Second principle: We belong to Jesus and Mary as their slaves
68. From what Jesus Christ is in regard to us we must
conclude, as St. Paul says, that we belong not to ourselves
but entirely to him as his members and his slaves, for he
bought us at an infinite price - the shedding of his Precious
Blood. Before baptism, we belonged to the devil as slaves, but
baptism made us in very truth slaves of Jesus.
We must therefore live, work and die for the sole purpose
of bringing forth fruit for him, glorifying him in our body
and letting him reign in our soul. We are his conquest, the
people he has won, his heritage.
It is for this reason that the Holy Spirit compares us:
- to trees that are planted along the waters of grace in the
field of the Church and which must bear their fruit when the
- to branches of the vine of which Jesus is the
stem, which must yield good grapes;
- to a flock of sheep of
which Jesus is the Shepherd, which must increase and give
- to good soil cultivated by God, where the seed will
spread and produce crops up to thirty-fold, sixty-fold, or a
hundred-fold. Our Lord cursed the barren fig-tree and
condemned the slothful servant who wasted his talent.
All this proves that he wishes to receive some fruit from
our wretched selves, namely, our good works, which by right
belong to him alone, "created in Jesus Christ for good works".
These words of the Holy Spirit show that Jesus is the sole
source and must be the sole end of all our good works, and
that we must serve him not just as paid servants but as slaves
of love. Let me explain what I mean.
69. There are two ways of belonging to another person and
being subject to his authority. One is by ordinary service and
the other is by slavery. And so we must use the terms
"servant" and "slave". Ordinary service in Christian countries
is when a man is employed to serve another for a certain
length of time at a wage which is fixed or agreed upon. When a
man is totally dependent on another for life, and must serve
his master without expecting any wages or recompense, when he
is treated just like a beast of the field over which the owner
has the right of life and death, then it is slavery.
70. Now there are three kinds of slavery; natural slavery,
enforced slavery, and voluntary slavery. All creatures are
slaves of God in the first sense, for "the earth and its
fullness belong to the Lord". The devils and the damned are
slaves in the second sense. The saints in heaven and the just
on earth are slaves in the third sense. Voluntary slavery is
the most perfect of all three states, for by it we give the
greatest glory to God, who looks into the heart and wants it
to be given to him. Is he not indeed called the God of the
heart or of the loving will? For by this slavery we freely
choose God and his service before all things, even if we were
not by our very nature obliged to do so.
71. There is a world of difference between a servant and a
- A servant does not give his employer all he is, all
he has, and all he can acquire by himself or through others. A
slave, however, gives himself to his master completely and
exclusively with all he has and all he can acquire.
servant demands wages for the services rendered to his
employer. A slave, on the other hand, can expect nothing, no
matter what skill, attention or energy he may have put into
- A servant can leave his employer whenever he
pleases, or at least when the term of his service expires,
whereas the slave has no such right.
- An employer has no
right of life and death over a servant. Were he to kill him as
he would a beast of burden, he would commit murder. But the
master of a slave has by law the right of life and death over
him, so that he can sell him to anyone he chooses or - if you
will pardon the comparison - kill him as he would kill his
- Finally, a servant is in his employer's service only
for a time; a slave for always.
72. No other human state involves belonging more completely
to another than slavery. Among Christian peoples, nothing
makes a person belong more completely to Jesus and his holy
Mother than voluntary slavery. Our Lord himself gave us the
example of this when out of love for us he "took the form of a
slave". Our Lady gave us the same example when she called
herself the handmaid or slave of the Lord. The Apostle
considered it an honour to be called "slave of Christ".
Several times in Holy Scripture, Christians are referred to as
"slaves of Christ".
The Latin word "servus" at one time signified only a
slave because servants as we know them did not exist. Masters
were served either by slaves or by freedmen. The Catechism of
the Council of Trent leaves no doubt about our being slaves of
Jesus Christ, using the unequivocal term "Mancipia Christi",
which plainly means: slaves of Christ.
73. Granting this, I say that we must belong to Jesus and
serve him not just as hired servants but as willing slaves
who, moved by generous love, commit themselves to his service
after the manner of slaves for the honour of belonging to him.
Before we were baptised we were the slaves of the devil, but
baptism made us the slaves of Jesus. Christians can only be
slaves of the devil or slaves of Christ.
74. What I say in an absolute sense of our Lord, I say in a
relative sense of our Blessed Lady. Jesus, in choosing her as
his inseparable associate in his life, glory and power in
heaven and on earth, has given her by grace in his kingdom all
the same rights and privileges that he possesses by nature.
"All that belongs to God by nature belongs to Mary by grace",
say the saints, and, according to them, just as Jesus and Mary
have the same will and the same power, they have also the same
subjects, servants and slaves.
75. Following therefore the teaching of the saints and of
many great men we can call ourselves, and become, the loving
slaves of our Blessed Lady in order to become more perfect
slaves of Jesus. Mary is the means our Lord chose to come to
us and she is also the means we should choose to go to him,
for she is not like other creatures who tend rather to lead us
away from God than towards him, if we are over-attached to
them. Mary's strongest inclination is to unite us to Jesus,
her Son, and her Son's strongest wish is that we come to him
through his Blessed Mother. He is pleased and honoured just as
a king would be pleased and honoured if a citizen, wanting to
become a better subject and slave of the king, made himself
the slave of the queen. That is why the Fathers of the Church,
and St. Bonaventure after them, assert that the Blessed Virgin
is the way which leads to our Lord.
76. Moreover, if, as I have said, the Blessed Virgin is the
Queen and Sovereign of heaven and earth, does she not then
have as many subjects and slaves as there are creatures? "All
things, including Mary herself, are subject to the power of
God. All things, God included, are subject to the Virgin's
power", so we are told by St. Anselm, St. Bernard, St.
Bernardine and St. Bonaventure. Is it not reasonable to find
that among so many slaves there should be some slaves of love,
who freely choose Mary as their Queen? Should men and demons
have willing slaves, and Mary have none? A king makes it a
point of honour that the queen, his consort, should have her
own slaves, over whom she has right of life and death, for
honour and power given to the queen is honour and power given
to the king. Could we possibly believe that Jesus, the best of
all sons, who shared his power with his Blessed Mother, would
resent her having her own slaves? Has he less esteem and love
for his Mother than Ahasuerus had for Esther, or Solomon for
Bathsheba? Who could say or even think such a thing?
77. But where is my pen leading me? Why am I wasting my time
proving something so obvious? If people are unwilling to call
themselves slaves of Mary, what does it matter? Let them
become and call themselves slaves of Jesus Christ, for this is
the same as being slaves of Mary, since Jesus is the fruit and
glory of Mary. This is what we do perfectly in the devotion we
shall discuss later.