A few issues with True Devotion


#1

Hi :slight_smile:

some background… for a while now, I’ve been interested in the spirituality of St Louis de Montfort. I’ve been reading True Devotion and also Secret of Mary. When I first started reading, I couldn’t understand or accept very much. I thought the book was wrong about many things. But then I started praying about it, and God really changed my mind. I started really loving this book and agreeing with the concepts. Not just intellectually, but they really made sense in my heart as well. I think that Our Lady showed me that De Montfort’s teachings about her are correct, and I’m very thankful for that, and since then I’ve been more devoted to her. I’m also thankful cause when I was a Protestant, I used to really dislike Mary :frowning: that’s something I really regret… so it’s amazing that even despite that, Mary didn’t give up on me.

Well ever since I started looking into the Church a year and a half ago, I started really wanting to give myself totally to God. I don’t mean entering a religious order, that’s not something I’ve discerned yet. But to be completely surrendered to His will. And I was looking for ways to do that, but when I read about De Montfort’s method, I felt like this was the most effective one. I’m not humble enough or advanced enough to come to God on my own without making mistakes. But I think, if I give myself to Mary, she would take away all the imperfections in what I do, and lead me more surely to Him. It’s the “easier”, more “surer” method, although of course it’s not very easy at all, and requires humility too…

For the past week I’ve been thinking about the day I’d like to consecrate myself to Our Lady. After some research, thought, and prayer, I decided on Our Mother of Perpetual Help on June 27th. You might have seen my thread about that devotion :wink: I just wanted to learn more about it, but then afterwards, I thought it would be perfect for this occasion. I love what the icon symbolizes, it sort of unites both the East and the West (I was baptized Eastern Orthodox as a child), and the feast day is on Saturday - a day devoted to Our Lady to begin with… and I’d be able to go to Confession… and there’s lots of time to prepare too! :slight_smile:

I re-read Secret of Mary yesterday. And for the whole time I was reading it, I felt soo much joy, and so close to Mary. I felt like she is such a loving gentle Mother to us, who wouldn’t want to give themselves to her? I started thinking of all the things I could do on that day, to make it special and to honour her. And then, well I feel that I made a big mistake :frowning: I don’t know if it is or not… but it just confused me and messed me up a lot… I accidently told somebody, that I’d like to do this consecration… but they’re not a Catholic, although devoted to Our Lady. (Orthodox). I say ‘accidently’ cause I was talking about another topic, and then somehow went on to this one and said more than I had planned. The reason this bothered me is because in the Secret of Mary, St Louis de Montfort says that we shouldn’t tell this “secret” to just anyone, but only people who are likely to consecrate themselves too, and who deserve it. I’m not saying the person I told doesn’t deserve it, but she’s not a Catholic, and it just felt wrong, like some things are just not meant to be shared. I don’t think she really understood it anyway, cause she said it all seems too much like a “game” to her, not really serious. This confused me too cause it’s …well, it’s ridiculously serious LOL. I feel so bad that I broke one of the “conditions” outlined on the very first page of the book, and I even started wondering if I wouldn’t receive any more grace to make this consecration, cause I do believe it all happened by God’s grace. Sorry if I’m sounding really silly…

but ever since then, I started doubting about parts of the book, that I’ve never doubted before. I was hoping that maybe some of you could give me some advice, since I thought, maybe there are people here who have consecrated themselves in this way? Here are my questions…

  1. It says in Secret of Mary that after the Total Consecration, all our merits, prayers, sacrifices, mortifications, etc, all belong to Mary. So let’s say if you’re fasting, you can’t decide how this will be used, that’s up to her. She might use it to help a sinner, or a soul in purgatory. That’s different than what we usually do, cause we usually decide on the intention ourselves. Well I don’t really have a problem with that, cause I’m sure Our Lady knows better than I do what is needed, and what God’s will is. But… how does this affect our prayers? Can we offer a decade of the Rosary for some particular intention? Let’s say you have a family member who doesn’t know God, or isn’t close to God, and you really want to pray for them… can you still? Can you ask Mary to pray for them too, or humbly request that our actions may benefit them? (while of course abiding by her will)

(to be continued…)


