Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Day 9: God Alone - With, In and through Mary - 33 Days to Total Consecration

 "I am all yours, and all that I have is yours, O most loving Jesus, through Mary, your most holy Mother" 
(True Devotion, 233).
DAY 9 of 33: 
WEEK 2: Contemplate the Our Father as we take St. Maximilian Kolbe as our guide.
Resolve to pray a complete set of mysteries of the Rosary every day - as an act of love to God and in fulfillment of Mary's requests to us.
Start by contemplating the Joyful mysteries of the Rosary - see day 8 for instructions/ guidance on how to fit this into your day.
Also, pray and contemplate the 1st Luminous Mystery - the Baptism of our Lord.

In the video, we contemplate not only the Baptism of Jesus, but also how to LIVE fully our Baptisms, which is as an integral part of this Call to Consecration.
In it, we also look at St. Peter to find encouragement in his 
This week we are asked to ponder the Our Father Prayer and the Mystery of the Father who loves us so deeply. (I shared Psalm 139 and St. Patrick's Breastplate with those who came to the class last night to help us enter into this great love).
While contemplating this, it is providential that today we also are asked to consider the Baptism of Jesus, for  God reveals Himself as Father reveals there. In fact, this is the first time in Scripture we are made aware that God is Trinity - He is three persons in one God - 
Comprised of the Father - Who loves us so much that He sent His only Son and His Holy Spirit - not only to save us, but to fill our souls with His Divine Life (most especially at our Baptisms)! 
Furthermore, it is providential that we are considering the Baptism of Jesus at the same time we take St. Maximilian Kolbe as our guide to help us ponder Mary, who was made Immaculate at her conception. For, while the Holy Trinity gave Mary this untold and unfathomable grace at her conception, we also must be aware that we, too, have been made immaculate in our Baptisms. 
Not to the same extent  - but, still it is the same gift - given to each to the extent that God wills.
For, while Mary is made Immaculate to the supreme extent - as she was not only freed from sin and death but also freed from all the effects of sin as well - in our Baptisms we are made immaculate to the extent that we are freed from sin, but still have the tendency toward sin through concupiscence. 
At our baptisms we are given a foretaste of this supreme freedom from sin and its effects that Mary has been given. It is a foretaste because someday we will experience this fully in heaven. 
Yet, we don't have to wait for heaven to begin living this reality - because to the extent we enter into this Consecration, (to the extent that we die to ourselves to live in Mary and thus, LIVE the grace of our Baptism), is the same extent that we will be able to be filled with God's Divine Love and Life here and now ... and being so filled, the less will sin and its effects be able to rule us.

To begin to live this freedom, it is fitting, therefore, for us to renew and ratify the vows of our Baptism and to renounce sin and satan (these vows were often made by others who stood in our place in our infancy). Doing this is at the heart of St. Louis' consecration prayer: 
 I, N_____, a faithless sinner, renew and ratify today in thy hands the vows of my Baptism; I renounce forever Satan, his pomps and works; and I give myself entirely to Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Wisdom, to carry my cross after Him all the days of my life, and to be more faithful to Him than I have ever been before. In the presence of all the heavenly court I choose thee this day for my Mother and Mistress. I deliver and consecrate to thee, as thy slave, my body and soul, my goods, both interior and exterior, and even the value of all my good actions, past, present and future; leaving to thee the entire and full right of disposing of me, and all that belongs to me, without exception, according to thy good pleasure, for the greater glory of God in time and in eternity.
In Baptism, so many graces pour over and infuse our souls that we literally become a new creation - entirely recreated as a child of God through the infinite grace of Jesus' life, death and resurrection! As we renew and ratify our baptism, we are called upon to personally choose to renounce sin and satan, his pomps and works - the lies which he weaves to entice us and convince us that sin is desirable - the very things that Jesus suffered and died so horribly to free us from. We renounce our enslavement of sin and satan and freely choose to love God wholeheartedly as He commands: 
"Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone!  
Therefore, you shall love the LORD, your God, with your whole heart, and with your whole being, and with your whole strength. 
Take to heart these words which I command you today. 
Keep repeating them to your children. Recite them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them on your arm as a sign and let them be as a pendant on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates."  Deuteronomy 6: 4-7
I fell in love with the Sacrament of Baptism when I was asked to teach about it. I am convinced that as you find out more about it that it will enthrall you and inspire you too. It is such an inestimable, precious, divine gift! When we recognize it as such, and contemplate the price that was paid for us to be given such a gift, it compels us to want to renew and ratify the vows of it each day - to say "Yes! I want to live fully this unfathomable Divine life I've been given!!!"
It would be a wonderful thing when you have the time to spend time reading about the extraordinary gifts of our Baptisms that can be found in the Catechism. 
In the meantime, here are some of the amazing gifts and effects of Baptism - with and in which we have been filled and transformed and made new!!! 
May pondering them be a grace for you!

