. They remind him of his strict obligation to
adhere faithfully to them. A man's actions are prompted more
frequently by his senses than by pure faith and so he can
easily forget his duties towards God if he has no external
reminder of them. These little chains are a wonderful aid in
recalling the bonds of sin and the slavery of the devil from
which baptism has freed him. At the same time, they remind him
of the dependence on Jesus promised at baptism and ratified
when by consecration he renewed these promises. Why is it that
so many Christians do not think of their baptismal vows and
behave with as much licence as unbelievers who have promised
nothing to God? One explanation is that they do not wear
external sign to remind them of these vows.

239. b) These chains prove they are not ashamed of being the
servants and slaves of Jesus and that they reject the deadly
bondage of the world, of sin and of the devil.
c) They are a guarantee and protection against
enslavement by sin and the devil. For we must of necessity
choose to wear either the chains of sin and damnation or the
chains of love and salvation.

240. Dear friend, break the chains of sin and of sinners, of
the world and the worldly, of the devil and his satellites.
"Cast their yoke of death far from us." To use the words of
the Holy Spirit, let us put our feet into his glorious
shackles and our neck into his chains. Let us bow down our
shoulders in submission to the yoke of Wisdom incarnate, Jesus
Christ, and let us not be upset by the burden of his chains.
Notice how before saying these words the Holy Spirit prepares
us to accept his serious advice, "Hearken, my son," he says,
"receive a counsel of understanding and do not spurn this
counsel of mine."

241. Allow me here, my dear friend, to join the Holy Spirit in
giving you the same counsel, "These chains are the chains of
salvation". As our Lord on the cross draws all men to himself,
whether they will it or not, he will draw sinners by the
fetters of their sins and submit them like galley-slaves and
devils to his eternal anger and avenging justice. But he will
draw the just, especially in these latter days, by the chains
of love.

242. These loving slaves of Christ may wear their chains
around the neck, on their arms, round the waist or round the
ankles. Fr. Vincent Caraffa, seventh General of the Society of
Jesus, who died a holy death in 1643, carried an iron band
round his ankles as a symbol of his holy servitude and he used
to say that his greatest regret was that he could not drag a
chain around in public. Mother Agnes of Jesus, of whom we have
already spoken, wore a chain around her waist. Others have
worn it round the neck, in atonement for the pearl necklaces
they wore in the world. Others have worn chains round their
arms to remind them, as they worked with their hands, that
they are the slaves of Jesus.

4. Honouring the mystery of the Incarnation

243. Loving slaves of Jesus in Mary should hold in high esteem
devotion to Jesus, the Word of God, in the great mystery of
the Incarnation, March 25th, which is the mystery proper to
this devotion, because it was inspired by the Holy Spirit for
the following reasons:
a) That we might honour and imitate the wondrous
dependence which God the Son chose to have on Mary, for the
glory of his Father and for the redemption of man. This
dependence is revealed especially in this mystery where Jesus
becomes a captive and slave in the womb of his Blessed Mother,
depending on her for everything.
b) That we might thank God for the incomparable graces he
has conferred upon Mary and especially that of choosing her to
be his most worthy Mother. This choice was made in the mystery
of the Incarnation. These are the two principal ends of the
slavery of Jesus in Mary.

244. Please note that I usually say "slave of Jesus in Mary",
"slavery of Jesus in Mary". We might indeed say, as some have
already been saying, "slave of Mary", "slavery of Mary". But I
think it preferable to say, "slave of Jesus in Mary". This is
the opinion of Fr. Tronson, Superior General of the Seminary
of Saint-Sulpice, a man renowned for his exceptional prudence
and remarkable holiness. He gave this advice when consulted
upon this subject by a priest.
Here are the reasons for it:

245. a) Since we live in an age of pride when a great number
of haughty scholars, with proud and critical minds, find fault
even with long-established and sound devotions, it is better
to speak of "slavery of Jesus in Mary" and to call oneself
"slave of Jesus" rather than "slave of Mary". We then avoid
giving any pretext for criticism. In this way, we name this
devotion after its ultimate end which is Jesus, rather than
after the way and the means to arrive there, which is Mary.
However, we can very well use either term without any scruple,
as I myself do. If a man goes from OrlÇans to Tours, by way of
Amboise, he can quite truthfully say that he is going to
Amboise and equally truthfully say that he is going to Tours.
The only difference is that Amboise is simply a place on the
direct road to Tours, and Tours alone is his final

