- Prayers and Family activities for the Solemnity of the Ascension (Catholic Website of the week-by the laptop computer)
- Pope Francis: Jesus Intercedes for Us-Every Day, Every Moment (Belleville News and BEYOND)
- Prayer to Mary in the Holy Trinity (the Praying Hands)
Receiving the Gospel, Serving God and Neighbor
[Week Five material is at the end]
Heart of the Holy Trinity
God the Father wanted us to have a Mother, so He created His daughter, namely Mary.
God the Son wanted to be our brother, so He was “born of woman” and had a mother just like us, namely Mary.
God the Holy Spirit wanted to bring us the greatest gift possible, Jesus Christ, so He chose His spouse, namely Mary.
The Good News is that Mary is at the heart of GOD: FATHER, SON, AND HOLY SPIRIT.
Peace and prayers in Jesus through Mary, loved by Saint Joseph,
P.S. The readings for this Sunday can be found at: > > > Readings
For the homily from a past Sunday: (it may take a while to load, please be patient or cut and paste this website address in your browser address bar): Listen
Most Holy Trinity (from Latin trinitas “state of being threefold”)
-the communion of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as three Persons in one Godhead; [The revealed truth of the Holy Trinity is at the very root of the Church's living faith as expressed in the Creed. The mystery of the Trinity in itself is inaccessible to the human mind and is the object of faith only because it was revealed by Jesus Christ, the divine Son of the eternal Father.]
Come to the heart that was made and is loved by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit...MARY!
Solemnity of the Ascension or the Seventh Sunday of Easter ...
The Ascension The death of a member of his family or of a loved friend, must be the saddest event imaginable in the life of an atheist. He is one who really is ...
By Elise Harris
Genoa, Italy, May 27, 2017 / 10:54 am (EWTN News/CNA) -
Pope Francis celebrated Mass for the feast of the Ascension in Genoa Saturday, telling faithful that Jesus never leaves us alone and is constantly praying and interceding for us to the Father.
“Jesus is truly with us and for us: in heaven, he always shows the Father his humanity, our humanity,” the Pope said during his May 27 day trip to Genoa.
He noted in the day’s Gospel from Matthew, before he ascends into heaven, tells his disciples, “all power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”
This power and strength “connect heaven and earth,” Francis said, explaining that when Jesus ascended into heaven “our human flesh crossed the threshold of heaven: our humanity is there, in God, forever.”
A keyword that can be used to describe Jesus’ strength and power, he said, is “intercession,” because “Jesus intercedes for us with the Father every day, every moment. In every prayer, in every request of ours for forgiveness, above all in every Mass, Jesus intervenes.
Pope Francis offered Mass to conclude his trip to the Italian diocese of Genoa, which is guided by Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, who just finished his term as president of the Italian Bishops Conference, and has been replaced by Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, archbishop of Perugia.
After arriving to the city, Francis immediately had back-to-back meetings with members of the working force in Genoa, with the diocese’s bishops, priests and religious, and with youth, giving off-the-cuff responses to questions asked in each encounter.
He then had lunch with some 100 poor, refugees and prisoners before stopping by the city’s pediatric hospital and making his way to Kennedy Square to offer Mass before heading back to Rome.
In his homily, the Pope said the ability to intercede isn’t just a task Jesus carries out, but is also one that he has entrusted to the entire Church. Each of us has the power to pray for others, he said, asking: “Do I pray? Do we, as a Church, as Christians, exercise this power bringing people and situations to God?”
“The world needs it. We ourselves need it,” Francis said, noting that for many people, their days are spent running between work and various commitments. The risk with this, he said, is that “we can get lost, close in on ourselves and become restless about nothing.”
In order to avoid this, he said we have to “throw the anchor to God,” entrusting to him the burdens, people and situations we deal with on a daily basis.
“This is the strength of prayer, which connects heaven and earth, which allows God to enter into our time,” he said, noting that prayer isn’t something we do to find peace or internal harmony for ourselves, but is an active intercession to God.
“It’s not tranquility, it’s charity...It’s to put yourself into play to intercede, insisting assiduously to God for each other,” he said, adding that prayerful intercession is “our first responsibility,” because it gives us the strength to go forward.
“This is our power: not to prevail or to cry out louder, according to the logic of the world, but to exercise with strength the meekness of prayer, with which wars can be stopped and peace obtained.”
A second keyword from the Gospel that shows the nature of Jesus’ strength and power is “announcement,” Pope Francis said, pointing to the moment when Jesus invites his disciples to “go forth and make disciples of all nations.
This is “an extreme act of trust in us,” the Pope said, noting that Jesus believes in us more than we believe in ourselves. He sends us out despite our shortcomings, knowing that “we will never be perfect and that, if we wait to become better to evangelize, we will never start.”
However, one thing that is important to overcome right away is “closure,” he said, insisting that “the Gospel cannot be locked up and sealed, because the love of God is dynamic and wants to reach everyone.”
“To announce, then, means moving, going out of ourselves,” Francis said, adding that with the Lord, “we cannot be quiet, accommodated in your own world or nostalgic for memories of the past; with him it is forbidden to lay down in the securities acquired.”
For Jesus, security is moving forward with trust and confidence. Because of this, he prefers “discomfort and constant revivals” to ease and comfort.
“(Jesus) wants us going out, free from the temptations of contenting ourselves when we are doing well and when we have control,” the Pope continued.
Pointing to Jesus command to “go,” Francis said this going out “into the world” is something the Lord still asks of us today, and which “belongs to the Christian identity.”
A Christian is never stationary, but constantly moving with the Lord and with others, Francis said, but cautioned that this doesn’t mean a Christian is a runner that tries to beat others to the finish line.
Instead, a Christian is a pilgrim and a “hopeful marathonist,” who is meek, faithful, creative and enterprising, while also being decisive, active, respectful and open, he said.
Pope Francis closed his homily telling faithful to imitate the disciples, and bring the announcement of the Good News to “the streets of the world.”
Jesus, he said, “wants the announcement to be carried with his strength: not with the strength of the world, but with the clear and gentle strength of joyful testimony. This is urgent.”
He urged faithful to pray for the grace “to not fossilize ourselves” by getting caught up on things that don’t matter, but to work concretely for peace and the common good.
“Let us put ourselves into play with courage, convinced that there is more joy in giving than in receiving,” he said, adding that “the Lord is alive and risen, who always intercedes for us, whether in the strength of our going, or the courage our path.”
By Elise HarrisVatican City, May 20, 2015 / 11:40 am (EWTN News/CNA)
In his general audience Pope Francis spoke of the essential role parents play in educating their children – a role he said has been usurped by so-called experts who have taken the place of parents and rendered them fearful of making any correction.
“If family education regains its prominence, many things will change for the better. It's time for fathers and mothers to return from their exile – they have exiled themselves from educating their children – and slowly reassume their educative role,” the Pope said May 20.