LIVE Baptismal Grace (Divine supernatural life we were given)
Called Chosen Named
Each with a purpose unique – only you can fulfill
Child of God
Living tabernacle of Father, Son and Holy Spirit
We have Died with Christ so to rise with Him
Unless you are baptized you cannot enter my Kingdom
In Baptism we died with Christ so to live with Him
Forgiven and
Freed from punishment
New Creation
Filled with Holy Spirit
Living Tabernacles of the Most High
Infused with Sanctifying Grace
supernatural virtues of faith, hope and charity
Incorporated into Christ –
Members of his Body the Church
Partakers of His Divinity –
Sharers in His Divine Nature
Adopted Children – Heirs
            Sealed with Indelible Spiritual Mark sin cannot erase

1. Skim through the accompanying pictures and words below that highlight the extraordinary wisdom of St. Maximilian and St. Louis. Read them more thoroughly as the Holy Spirit inspires you and as time allows and when it is possible.
2. Continue to choose to enter more deeply into the daily prayer program (below) at least in this way: 
Ponder and pray the Our Father today and the entire Joyful Mysteries as well as the 1st Luminous Mystery  - while praying for the grace to listen, to hear and respond to God as Mary does.
Praying also for the grace to surrender whatever is keeping me from responding fully  - in and through and with Mary’s love and help.

Daily Prayer Program for these 33 Days:

It is important to make a commitment to strive to pray more deeply, more intensely and with more of your heart during these days of preparation. Here are some guidelines and suggestions for how to live these days. Pray about how you can grow in each of these areas listed below and while living out this prayer program it is especially important to 
Trust in the Truth and Supernatural Reality of God’s Presence within each of them
1. Sacraments
    •            LIVE Grace and Renew our Baptism - renounce sin and Satan
    •            Mass and the Eucharist the Center of our lives
    •            Confession frequently
2. Scripture - Pray and Internalize it daily
    •           To Jelena: “I’m going to reveal a spiritual secret to you: if you want to be stronger than evil, make yourself a plan of personal prayer. Take a certain time in the morning, read a text from Holy Scripture, anchor the Divine word in your heart, and strive to live it during the day, particularly during the moment of trials. In this way, you will be stronger than evil.” (Our Lady of Medjugorje, April 19, 1984)
    •           Rosary – With and in Mary, contemplating Scripture and the mysteries of God
3. Fill mind with wisdom of Mary and the Saints
    •            God is sending Mary to earth for she is the Crusher of Satan. Listen to her words.
    •            St. John Paul II – example of life given over – Totus Tuus
    •            St. Maximilian Kolbe – Militia Immaculata every soul consecrated to Mary will save the world
    •            St. Louis de Montfort – Mary will form the greatest saints who ever lived – easiest shortest most sure way to sanctity
    •            St. Mother Teresa and many more

PART 2: The Militia Immaculata Begins in Sickness and Failure: Day 2 in the Preparation for Total Consecration According to St. Maximilian Kolbe

As we read yesterday, as the young Maximilian saw the Freemasons celebrating their 200th Anniversary by parading throughout Rome, he understood "the destructive effects of atheistic secularism" that it represented. He saw, already in 1917, "the spreading of dangerous religious indifferentism and various antireligious theories, as well as of the subtle decline of morality. He suffer[ed] in witnessing a certain quietism [a failure to act - passivity] among Catholics, despite the persecution [of] the Church ... and the popes’ unrelenting appeals to live out the missionary dimension of the Christian calling."
In response, because he "knows that Jesus is the Lord of history, the Prince of peace. He understands that the Immaculate Virgin is the new Woman, called by Jesus Himself to be the model, guide and Mother of grace for all men of every time and place..."