#2
  1. I read somewhere before that God wants us to be His free children, while the devil wants us to be like slaves, to absorb our will into his. But St Louis de Montfort talks a lot about “the holy slavery of love” and that this devotion makes us slaves of Mary. He says this is different than the tyrannical slavery of the devil, or human slavery, cause it’s voluntary and based on love. This always made sense to me in a way but this morning I found myself re-thinking it… =( …do you think that God would want us to keep our will, and not give it to anyone, not even Him or Mary? Isn’t “free will” part of our being His children? However… I think what St Louis is talking about is more like freely surrendering your will to God’s, and you’re still free, although no longer your own. Wanting to do “our own will” is of course from the devil and comes from pride. So this “slavery” actually helps us to be God’s free children, cause we enter it voluntarily, and just as those who “lose their life would save it”, so would we find TRUE freedom in giving it away to God. Is this correct?

  2. I have to say that for me, sometimes I really like the idea of no longer being “my own”, and other times I’m afraid of it. I mean…this devotion is basically giving up everything to Mary, not only your soul and body, but also your family and possessions and all your merits and good works ETC. I’ve noticed that when I trust Mary, when I believe that she would take care of me and my family, I don’t have a problem with that. But when I’m afraid of it, that usually comes from distrust. This makes me really sad :frowning: I feel like I have so much distrust, and so little faith, and so much pride in me… so I’m wondering, how can I possibly make this consecration worthily? If I do it, then I wouldn’t be able to claim anything for “my own”, not on earth, and not in eternity. Even if at the Last Judgement, God will show me anything good that I’ve done, I wouldn’t be able to boast in it at all cause my good works would only be pleasing to God because Mary perfected and embellished them with her merits. I think this devotion emphasizes soo clearly our salvation by grace. If we’re saved, it would only be by God’s mercy. And we can’t boast in anything. But especially so if we’re consecrated to Mary! This is quite possibly THE most humbling devotion in existence… I think…

I really want to TRUST more. I want to believe that if I give myself to Mary, she’d safely lead me to God, that she would take care of my family, and lead us all to salvation… that even though I wouldn’t be able to decide what my good actions, merits, etc, would be used for, that she would still allow them to be used for the intentions that are close to my heart. For example, I have a good friend who doesn’t know God. I don’t ever say who will go to heaven and who will go to hell. But sometimes I pray for her or offer little sacrifices for her, that she would find faith. If I make this consecration, would I no longer be allowed to do this?? that’s the part I don’t get! Oki if not though, would Mary still help my friend? Can I ask her to?

I really think all my doubts and fears here are coming from distrust and pride. It’s like a part of me feels that I ‘know better’ than the Mother of God, that if I consecrate myself to her, something would go wrong, cause I’d give up control of my life. That’s soo wrong… I know… ugh… I really hope God helps me…

sorry this is so long… I hope it makes sense what I’m trying to say? If anyone could share their thoughts on this, it would help a lot…

thanks! :slight_smile:
God bless!


#3

First things first: Mary didn’t practice the true devotion to Mary. I think once you come to internalize that aspect, the actual consecration will be more real than what de Montfort attempts to describe.

In essence, though, I’ve taken de Montfort’s Mariology as being applicable to the whole of all theology: even those people who aren’t specfically consecrated to Mary nonetheless must have their prayers reach Our Lord through His Mother. In short, there’s not a single prayer being offered anywhere in the world that isn’t first “polished” by Our Merciful Mother whether we like it or not! Being consecrated only focuses the intention more narrowly.

Does that make sense?

  1. It says in Secret of Mary that after the Total Consecration, all our merits, prayers, sacrifices, mortifications, etc, all belong to Mary. So let’s say if you’re fasting, you can’t decide how this will be used, that’s up to her. She might use it to help a sinner, or a soul in purgatory. That’s different than what we usually do, cause we usually decide on the intention ourselves. Well I don’t really have a problem with that, cause I’m sure Our Lady knows better than I do what is needed, and what God’s will is. But… how does this affect our prayers? Can we offer a decade of the Rosary for some particular intention? Let’s say you have a family member who doesn’t know God, or isn’t close to God, and you really want to pray for them… can you still? Can you ask Mary to pray for them too, or humbly request that our actions may benefit them? (while of course abiding by her will)

Think of it this way: if you say a decade of the rosary for all the failing missions throughout the world, that they recoup and be able to successfully perform their duties whereever they might be, why wouldn’t Mary also desire the same thing?

