152. This devotion is a smooth, short, perfect and sure way
attaining union with our Lord, in which Christian perfection
(a) This devotion is a smooth way. It is the path which
Jesus Christ opened up in coming to us and in which there is
no obstruction to prevent us reaching him. It is quite true
that we can attain to divine union by other roads, but these
involve many more crosses and exceptional setbacks and many
difficulties that we cannot easily overcome. We would have to
pass through spiritual darkness, engage in struggles for which
we are not prepared, endure bitter agonies, scale precipitous
mountains, tread upon painful thorns, and cross frightful
deserts. But when we take the path of Mary, we walk smoothly
It is true that on our way we have hard battles to fight
and serious obstacles to overcome, but Mary, our Mother and
Queen, stays close to her faithful servants. She is always at
hand to brighten their darkness, clear away their doubts,
strengthen them in their fears, sustain them in their combats
and trials. Truly, in comparison with other ways, this virgin
road to Jesus is a path of roses and sweet delights. There
have been some saints, not very many, such as St. Ephrem, St.
John Damascene, St. Bernard, St. Bernardine, St. Bonaventure,
and St. Francis de Sales, who have taken this smooth path to
Jesus Christ, because the Holy Spirit, the faithful Spouse of
Mary, made it known to them by a special grace. The other
saints, who are the greater number, while having a devotion to
Mary, either did not enter or did not go very far along this
path. That is why they had to undergo harder and more
153. Why is it then, a servant of Mary might ask, that devoted
servants of this good Mother are called upon to suffer much
more than those who serve her less generously? They are
opposed, persecuted, slandered, and treated with intolerance.
They may also have to walk in interior darkness and through
spiritual deserts without being given from heaven a single
drop of the dew of consolation. If this devotion to the
Blessed Virgin makes the path to Jesus smoother, how can we
explain why Mary's loyal servants are so ill-treated?
154. I reply that it is quite true that the most faithful
servants of the Blessed Virgin, being her greatest favourites,
receive from her the best graces and favours from heaven,
which are crosses. But I maintain too that these servants of
Mary bear their crosses with greater ease and gain more merit
and glory. What could check another's progress a thousand
times over, or possibly bring about his downfall, does not
balk them at all, but even helps them on their way. For this
good Mother, filled with the grace and unction of the Holy
Spirit, dips all the crosses she prepares for them in the
honey of her maternal sweetness and the unction of pure love.
They then readily swallow them as they would sugared almonds,
though the crosses may be very bitter. I believe that anyone
who wishes to be devout and live piously in Jesus will suffer
persecution and will have a daily cross to carry. But he will
never manage to carry a heavy cross, or carry it joyfully and
perseveringly, without a trusting devotion to our Lady, who is
the very sweetness of the cross. It is obvious that a person
could not keep on eating without great effort unripe fruit
which has not been sweetened.
155. (b) This devotion is a short way to discover Jesus,
either because it is a road we do not wander from, or because,
as we have just said, we walk along this road with greater
ease and joy, and consequently with greater speed. We advance
more in a brief period of submission to Mary and dependence on
her than in whole years of self-will and self-reliance. A man
who is obedient and submissive to Mary will sing of glorious
victories over his enemies It is true, his enemies will try to
impede his progress, force him to retreat or try to make him
fall. But with Mary's help, support and guidance, he will go
forward towards our Lord. Without falling, retreating and even
without being delayed, he will advance with giant strides
towards Jesus along the same road which, as it is written,
Jesus took to come to us with giant strides and in a short
156. Why do you think our Lord spent only a few years here on
earth and nearly all of them in submission and obedience to
his Mother? The reason is that "attaining perfection in a
short time, he lived a long time", even longer than Adam,
whose losses he had come to make good. Yet Adam lived more
than nine hundred years!
Jesus lived a long time, because he lived in complete
submission to his Mother and in union with her, which
obedience to his Father required. The Holy Spirit tells us
that the man who honours his mother is like a man who stores
up a treasure. In other words, the man who honours Mary, his
Mother, to the extent of subjecting himself to her and obeying
her in all things will soon become very rich, because he is
amassing riches every day through Mary who has become his
secret philosopher's stone.
There is another quotation from Holy Scripture, "My old
age will be found in the mercy of the bosom". According to the
mystical interpretation of these words it is in the bosom of
Mary that people who are young grow mature in enlightenment,
in holiness, in experience and in wisdom, and in a short time
reach the fullness of the age of Christ. For it was Mary's
womb which encompassed and produced a perfect man. That same
womb held the one whom the whole universe can neither
encompass nor contain.
157. (c) This devotion is a perfect way to reach our Lord and
be united to him, for Mary is the most perfect and the most
holy of all creatures, and Jesus, who came to us in a perfect
manner, chose no other road for his great and wonderful
journey. The Most High, the Incomprehensible One, the
Inaccessible One, He who is, deigned to come down to us poor
earthly creatures who are nothing at all. How was this done?