He gave harsh criticism to the “intellectual critics” that he said have “silenced” parents in order to defend younger generations from real or imagined harm, and lamented how schools now are often more influential than families in shaping the thinking and values of children.
“In our days the educational partnership is in crisis. It's broken,” he said, and named various reasons for this.
“On one part there are tensions and distrust between parents and educators; on the other part, there are more and more ‘experts’ who pretend to occupy the role of parents, who are relegated to second place,” he said.
The Pope spoke to pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for his weekly general audience. His focus on the vocation of families to educate their children is part of his ongoing series on the family.
Since the end of last fall Francis has been centering his Wednesday catechesis on the theme of family as part of the lead-up to the World Day of Families in September, as well as October’s Synod of Bishops on the Family.
In his address he stressed that educating and raising children in the human values which form the “backbone” of a healthy society is a responsibility that each family has.
However, many difficulties often impede parents’ ability to properly educate their children. Today parents are spending less and less time with their children, and meeting their needs after a long day of work can be exhausting, he noted.
In off the cuff remarks, Francis also highlighted the struggle faced by the increasing number of divorced or separated families. Many times children in these families are “taken as a hostage,” while their mother and father speak badly about each other.
To do this “does so much bad” to children, the Pope noted, and stressed the importance for parents in these situations to “never, never, never take your child hostage.”
“You are separated because of many difficulties and reasons, life gave you this trial, but may the children not be the ones who bear the weight of this separation! May children not be used as hostages, against the other (parent),” he said.
Although this important task can be very difficult for parents who are separated, the Pope said that it’s not impossible, and that “you can do it.”
Francis also observed how frequently parents are “paralyzed” by the fear of making mistakes, and hesitate to correct their children.
He recalled an episode from his own life when he had said a bad word to a teacher. The next day his mother came to the school and made him apologize, and then corrected him at home.
Nowadays this wouldn’t happen, because too often a teacher who tries to discipline a child is criticized by the parents, he said.
“Things have changed. Parents shouldn't exclude themselves from the education of their children…The relationship between family and school ought to be harmonious.”
Pope Francis also cautioned parents against commanding or discouraging their children by asking them to do what they aren’t able to.
When a parent tells their small child to run up the stairs without taking them by the hand and helping them step by step, they are “exasperating” the child, and asking them to do something they can’t.
The relationship between parents and their children should be balanced and founded on wisdom, he said. Children should be “obedient to parents, which pleases God, and you parents, don't exasperate your children asking them to do what they aren't able to. Understood?”
Francis said that the Church and all Christian communities are called to accompany and support parents in their educative role. He noted that this is done by living according to God’s word and cultivating the virtues of faith, love and patience.
Jesus himself was raised in a family, he said, explaining that “when he tells us that all who hear the word of God and obey are his brothers and sisters, he reminds us that for all their failings, our families can count on his inspiration and grace in the difficult but rewarding vocation of educating their children.”
Pope Francis closed his audience by praying that all parents would have the confidence, freedom and courage needed in order to fulfill their educative mission.
He then went on to greet pilgrims present from various countries around the world, including Great Britain, Finland, Norway, South Africa, China, India, Korea, Canada, the United States of America, Spain, Mexico, Argentina, Panama and Chile.
VATICAN CITY, May 08, 2013 (Zenit.org) - Here is the translation of the Holy Father's weekly General Audience address in St. Peter's Square where he continued the cycle of catechesis dedicated to the Year of Faith.
* * *
Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning! The Easter season that we are living with joy, guided by the Church's liturgy, is par excellence the time of the Holy Spirit, given "without measure" (cf. Jn 3:34) by Jesus, crucified and risen. This time of grace ends with the feast of Pentecost, in which the Church relives the outpouring of the Spirit upon Mary and the Apostles gathered in prayer in the Cenacle.
But who is the Holy Spirit? In the Creed we profess with faith: "I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life". The first truth to which we adhere in the Creed is that the Holy Spirit is K�rios, Lord. This means that he is truly God, as the Father and Son are, the object, for our part, of the same act of adoration and glorification that we address to the Father and the Son. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Blessed Trinity; he is the great gift of the risen Christ that opens our minds and our hearts to faith in Jesus as the Son sent by the Father and that leads us to friendship, to communion with God.
But I would like to dwell in particular on the fact that the Holy Spirit is the inexhaustible source of the life of God in us. Men of all times and all places want a life that is full and beautiful, just and good, a life that is not threatened by death, but that can mature and grow to its fullness. Man is like a wanderer who, crossing the deserts of life, thirsts for a living water, gushing and fresh, able to quench deeply his profound desire for light, love, beauty and peace. We all feel this desire! And Jesus gives us this living water: it is the Holy Spirit, who proceeds from the Father, and that Jesus pours out into our hearts. "I came that they might have life and have it in abundance", Jesus tells us (Jn 10:10).
Jesus promises the Samaritan woman that he will give a "living water", superabundantly and forever, to all those who recognize him as the Son sent by the Father to save us (cf. Jn 4:5-26, 3:17). Jesus came to give us this "living water" that is the Holy Spirit, so that our life may be guided by God, animated by God, and nourished by God. When we say that the Christian is a spiritual man, we mean just that: a Christian is a person who thinks and acts according to God, according to the Holy Spirit. But I ask: and we, do we think according to God? Do we act according to God? Or do we let ourselves be guided by so many other things that are not exactly God? Each one must answer this in the depths of his heart.
At this point we can ask ourselves: why is it that this water can slake the very depths of our thirst? We know that water is essential for life; without water you die; it quenches thirst, washes, makes the land fertile. In the Letter to the Romans we find this expression: "God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us" (5:5). The "living water", the Holy Spirit, the gift of the risen Lord who makes its home in us, purifies us, enlightens us, renews us, transforms us because it makes us partakers of the very life of God who is Love. For this reason, the Apostle Paul says that the Christian life is animated by the Spirit and its fruits, which are "love, joy, peace, generosity, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" (Gal 5:22-23). The Holy Spirit inserts us into the divine life as "sons in the Only-begotten Son". In another passage of the Epistle to the Romans, which we have mentioned several times, St. Paul summarises it with these words: "all those who are led by the spirit of God, are sons of God. And you... have received the Spirit that makes us adoptive children, whereby we cry, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit itself, together with our spirit, attests that we are children of God. And if we are children, we are also heirs: heirs of God, joint-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order to participate in his glory" (8:14-17). This is the precious gift that the Holy Spirit places in our hearts: the very life of God, life as true sons, a relationship of confidence, freedom and trust in the love and mercy of God, which has as an effect also a new gaze towards others, near and far, always seen as brothers and sisters in Jesus to be respected and loved. The Holy Spirit teaches us to look with the eyes of Christ, to live life as Christ lived it, to understand life as Christ understood it. That's why the living water that is the Holy Spirit quenches the thirst of our lives, because it tells us that we are loved by God as children, that we can love God as his children and by his grace we can live as children of God, like Jesus. And we, we listen to the Holy Spirit? What does the Holy Spirit tell us? God loves you. It tells us this. God loves you, He desires your good. Do we really love God and others, like Jesus does? Let us allow ourselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit, let us allow Him to speak to our hearts and tell us this: that God is love, that He is waiting for us, that God is the Father, he loves us as a true Father [Pap�], he truly loves us and only the Holy Spirit alone says this to our hearts. Let us hear the Holy Spirit, let us listen to the Holy Spirit and let us go forward on this road of love, of mercy and of forgiveness. Thank you.
