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Mother of All Peoples

Preliminary Remarks on True Devotion to Mary



1. It was through the most holy Virgin Mary that Jesus came into the world, and it is also through her that He has to reign in the world.


2. Mary was singularly hidden during her life. It is on this account that the Holy Ghost and the Church call her Alma Mater—”Mother secret and hidden.” (1) Her humility was so profound that she had no inclination on earth more powerful or more constant than that of hiding herself, from herself as well as from every other creature, so as to be known to God only.


3. He heard her prayers when she begged to be hidden, to be humbled and to be treated as in all respects poor and of no account. He took pleasure in hiding her from all human creatures, in her conception, in her birth, in her life, in her mysteries, and in her resurrection and Assumption. Even her parents did not know her, and the angels often asked one another: “Who is that?” (Cant. 3:6; 8:5) because the Most High either had hidden her from them, or if He did reveal anything, it was nothing compared to what He kept undisclosed.


4. God the Father consented that she should work no miracle, at least no public one, during her life, although He had given her the power to do so. God the Son consented that she should hardly ever speak, though He had communicated His wisdom to her. God the Holy Ghost, though she was His faithful spouse, consented that His Apostles and Evangelists should speak very little of her, and no more than was necessary to make Jesus Christ known.


5. Mary is the excellent masterpiece of the Most High, the knowledge and possession of which He has reserved to Himself. Mary is the admirable Mother of the Son, who took pleasure in humbling and concealing her during her life in order to favor her humility, calling her by the name of “woman” (Jn. 2:4; 19:26), as if she were a stranger, although in His heart He esteemed and loved her above all angels and all men. Mary is the “sealed fountain” (Cant. 4:12), the faithful spouse of the Holy Ghost, to whom He alone has entrance. Mary is the sanctuary and the repose of the Holy Trinity, where God dwells more magnificently and more divinely than in any other place in the universe, not excepting His dwelling between the Cherubim and Seraphim. Nor is any creature, no matter how pure, allowed to enter into that sanctuary except by a great and special privilege.


6. I say with the saints, the divine (2) Mary is the terrestrial paradise of the New Adam, where He was made flesh by the operation of the Holy Ghost, in order to work there incomprehensible marvels. She is the grand and divine world of God, where there are beauties and treasures unspeakable. She is the magnificence of the Most High, where He hid, as in her bosom, His only Son, and in Him all that is most excellent and most precious. Oh, what grand and hidden things that mighty God has wrought in this admirable creature, as she herself had to acknowledge, in spite of her profound humility: “He that is mighty hath done great things to me” (Lk. 1:49). The world knows them not, because it is both incapable and unworthy of such knowledge.


7. The saints have said admirable things of this holy city of God; and, as they themselves avow, they were never more eloquent and more content than when they spoke of her. Yet, after all they have said, they cry out that the height of her merits, which she has raised up to the throne of the Divinity, cannot be fully seen; that the breadth of her charity, which is broader than the earth, is in truth immeasurable; that the length of her power, which she exercises even over God Himself, is incomprehensible; and finally, that the depth of her humility, and of all her virtues and graces, is an abyss which never can be sounded. O height incomprehensible! O breadth unspeakable! O length immeasurable! O abyss impenetrable!


8. Every day, from one end of the earth to the other, in the highest heights of the heavens and in the profoundest depths of the abysses, everything preaches, everything publishes, the admirable Mary! The nine choirs of angels, men of all ages, sexes, conditions and religions, the good and the bad, nay, even the devils themselves, willingly or unwillingly, are compelled by the force of truth to call her “Blessed.” St. Bonaventure tells us that all the angels in Heaven cry out incessantly to her: “Holy, holy, holy Mary, Mother of God and Virgin”; (3) and that they offer to her, millions and millions of times a day, the Angelical Salutation, Ave Maria, prostrating themselves before her, and begging of her in her graciousness to honor them with some of her commands. Even St. Michael, as St. Augustine says, although the prince of the heavenly court, is the most zealous in honoring her and causing her to be honored, and is always anxiously awaiting the honor of going at her bidding to render service to some one of her servants. (4)


9. The whole earth is full of her glory, especially among Christians, by whom she is taken as the protectress of many kingdoms, provinces, dioceses and cities. Many cathedrals are consecrated to God under her name. There is not a church without an altar in her honor, not a country nor a canton where there are not some miraculous images where all sorts of evils are cured and all sorts of good gifts obtained. Who can count the confraternities and congregations in her honor? How many religious orders have been founded in her name and under her protection? How many members in these confraternities, and how many religious men and women in all these orders, who publish her praises and confess her mercies! There is not a little child who, as it lisps the Hail Mary, does not praise her. There is scarcely a sinner who, even in his obduracy, has not some spark of confidence in her. Nay, the very devils in Hell respect her while they fear her.


10. After that, we must cry out with the saints: “De Maria numquam satis“—”Of Mary there is never enough.” We have not yet praised, exalted, honored, loved and served Mary as we ought. She deserves still more praise, still more respect, still more love, and still more service.


11. After that, we must say with the Holy Ghost: “All the glory of the King’s daughter is within” (Ps. 44:14). The outward glory which Heaven and earth rival each other in laying at her feet is as nothing in comparison with that which she receives within from the Creator and which is not known by creatures, who in their littleness are unable to penetrate the secret of secrets of the King.


12. After that, we must cry out with the Apostle, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor man’s heart comprehended” (1 Cor. 2:9) the beauties, the grandeurs, the excellences of Mary—the miracle of the miracles (5) of grace, of nature and of glory. “If you wish to comprehend the Mother,” says a saint, (6) “comprehend the Son; for she is the worthy Mother of God.” “Here let every tongue be mute.”


13. It is with a particular joy that my heart has dictated what I have just written, in order to show that the divine Mary has been up to this time unknown, (7) and that this is one of the reasons that Jesus Christ is not known as He ought to be. If then, as is certain, the knowledge and the kingdom of Jesus Christ are to come into the world, they will be but a necessary consequence of the knowledge and the kingdom of the most holy Virgin Mary, who brought Him into the world for the first time, and will make His second advent full of splendor.


The above article was taken from the Preliminary Remarks by St. Louis Marie de Montfort in his True Devotion to Mary.


Notes

(1) Antiphon to the Blessed Virgin for Advent; also the hymn, Ave Maris Stella.

(2) “…the word ‘divine’ may be used without attributing the nature of divinity to the person or thing thus qualified. We speak of our own prayers, whether addressed to God or to His saints, as a ‘divine service.’ The Psalmist speaks of us all as being gods and sons of the Most High; and yet no one takes offense, because the sense given to the words uttered is understood. Mary may be called ‘divine’ because divinely chosen for the divine office of Mother of a divine Person, Jesus Christ. (Cardinal Vaughan, Preface to the English edition of True Devotion).

(3) St. Bonaventure, Psalt. majus B.V.. Hymn, instar Ambrosiani.

(4) Quoted by St. Bonaventure, Speculum B.V., lect. III, no. 5.

(5) St. John Damascene, Oratio Ia de Nativ. B.V.

(6) St. Eucherius.

(7) Meaning insufficiently known, as the immediate context shows: “Jesus Christ is not known as He ought to be.”

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