The Most High God came down to us in a perfect way
through the humble Virgin Mary, without losing anything of his
divinity or holiness. It is likewise through Mary that we poor
creatures must ascend to almighty God in a perfect manner
without having anything to fear.
God the Incomprehensible, allowed himself to be perfectly
comprehended and contained by the humble Virgin Mary without
losing anything of his immensity. So we must let ourselves be
perfectly contained and led by the humble Virgin without any
reserve on our part.
God, the Inaccessible, drew near to us and united himself
closely, perfectly and even personally to our humanity through
Mary without losing anything of his majesty. So it is also
through Mary that we must draw near to God and unite ourselves
to him perfectly, intimately, and without fear of being rejected.
Lastly, He who is deigned to come down to us who are not
and turned our nothingness into God, or He who is. He did this
perfectly by giving and submitting himself entirely to the
young Virgin Mary, without ceasing to be in time He who is
from all eternity. Likewise it is through Mary that we, who
are nothing, may become like God by grace and glory. We
accomplish this by giving ourselves to her so perfectly and so
completely as to remain nothing, as far as self is concerned,
and to be everything in her, without any fear of illusion.
158. Show me a new road to our Lord, pave it with all the
merits of the saints, adorn it with their heroic virtues,
illuminate and enhance it with the splendour and beauty of the
angels, have all the angels and saints there to guide and
protect those who wish to follow it. Give me such a road and
truly, truly, I boldly say - and I am telling the truth - that
instead of this road, perfect though it be, I would still
choose the immaculate way of Mary. It is a way, a road without
stain or spot, without original sin or actual sin, without
shadow or darkness,. When our loving Jesus comes in glory once
again to reign upon earth - as he certainly will - he will
choose no other way than the Blessed Virgin, by whom he came
so surely and so perfectly the first time. The difference
between his first and his second coming is that the first was
secret and hidden, but the second will be glorious and
resplendent. Both are perfect because both are through Mary.
Alas, this is a mystery which we cannot understand, "Here let
every tongue be silent."
159. (d) This devotion to our Lady is a sure way to go to
Jesus and to acquire holiness through union with him.
(1) The devotion which I teach is not new. Its history
goes back so far that the time of its origin cannot be
ascertained with any precision, as Fr. Boudon, who died a holy
death a short time ago, states in a book which he wrote on
this devotion. It is however certain that for more than seven
hundred years we find traces of it in the Church.
St. Odilo, abbot of Cluny, who lived about the year 1040,
was one of the first to practise it publicly in France as is
told in his life.
Cardinal Peter Damian relates that in the year 1076 his
brother, Blessed Marino, made himself the slave of the Blessed
Virgin in the presence of his spiritual director in a most
edifying manner. He placed a rope around his neck, scourged
himself and placed on the altar a sum of money as a token of
his devotion and consecration to our Lady. He remained so
faithful to this consecration all his life that me merited to
be visited and consoled on his death-bed by his dear Queen and
hear from her lips the promise of paradise in reward for his
Caesarius Bollandus mentions a famous knight, Vautier de
Birback, a close relative of the Dukes of Louvain, who about
the year 1300 consecrated himself to the Blessed Virgin.
This devotion was also practised privately by many people
up to the seventeenth century, when it became publicly known.
160. Father Simon de Rojas of the Order of the Holy Trinity
for the Redemption of Captives, court preacher to Philip III,
made this devotion popular throughout Spain and Germany.
Through the intervention of Philip III, he obtained from
Gregory XV valuable indulgences for those who practised it.
Father de los Rios, of the Order of St. Augustine,
together with his intimate friend, Father de Roias, worked
hard, propagating it throughout Spain and Germany by preaching
and writing. He composed a large volume entitled "Hierarchia
Mariana", where he treats of the antiquity, the excellence and
the soundness of this devotion, with as much devotion as
The Theatine Fathers in the seventeenth century
established this devotion in Italy and Savoy.
161. Father Stanislaus Phalacius of the Society of Jesus
spread this devotion widely in Poland.
Father de los Rios in the book quoted above mentions the
names of princes and princesses, bishops and cardinals of
different countries who embraced this devotion.
Father Cornelius a Lapide, noted both for holiness and
profound learning, was commissioned by several bishops and
theologians to examine it. The praise he gave it after mature
examination, is a worthy tribute to his own holiness. Many
other eminent men followed his example.
The Jesuit Fathers, ever zealous in the service of our
Blessed Lady, presented on behalf of the sodalities of Cologne
to Duke Ferdinand of Bavaria, the then archbishop of Cologne,
a little treatise on the devotion, and he gave it his approval
and granted permission to have it printed. He exhorted all
priests and religious of his diocese to do their utmost to
spread this solid devotion.