From among the descendants of Eve, God chose the Virgin Mary to be the mother of his Son. "Full of grace", Mary is "the most excellent fruit of redemption" (SC 103): from the first instant of her conception, she was totally preserved from the stain of original sin and she remained pure from all personal sin throughout her life. -Catechism of the Catholic Church #508
One Reason To Buy A Painting
At an art gallery, a woman and her ten-year-old son were having a tough time choosing between one of my paintings and another artist’s work. They finally went with mine. “I guess you decided you prefer an autumn scene to a floral,” I said. “No,” said the boy. “Your painting’s wider, so it’ll cover the three holes in our wall.”
We use yesterday’s technology to solve today’s problems-tomorrow.
“Always obey your superiors. If you have any.” –Mark Twain
Diplomacy: The art of saying “Nice doggie!” until you have time to pick up a rock.
Father Murphy walks into a pub in Donegal, and asks the first man he meets, 'Do you want to go to heaven?'
The man said, 'I do, Father.'
The priest said, 'Then stand over there against the wall.'
Then the priest asked the second man, 'Do you want to go to heaven?'
'Certainly, Father,' the man replied.
'Then stand over there against the wall,' said the priest.
Then Father Murphy walked up to O'Toole and asked, 'Do you want to go to heaven?'
O'Toole said, 'No, I don't Father.'
The priest said, 'I don't believe this. You mean to tell me that when you die you don't want to go to heaven?'
O'Toole said, 'Oh, when I die , yes. I thought you were getting a group together to go right now.'
Walking into the bar, Mike said to Charlie the bartender, 'Pour me a stiff one - just had another fight with the little woman.'
'Oh yeah?' said Charlie, 'And how did this one end?'
'When it was over,' Mike replied, 'She came to me on her hands and knees.'
'Really,' said Charles, 'Now that's a switch! What did she say?'
She said, 'Come out from under the bed, you little chicken.'
1. If walking/cycling is good for your health, the postman would be immortal.
2. A whale swims all day, only eats fish, drinks water and is fat.
3. A rabbit runs and hops and only lives 15 years.
4. A tortoise doesn't run, does nothing ..yet lives for 150 years.
YOU TELL ME TO EXERCISE!
HAIL MARY, beloved Daughter of the eternal Father. Hail Mary, wonderful Mother of the Son. Hail Mary, faithful Spouse of the Holy Spirit. Hail Mary, my dear Mother, my loving Lady, my powerful Queen. You are all mine through your mercy, and I am all yours.
Take away from me all that may be displeasing to God. Cultivate in me everything that is pleasing to you. May the light of your faith dispel the darkness of my mind, your deep humility take the place of my pride; your continual sight of God fill my memory with his presence; the fire of the charity of your heart inflame the lukewarmness of my own heart; your virtues take the place of my sins; your merits be my enrichment and make up for all that is wanting in me before God.
My beloved Mother, grant that I may have no other spirit but your spirit, to know Jesus Christ and His divine will and to praise and glorify the Lord; that I may love God with burning love like yours. - St. Louis de Montfort
[This is a weekly electronic newsletter from Father Robert, the Pastor of St. Mary Parish and St. Sebastian Parish. This will be sent out weekly. Please recommend this to individuals you think might be interested. Any suggestions or comments are welcomed, or if you wish to no longer receive this please e-mail: Roman.Catholic.Good.News@gmail.com]
The Holy Spirit and Mary – Homily for Pentecost 2007
Throughout our lives as Catholics we have made promises. And these promises could more accurately be called oaths.
In Baptism, most of us had our parents make our Baptismal Promises for us.
In First Holy Communion, as we saw just a few weeks ago in our 2nd graders, we made those promise, those oaths for ourselves.
In Confirmation, we confirmed those oaths and were brought fully into Christ’s Church and given the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit helped us make those oaths and offers to help us to keep them.
Sadly however, for too many Catholics the story ends there. But it shouldn’t.
Catholic Life does not end with these promises, these oaths, it really just begins.
Put another way, Catholic Life looks like something and it is daily lived.
Having made those promises, those oaths, We believe in some things and we do not believe other things. For example:
WE BELIEVE everything that is in the creed, listen especially today when we speak about the Holy Spirit in the Nicene Creed.
WE BELIEVE that we are sinners, but by seeking forgiveness and striving to remain faithful, by Jesus Christ, we will enter Heaven one day
By the Holy Spirit and Mary:
We DO NOT believe in Reincarnation. Scripture says, “man you are appointed once to die and then the judgment.
We DO NOT believe we are ever alone. From our guardian angel to the saints, to the Church and our neighbor, we are never alone.
Having made those promises, those oaths, I am some things and I am not other things. For example:
I AM made in the image and likeness of the Triune God of Love.
I AM loved and treasured by God and others.
By the Holy Spirit and Mary
I AM NOT useless or worthless
I AM NOT to be made in the image and likeness of the world or my peers who say that I am this or that.
Having made those promises, those oaths, We do some things and we do not do others things. For example:
WE DO put God first by worshiping Him every Sunday and resting with family. [Someone asked me, Father Robert you are from farm, you understand. Dad never worked on Sunday, He did not want to offend God or put his soul in jeopardy. He did not want to break his promise, his oath to God.]
WE DO strive to love others and forgive them even if it is difficult because I have been loved; I have been forgiven.
By the Holy Spirit and Mary:
WE DO NOT receive the Holy Eucharist unworthily.
WE DO NOT use the Lord’s Name in vain, gossip, or hurt others with our speech, as Scripture says, “say the good things men need to hear, things that will really help them.”
Of course you and I have free will and we are going to do what we are going to do, but let us realize that if we break our promises and lie against the oaths we have taken we block God and His grace, evil comes into the world, the things you daily lament and despise multiply in the world.
But, BUT if you we keep our promises, fulfill our oaths then guess what happens, and guess who comes? The Holy Spirit and Mary gave us the greatest of all gifts not some thing, but some body and His Name is Jesus Christ. Jesus comes, Sin is forgiven, people are saved and made holy, evil is routed and persons enter heaven to see Him FACE to FACE.
