Besides the external practices of the devotion which we have been describing so far, and which we must not omit through negligence or contempt, so far as the state and condition of each one will allow him to observe them, there are some very sanctifying interior practices for those whom the Holy Spirit calls to high perfection.

These may be expressed in four words: to do all our actions by Mary, with Mary, in Mary, and for Mary; so that we may do them all the more perfectly by Jesus, with Jesus, in Jesus and for Jesus.

All by Mary

258. We must do all our actions by Mary; that is to say, we must obey her in all things, and in all things conduct ourselves by her spirit, which is the Holy Spirit of God. “Those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.” (Rom 8:14). Those who are led by the spirit of Mary are the children of Mary, and consequently the children of God, as we have shown (1); and among so many clients of the Blessed Virgin, none are true or faithful but those who are led by her spirit. I have said that the spirit of Mary was the Spirit of God, because she was never led by her own spirit, but always by the Spirit of God, who has rendered Himself so completely master of her that He has become her own spirit.

It is on this account that St. Ambrose says: “Let the soul of Mary be in each of us to magnify the Lord, and the spirit of Mary be in each of us to rejoice in God” (2). A soul is happy indeed when, like the good Jesuit lay-brother, Alphonse Rodriguez, who died in the odor of sanctity (3), it is all possessed and overruled by the spirit of Mary, a spirit meek and strong, zealous and prudent, humble and courageous, pure and fruitful.

259. In order that the soul may let itself be led by Mary’s spirit, it must first of all renounce its own spirit and its own lights and wills before it does anything. For example: It should do so before prayers, before saying or hearing Mass and before communicating; because the darkness of our own spirit, and the malice of our own will and operation, if we follow them, however good they may appear to us, will be an obstacle to the spirit of Mary. Secondly, we must deliver ourselves to the spirit of Mary to be moved and influenced by it in the manner she chooses. We must put ourselves and leave ourselves in her virginal hands, like a tool in the grasp of a workman, like a lute in the hands of a skillful player. We must lose ourselves and abandon ourselves to her, like a stone one throws into the sea. This can be done simply, and in an instant, by one glance of the mind, by one little movement of the will, or even verbally, in saying, for example, “I renounce myself, I give myself to thee, my dear Mother.” We may not, perhaps, feel any sensible sweetness in this act of union, but it is not on that account the less real. It is just as if we were to say with equal sincerity, though without any sensible change in ourselves, what—may it please God—we never shall say: “I give myself to the devil”; we should not the less truly belong to the devil because we did not feel we belonged to him. Thirdly, we must, from time to time, both during and after the action, renew the same act of offering and of union. The more often we do so, the sooner we shall be sanctified, and attain to union with Jesus Christ, which always follows necessarily on our union with Mary, because the spirit of Mary is the spirit of Jesus.

All with Mary

260. We must do all our actions with Mary; that is to say, we must in all our actions regard Mary as an accomplished model of every virtue and perfection which the Holy Spirit has formed in a pure creature for us to imitate according to our little measure. We must therefore in every action consider how Mary has done it, or how she would have done it, had she been in our place. For that end we must examine and meditate on the great virtues which she practiced during her life, and particularly, first of all, her lively faith, by which she believed without hesitation the angel’s word, and believed faithfully and constantly up to the foot of the cross; secondly, her profound humility, which made her hide herself, hold her peace, submit to everything, and put herself the last of all; and, thirdly, her altogether divine purity, which never has had, and never can have, its equal under Heaven; and so on with all of her other virtues.

Let us remember, I repeat, that Mary is the great and exclusive mold of God (4), proper to making living images of God at small cost and in a little time; and that a soul which has found that mold, and has lost itself in it, is presently changed into Jesus Christ, whom that mold represents to the life.

All in Mary

261. We must do our actions in Mary. Thoroughly to understand this practice, we must first know that our Blessed Lady is the true terrestrial paradise of the New Adam, and that the ancient paradise was but a figure of her. There are, then, in this earthly paradise, riches, beauties, rarities and inexplicable sweetnesses, which Jesus Christ, the New Adam, has left there; it was in this paradise that He took His complacence for nine months, worked His wonders and displayed His riches with the magnificence of a God. This most holy place is composed only of a virginal and immaculate earth, of which the New Adam was formed, and on which He was nourished, without any spot or stain, by the operation of the Holy Spirit, who dwelt there. It is in this earthly paradise that there is the true tree of life, which has borne Jesus Christ, the Fruit of Life, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which has given light unto the world. There are in this divine place trees planted by the hand of God, and watered by His divine unction, which have borne and daily bear fruits of a divine taste. There are flowerbeds adorned with beautiful and varied blossoms of virtues, diffusing odors which delight the very angels. There are meadows green with hope, impregnable towers of strength, and the most charming houses of confidence. It is only the Holy Spirit who can make us know the hidden truth of these figures of material things. There is in this place an air of perfect purity; a fair sun, without shadow, of the Divinity; a fair day, without night, of the Sacred Humanity; a continual burning furnace of love, where all the iron that is cast into it is changed, by excessive heat, to gold. There is a river of humility which springs from the earth, and which, dividing itself into four branches, waters all that enchanted place; and these are the four cardinal virtues.