246. b) Since the principal mystery celebrated and honoured in
this devotion is the mystery of the Incarnation where we find
Jesus only in Mary, having become incarnate in her womb, it is
appropriate for us to say, "slavery of Jesus in Mary", of
Jesus dwelling enthroned in Mary, according to the beautiful
prayer, recited by so many great souls, "O Jesus living in

247. c) These expressions show more clearly the intimate union
existing between Jesus and Mary. So closely are they united
that one is wholly the other. Jesus is all in Mary and Mary is
all in Jesus. Or rather, it is no longer she who lives, but
Jesus alone who lives in her. It would be easier to separate
light from the sun than Mary from Jesus. So united are they
that our Lord may be called, "Jesus of Mary", and his Mother
"Mary of Jesus".

248. Time does not permit me to linger here and elaborate on
the perfections and wonders of the mystery of Jesus living and
reigning in Mary, or the Incarnation of the Word. I shall
confine myself to the following brief remarks. The Incarnation
is the first mystery of Jesus Christ; it is the most hidden;
and it is the most exalted and the least known.
It was in this mystery that Jesus, in the womb of Mary
and with her co-operation, chose all the elect. For this
reason the saints called her womb, the throne-room of God's
It was in this mystery that Jesus anticipated all
subsequent mysteries of his life by his willing acceptance of
them. Consequently, this mystery is a summary of all his
mysteries since it contains the intention and the grace of
them all.
Lastly, this mystery is the seat of the mercy, the
liberality, and the glory of God. It is the seat of his mercy
for us, since we can approach and speak to Jesus through Mary.
We need her intervention to see or speak to him. Here, ever
responsive to the prayer of his Mother, Jesus unfailingly
grants grace and mercy to all poor sinners. "Let us come
boldly before the throne of grace."
It is the seat of liberality for Mary, because while the
new Adam dwelt in this truly earthly paradise God performed
there so many hidden marvels beyond the understanding of men
and angels. For this reason, the saints call Mary "the
magnificence of God", as if God showed his magnificence only
in Mary.
It is the seat of glory for his Father, because it was in
Mary that Jesus perfectly atoned to his Father on behalf of
mankind. It was here that he perfectly restored the glory that
sin had taken from his Father. It was here again that our
Lord, by the sacrifice of himself and of his will, gave more
glory to God than he would have given had he offered all the
sacrifices of the Old Law. Finally, in Mary he gave his Father
infinite glory, such as his Father had never received from

5. Saying the Hail Mary and the Rosary

249. Those who accept this devotion should have a great love
for the Hail Mary, or, as it is called, the Angelic
Few Christians, however enlightened, understand the
value, merit, excellence and necessity of the Hail Mary. Our
Blessed Lady herself had to appear on several occasions to men
of great holiness and insight, such as St. Dominic, St. John
Capistran and Blessed Alan de Rupe, to convince them of the
richness of this prayer.
They composed whole books on the wonders it had worked
and its efficacy in converting sinners. They earnestly
proclaimed and publicly preached that just as the salvation of
the world began with the Hail Mary, so the salvation of each
individual is bound up with it. This prayer, they said,
brought to a dry and barren world the Fruit of Life, and if
well said, will cause the Word of God to take root in the soul
and bring forth Jesus, the Fruit of Life. They also tell us
that the Hail Mary is a heavenly dew which waters the earth of
our soul and makes it bear fruit in due season. The soul which
is not watered by this heavenly dew bears no fruit but only
thorns and briars, and merits only God's condemnation.

