257. The exterior practices of this devotion which I have just
dealt with should be observed as far as one's circumstances
and state of life permit. They should not be omitted through
negligence or deliberate disregard. In addition to them, here
are some very sanctifying interior practices for those souls
who feel called by the Holy Spirit to a high degree of
perfection. They may be expressed in four words, doing
everything through Mary, with Mary, in Mary, and for Mary, in
order to do it more perfectly through Jesus, with Jesus, in
Jesus, and for Jesus.
258. We must do everything through Mary, that is, we must obey
her always and be led in all things by her spirit, which is
the Holy Spirit of God. "Those who are led by the Spirit of
God are children of God," says St. Paul. Those who are led by
the spirit of Mary are children of Mary, and, consequently
children of God, as we have already shown. Among the many
servants of Mary only those who are truly and faithfully
devoted to her are led by her spirit.
I have said that the spirit of Mary is the spirit of God
because she was never led by her own spirit,, but always by
the spirit of God, who made himself master of her to such an
extent that he became her very spirit. That is why 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." Happy is the man who follows the example of
the good Jesuit Brother Rodriguez, who died a holy death,
because he will be completely possessed and governed by the
spirit of Mary, a spirit which is gentle yet strong, zealous
yet prudent, humble yet courageous, pure yet fruitful.
259. The person who wishes to be led by this spirit of Mary:
1) Should renounce his own spirit, his own views and his
own will before doing anything, for example, before making
meditation, celebrating or attending Mass, before Communion.
For the darkness of our own spirit and the evil tendencies of
our own will and actions, good as they may seem to us, would
hinder the holy spirit of Mary were we to follow them.
2) We should give ourselves up to the spirit of Mary to
be moved and directed as she wishes. We should place and leave
ourselves in her virginal hands, like a tool in the hands of a
craftsman or a lute in the hands of a good musician. We should
cast ourselves into her like a stone thrown into the sea. This
is done easily and quickly by a mere thought, a slight
movement of the will or just a few words as, "I renounce
myself and give myself to you, my dear Mother." And even if we
do not experience any emotional fervour in this spiritual
encounter it is none the less real. It is just as if a person
with equal sincerity were to say - which God forbid! - "I give
myself to the devil." Even though this were said without
feeling any emotion, he would no less really belong to the
3) From time to time during an action and after it, we
should renew this same act of offering and of union. The more
we do so, the quicker we shall grow in holiness and the sooner
we shall reach union with Christ, which necessarily follows
upon union with Mary, since the spirit of Mary is the spirit
260. We must do everything with Mary, that is to say, in all
our actions we must look upon Mary, although a simple human
being, as the perfect model of every virtue and perfection,
fashioned by the Holy Spirit for us to imitate, as far as our
limited capacity allows. In every action then we should
consider how Mary performed it or how she would perform it if
she were in our place. For this reason, we must examine and
meditate on the great virtues she practised during her life,
1) Her lively faith, by which she believed the angel's
word without the least hesitation, and believed faithfully and
constantly even to the foot of the Cross on Calvary.
2) Her deep humility, which made her prefer seclusion,
maintain silence, submit to every eventuality and put herself
in the last place.
3) Her truly divine purity, which never had and never
will have its equal on this side of heaven.
And so on for her other virtues.
Remember what I told you before, that Mary is the great,
unique mould of God, designed to make living images of God at
little expense and in a short time. Anyone who finds this
mould and casts himself into it, is soon transformed into our
Lord because it is the true likeness of him.
261. We must do everything in Mary. To understand this we must
realise that the Blessed Virgin is the true earthly paradise
of the new Adam and that the ancient paradise was only a
symbol of her. There are in this earthly paradise untold
riches, beauties, rarities and delights, which the new Adam,
Jesus Christ, has left there. It is in this paradise that he
"took his delights" for nine months, worked his wonders and
displayed his riches with the magnificence of God himself.
