Wednesday, December 30, 2009

True Devotion to Mary who is fair and gentle as the moon...

After praying my morning Rosary, I was meditating on St. Louis de Montfort's writings in The Secret of the Rosary and True Devotion to Mary. Specifically, the Ninth Rose of Secret and Nos 79-86 of True Devotion. This because I have encountered much opposition as I have sought to spread devotion to the Holy Rosary. Many believe that the Rosary is medeival and "outdated" and, as a consequence, attempt to dissuade others from having a devotion to it.

What does St. Louis de Montfort have to say about such people? In no uncertain terms, he says:

"It is very wicked indeed and unfair to other souls to hinder the progress of the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary. Almighty God has severely punished many of those who have been so benighted as to scorn the Confraternity and who have sought to destroy it.

Even though God has set His seal of approval on the Holy Rosary by many miracles, and in spite of the Papal Bulls that have been written approving it, there are only too many people who are against the Holy Rosary today. These freethinkers and those who scorn religion either condemn the Rosary or try to turn others away from it.

It is easy to see that they have absorbed the poison of hell and that they are inspired by the devil - for nobody can condemn devotion to the Holy Rosary without condemning all that is most holy in the Catholic Faith, such as the Lord's Prayer, the Angelic Salutation and the mysteries of the life, death, and glory of Jesus Christ and of His Holy Mother.

These freethinkers who cannot bear others to say the Rosary often fall into a really heretical state of mind without even realizing it and some to hate the Rosary and its holy mysteries.

To have a loathing for confraternities is to fall away from God and true piety, for Our Lord Himself has told us that He is always in the midst of those who are gathered together in His name. No good Catholic should forget the many great indulgences which Holy Mother Church has granted to Confraternities. Finally, to dissuade others from joining the Rosary Confraternity is to be an enemy of souls because the Rosary is a sure means of curing oneself of sin and of embracing a Christian Life.

Saint Bonaventure said (in his Psalter) that whoever neglected Our Lady would perish in his sins and would be damned: "He who neglects her will die in his sins." If such is the penalty for neglecting her, what must be the punishment in store for those who actually turn others away from their devotions!" (The Secret of the Rosary, Ninth Rose).

And, in True Devotion to Mary, St. Louis de Montfort reminds us that:

"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 hell.

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 self.

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.

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 third.

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

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.

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.

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.

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." (True Devotion to Mary, Nos 79-86, St. Louis de Montfort).

When I had finished meditating on these passages, I felt compelled to look up and to my left where there is a painting on my living room wall which depicts a winter scene with an elderly German woman and her daughter standing before a cross which is located on the side of a country road. A church may be seen in the background. This painting was commissioned by my parents and was painted by a German artist in the 1960's. Suddenly, as my eyes scanned the painting, I noticed light from a nearby window falling on the upper right-hand corner of this painting. This light resulted in an image of Our Lady which was so vivid it startled me. I was able to make out Our Lady's facial features, her veil and the outline of her hair underneath.

I took several pictures with my cell phone (which I always turn off but which was - myteriously - turned on already) and a couple with my digital camera.

Signal graces. A loving reminder from my Mother that I am weak and sinful and must rely totally on Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Mother: Mediatrix of all graces. Thank you my Mother!



Ellen Wironken said...

Our Lord and Our Lady are preparing us for the events which will soon rock the entire world:

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

Indeed Ellen. This is a time of preparation which will soon end. I was examining one of the photos on my cell phone. Our Lady appears to be beaming!

Meredith said...

Enjoyed the talk in Rindge. Look forward to seeing you at the house in Mason.

Anonymous said...


Would you please post the photo of our Blessed Mother that appeared on your parents painting?

Thank you.

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

Anonymous, I made a CD with the hope of doing just that. But the flash from my digital camera obscured the image, much to my disappointment. The images on my cell phone are better. If you want, provide me with your cell phone number (sent privately in an email - I will not share with anyone) and I will forward it to you in a text message.

God bless,

Anonymous said...

I've been looking all over for this!


Paul Anthony Melanson said...

Thank you for your kind note anonymous. The "pastor" of my local Church - who is as inspiring as a Nazi storm trooper - would never speak on St. Louis de Montfort - or the Rosary, or anything else worthwhile.

Sad isn't it? So many riches in the Church and they are neglected by so many clerics.

Samantha said...

You're certainly not the only one who believes that pastors often fail to inspire their flocks:

(ANSA) - Vatican City, December 30 - The minds of churchgoers need to be nourished but too often Sunday sermons are boring, uninspired and unpalatable fare, a top Italian cleric said on Wednesday.

Msgr Mariano Crociata, secretary-general of the Italian Bishops' Conference (CEI), urged trainee priests to take their preaching seriously if they want to connect with their flock.

"Too often, sermons are just boring mush, unappetizing fare and certainly not too nourishing" for parishioners' minds, Crociata said. The monsignor's warning was taken seriously by the Vatican daily Osservatore Romano, which printed large parts of his address.

Unknown said...

Do you people venerate her or worship her?

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

Devotion to the Mother of God does not take anything away from the worship of Christ. Our Lady says (as she did at Cana): Do as He tells you.

Panzer, I would recommend purchasing a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. You will find no better explanation as to what Catholics believe.

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