250. Here is what our Blessed Lady revealed to Blessed Alan de
Rupe as recorded in his book, The Dignity of the Rosary, and
as told again by Cartagena: "Know, my son, and make it known
to all, that lukewarmness or negligence in saying the Hail
Mary, or a distaste for it, is a probable and proximate sign
of eternal damnation, for by this prayer the whole world was
These are terrible words but at the same time they are
consoling. We should find it hard to believe them, were we not
assured of their truth by Blessed Alan and by St. Dominic
before him, and by so many great men since his time. The
experience of many centuries is there to prove it, for it has
always been common knowledge that those who bear the sign of
reprobation, as all formal heretics, evil-doers, the proud and
the worldly, hate and spurn the Hail Mary and the Rosary.
True, heretics learn to say the Our Father but they will not
countenance the Hail Mary and the Rosary and they would rather
carry a snake around with them than a rosary. And there are
even Catholics who, sharing the proud tendencies of their
father Lucifer, despise the Hail Mary or look upon it with
indifference. The Rosary, they say, is a devotion suitable
only for ignorant and illiterate people.
On the other hand, we know from experience that those who
show positive signs of being among the elect, appreciate and
love the Hail Mary and are always glad to say it. The closer
they are to God, the more they love this prayer, as our
Blessed Lady went on to tell Blessed Alan.

251. I do not know how this should be, but it is perfectly
true; and I know no surer way of discovering whether a person
belongs to God than by finding out if he loves the Hail Mary
and the Rosary. I say, "if he loves", for it can happen that a
person for some reason may be unable to say the Rosary, but
this does not prevent him from loving it and inspiring others
to say it.

252. Chosen souls, slaves of Jesus in Mary, understand that
after the Our Father, the Hail Mary is the most beautiful of
all prayers. It is the perfect compliment the most High God
paid to Mary through his archangel in order to win her heart.
So powerful was the effect of this greeting upon her, on
account of its hidden delights, that despite her great
humility, she gave her consent to the incarnation of the Word.
If you say the Hail Mary properly, this compliment will
infallibly earn you Mary's good will.

253. When the Hail Mary is well said, that is, with attention,
devotion and humility, it is, according to the saints, the
enemy of Satan, putting him to flight; it is the hammer that
crushes him, a source of holiness for souls, a joy to the
angels and a sweet melody for the devout. It is the Canticle
of the New Testament, a delight for Mary and glory for the
most Blessed Trinity. The Hail Mary is dew falling from heaven
to make the soul fruitful. It is a pure kiss of love we give
to Mary. It is a crimson rose, a precious pearl that we offer
to her. It is a cup of ambrosia, a divine nectar that we offer
her. These are comparisons made by the saints.

254. I earnestly beg of you, then, by the love I bear you in
Jesus and Mary, not to be content with saying the Little Crown
of the Blessed Virgin, but say the Rosary too, and if time
permits, all its fifteen decades, every day. Then when death
draws near, you will bless the day and hour when you took to
heart what I told you, for having sown the blessings of Jesus
and Mary, you will reap the eternal blessings in heaven.

6. Praying the Magnificat

255. To thank God for the graces he has given to our Lady, her
consecrated ones will frequently say the Magnificat, following
the example of Blessed Marie d'Oignies and several other
saints. The Magnificat is the only prayer we have which was
composed by our Lady, or rather, composed by Jesus in her, for
it was he who spoke through her lips. It is the greatest
offering of praise that God ever received under the law of
grace. On the one hand, it is the most humble hymn of
thanksgiving and, on the other, it is the most sublime and
exalted. Contained in it are mysteries so great and so hidden
that even the angels do not understand them.
Gerson, a pious and learned scholar, spent the greater
part of his life writing tracts full of erudition and love on
the most profound subjects. Even so, it was with apprehension
that he undertook towards the end of his life to write a
commentary on the Magnificat which was the crowning point of
all his works. In a large volume on the subject he says many
wonderful things about this beautiful and divine canticle.
Among other things he tells us that Mary herself frequently
recited it, especially at thanksgiving after Holy Communion.
The learned Benzonius, in his commentary on the Magnificat,
cites several miracles worked through the power of this
prayer. The devils, he declare, take to flight when they hear
these words, "He puts forth his arm in strength and scatters
the proud-hearted".

7. Contempt of the world

256. Mary's faithful servants despise this corrupted world.
They should hate and shun its allurements, and follow the
exercises of the contempt of the world which we have given in
the first part of this treatise.

2. Special interior practices for those
who wish to be perfect

257. The exterior practices of this devotion which I have just
dealt with should be observed as far as one's circumstances
and state of life permit. They should not be omitted through
negligence or deliberate disregard. In addition to them, here
are some very sanctifying interior practices for those souls
who feel called by the Holy Spirit to a high degree of
perfection. They may be expressed in four words, doing
everything through Mary, with Mary, in Mary, and for Mary, in
order to do it more perfectly through Jesus, with Jesus, in
Jesus, and for Jesus.