This most holy place consists of only virgin and immaculate
soil from which the new Adam was formed with neither spot nor
stain by the operation of the Holy Spirit who dwells there. In
this earthly paradise grows the real Tree of Life which bore
our Lord, the fruit of Life, the tree of knowledge of good and
evil, which bore the Light of the world.
In this divine place there are trees planted by the hand
of God and watered by his divine unction which have borne and
continue to bear fruit that is pleasing to him. There are
flower-beds studded with a variety of beautiful flowers of
virtue, diffusing a fragrance which delights even the angels.
Here there are meadows verdant with hope, impregnable towers
of fortitude, enchanting mansions of confidence and many other
Only the Holy Spirit can teach us the truths that these
material objects symbolise. In this place the air is perfectly
pure. There is no night but only the brilliant day of the
sacred humanity, the resplendent, spotless sun of the
Divinity, the blazing furnace of love, melting all the base
metal thrown into it and changing it into gold. There the
river of humility gushes forth from the soil, divides into
four branches and irrigates the whole of this enchanted place.
These branches are the four cardinal virtues.
262. The Holy Spirit speaking through the Fathers of the
Church, also calls our Lady the Eastern Gate, through which
the High Priest, Jesus Christ, enters and goes out into the
world. Through this gate he entered the world the first time
and through this same gate he will come the second time.
The Holy Spirit also calls her the Sanctuary of the
Divinity, the Resting-Place of the Holy Spirit, the Throne of
God, the City of God, the Altar of God, the Temple of God, the
World of God. All these titles and expressions of praise are
very real when related to the different wonders the Almighty
worked in her and the graces which he bestowed on her. What
wealth and what glory! What a joy and a privilege for us to
enter and dwell in Mary, in whom almighty God has set up the
throne of his supreme glory!
263. But how difficult it is for us to have the freedom, the
ability and the light to enter such an exalted and holy place.
This place is guarded not by a cherub, like the first earthly
paradise, but by the Holy Spirit himself who has become its
absolute Master. Referring to her, he says: "You are an
enclosed garden, my sister, my bride, an enclosed garden and a
sealed fountain." Mary is enclosed. Mary is sealed. The
unfortunate children of Adam and Eve driven from the earthly
paradise, can enter this new paradise only by a special grace
of the Holy Spirit which they have to merit.
264. When we have obtained this remarkable grace by our
fidelity, we should be delighted to remain in Mary. We should
rest there peacefully, rely on her confidently, hide ourselves
there with safety, and abandon ourselves unconditionally to
her, so that within her virginal bosom:
1) We may be nourished with the milk of her grace and her
2) We may be delivered from all anxiety, fear and
3) We may be safeguarded from all our enemies, the devil,
the world and sin which have never gained admittance there.That is why our Lady says that those who work in her will not
sin, that is, those who dwell spiritually in our Lady will
never commit serious sin.
4) We may be formed in our Lord and our Lord formed in
us, because her womb is, as the early Fathers call it, the
house of the divine secrets where Jesus and all the elect have
been conceived. "This one and that one were born in her."
265. Finally, we must do everything for Mary. Since we have
given ourselves completely to her service, it is only right
that we should do everything for her as if we were her
personal servant and slave. This does not mean that we take
her for the ultimate end of our service for Jesus alone is our
ultimate end. But we take Mary for our proximate end, our
mysterious intermediary and the easiest way of reaching him.
Like every good servant and slave we must not remain
idle, but, relying on her protection, we should undertake and
carry out great things for our noble Queen. We must defend her
privileges when they are questioned and uphold her good name
when it is under attack. We must attract everyone, if
possible, to her service and to this true and sound devotion.
We must speak up and denounce those who distort devotion to
her by outraging her Son, and at the same time we must apply
ourselves to spreading this true devotion. As a reward for
these little services, we should expect nothing in return save
the honour of belonging to such a lovable Queen and the joy of
being united through her to Jesus, her Son, by a bond that is
indissoluble in time and in eternity. Glory to Jesus in Mary!
Glory to Mary in Jesus! Glory to God alone!