[In my favorite movie, Lord of the Rings, Return of the King, a leader of the men of Rowan, says, “men of Rowan, oaths you have taken, now fulfill them all!]
Today, at this Mass, now, let us keep our promises, let us fulfill our oaths, and receive the Holy Spirit anew by coming to Mary!
This week one should learn about Jesus Christ, desire Him with all your heart, and then next week, know and beg Mary to bring you to Him fully and Him to you fully.
" The whole world is indebted to Jesus for His Passion. Similarly, all of us are indebted to our Lady for her compassion." - Saint Albert the Great (1206 - 1280)
"It is the nature of Jesus Christ to lead us to the Father. In the same way, it is the nature of the Blessed Virgin to lead us surely to Jesus."- Saint Louis Grignion de Montfort. (1673- 1716)
" Let all hearts give themselves to Mary so that she will fill them with her Heart and the Heart of Jesus ! " - Saint John Eudes (1601 - 1680)
Below, St. Louis de Monfort tells more about being truly devoted to Mary to be perfectly conformed to Jesus Christ, thus love God and neighbor in this life and coming to heaven in the life to come.
True Devotion to Mary by St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort
[Both of the above will be given below in their entirety in the next 5 weeks.]
Third part of True Devotion to Mary
CHAPTER FIVE - BIBLICAL FIGURE OF THIS PERFECT DEVOTION:REBECCA AND JACOB
183. The Holy Spirit gives us in Sacred Scripture, a striking allegorical figure of all the truths I have been explaining concerning the Blessed Virgin and her children and servants. It is the story of Jacob who received the blessing of his father Isaac through the care and ingenuity of his mother Rebecca.
Here is the story as the Holy Spirit tells it. I shall expound it further later on.
The Story of Jacob
184. Several years after Esau had sold his birthright to Jacob, Rebecca, their mother, who loved Jacob tenderly, secured this blessing for him by a holy stratagem full of mystery for us.
Isaac, realising that he was getting old, wished to bless his children before he died. He summoned Esau, who was his favourite son, and told him to go hunting and bring him something to eat, in order that he might then give him his blessing. Rebecca immediately told Jacob what was happening and sent him to fetch two small goats from the flock. When Jacob gave them to his mother, she cooked them in the way Isaac liked them. Then she dressed Jacob in Esau's clothes which she had in her keeping, and covered his hands and neck with the goat-skin. The father, who was blind, although hearing the voice of Jacob, would think that it was Esau when he touched the skin on his hands.
Isaac was of course surprised at the voice which he thought was Jacob's and told him to come closer. Isaac felt the hair on the skin covering Jacob's hands and said that the voice was really like Jacob's but the hands were Esau's. After he had eaten, Isaac kissed Jacob and smelt the fragrance of his scented clothes. He blessed him and called down on him the dew of heaven and the fruitfulness of earth. He made him master of all his brothers and concluded his blessing with these words, "Cursed be those who curse you and blessed be those who bless you."
Isaac had scarcely finished speaking when Esau came in, bringing what he had caught while out hunting. He wanted his father to bless him after he had eaten. The holy patriarch was shocked when he realised what had happened. But far from retracting what he had done, he confirmed it because he clearly saw the finger of God in it all. Then, as Holy Scripture relates, Esau began to protest loudly against the treachery of his brother. He then asked his father if he had only one blessing to give. In so doing, as the early Fathers point out, Esau was the symbol of those who are too ready to imagine that there is an alliance between God and the world, because they themselves are eager to enjoy, at one and the same time, the blessings of heaven and the blessings of the earth. Isaac was touched by Esau's cries and finally blessed him only with a blessing of the earth, and he subjected him to his brother. Because of this, Esau conceived such a venomous hatred for Jacob that he could hardly wait for his father's death to kill him. And Jacob would not have escaped death if his dear mother Rebecca had not saved him by her ingenuity and her good advice.
Interpretation of the story
185. Before explaining this beautiful story, let me remind you that, according to the early Fathers and the interpreters of Holy Scripture, Jacob is the type of our Lord and of souls who are saved, and Esau is the type of souls who are condemned. We have only to examine the actions and conduct of both in order to judge each one.
(1) Esau, the elder brother, was strong and robust, clever, and skillful with the bow and very successful at hunting.
(2) He seldom stayed at home and, relying only on his own strength and skill, worked out of doors.
(3) He never went out of his way to please his mother Rebecca, and did little or nothing for her. (4) He was such a glutton and so fond of eating that he sold his birthright for a dish of lentils.
(5) Like Cain, he was extremely jealous of his brother and persecuted him relentlessly.
186. This is the usual conduct of sinners:
(1) They rely upon their own strength and skill in temporal affairs. They are very energetic, clever and well-informed about things of this world but very dull and ignorant about things of heaven.
187. (2) And they are never or very seldom at home, in their own house, that is, in their own interior, the inner, essential abode that God has given to every man to dwell in, after his own example, for God always abides within himself. Sinners have no liking for solitude or the spiritual life or interior devotion. They consider those who live an interior life, secluded from the world, and who work more interiorly than exteriorly, as narrow-minded, bigoted and uncivilized.
188. (3) Sinners care little or nothing about devotion to Mary, the Mother of the elect. It is true that they do not
really hate her. Indeed they even speak well of her sometimes. They say they love her and they practise some devotion in her honour. Nevertheless, they cannot bear to see anyone love her tenderly, for they do not have for her any of the affection of Jacob; they find fault with the honour which her good children and servants faithfully pay her to win her affection. They think this kind of devotion is not necessary for salvation, and as long as they do not go as far as hating her or openly ridiculing devotion to her they believe they have done all they need to win her good graces. Because they recite or mumble a few prayers to her without any affection and without even thinking of amending their lives, they consider they are our Lady's servants.
189. (4) Sinners sell their birthright, that is, the joys of paradise, for a dish of lentils, that is, the pleasures of this world. They laugh, they drink, they eat, they have a good time, they gamble, they dance and so forth, without taking any more trouble than Esau to make themselves worthy of their heavenly Father's blessing. Briefly, they think only of this world, love only the world, speak and act only for the world and its pleasures. For a passing moment of pleasure, for a fleeting wisp of honour, for a piece of hard earth, yellow or white, they barter away their baptismal grace, their robe of innocence and their heavenly inheritance.
190. (5) Finally, sinners continually hate and persecute the elect, openly and secretly. The elect are a burden to them. They despise them, criticise them, ridicule them, insult them, rob them, deceive them, impoverish them, hunt them down and
trample them into the dust; while they themselves are making fortunes, enjoying themselves, getting good positions for themselves, enriching themselves, rising to power and living in comfort.