Through Mary

258. We must do everything through Mary, that is, we must obey
her always and be led in all things by her spirit, which is
the Holy Spirit of God. "Those who are led by the Spirit of
God are children of God," says St. Paul. Those who are led by
the spirit of Mary are children of Mary, and, consequently
children of God, as we have already shown. Among the many
servants of Mary only those who are truly and faithfully
devoted to her are led by her spirit.
I have said that the spirit of Mary is the spirit of God
because she was never led by her own spirit,, but always by
the spirit of God, who made himself master of her to such an
extent that he became her very spirit. That is why St. Ambrose
says, "May the soul of Mary be in each one of us to glorify
the Lord. May the spirit of Mary be in each one of us to
rejoice in God." Happy is the man who follows the example of
the good Jesuit Brother Rodriguez, who died a holy death,
because he will be completely possessed and governed by the
spirit of Mary, a spirit which is gentle yet strong, zealous
yet prudent, humble yet courageous, pure yet fruitful.

259. The person who wishes to be led by this spirit of Mary:
1) Should renounce his own spirit, his own views and his
own will before doing anything, for example, before making
meditation, celebrating or attending Mass, before Communion.
For the darkness of our own spirit and the evil tendencies of
our own will and actions, good as they may seem to us, would
hinder the holy spirit of Mary were we to follow them.
2) We should give ourselves up to the spirit of Mary to
be moved and directed as she wishes. We should place and leave
ourselves in her virginal hands, like a tool in the hands of a
craftsman or a lute in the hands of a good musician. We should
cast ourselves into her like a stone thrown into the sea. This
is done easily and quickly by a mere thought, a slight
movement of the will or just a few words as, "I renounce
myself and give myself to you, my dear Mother." And even if we
do not experience any emotional fervour in this spiritual
encounter it is none the less real. It is just as if a person
with equal sincerity were to say - which God forbid! - "I give
myself to the devil." Even though this were said without
feeling any emotion, he would no less really belong to the
3) From time to time during an action and after it, we
should renew this same act of offering and of union. The more
we do so, the quicker we shall grow in holiness and the sooner
we shall reach union with Christ, which necessarily follows
upon union with Mary, since the spirit of Mary is the spirit
of Jesus.

With Mary

260. We must do everything with Mary, that is to say, in all
our actions we must look upon Mary, although a simple human
being, as the perfect model of every virtue and perfection,
fashioned by the Holy Spirit for us to imitate, as far as our
limited capacity allows. In every action then we should
consider how Mary performed it or how she would perform it if
she were in our place. For this reason, we must examine and
meditate on the great virtues she practised during her life,
1) Her lively faith, by which she believed the angel's
word without the least hesitation, and believed faithfully and
constantly even to the foot of the Cross on Calvary.
2) Her deep humility, which made her prefer seclusion,
maintain silence, submit to every eventuality and put herself
in the last place.
3) Her truly divine purity, which never had and never
will have its equal on this side of heaven.
And so on for her other virtues.
Remember what I told you before, that Mary is the great,
unique mould of God, designed to make living images of God at
little expense and in a short time. Anyone who finds this
mould and casts himself into it, is soon transformed into our
Lord because it is the true likeness of him.

In Mary

261. We must do everything in Mary. To understand this we must
realise that the Blessed Virgin is the true earthly paradise
of the new Adam and that the ancient paradise was only a
symbol of her. There are in this earthly paradise untold
riches, beauties, rarities and delights, which the new Adam,
Jesus Christ, has left there. It is in this paradise that he
"took his delights" for nine months, worked his wonders and
displayed his riches with the magnificence of God himself.
This most holy place consists of only virgin and immaculate
soil from which the new Adam was formed with neither spot nor
stain by the operation of the Holy Spirit who dwells there. In
this earthly paradise grows the real Tree of Life which bore
our Lord, the fruit of Life, the tree of knowledge of good and
evil, which bore the Light of the world.
In this divine place there are trees planted by the hand
of God and watered by his divine unction which have borne and
continue to bear fruit that is pleasing to him. There are
flower-beds studded with a variety of beautiful flowers of
virtue, diffusing a fragrance which delights even the angels.
Here there are meadows verdant with hope, impregnable towers
of fortitude, enchanting mansions of confidence and many other
Only the Holy Spirit can teach us the truths that these
material objects symbolise. In this place the air is perfectly
pure. There is no night but only the brilliant day of the
sacred humanity, the resplendent, spotless sun of the
Divinity, the blazing furnace of love, melting all the base
metal thrown into it and changing it into gold. There the
river of humility gushes forth from the soil, divides into
four branches and irrigates the whole of this enchanted place.
These branches are the four cardinal virtues.