So it is precising in and through Jesus and becoming like him in every way - even to beholding Mary as our mother, that evil will be defeated within us and in the world.
Thus, the Militia Immaculata, the vast army of souls of souls completely conformed to Christ - is envisioned and formed.

Yet, again, just as with Christ, victory only comes through the Cross... 
and so it was with Maximilian and the Militia Immaculata.  
Just as he was beginning his priestly life, he developed tuberculosis and was hospitalized for months. This is how he wrote of this time:

When everything seems to fail...
“For more than a year ... the MI made no progress. In fact, all kinds of setbacks piled up, to the point that members were uncomfortable even mentioning it among themselves. One of them even tried to convince the others that the MI was something useless.“It was then that, with wonderful signs of election, the Immaculata summoned to her side Fr. Antoni Głowiński, and ten days later, Br. Antonio Mansi, both victims of the Spanish flu. As for me, the condition of my lungs got worse: every time I coughed, I spat blood. That is when it all started to change. Having been excused from school, I took the opportunity to copy out the ‘Program of MI’ and gave it to the Most Rev. Fr. General, in order to obtain his blessing in writing. ‘If there were at least 12 of you...,’ said the Most Rev. Fr. General. He wrote his blessing and voiced his desire (I believe on that very occasion) that the MI should be propagated among our youth. Membership started to increase, and has increased more and more ever since.” (KW1278)
St. Maximilian himself continued to recall the first steps of the Movement that later would spread rapidly throughout Poland and in other nations. But now he speaks of the time of gestation, the time during which the grain of wheat has to die in order to become a full kernel and eventually bread (cf. Jn 12:12-26). Maximilian helps us to recognize the Gospel logic at work. For more than one year the MI had not seen any progress, while difficulties and setbacks attempted to extinguish enthusiasm. Everything seemed to fail. The death of two of the young co-founders and the worsening of Maximilian’s TB, however, marked the beginning of change.
The MI began to flourish precisely thanks to this paschal journey of suffering and death, which gave rise to an increasingly numerous response from people who chose to embrace its ideal of total dedication to Our Lady as instruments of love in her immaculate hands...
“Nothing great comes without pain in God’s works. And could there ever be too great a sacrifice, when it comes to the Immaculata? We are consecrated to her not only in theory, but actually, and in practice. And until we grow tired in our fight to conquer the world for the Immaculata, suffering will not cease to come upon us. And the more strenuously we struggle, the heavier and more numerous will be the suffering that befalls us. But only until our death. Then there will be the resurrection. And even if (but that is impossible) the Immaculata were to give us no reward for this, yet we would still consecrate ourselves to her with fervor and enthusiasm throughout our entire lives. For we do not consecrate ourselves in view of a reward, but solely for her.”(KW 631)."

It is with this supernatural perspective and in the power of the Holy Spirit, that we pray and ponder Mary's role within the plan of the Most Holy Trinity in order to understand more fully how our consecration to her is ordered to lead us into ever deeper union with God as Trinity - Father, Son and Holy Spirit:

"...Consecration to Mary has the Trinity as its goal and as its ultimate reference, because the whole Christian life is related to the Trinity. Mary herself is entirely related to the Trinity: "She is the Mother of the Son of God, beloved daughter of the Father, the Temple of the Holy Spirit" (LG53).
St. Maximilian cared very much about the Trinitarian dimension of consecration to Mary, because everything that happened to Mary is a work of the Holy Trinity. Mary lived a unique experience of the action of the Most Holy Trinity in her life at the moment of the Annunciation:
"The One and Triune God looked upon the low estate of his handmaiden and ‘He who is mighty’ works in her ‘great things’. God the Father entrusts to her, as a son, His own Son, God the Son enters into her womb, while the Holy Spirit molds the Body of Christ in the womb of the most pure Virgin. 'And the Word was made flesh' (Jn 1:14). The Immaculata becomes Mother of God. Christ, God-Man, is the fruit of the love of the One and Triune God and of Mary Immaculate"(KW1295).
It is important to understand that, in the light of Father Kolbe’s considerations, the profound relationship between Mary and the Trinity is the reason why our consecration to her implies to begin an itinerary that leads us to the encounter with the Most Holy Trinity.
Mary conceived by the Holy Spirit and in her life she was always docile to the action of the Spirit. Consecration / entrustment to Mary, therefore, becomes trusting in the divine Presence. In the Holy Spirit Mary takes care of me, of us, the world. My life and that of the world are in good hands. In the hands of the Spirit, first of all, and of this Mother, who exercises her motherhood by the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit who associates Mary to Himself in the work of sanctification of men. The "motherhood in the order of grace" (LG61) that Mary exercises in the Church is in the Holy Spirit. Even today, like that day at the foot of the Cross, we receive the gift of this motherhood thanks to the Holy Spirit...
Mary, for her part, from the moment of the Annunciation, was always docile to the action of the Spirit. St. Luke emphasizes a usual attitude of Mary who "treasured all these things in her heart..."(Lk 2:19, 51). Mary accomplished it in the Holy Spirit, in Whom the Word is alive. The first attitude in living out our consecration to Mary is precisely to listen to the Word in total availability, trust, surrender to the Spirit.
"Let yourself be led ... by the Holy Spirit. Let yourself be led by the Holy Spirit through the Immaculata" (KW987 C), as St. Maximilian reminded himself, in a text that speaks of consecration to Mary as surrender into the hands of Mary and docility to the work that the Spirit accomplishes in us through her.
Mary is the beloved daughter of the Father, as it was written in the text of the Second Vatican Council. We see in her the fully realized plan of God for His creatures: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ... He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself,"as Paul writes in the epistle to the Ephesians (1:3-5). In this sense, Mary is the beloved daughter of the Father, because He accomplished first of all in her the dream that He had for all of us, making her holy and immaculate in love. Contemplating this mystery St. Maximilian wrote that: "The Immaculata is ... the ultimate limit between God and creation. She is a faithful image of God's perfection, of His sanctity"(KW1232). Mary's life is under the sign of the gratuitous love of the Father from the beginning of her existence. Mary feels all its intensity when with grateful astonishment and singing to her God she exclaims: "He has been mindful of the humble state of his servant" (Lk 1:48). This ocean of love that inundates her from the first instant of her conception, becomes a river of love that grows in the following of her own Son, and which will reach its climax under the Cross. There, at the foot of the Cross and conformed to her Son in love (Phil 2:5), she received every man for whom He offered Himself and whom He was asking her to embrace as a child.
From this attitude of love and acceptance of Mary's motherhood, arises another fundamental attitude in living our consecration to the Immaculata: love. It is love that conforms us, as it did her, to her Son.
With Our Gaze Fixed on Christ
Mary is especially the Mother of God, and then in this entrustment/consecration to her the relationship with Christ is essential. We already saw it in the previous reflection, but now we come back to it, because it is very important. The goal of consecration to Mary is the growth in the faith in Christ the Lord.
Mary is entirely relative to Christ. The words that Mary said to the servants at Cana, are the words that she repeats to each of us: "Do whatever he tells you" (Jn 2:1-12).
Mary did first what Jesus said. In her life we find the accomplished model of the disciple of the Lord: "My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice" (Lk 8:21). Jesus points to the life of Mary as a life fully conformed to His Word. Mary, for this intimate union with the entire life of the Son, in obedience to the will of the Father, invites us to turn our gaze to Him. She reminds us that He is "the Way, the Truth and the Life" (Jn 14:6). That "Do whatever He tells you" is her own sharing of a life experience that takes place in the service of love for Christ; of a life that finds its sense in conformity to Him and that experiences existentially the union of branch to the vine (Jn 15:1 ff.).
Consecration to Mary therefore is not just a devotion, an idea, but a path of conformity to Christ. It means to walk with Mary toward Christ, centering more and more our life in Him. From that arises a life commitment: the communion with Christ and the conformity to Him up to the gift of ourselves, as St. Maximilian did. In him the most challenging words of the Gospel became reality: love for enemies and, above all, the greatest love: "to lay down one’s life for one’s friends" (Jn 15:13), which is exactly what Jesus did for us on the Cross.
Consecration to Mary as taught by St. Maximilian Kolbe is a Christ-centered experience. It is not centered on Mary, but on Christ, as Paul VI emphasized in the homily for Fr. Kolbe’s beatification, on October 17, 1971:

“Maximilian Kolbe was an apostle of the veneration of the Blessed Virgin, seen in her first, original privileged splendor, as she defined herself at Lourdes: the Immaculate Conception. It is impossible to separate the name, the activity and the mission of Blessed Kolbe from that of Mary Immaculate. It was he who instituted the Militia of the Immaculata here in Rome, even before he was ordained a priest, on October 16, 1917.
“It is well known how the humble and meek Franciscan with incredible audacity and extraordinary organizational genius developed the initiative and spread devotion to the Mother of Christ, contemplated as ‘clothed with the sun’ (cf. Rev. 12:1). This devotion was the focal point of his spirituality, his apostolate and his theology.
“Let no hesitation restrain our admiration and commitment to all that our new Blessed had left us as a heritage and an example, as if we too were distrustful of such and exaltation of Mary in view of two other theological movements, the Christological and ecclesiological, which seem to compete today with the Mariological. On the contrary, there is no competition, for in Father Kolbe's Mariology, Christ holds not only the first place but the only necessary and sufficient place in the economy of salvation. His love of the Church and its salvific mission was never forgotten either in his doctrinal outlook or in his apostolic aim. On the contrary, it is precisely from our Lady's complementary, subordinate role in regard to Christ's universal, saving design for man that she derives all of her prerogatives and greatness.
“How well we know it! And Kolbe, in accord with the whole of Catholic doctrine, the whole liturgy and the entire theology of the interior life, sees Mary included in God's plan of salvation as the ‘term fixed by eternal counsel,’ as the woman filled with grace, as the Seat of Wisdom, as the woman destined from eternity to be the Mother of Christ, as the Queen of the Messianic Kingdom, and at the same time as the Handmaid of the Lord, chosen to participate in the Redemptive Act as Mother of the God Man, our Savior. ‘Mary is the one through whose intercession men reach Jesus and the one through whom Jesus reaches men’ (L. Bouver:Le trone de la Sagesse, p. 69).
“Therefore our Blessed is not to be reproved, nor the Church with him, because of their enthusiasm for the formal religious veneration of the Mother of God. This veneration with its rites and practices will never fully achieve the level it merits, nor the benefits it can bring precisely because of the mystery that unites her to Christ, and which finds fascinating documentation in the New Testament. The result will never be a ‘Mariolatry,’ just as the sun will never be darkened by the moon; nor will the mission of salvation specifically entrusted to the ministry of the Church ever be distorted if the latter honors in Mary an exceptional Daughter and a Spiritual Mother. The characteristic aspect, if you like, and the original quality of Blessed Kolbe's devotion, of his ‘hyperdulia’ to Mary, is the importance he attributes to it with regard to the present needs of the Church, the efficacy of her prophecy about the glory of the Lord and the vindication of the humble, the power of her intercession, the splendor of her exemplariness, the presence of her maternal charity. The Council confirmed us in these certainties, and now from heaven Father Kolbe is teaching us and helping us to meditate upon them and live them. This Marian profile of our new Blessed places him among the great saints and seers who have understood, venerated and sung the mystery of Mary." (Homily by St. Paul VI on the Beatification of Maximilian Kolbe)"
Come Holy Spirit, living in Mary, help us to prepare well for the Total Consecration.
St. Maximilian, pray for us and help us live out the wisdom you express. Especially when we are going through great suffering, help us remember that "Nothing great comes without pain in God's works" as your life so profoundly attests. 
Be with us and help us understand Mary's place in the Holy Trinity's plan of salvation and give ourselves entirely and without reserve to Our Blessed Mother, so that she, in turn, can draw us ever closer to Jesus and make of us great saints! 
We ask this in Jesus's Name, Amen.

PART 3: Day 9 Readings and Prayers for St. Louis de Montfort's 33 Day of Consecration to Jesus through Mary - An Online Guide

Readings and Prayers for St. Louis-Marie de Montfort's Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary

12 Days of Preparation renouncing the spirit of the world
Praying over and reading Jesus' Words
Praying with the Heart
Examining our conscience 
Learning about Mary's place in God's plan 