191. Jacob, the younger son, was of a frail constitution, gentle and peaceable and usually stayed at home to please his mother, whom he loved so much. If he did go out it was not through any personal desire of his, nor from any confidence in his own ability, but simply out of obedience to his mother.
192. He loved and honoured his mother. That is why he remained at home close to her. He was never happier than when he was in her presence. He avoided everything that might displease her, and did everything he thought would please her. This made Rebecca love him all the more.
193. He was submissive to his mother in all things. He obeyed her entirely in everything, promptly without delay and lovingly without complaint. At the least indication of her will, young Jacob hastened to comply with it. He accepted whatever she told him without questioning. For instance, when she told him to get two small goats and bring them to her so that she might prepare something for his father Isaac to eat, Jacob did not reply that one would be enough for one man, but without arguing he did exactly what she told him to do.
194. He had the utmost confidence in his mother. He did not rely on his own ability; he relied solely on his mother's care and protection. He went to her in all his needs and consulted her in all his doubts. For instance, when he asked her if his father, instead of blessing him, would curse him, he believed her and trusted her when she said she would take the curse upon herself.
195. Finally, he adopted, as much as he could, the virtues he saw in his mother. It seems that one of the reasons why he spent so much time at home was to imitate his dear mother, who was so virtuous, and to keep away from evil companions - who might lead him into sin. In this way, he made himself worthy to receive the double blessing of his beloved father.
196. It is in a similar manner that God's chosen ones usually act. They stay at home with their mother - that is, they have an esteem for quietness, love the interior life, and are assiduous in prayer. They always remain in the company of the Blessed Virgin, their Mother and Model, whose glory is wholly interior and who during her whole life dearly loved seclusion and prayer. It is true, at times they do venture out into the world, but only to fulfil the duties of their state of life, in obedience to the will of God and the will of their Mother.
No matter how great their accomplishments may appear to others, they attach far more importance to what they do within themselves in their interior life, in the company of the Blessed Virgin. For there they work at the great task of perfection, compared to which all other work is mere child's play. At times their brothers and sisters are working outside with great energy, skill and success, and win the praise and approbation of the world. But they know by the light of the Holy Spirit that there is far more good, more glory and more joy in remaining hidden and recollected with our Lord, in complete and perfect submission to Mary than there is in performing by themselves marvellous works of nature and grace in the world, like so many Esaus and sinners. Glory for God and riches for men are in her house.
Lord Jesus, how lovely is your dwelling-place! The sparrow has found a house to dwell in, and the turtle-dove a nest for her little ones! How happy is the man who dwells in the house of Mary, where you were the first to dwell! Here in this home of the elect, he draws from you alone the help he needs to climb the stairway of virtue he has built in his heart to the highest possible points of perfection while in this vale of tears. "How lovely is your dwelling-place, Lord, God of hosts!"
197. The elect have a great love for our Lady and honour her truly as their Mother and Queen. They love her mot merely in word but in deed. They honour her not just outwardly, but from the depths of their heart. Like Jacob, they avoid the least thing that might displease her, and eagerly do whatever they think might win her favour. Jacob brought Rebecca two young goats. They bring Mary their body and their soul, with all their faculties, symbolised by Jacob's two young goats, 1) so that she may accept them as her own; 2) that she may make them die to sin and self by divesting them of self-love, in order to please Jesus her Son, who wishes to have as friends and disciples only those who are dead to sin and self; 3) that she may clothe them according to their heavenly Father's taste and for his greater glory, which she knows better than any other creature; 4) that through her care and intercession, this body and soul of theirs, thoroughly cleansed from every stain, thoroughly dead to self, thoroughly stripped and well-prepared, may be pleasing to the heavenly Father and deserving of his blessing.
Is this not what those chosen souls do who, to prove to Jesus and Mary how effective and courageous is their love, live and esteem the perfect consecration to Jesus through Mary which we are now teaching them?
Sinners may say that they love Jesus, that they love and honour Mary, but they do not do so with their whole heart and soul. Unlike the elect, they do not love Jesus and Mary enough to consecrate them their body with its senses and their soul with its passions.
198. They are subject and obedient to our Lady, their good Mother, and here they are simply following the example set by our Lord himself, who spent thirty of the thirty-three years he lived on earth glorifying God his Father in perfect and entire submission to his holy Mother. They obey her, following her advice to the letter, just as Jacob followed that of Rebecca, when she said to him, "My son, follow my advice"; or like the stewards at the wedding in Cana, to whom our Lady said, "Do whatever he tells you."
Through obedience to his mother, Jacob received the blessing almost by a miracle, because in the natural course of events he should not have received it. As a reward for following the advice of our Lady, the stewards at the wedding in Cana were honoured with the first of our Lord's miracles when, at her request he changed water into wine. In the same way, until the end of time, all who are to receive the blessing of our heavenly Father and who are to be honoured with his wondrous graces will receive them only as a result of their perfect obedience to Mary. On the other hand, the "Esaus" will lose their blessing because of their lack of submission to the Blessed Virgin.
199. They have great confidence in the goodness and power of the Blessed Virgin, their dear Mother, and incessantly implore her help. They take her for their pole-star to lead them safely into harbour. They open their hearts to her and tell her their troubles and their needs. They rely on her mercy and kindness to obtain forgiveness for their sins through her intercession and to experience her motherly comfort in their troubles and anxieties. They even cast themselves into her virginal bosom, hide and lose themselves there in a wonderful manner. There they are filled with pure love, they are purified from the least stain of sin, and they find Jesus in all his fullness. For he reigns in Mary as if on the most glorious of thrones. What incomparable happiness! Abbot Guerric says, "Do not imagine there is more joy in dwelling in Abraham's bosom than in Mary's, for it is in her that our Lord placed his throne."
Sinners, on the other hand, put all their confidence in themselves. Like the prodigal son, they eat with the swine. Like toads they feed on earth. Like all worldlings, they love only visible and external things. They do not know the sweetness of Mary's bosom. They do not have that reliance and confidence which the elect have for the Blessed Virgin, their Mother. Deplorably they choose to satisfy their hunger elsewhere, as St. Gregory says, because they do not want to taste the sweetness already prepared within themselves and within Jesus and Mary.
200. Finally, chosen souls keep to the ways of the Blessed Virgin, their loving Mother - that is, they imitate her and so are sincerely happy and devout and bear the infallible sign of God's chosen ones. This loving Mother says to them "Happy are those who keep my ways", which means, happy are those who practise my virtues and who, with the help of God's grace, follow the path of my life. They are happy in this world because of the abundance of grace and sweetness I impart to them out of my fullness, and which they receive more abundantly than others who do not imitate me so closely. They are happy at the hour of death, which is sweet and peaceful for I am usually there myself to lead them home to everlasting joy. Finally, they will be happy for all eternity, because no servant of mine who imitated my virtues during life has ever been lost.