262. The Holy Spirit speaking through the Fathers of the
Church, also calls our Lady the Eastern Gate, through which
the High Priest, Jesus Christ, enters and goes out into the
world. Through this gate he entered the world the first time
and through this same gate he will come the second time.
The Holy Spirit also calls her the Sanctuary of the
Divinity, the Resting-Place of the Holy Spirit, the Throne of
God, the City of God, the Altar of God, the Temple of God, the
World of God. All these titles and expressions of praise are
very real when related to the different wonders the Almighty
worked in her and the graces which he bestowed on her. What
wealth and what glory! What a joy and a privilege for us to
enter and dwell in Mary, in whom almighty God has set up the
throne of his supreme glory!

263. But how difficult it is for us to have the freedom, the
ability and the light to enter such an exalted and holy place.
This place is guarded not by a cherub, like the first earthly
paradise, but by the Holy Spirit himself who has become its
absolute Master. Referring to her, he says: "You are an
enclosed garden, my sister, my bride, an enclosed garden and a
sealed fountain." Mary is enclosed. Mary is sealed. The
unfortunate children of Adam and Eve driven from the earthly
paradise, can enter this new paradise only by a special grace
of the Holy Spirit which they have to merit.

264. When we have obtained this remarkable grace by our
fidelity, we should be delighted to remain in Mary. We should
rest there peacefully, rely on her confidently, hide ourselves
there with safety, and abandon ourselves unconditionally to
her, so that within her virginal bosom:
1) We may be nourished with the milk of her grace and her
motherly compassion.
2) We may be delivered from all anxiety, fear and
3) We may be safeguarded from all our enemies, the devil,
the world and sin which have never gained admittance there.
That is why our Lady says that those who work in her will not
sin, that is, those who dwell spiritually in our Lady will
never commit serious sin.
4) We may be formed in our Lord and our Lord formed in
us, because her womb is, as the early Fathers call it, the
house of the divine secrets where Jesus and all the elect have
been conceived. "This one and that one were born in her."

For Mary

265. Finally, we must do everything for Mary. Since we have
given ourselves completely to her service, it is only right
that we should do everything for her as if we were her
personal servant and slave. This does not mean that we take
her for the ultimate end of our service for Jesus alone is our
ultimate end. But we take Mary for our proximate end, our
mysterious intermediary and the easiest way of reaching him.
Like every good servant and slave we must not remain
idle, but, relying on her protection, we should undertake and
carry out great things for our noble Queen. We must defend her
privileges when they are questioned and uphold her good name
when it is under attack. We must attract everyone, if
possible, to her service and to this true and sound devotion.
We must speak up and denounce those who distort devotion to
her by outraging her Son, and at the same time we must apply
ourselves to spreading this true devotion. As a reward for
these little services, we should expect nothing in return save
the honour of belonging to such a lovable Queen and the joy of
being united through her to Jesus, her Son, by a bond that is
indissoluble in time and in eternity. Glory to Jesus in Mary!
Glory to Mary in Jesus! Glory to God alone!