Day 9 of 33:  
Meditate on 
Imitation of Christ, by Thomas á Kempis: Book 1, Chapter 13, cont.
Fire tries iron, and temptation a just man. We often know not what we are able to do, but temptations discover what we are. Still, we must watch, especially in the beginning of temptation; for then the enemy is more easily overcome, if he be not suffered to enter the door of the mind, but is withstood upon the threshold the very moment he knocks. Whence a certain one has said "Resist beginnings; all too late the cure." When ills have gathered strength, by long delay, first there comes from the mind a simple thought; then a strong imagination, afterwards delight, and the evil motion and consent and so, little by little the fiend does gain entrance, when he is not resisted in the beginning. The longer anyone has been slothful in resisting, so much the weaker he becomes, daily in himself, and the enemy, so much the stronger in him. Some suffer grievous temptations in the beginning of their conversion, others in the end and others are troubled nearly their whole life. Some are very lightly tempted, according to the wisdom and the equity of the ordinance of God who weighs man's condition and merits, and pre- ordaineth all things for the salvation of His elect. We must not, therefore, despair when we are tempted, but the more fervently pray to God to help us in every tribulation: Who, of a truth, according to the sayings of St. Paul, will make such issue with the temptation, that we are able to sustain it.
Let us then humble our souls under the hand of God in every temptation and tribulation, for the humble in spirit, He will save and exalt. In temptation and tribulations, it is proved what progress man has made; and there also is great merit, and virtue is made more manifest.
Veni Creator
Come, O Creator Spirit blest!
And in our souls take up thy rest;
Come with Thy grace and heavenly aid,
To fill the hearts which Thou hast made.
Great Paraclete!  To Thee we cry,
O highest gift of God most high!
O font of life! O fire of love!
And sweet anointing from above.
Thou in Thy sevenfold gifts art known,
The finger of God's hand we own;
The promise of the Father, Thou!
Who dost the tongue with power endow.
Kindle our senses 'from above,
And make our hearts o'erflow with love;
With patience firm and virtue high
The weakness of our flesh supply.
Far from us drive the foe we dread,
And grant us Thy true peace instead;
So shall we not, with Thee for guide,
Turn from the path of life aside.
Oh, may Thy grace on us bestow
The Father and the Son to know,
And Thee through endless times confessed
Of both the eternal Spirit blest.
All glory while the ages run
Be to the Father and the Son
Who rose from death; the same to Thee,
O Holy Ghost, eternally.  Amen.

Ave Maris Stella
Hail, bright star of ocean,
God's own Mother blest,
Ever sinless Virgin,
Gate of heavenly rest.
Taking that sweet Ave
Which from Gabriel came,
Peace confirm within us,
Changing Eva's name.
Break the captives' fetters,
Light on blindness pour,
All our ills expelling,
Every bliss implore.
Show thyself a Mother;
May the Word Divine,
Born for us thy Infant,
Hear our prayers through thine.
Virgin all excelling,
Mildest of the mild,
Freed from guilt, preserve us,
Pure and undefiled.
Keep our life all spotless,
Make our way secure,
Till we find in Jesus
Joy forevermore.
Through the highest heaven
To the Almighty Three,
Father, Son and Spirit,
One same glory be.  Amen.

The Prayer of Mary - The Magnificat 
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children forever. 
(Lk 1:46-55)

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit
as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. 

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit
as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. 

Examine your conscience, pray, practice renouncement of your own will; mortification, purity of heart. This purity is the indispensable condition for contemplating God in heaven, to see Him on earth and to know Him by the light of faith. The first part of the preparation should be employed in casting off the spirit of the world which is contrary to that of Jesus Christ. 

The spirit of the world consists essentially in the denial of the supreme dominion of God; a denial which is manifested in practice by sin and disobedience; thus it is principally opposed to the spirit of Christ, which is also that of Mary. 
It manifests itself by the concupiscence of the flesh, by the concupiscence of the eyes and by the pride of life, and by disobedience to God's laws and the abuse of created things. Its works are: sin in all forms, then all else by which the devil leads to sin; works which bring error and darkness to the mind, and seduction and corruption to the will. Its pomps are the splendor and the charms employed by the devil to render sin alluring in persons, places and things. 


St. Louis de Montfort's True Devotion to Mary paragraphs 68-77

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.page14image39392
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.
PART 4: A taste of Fr. Gaitley's 33 Days to Morning Glory if you have time:
“Come, Holy Spirit, living in Mary. Unveil for me the meaning of the Immaculate Conception”.

CLICK HERE for podcast of Day 9 

© Janet Moore 2019. All Rights Reserved.

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