On the other hand, sinners are unhappy during their life, at their death, and throughout eternity, because they do not imitate the virtues of our Lady. They are satisfied with going no further than joining her confraternities, reciting a few prayers in her honour, or performing other exterior devotional exercises.
O Blessed Virgin, my dear Mother, how happy are those who faithfully keep your ways, your counsels and your commands; who never allow themselves to be led astray by a false devotion to you! But how unhappy and accursed are those who abuse devotion to you by not keeping the commandments of your Son! "They are accursed who stray from your commandments."
Services of our Lady to her faithful servants
201. Here now are the services which the Virgin Mary, as the best of all mothers, lovingly renders to those loyal servants who have given themselves entirely to her in the manner I have described and following the figurative meaning of the story of Jacob and Rebecca.
1. She loves them. "I love those who love me." She loves them:
a) Because she is truly their Mother. What mother does not love her child, the fruit of her womb?
b) She loves them in gratitude for the active love they show to her, their beloved Mother.
c) She loves them because they are loved by God and destined for heaven. "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."
d) She loves them because they have consecrated themselves entirely to her and belong to her portion, her inheritance. "In Israel receive your inheritance."
202. She loves them tenderly, more tenderly than all the mothers in the world together. Take the maternal love of all the mothers of the world for their children. Pour all that love into the heart of one mother for an only child. That mother's love would certainly be immense. Yet Mary's love for each of her children has more tenderness than the love of that mother for her child.
She loves them not only affectively but effectively, that is, her love is active and productive of good like Rebecca's love for Jacob -and even more so, for Rebecca was, after all, only a symbolic figure of Mary. Here is what this loving Mother does for her children to obtain for them the blessings of their heavenly Father:
203. 1) Like Rebecca she looks out for favourable opportunities to promote their interests, to ennoble and enrich them. She sees clearly in God all that is good and all that is evil; fortunate and unfortunate events; the blessings and condemnations of God. She arranges things in advance so as to divert evils from her servants and put them in the way of abundant blessings. If there is any special benefit to be gained in God's sight by the faithful discharge of an important work, Mary will certainly obtain this opportunity for a beloved child and servant and at the same time, give him the grace to persevere in it to the end. "She personally manages our affairs," says a saintly man.
204. 2) She gives them excellent advice, as Rebecca did to Jacob. "My son, follow my counsels." Among other things, she persuades them to bring her the two young goats, that is, their body and soul, and to confide them to her so that she can prepare them as a dish pleasing to God. She inspires them to observe whatever Jesus Christ, her Son, has taught by word and example. When she does not give these counsels herself in person, she gives them through the ministry of angels who are always pleased and honoured to go at her request to assist one of her faithful servants on earth.
205. 3) What does this good Mother do when we have presented and consecrated to her our soul and body and all that pertains to them without excepting anything? Just what Rebecca of old did to the little goats Jacob brought her. (a) She kills them, that is, makes them die to the life of the old Adam. (b) She strips them of their skin, that is, of their natural inclinations, their self-love and self-will and their every attachment to creatures. (c) She cleanses them from all stain, impurity and sin. (d) She prepares them to God's taste and to his greater glory. As she alone knows perfectly what the divine taste is and where the greatest glory of God is to be found, she alone without any fear of mistake can prepare and garnish our body and soul to satisfy that infinitely refined taste and promote that infinitely hidden glory.
206. 4) Once this good Mother has received our complete offering with our merits and satisfactions through the devotion I have been speaking about, and has stripped us of our own garments, she cleanses us and makes us worthy to appear without shame before our heavenly Father.
She clothes us in the clean, new, precious and fragrant garments of Esau, the first born, namely, her Son Jesus Christ. She keeps these garments in her house, that is to say, she has them at her disposal. For she is the treasurer and universal dispenser of the merits and virtues of Jesus her Son. She gives and distributes them to whom she pleases, when she pleases, as she pleases, and as much as she pleases, as we have said above.
She covers the neck and hands of her servants with the skins of the goats that have been killed and flayed, that is, she adorns them with the merits and worth of their own good actions. In truth, she destroys and nullifies all that is impure and imperfect in them. She preserves and enhances this good so that it adorns and strengthens their neck and hands, that is, she gives them the strength to carry the yoke of the Lord and the skill to do great things for the glory of God and the salvation of their poor brothers.
She imparts new perfume and fresh grace to those garments
and adornments by adding to them the garments of her own wardrobe of merits and virtues. She bequeathed these to them before her departure for heaven, as was revealed by a holy nun of the last century, who died a holy death. Thus all her domestics, that is, all her servants and slaves, are clothed with double garments, her own and those of her Son. Now they have nothing to fear from that cold which sinners, naked and stripped as they are of the merits of Jesus and Mary, will be unable to endure.
207. 5) Finally, Mary obtains for them the heavenly Father's blessing. As they are the youngest born and adopted, they are not really entitled to it. Clad in new, precious, and sweet-smelling garments, with body and soul well-prepared and dressed, they confidently approach their heavenly Father. He hears their voice and recognises it as the voice of a sinner. He feels their hands covered with skins, inhales the aroma of their garments. He partakes with joy of what Mary, their Mother, has prepared for him, recognising in it the merits and good odour of his Son and his Blessed Mother.
a) He gives them a twofold blessing, the blessing of the dew of heaven, namely, divine grace, which is the seed of glory. "God has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing," and also the blessing of the fertility of the earth, for as a provident Father, he gives them their daily bread and an ample supply of the goods of the earth.
b) He makes them masters of their other brothers, the reprobate sinners. This domination does not always show in this fleeting world, where sinners often have the upper hand. "How long shall the wicked glory, mouthing insolent reproaches?" "I have seen the wicked triumphant and lifted up like the cedars of Lebanon." But the supremacy of the just is real and will be seen clearly for all eternity in the next world, where the just, as the Holy Spirit tells us, will dominate and command all peoples.
c) The God of all majesty is not satisfied with blessing them in their persons and their possessions, he blesses all who bless them and curses all who curse and persecute them.
2. She provides for all their needs 208. Our Lady's charity towards her faithful servants goes further. She provides them with everything they need for body and soul. We have just seen that she gives them double garments. She also nourishes them with the most delicious food from the banquet table of God. She gives them the Son she has borne, the Bread of Life, to be their food. "Dear children," she says in the words of divine Wisdom, "take your fill of my fruits," that is to say, of the Fruit of Life, Jesus, "whom I brought into the world for you." "Come," she repeats in another passage, "eat the bread which is Jesus. Drink the wine of his love which I have mixed" for you with the milk of my breasts.
As Mary is the treasurer and dispenser of the gifts and graces of the Most High God, she reserves a choice portion, indeed the choicest portion, to nourish and sustain her children and servants. They grow strong on the Bread of Life; they are made joyful with the wine that brings forth virgins. They are carried at her breast. They bear with ease the yoke of Christ scarcely feeling its weight because of the oil of devotion with which she has softened its wood.