262. The Holy Spirit, by the mouth of the Fathers, also styles the Blessed Virgin the Eastern Gate, by which the High Priest, Jesus Christ, enters the world and leaves it. (Ezek 44:2-3). By it He came the first time, and by it He will come the second. The sanctuary of the Divinity, the repose of the Most Holy Trinity, the throne of God, the city of God, the altar of God, the temple of God, the world of God—all these different epithets and encomiums are most substantially true with reference to the different marvels and graces which the Most High has wrought in Mary. Oh, what riches! What glory! What pleasure! What happiness, to be able to enter into and dwell in Mary, where the Most High has set up the throne of His supreme glory!

263. But how difficult it is for sinners like our selves to have the permission, the capacity and the light to enter into a place so high and so holy, which is guarded, not by one of the Cherubim like the old earthly paradise (Gen 3:24), but by the Holy Spirit Himself, who is its absolute Master. He Himself has said of it: “My sister, My spouse, is a garden enclosed, a garden enclosed, a fountain sealed up.” (Song 4:12). Mary is shut, Mary is sealed. The miserable children of Adam and Eve, driven from the earthly paradise, cannot enter into this one except by a particular grace of the Holy Spirit, which they must merit.

264. After we have obtained this illustrious grace by our fidelity, we must remain in the fair interior of Mary with complacency, repose there in peace, lean our weight there in confidence, hide ourselves there with assurance, and lose ourselves there without reserve. Thus, in that virginal bosom, l.) the soul shall be nourished with the milk of grace and maternal mercy; 2.) it shall be delivered from its troubles, fears and scruples; and 3.) it shall be in safety against all its enemies—the world, the devil and sin—who never have entrance there. It is on this account that Mary says that they who work in her shall not sin (Sir 24:30); that is to say, those who dwell in Mary in spirit shall fall into no considerable fault. Lastly, 4.) the soul shall be formed in Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ in it, because her bosom is, as the holy Fathers say (5), the chamber of the divine sacraments, where Jesus Christ and all the elect have been formed. ‘This man and that man is born in her” (6).

All for Mary

265. Finally we must do all our actions for Mary. As we have given ourselves up entirely to her service, it is but just to do everything for her as servants and slaves. It is not that we take her for the last end of our services, for that is Jesus Christ alone; but we take her for our proximate end, our mysterious means and our easy way to go to Him. Like good servants and slaves, we must not remain idle, but, supported by her protection, we must undertake and achieve great things for this august sovereign. We must defend her privileges when they are disputed; we must stand up for her glory when it is attacked; we must draw all the world, if we can, to her service, and to this true and solid devotion; we must speak and cry out against those who abuse her devotion to outrage her Son, and we must at the same time establish this veritable devotion; we must pretend to no recompense for our little services, except the honor of belonging to so sweet a Queen, and the happiness of being united through her to Jesus her Son by an indissoluble tie, in time and in eternity.

Glory to Jesus in Mary!

Glory to Mary in Jesus!

Glory to God alone!

Manner of Practicing this Devotion When We Go to Holy Communion

Before Holy Communion

266. l.)You must humble yourself most profoundly before God. 2.) You must renounce your corrupt interior and your dispositions, however good your self-love may make them look. 3.) You must renew your consecration by saying: “I am all thine, my dear Mistress, with all that I have.” 4.) You must implore that good Mother to lend you her heart, that you may receive her Son there with the same dispositions as her own. You will explain to her that it touches her Son’s glory to be put into a heart so sullied and so inconstant as yours, which would not fail either to lessen His glory or to destroy it. But if she will come and dwell with you, in order to receive her Son, she can do so by the dominion which she has over all hearts; and her Son will be well received by her, without stain, without danger of being outraged or unnoticed: “God is in the midst thereof, it shall not be moved” (Ps 45:6). You will tell her confidently that all you have given her of your goods is little enough to honor her; but that by Holy Communion you wish to make her the same present as the Eternal Father gave her, and that you will honor her more by that than if you gave her all the goods in the world; and finally, that Jesus, who loves her in a most special manner, still desires to take His pleasure and repose in her, even in your soul, though it be far filthier and poorer than the stable where He did not hesitate to come, simply because she was there. You will ask her for her heart, by these tender words: “I take thee for my all. Give me thy heart, O Mary” (7).

