On Saturday we celebrate the feast of St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort. This French priest is perhaps best known for writings on the Blessed Virgin Mary. In chapter two of his work “True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin,” Saint Louis writes about what consists of true devotion to Mary:
61. Jesus, our Saviour, true God and true man must be the ultimate end of all our other devotions; otherwise they would be false and misleading. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and end of everything.
62. If then we are establishing sound devotion to our Blessed Lady, it is only in order to establish devotion to our Lord more perfectly, by providing a smooth but certain way of reaching Jesus Christ. If devotion to our Lady distracted us from our Lord, we would have to reject it as an illusion of the devil. But this is far from being the case. … this devotion is necessary, simply and solely because it is a way of reaching Jesus perfectly, loving him tenderly, and serving him faithfully.
These are wise words from St. Louis! We must always remember that Our Lady draws us closer to her Son; and that Our Lord wants us to be drawn to Him through His Mother! We should not be afraid to give the Blessed Virgin Mary the honour she is due: She was chosen by God, to bear God
, she is full of grace, she was immaculately conceived, she was carried up to heaven, she is blessed among women!
St. Louis continues in his work complaining "lovingly" to our Lord about people who do not recognize the special bond between Jesus and Mary. He makes the point to say he's not referring to pagans, or heretics, but to some Catholics! St. Louis writes:
These people seldom speak of your Mother or devotion to her. They say they are afraid that devotion to her will be abused and that you will be offended by excessive honour paid to her.
If they are sometimes heard speaking of devotion to your Mother, it is not for the purpose of promoting it or convincing people of it but only to destroy the abuses made of it. Yet all the while these persons are devoid of piety or genuine devotion to you, for they have no devotion to Mary. They consider the Rosary and the Scapular as devotions suitable only for simple women or ignorant people.
It's a curious attitude to have -- and one that is not necessarily uncommon today! Some people may view the beautiful prayer of the Rosary as something that is said by a "bunch of widows spending their day in Church." If in some instances that is the case, then there's nothing necessarily wrong with that, because that "bunch of widows" may just be praying for your soul! Young people certainly do pray the Rosary too -- in fact you can catch a group of young people praying the Rosary on Salt + Light; our Rosary from the Holy Land
, airs daily at 6am and 8:30 am ET, with a special presentation at 6pm and 8:30pm ET on Thursdays.
On this feast of St. Louis de Montfort let's consider some ways we can develop deeper devotion to Our Lady. We could meditate on her role as the Mother of God. Or read scripture passages about her: the Annunciation or Nativity stories in Matthew or Luke, the Wedding Feast at Cana (John 2:1-11), or our Lord entrusting his mother to John while on the cross (John 19:26-26). There are many Marian prayers to consider: the Maginificat, the Salve Regina, the Memorare, the Regina Caeli, and so on. Read them over slowly, considering each word. Perhaps you will want to take one of these things and
incorporate it more fully into your life during the month of May, a month traditionally associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Let us pray to St. Louis de Montfort and ask him to open our hearts so that we too may be filled with, and share with others, the great love for the Mother of God that he burned with! And let us ask this noble French saint to intercede on our behalf -- to draw us closer to Holy Mary, so that She in turn may draw us closer to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ!
St. Louis de Montfort, pray for us!
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us!