"Whom do you seek, friend, if you seek not God? Seek him, find him, cleave to him; bind your will to his with bands of steel and you will live always at peace in this life and in the next."

St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"Let persons in the world sanctify themselves in their own houses, for neither the court, professions, or labour, are any hindrance to the service of God."

St Philip Neri

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"Spiritual persons ought to be equally ready to experience sweetness and consolation in the things of God, or to suffer and keep their ground in drynesses of spirit and devotion, and for as long as God pleases, without their making any complaint about it."

St Philip Neri

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St Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort  - 1673 to 1716 - canonized by Pius XII in 1947.

 

  TREATISE ON TRUE DEVOTION TO THE BLESSED VIRGIN
     
 

PART II: THE PERFECT DEVOTION TO OUR LADY) (cont)

 

Ch 5: Biblical Figure of This Perfect Devotion: Rebecca and Jacob (cont)

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 servantswho 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, herinheritance. "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 blessingsof 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 wehave 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 andthe 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.

  1. 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 dailybread and an ample supply of the goods of the earth.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.