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.
- Esau, the elder brother, was strong and robust,
clever, and skilful with the bow and very successful athunting.
- He seldom stayed at home and, relying only on his own
strength and skill, worked out of doors.
- He never went out of his way to please his mother
Rebecca, and did little or nothing for her.
- He was such a glutton and so fond of eating that he
sold his birthright for a dish of lentils.
- 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
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
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,
that she may accept them as her own;
- that she may make themdie 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;
- that she
may clothe them according to their heavenly Father's taste and
for his greater glory, which she knows better than any other
- 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 Marywhich 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
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
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."