At Holy Communion

267. After the Our Father, just before receiving Jesus Christ, you say three times: “Lord, I am not worthy.” Say the first one to the Eternal Father, telling Him you are not worthy, because of your evil thoughts and ingratitude toward so good a Father, to receive His only Son; but that He is to behold Mary, His handmaid—”Behold the handmaid of the Lord” (Lk 1:38)—who acts for you and who gives you a singular confidence and hope with His Majesty: “For thou singularly hast settled me in hope.” (Ps 4:10).

268. You will say to the Son: “Lord, I am not worthy”; telling Him that you are not worthy to receive Him because of your idle and evil words and your in fidelity to His service; but that nevertheless you pray Him to have pity on you, because you are about to bring Him into the house of His own Mother and yours, and that you will not let Him go without His coming to lodge with her: “I held Him; and I will not let Him go, till I bring Him into my Mother’s house into the chamber of her that bore me.” (Song 3:4). You will pray to Him to rise, and come to the place of His repose and into the ark of His sanctification: “Arise, Lord, into Thy resting place: Thou and the ark which Thou hast sanctified.” (Ps 131:8). Tell Him you put no confidence at all in your own merits, your own strength and your own preparations, as Esau did; but that you trust only in Mary, your dear Mother, as the little Jacob did in Rebecca. Tell Him that, sinner and Esau that you are, you dare to approach His sanctity, supported and adorned as you are with the virtues of His holy Mother.

269. You will say to the Holy Spirit: “Lord, I am not worthy”; telling Him that you are not worthy to receive this masterpiece of His charity, because of the lukewarmness and iniquity of your actions, and because of your resistance to His inspirations; but that all your confidence is in Mary, His faithful spouse. You will say, with St. Bernard: “She is my greatest security; she is the source of all my hope” (8). You can even pray Him to come Himself in Mary, His in separable spouse, telling Him that her bosom is as pure and her heart as burning as ever; and that, with out His descent into your soul, neither Jesus nor Mary will be formed nor worthily lodged.

After Holy Communion

270. After Holy Communion, inwardly recollected and holding your eyes shut, you will introduce Jesus into the heart of Mary. You will give Him to His Mother, who will receive Him lovingly, will place Him honorably, will adore Him profoundly, will love Him perfectly, will embrace Him closely, and will render to Him, in spirit and in truth, many homages which are unknown to us in our thick darkness.

271. Or else you will keep yourself profoundly humbled in your heart, in the presence of Jesus residing in Mary. Or else you will sit like a slave at the gate of the King’s palace, where He is speaking with the Queen; and while they talk to each other without need of you, you will go in spirit to Heaven and over all the earth, praying all creatures to thank, adore and love Jesus and Mary in your place: “Come, let us adore” (Ps 94:6) (9).

272. Or else you will yourself ask of Jesus, in union with Mary, the coming of His kingdom on earth, through His holy Mother; or you will sue for divine wisdom, or for divine love, or for the pardon of your sins, or for some other grace; but always by Mary and in Mary; saying, while you look aside at yourself: “Lord, look not at my sins” (10); “but let Your eyes look at nothing in me but the virtues and merits of Mary” (11). And then, remembering your sins, you will add: “It is I who have committed these sins” (Cf. Matt 13:28); or you will say: “Deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man” (Ps 42:1); or else: “My Jesus, You must increase in my soul, and I must decrease” (Jn 3:30); Mary, you must increase within me, and I must be still less than I have been. “O Jesus and Mary, increase in me, and multiply yourselves outside in others also.” (Cf. Gen 1:22 ff.).

273. There are an infinity of other thoughts which the Holy Spirit furnishes, and will furnish you, if you are thoroughly interior, mortified and faithful to this grand and sublime devotion which I have been teaching you. But always remember that the more you allow Mary to act in your Communion, the more Jesus will be glorified; and you will allow Mary to act for Jesus and Jesus to act in Mary in the measure that you humble yourself and listen to them in peace and in silence, without troubling yourself about seeing, tasting or feeling; for the just man lives throughout on faith, and particularly in Holy Communion, which is an action of faith: “My just man liveth by faith.” (Heb 10:38).

This article was excerpted from True Devotion to Mary, Tan, 1985.

Notes

(1) Cf. nos. 29, 30.

(2) Cf. no. 217.

(3) Canonized by Leo XIII, Jan. 15, 1888. St. Alphonsus Rodriguez (1531-1617) is not to be confused with Father Alphonsus Rodriguez (+1616), the author of Christian Perfection.

(4) Cf. nos. 218, 219, sqq.

(5) Cf. no. 248.

(6) Ps 86:5; cf. no. 32.

(7) Adaptation of two texts, Jn 19:27 and Prov 23:26.

(8) De Aquaeductu, no. 7.

(9) With reference to Mary, St. Louis de Montfort is obviously using the word “adore” (French adorer) in its secondary meaning, that is, to give homage and veneration to, rather than to denote that worship which is due to God alone. Cf. no. 14.

(10) Prayer before Communion, Roman Missal.

(11) Ps 16:2, applied to the Blessed Virgin.