Before Holy Communion

266. 1) Place yourself humbly in the presence of God.
2) Renounce your corrupt nature and dispositions, no
matter how good self-love makes them appear to you.
3) Renew your consecration saying, "I belong entirely to
you, dear Mother, and all that I have is yours."
4) Implore Mary to lend you her heart so that you may
receive her Son with her dispositions. Remind her that her
Son's glory requires that he should not come into a heart so
sullied and fickle as your own, which could not fail to
diminish his glory and might cause him to leave. Tell her that
if she will take up her abode in you to receive her Son -
which she can do because of the sovereignty she has over all
hearts - he will be received by her in a perfect manner
without danger of being affronted or being forced to
depart."God is in the midst of her. She shall not be moved."
Tell her with confidence that all you have given her of
your possessions is little enough to honour her, but that in
Holy Communion you wish to give her the same gifts as the
eternal Father gave her. Thus she will feel more honoured than
if you gave her all the wealth in the world. Tell her,
finally, that Jesus, whose love for her is unique, still
wishes to take his delight and his repose in her even in your
soul, even though it is poorer and less clean than the stable
which he readily entered because she was there. Beg her to
lend you her heart, saying, "O Mary, I take you for my all;
give me your heart."

During Holy Communion

267. After the Our Father, when you are about to receive our
Lord, say to him three times the prayer, "Lord, I am not
worthy." Say it the first time as if you were telling the
eternal Father that because of your evil thoughts and your
ingratitude to such a good Father, you are unworthy to receive
his only-begotten Son, but that here is Mary, his handmaid,
who acts for you and whose presence gives you a special
confidence and hope in him.

268. Say to God the Son, "Lord, I am not worthy", meaning that
you are not worthy to receive him because of your useless and
evil words and your carelessness in his service, but
nevertheless you ask him to have pity on you because you are
going to usher him into the house of his Mother and yours, and
you will not let him go until he has made it his home. Implore
him to rise and come to the place of his repose and the ark of
his sanctification. Tell him that you have no faith in your
own merits, strength and preparedness, like Esau, but only in
Mary, your Mother, just as Jacob had trust in Rebecca his
mother. Tell him that although you are a great sinner you
still presume to approach him, supported by his holy Mother
and adorned with her merits and virtues.

269. Say to the Holy Spirit, "Lord, I am not worthy". Tell him
that you are not worthy to receive the masterpiece of his love
because of your lukewarmness, wickedness and resistance to his
inspirations. But, nonetheless, you put all your confidence in
Mary, his faithful Spouse, and say with St. Bernard, "She is
my greatest safeguard, the whole foundation of my hope." Beg
him to overshadow Mary, his inseparable Spouse, once again.
Her womb is as pure and her heart as ardent as ever. Tell him
that if he does not enter your soul neither Jesus nor Mary
will be formed there nor will it be a worthy dwelling for

After Holy Communion

270. After Holy Communion, close your eyes and recollect
yourself. Then usher Jesus into the heart of Mary: you are
giving him to his Mother who will receive him with great love
and give him the place of honour, adore him profoundly, show
him perfect love, embrace him intimately in spirit and in
truth, and perform many offices for him of which we, in our
ignorance, would know nothing.

271. Or, maintain a profoundly humble heart in the presence of
Jesus dwelling in Mary. Or be in attendance like a slave at
the gate of the royal palace, where the King is speaking with
the Queen. While they are talking to each other, with no need
of you, go in spirit to heaven and to the whole world, and
call upon all creatures to thank, adore and love Jesus and
Mary for you. "Come, let us adore."

272. Or, ask Jesus living in Mary that his kingdom may come
upon earth through his holy Mother. Ask for divine Wisdom,
divine love, the forgiveness of your sins, or any other grace,
but always through Mary and in Mary. Cast a look of reproach
upon yourself and say, "Lord, do not look at my sins, let your
eyes see nothing in me but the virtues and merits of Mary."
Remembering your sins, you may add, "I am my own worst enemy
and I am guilty of all these sins." Or, "Deliver me from the
unjust and deceitful man." Or again, "Dear Jesus, you must
increase in my soul and I must decrease." "Mary, you must
increase in me and I must always go on decreasing." "O Jesus
and Mary, increase in me and increase in others around me."

273. There are innumerable other thoughts with which the Holy
Spirit will inspire you, which he will make yours if you are
thoroughly recollected and mortified, and constantly faithful
to the great and sublime devotion which I have been teaching
you. But remember, the more you let Mary act in your Communion
the more Jesus will be glorified. The more you humble yourself
and listen to Jesus and Mary in peace and silence - with no
desire to see, taste or feel - then the more freedom you will
give to Mary to act in Jesus' name and the more Jesus will act
in Mary. For the just man lives everywhere by faith, but
especially in Holy Communion, which is an action of faith.