Ninteenth Day: May 16, 2020
Treatise of True Devotion to the Virgin Mary [134-138]
REASONS FOR THIS DEVOTION
As we continue in this section on Perfect Devotion to Our Lady, St. Louis Marie de Montfort continues by explaining eight motives for the consecration. In order to meditatively consider each of these motives, we will consider them during the next week. We ponder these reasons since they show the excellence of the consecration to Jesus Christ through the hands of Mary. Today, we consider the first motive for this devotion.
First Motive: By it we give ourselves entirely to the service of God
St. Louis Marie affirms: “We can conceive no higher calling than that of being in the service of God.” By service of God, we understand the act of working for his greater glory and for the good of souls, in whatever state of life that God calls us. This is the ultimate and worthy goal of man, as Saint Ignatius of Loyola teaches in his Spiritual Exercises: “Man is created to praise, reverence and serve God our Lord, and by this means to save his soul.”  Therefore this devotion helps us to reach the ultimate goal of our entire life.
“Such is a faithful slave of Jesus’ love in Mary, totally dedicated to the service of the King of kings, by the hands of his Holy Mother, without keeping anything for himself. All the gold in the world and the beauties of the heavens could not recompense him for what he has done.”
St. Louis explains that there are many organizations, associations and very laudable movements in the Church that demand many specific obligations and commitments, leaving us free to dispose of the rest of our actions as well as our time. This devotion, on the other hand, demands of us a “selfless surrender, to 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, eating or drinking, performing important actions or the most ordinary, one can always say with truth that everything that is done—even if one does not think about it—for Jesus and Mary, by virtue of such an offering. How consoling this is!
Through this consecration we entrust to Mary not only all our external goods (health, material goods, family, friends, projects etc.) but also spiritual goods (the powers of the soul, progress in virtue, spiritual consolations etc.) including the merit value of all our actions. This consecration helps us to detach ourselves from the merit of our good deeds, placing them all in the hands of the Blessed Virgin:
“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!”
God does not allow himself to be outdone in generosity. He will receive our offering from the hands of the Virgin Mary and fill us with infinitely greater goods. As St. Bernard says, “Jesus, our dearest friend, gave himself to us without reserve, body and soul, with his virtues, graces and merits. He won me over entirely by giving himself entirely to me,” Does not simple justice as well as gratitude require that we give all we possibly can? He was generous with us first, so let us be generous to him in return. He will prove still more generous to us during life, at the hour of death, and throughout eternity. “He will be generous towards the generous.”
1) Place yourself in the presence of God.
2) Ask for the grace of a deep self-knowledge. “Lord, let me know myself.”
3) Read the text below and then spend a brief period of time reflecting on it.
Consideration of our own weakness. (From St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, Way of Salvation and Thomas à Kempis’s Imitation of Christ)
Oh Lord! What is man so that you remember him, the son of Adam so that you care for him? (Ps 8:4). Lord, I am nothing. Of myself, I have nothing good. On the contrary, there is failure in everything, always tending to nothingness. I am quicker to retreat than to advance.
I am utterly bowed down and prostrate (Ps 38:6). “In Your sight I am vanity and nothingness, a weak, unstable man. In what, therefore, can I glory, and how can I wish to be highly regarded? Is it because I am nothing? This, too, is utterly vain. Indeed, the greatest vanity is the evil plague of empty self-glory, because it draws one away from true glory and robs one of heavenly grace. For when a man is pleased with himself he displeases You, when he pants after human praise he is deprived of true virtue.” (Thomas à Kempis, Imitation of Christ, Fortieth Chapter).
Remember, brother, you are dust and to dust you shall return. Now you see, you listen, you speak and you walk. There will come a day when you will not see anymore, you will not feel, you will not speak, and you will not walk. When your soul separates from the body, the body will be left to be consumed by the worms and will return to dust. The soul will find itself in the eternity it deserved.
Ah, my Redeemer! You have given your life to gain Paradise for me. Seeing my littleness, you reach out to me with your help. You give me your own Mother. Lord, I love you, and I regret having offended you.
Mary, my hope. I am nothing, and I have nothing. I hope for everything from you. Have mercy on me. (St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, Way of Salvation)
Litany of the Holy Spirit
Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy
Christ have mercy, Christ have mercy
Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy
Christ hear us, Christ hear us
Christ graciously hear us, Christ graciously hear us.
God the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
(Repeat after each invocation: Have mercy on us)
Spirit who proceeds from the Father and the Son, have mercy on us.
Spirit of the Lord, who at the beginning of creation, breathed over the waters, made them fertile.
Spirit under whose inspiration God’s saints spoke.
Spirit whose unction teaches us everything.
Spirit who gives testimony of Jesus Christ.
Spirit of truth who inspires everything.
Spirit who descended upon Mary.
Spirit of the Lord who fills all the earth.
Spirit of God who dwells in us.
Spirit of wisdom and understanding.
Spirit of counsel and fortitude.
Spirit of knowledge and piety.
Spirit of fear of the Lord.
Spirit of grace and mercy.
Spirit of virtue, esteem and sobriety.
Spirit of faith, hope, love and peace.
Spirit of humility and chastity.
Spirit of goodness and meekness.
Spirit of all the forms of grace.
Spirit who scrutinizes the divine depths.
Spirit who prays for us with inexpressible pleading.
Spirit who descended upon Jesus in the form of a dove.
Spirit by whom we receive new birth.
Spirit who fills hearts with charity.
Spirit of adoption of the sons of God.
Spirit who appeared over the Disciples in the form of tongues of fire.
Spirit with which the Apostles were filled.
Spirit who gives to each one according to His will.
Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
May Jesus Christ reign through the Virgin Mary!
Religious Family of the Incarnate Word
Province of the Immaculate Conception, USA
Download the meditation in PDF here.