3. She leads and guides them 209. A third service which our Lady renders her faithful servants is to lead and direct them according to the will of her Son. Rebecca guided her little son Jacob and gave him good
advice from time to time, which helped him obtain the blessing of his father and saved him from the hatred and persecution of his brother Esau. Mary, Star of the sea, guides all her faithful servants into safe harbour. She shows them the path to eternal life and helps them avoid dangerous pitfalls. She leads them by the hand along the path of holiness, steadies them when they are liable to fall and helps them rise when they have fallen. She chides them like a loving mother when they are remiss and sometimes she even lovingly chastises them. How could a child that follows such a mother and such an enlightened guide as Mary take the wrong path to heaven? Follow her and you cannot go wrong, says St. Bernard. There is no danger of a true child of Mary being led astray by the devil and falling into heresy. Where Mary leads, Satan with his deceptions and heretics with their subtleties are not encountered. "When she upholds you, you will not fall."
4. She defends and protects them 210. The fourth good office our Lady performs for her children and faithful servants is to defend and protect them against their enemies. By her care and ingenuity Rebecca delivered Jacob from all dangers that beset him and particularly from dying at the hands of his brother, as he apparently would have done, since Esau hated and envied him just as Cain hated his brother Abel.
Mary, the beloved Mother of chosen souls, shelters them under her protecting wings as a hen does her chicks. She speaks to them, coming down to their level and accommodating herself to all their weaknesses. To ensure their safety from the hawk and vulture, she becomes their escort, surrounding them as an army in battle array. Could anyone surrounded by a well-ordered army of say a hundred thousand men fear his enemies? No, and still less would a faithful servant of Mary, protected on all sides by her imperial forces, fear his enemy. This powerful Queen of heaven would sooner dispatch millions of angels to help one of her servants than have it said that a single faithful and trusting servant of hers had fallen victim to the malice, number and power of his enemies.
5. She intercedes for them 211. Finally, the fifth and greatest service which this loving Mother renders her faithful followers is to intercede for them with her Son. She appeases him with her prayers, brings her servants into closer union with him and maintains that union.
Rebecca made Jacob approach the bed of his father. His father touched him, embraced him and even joyfully kissed him after having satisfied his hunger with the well-prepared dishes which Jacob had brought him. Then inhaling most
joyfully the exquisite perfume of his garments, he cried: "Behold the fragrance of my son is as the fragrance of a field of plenty which the Lord has blessed." The fragrance of this rich field which so captivated the heart of the father, is none other than the fragrance of the merits and virtues of Mary who is the plentiful field of grace in which God the Father has sown the grain of wheat of the elect, his only Son.
How welcome to Jesus Christ, the Father of the world to come, is a child perfumed with the fragrance of Mary! How readily and how intimately does he unite himself to that child! But this we have already shown at length.
212. Furthermore, once Mary has heaped her favours upon her children and her faithful servants and has secured for themthe blessing of the heavenly Father and union with Jesus
Christ, she keeps them in Jesus and keeps Jesus in them. She guards them, watching over them unceasingly, lest they lose the grace of God and fall into the snares of their enemies. "She keeps the saints in their fullness" (St. Bonaventure), and inspires them to persevere to the end, as we have already said.
Such is the explanation given to this ancient allegory which typifies the mystery of predestination and reprobation.
CHAPTER SIX - WONDERFUL EFFECTS OF THIS DEVOTION
213. My dear friend, be sure that if you remain faithful to the interior and exterior practices of this devotion which I will point out, the following effects will be produced in your soul:
1. Knowledge of our unworthiness By the light which the Holy Spirit will give you through Mary, his faithful spouse, you will perceive the evil inclinations of your fallen nature and how incapable you are of any good apart from that which God produces in you as Author of nature and of grace. As a consequence of this knowledge you will despise yourself and think of yourself only as an object of repugnance. You will consider yourself as a snail that soils everything with its slime, as a toad that poisons everything with its venom, as a malevolent serpent seeking only to deceive. Finally, the humble Virgin Mary will share her humility with you so that, although you regard yourself with distaste and desire to be disregarded by others, you will not look down slightingly upon anyone.
2. A share in Mary's faith 214. Mary will share her faith with you. Her faith on earth was stronger than that of all the patriarchs, prophets, apostles and saints. Now that she is reigning in heaven she no
longer has this faith, since she sees everything clearly in God by the light of glory. However, with the consent of almighty God she did not lose it when entering heaven. She has preserved it for her faithful servants in the Church militant. Therefore the more you gain the friendship of this noble Queen and faithful Virgin the more you will be inspired by faith in your daily life. It will cause you to depend less upon sensible and extraordinary feelings. For it is a lively faith animated by love enabling you to do everything from no other motive than that of pure love. It is a firm faith, unshakable as a rock, prompting you to remain firm and steadfast in the midst of storms and tempests. It is an active and probing faith which like some mysterious pass-key admits you into the mysteries of Jesus Christ and of man's final destiny and into the very heart of God himself. It is a courageous faith which inspires you to undertake and carry out without hesitation great things for God and the salvation of souls. Lastly, this faith will be your flaming torch, your very life with God, your secret fund of divine Wisdom, and an all-powerful weapon for you to enlighten those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death. It inflames those who are lukewarm and need the gold of fervent love. It restores life to those who are dead through sin. It moves and transforms hearts of marble and cedars of Lebanon by gentle and convincing argument. Finally, this faith will strengthen you to resist the devil and the other enemies of salvation.
3. The gift of pure love 215. The Mother of fair love will rid your heart of all scruples and inordinate servile fear. She will open and enlarge it to obey the commandments of her Son with alacrity and with the holy freedom of the children of God. She will fill your heart with pure love of which she is the treasury. You will then cease to act as you did before, out of fear of the God who is love, but rather out of pure love. You will look upon him as a loving Father and endeavour to please him at all times. You will speak trustfully to him as a child does to its father. If you should have the misfortune to offend him you will abase yourself before him and humbly beg his pardon. You will offer your hand to him with simplicity and lovingly rise from your sin. Then, peaceful and relaxed and buoyed up with hope you will continue on your way to him.
4. Great confidence in God and in Mary 216. Our Blessed Lady will fill you with unbounded confidence in God and in herself:
1) Because you will no longer approach Jesus by yourself but always through Mary, your loving Mother.
2) Since you have given her all your merits, graces and satisfactions to dispose of as she pleases, she imparts to you her own virtues and clothes you in her own merits. So you will be able to say confidently to God: "Behold Mary, your handmaid, be it done unto me according to your word."