162. Cardinal de B‚rulle, whose memory is venerated throughout
France, was outstandingly zealous in furthering the devotion
in France, despite the calumnies and persecutions he suffered
at the hands of critics and evil men. They accused him of
introducing novelty and superstition. They composed and
published a libellous tract against him and they - rather the
devil in them - used a thousand stratagems to prevent him from
spreading the devotion in France. But this eminent and saintly
man responded to their calumnies with calm patience. He wrote
a little book in reply and forcefully refuted the objections
contained in it. He pointed out that this devotion is founded
on the example given by Jesus Christ, on the obligations we
have towards him and on the promises we made in holy baptism.
It was mainly this last reason which silenced his enemies. He
made clear to them that this consecration to the Blessed
Virgin, and through her to Jesus, is nothing less than a
perfect renewal of the promises and vows of baptism. He said
many beautiful things concerning this devotion which can be
read in his works.
163. In Fr. Boudon's book we read of different popes who gave
their approval to this devotion, the theologians who examined
it, the hostility it encountered and overcame, the thousands
who made it their own without censure from any pope. Indeed it
could not be condemned without overthrowing the foundations of
Christianity. It is obvious then that this devotion is not
new. If it is not commonly practised, the reason is that it is
too sublime to be appreciated and undertaken by everyone.
164. (2) This devotion is a safe means of going to Jesus
Christ, because it is Mary's role to lead us safely to her
Son; just as it is the role of our Lord to lead us to the
eternal Father. Those who are spiritually-minded should not
fall into the error of thinking that Mary hinders our union
with God. How could this possibly happen? How could Mary, who
found grace with God for everyone in general and each one in
particular, prevent a soul from obtaining the supreme grace of
union with him? Is it possible that she who was so completely
filled with grace to overflowing, so united to Christ and
transformed in God that it became necessary for him to be made
flesh in her, should prevent a soul from being perfectly
united to him?
It is quite true that the example of other people, no
matter how holy, can sometimes impair union with God, but not
so our Blessed Lady, as I have said and shall never weary of
repeating. One reason why so few souls come to the fullness of
the age of Jesus is that Mary who is still as much as ever his
Mother and the fruitful spouse of the Holy Spirit is not
formed well enough in their hearts. If we desire a ripe and
perfectly formed fruit, we must possess the tree that bears
it. If we desire the fruit of life, Jesus Christ, we must
possess the tree of life which is Mary. If we desire to have
the Holy Spirit working within us, we must possess his
faithful and inseparable spouse, Mary the divinely-favoured
one whom, as I have said elsewhere, he can make fruitful.
165. Rest assured that the more you turn to Mary in your
prayers, meditations, actions and sufferings, seeing her if
not perhaps clearly and distinctly, at least in a general and
indistinct way, the more surely you will discover Jesus. For
he is always greater, more powerful, more active, and more
mysterious when acting through Mary than he is in any other
creature in the universe, or even in heaven. Thus Mary, so
divinely-favoured and so lost in God, is far from being an
obstacle to good people who are striving for union with him.
There has never been and there never will be a creature so
ready to help us in achieving that union more effectively, for
she will dispense to us all the graces to attain that end. As
a saint once remarked, "Only Mary knows how to fill our minds
with the thought of God." Moreover, Mary will safeguard us
against the deception and cunning of the evil one.
166. Where Mary is present, the evil one is absent. One of the
unmistakable signs that a person is led by the Spirit of God
is the devotion he has to Mary, and his habit of thinking and
speaking of her. This is the opinion of a saint, who goes on
to say that just as breathing is a proof that the body is not
dead, so the habitual thought of Mary and loving converse with
her is a proof that the soul is not spiritually dead in sin.
167. Since Mary alone has crushed all heresies, as we are told
by the Church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit (Office of
B.V.M.), a devoted servant of hers will never fall into formal
heresy or error, though critics may contest this. He may very
well err materially, mistaking lies for truth or an evil
spirit for a good one, but he will be less likely to do this
than others. Sooner or later he will discover his error and
will not go on stubbornly believing and maintaining what he
mistakenly thought was the truth.
168. Whoever then wishes to advance along the road to holiness
and be sure of encountering the true Christ, without fear of
the illusions which afflict many devout people, should take up
with valiant heart and willing spirit this devotion to Mary
which perhaps he had not previously heard about. Even if it is
new to him, let him enter upon this excellent way which I am
now revealing to him. "I will show you a more excellent way."
It was opened up by Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Wisdom.
He is our one and only Head, and we, his members, cannot go
wrong in following him. It is a smooth way made easy by the
fullness of grace, the unction of the Holy Spirit. In our
progress along this road, we do not weaken or turn back. It is
a quick way and leads us to Jesus in a short time. It is a
perfect way without mud or dust or any vileness of sin.
Finally, it is a reliable way, for it is direct and sure,
having no turnings to right or left but leading us straight to
Jesus and to life eternal.
Let us then take this road and travel along it night and
day until we arrive at the fullness of the age of Jesus