3) Since you have now given yourself completely to Mary, body and soul, she, who is generous to the generous, and more generous than even the kindest benefactor, will in return give herself to you in a marvellous but real manner. Indeed you may without hesitation say to her, "I am yours, O Blessed Virgin, obtain salvation for me," or with the beloved disciple, St. John, "I have taken you, Blessed Mother, for my all." Or again you may say with St. Bonaventure, "Dear Mother of saving grace, I will do everything with confidence and without fear because you are my strength and my boast in the Lord," or in another place, "I am all yours and all that I have is yours, O glorious Virgin, blessed above all created things. Let me place you as a seal upon my heart, for your love is as strong as death." Or adopting the sentiments of the prophet, "Lord, my heart has no reason to be exalted nor should my looks be proud; I have not sought things of great moment nor wonders beyond my reach; nevertheless, I am still not humble. But I have roused my soul and taken courage. I am as a child, weaned from earthly pleasures and resting on its mother's breast. It is upon this breast that all good things come to me."
4) What will still further increase your confidence in her is that, after having given her in trust all that you possess to use or keep as she pleases, you will place less trust in yourself and much more in her whom you have made your treasury. How comforting and how consoling when a person can say, "The treasury of God, where he has placed all that he holds most precious, is also my treasury." "She is," says a saintly man, "the treasury of the Lord."
5. Communication of the spirit of Mary 217. The soul of Mary will be communicated to you to glorify the Lord. Her spirit will take the place of yours to rejoice in God, her Saviour, but only if you are faithful to the practices of this devotion. As St. Ambrose says, "May the soul of Mary be in each one of us to glorify the Lord! May the spirit of Mary be in each one of us to rejoice in God!" "When will that happy day come," asks a saintly man of our own day whose life was completely wrapped up in Mary, "when God's Mother is enthroned in men's hearts as Queen, subjecting them to the dominion of her great and princely Son? When will souls breathe Mary as the body breathes air?" When that time comes wonderful things will happen on earth. The Holy Spirit, finding his dear Spouse present again in souls, will come down into them with great power. He will fill them with his gifts, especially wisdom, by which they will produce wonders of grace. My dear friend, when will that happy time come, that age of Mary, when many souls, chosen by Mary and given her by the most High God, will hide themselves completely in the depths of her soul, becoming living copies of her, loving and glorifying Jesus? That day will dawn only when the devotion I teach is understood and put into practice. Ut adveniat regnum tuum, adveniat regnum Mariae: "Lord, that your kingdom may come, may the reign of Mary come!"
6. Transformation into the likeness of Jesus 218. If Mary, the Tree of Life, is well cultivated in our soul by fidelity to this devotion, she will in due time bring forth her fruit which is none other than Jesus. I have seen many devout souls searching for Jesus in one way or another, and so often when they have worked hard throughout the night, all they can say is, "Despite our having worked all night, we have caught nothing." To them we can say, "You have worked hard and gained little; Jesus can only be recognised faintly in you." But if we follow the immaculate path of Mary, living the devotion that I teach, we will always work in daylight, we will work in a holy place, and we will work but little. There is no darkness in Mary, not even the slightest shadow since there was never any sin in her. She is a holy place, a holy of holies, in which saints are formed and moulded.
219. Please note that I say that saints are molded in Mary. There is a vast difference between carving a statue by blows of hammer and chisel and making a statue by using a mould. Sculptors and statue-makers work hard and need plenty of time
to make statues by the first method. But the second method does not involve much work and takes very little time. St. Augustine speaking to our Blessed Lady says, "You are worthy to be called the mould of God." Mary is a mould capable of forming people into the image of the God-man. Anyone who is cast into this divine mould is quickly shaped and molded into Jesus and Jesus into him. At little cost and in a short time he will become Christ-like since he is cast into the very same mould that fashioned a God-man.
220. I think I can very well compare some spiritual directors and devout persons to sculptors who wish to produce Jesus in themselves and in others by methods other than this. Many of them rely on their own skill, ingenuity and art and chip away endlessly with mallet and chisel at hard stone or badly-prepared wood, in an effort to produce a likeness of our Lord. At times, they do not manage to produce a recognizable likeness either because they lack knowledge and experience of the person of Jesus or because a clumsy stroke has spoiled the whole work. But those who accept this little-known secret of grace which I offer them can rightly be compared to smelters and moulders who have discovered the beautiful mould of Mary where Jesus was so divinely and so naturally formed. They do not rely on their own skill but on the perfection of the mould. They cast and lose themselves in Mary where they become true models of her Son.
221. You may think this a beautiful and convincing comparison. But how many understand it? I would like you, my dear friend, to understand it. But remember that only molten and liquefied substances may be poured into a mould. That means that you must crush and melt down the old Adam in you if you wish to acquire the likeness of the new Adam in Mary.
7. The greater glory of Christ 222. If you live this devotion sincerely, you will give more glory to Jesus in a month than in many years of a more demanding devotion. Here are my reasons for saying this:
(1) Since you do everything through the Blessed Virgin as required by this devotion, you naturally lay aside your own intentions no matter how good they appear to you. You abandon yourself to our Lady's intentions even though you do not know what they are. Thus you share in the high quality of her intentions, which are so pure that she gave more glory to God by the smallest of her actions, say, twirling her distaff, or making a stitch, than did St. Laurence suffering his cruel martyrdom on the grid-iron, and even more than all the saints together in all their most heroic deeds! Mary amassed such a multitude of merits and graces during her sojourn on earth that it would be easier to count the stars in heaven, the drops of water in the ocean or the sands of the sea-shore than count her merits and graces. She thus gave more glory to God than all the angels and saints have given or will ever give him. Mary, wonder of God, when souls abandon themselves to you, you cannot but work wonders in them!
223. (2) In this devotion we set no store on our own thoughts and actions but are content to rely on Mary's dispositions when approaching and even speaking to Jesus. We then act with far greater humility than others who imperceptibly rely on their own dispositions and are self- satisfied about them; and consequently we give greater glory to God, for perfect glory is given to him only by the lowly and humble of heart.
224. (3) Our Blessed Lady, in her immense love for us, is eager to receive into her virginal hands the gift of our actions, imparting to them a marvelous beauty and splendor, and presenting them herself to Jesus most willingly. More glory is given to our Lord in this way than when we make our offering with our own guilty hands.
225. (4) Lastly, you never think of Mary without Mary thinking of God for you. You never praise or honor Mary without Mary joining you in praising and honoring God. Mary is entirely relative to God. Indeed I would say that she was relative only to God, because she exists uniquely in reference to him.
She is an echo of God, speaking and repeating only God. If you say "Mary" she says "God". When St. Elizabeth praised Mary calling her blessed because she had believed, Mary, the faithful echo of God, responded with her canticle, "My soul glorifies the Lord." What Mary did on that day, she does every day. When we praise her, when we love and honour her, when we present anything to her, then God is praised, honoured and loved and receives our gift through Mary and in Mary.