If you pray for your parents, that they be blessed and grow closer to God, why wouldn’t Mary also desire that?

What we need to learn to do, though, is relinquish control. Saying a decade of the rosary so that I might find a job, or a significant other, or become a religious might not be what God wants, and so Mary will take the “energy” of that prayer and direct it towards those failing missions in Africa, which is much more noble and deserving.


#4

thanks! :slight_smile: that helps… another thought I just had is that I think it’s important to be like a little child with Mary. To trust her and to understand that she cares about us, and loves us. Doubt, skepticism, pride, all that is not having the faith of a child. Maybe I could pray to St Therese to help me :wink:


#5

Our free will is to do the will of God.

We have the choice to do good or to do evil everyday. Right now, I have the choice to abide by His eternal commandments and pray for my enemies and those who persecute me rather than punching them or even killing them! :eek: Honestly, despite the anger I sometimes feel against people who wrong me, it’s not terribly difficult for me to restrain myself because I’d rather do the right thing, and thus that makes me a slave to love, a slave to the good, and since God is Love and God is Good, that makes me his slave.

Too often we think like the philosopher William James who said, “My first act of free will is to believe in free will!” Free will doesn’t mean we get to do what we want when we want, which can easily lead to rebellion.

  1. I have to say that for me, sometimes I really like the idea of no longer being “my own”, and other times I’m afraid of it. I mean…this devotion is basically giving up everything to Mary, not only your soul and body, but also your family and possessions and all your merits and good works ETC. I’ve noticed that when I trust Mary, when I believe that she would take care of me and my family, I don’t have a problem with that. But when I’m afraid of it, that usually comes from distrust. This makes me really sad :frowning: I feel like I have so much distrust, and so little faith, and so much pride in me… so I’m wondering, how can I possibly make this consecration worthily? If I do it, then I wouldn’t be able to claim anything for “my own”, not on earth, and not in eternity. Even if at the Last Judgement, God will show me anything good that I’ve done, I wouldn’t be able to boast in it at all cause my good works would only be pleasing to God because Mary perfected and embellished them with her merits. I think this devotion emphasizes soo clearly our salvation by grace. If we’re saved, it would only be by God’s mercy. And we can’t boast in anything. But especially so if we’re consecrated to Mary! This is quite possibly THE most humbling devotion in existence… I think…

Don’t be surprised if, when you make the actual consecration, things don’t suddenly seem different. You’ll still very much try to be your own, you’ll still sin, you may even find yourself tiring of the devotion itself! It is a humbling devotion, though, as you say, because when we try to empty ourselves in order to become like Mary, who was such an empty vessel that she took on the identity of Her Son, we see how difficult it is to do just that and that it’s only by the grace of the Holy Spirit that such emptying can be done. In it’s own paradoxical way, by trying to actively perform this devotion we’re refuted by our own attempts, and its only then that we’re open to the power of the Spirit.

For example, I have a good friend who doesn’t know God. I don’t ever say who will go to heaven and who will go to hell. But sometimes I pray for her or offer little sacrifices for her, that she would find faith. If I make this consecration, would I no longer be allowed to do this?? that’s the part I don’t get! Oki if not though, would Mary still help my friend? Can I ask her to?

I really think all my doubts and fears here are coming from distrust and pride. It’s like a part of me feels that I ‘know better’ than the Mother of God, that if I consecrate myself to her, something would go wrong, cause I’d give up control of my life. That’s soo wrong… I know… ugh… I really hope God helps me…

Relinquishing control doesn’t mean that you stop trying. Relinquishing control means recognizing that God’s will must be done, no matter what, and it will be done, no matter what. Imagine, if you will, a future that God does not desire. I can’t! I would rather live in the future which God desires for me and for everyone else than anywhere else, even though that scenario may mean that I suffer with cancer, lose a friend, or whatever.

I think Thomas Merton’s prayer speaks to the heart of what it means to relinquish control:

My Lord God,

I have no idea where I am going
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.

Nor do I really know myself,
And the fact that I think I am following
your will does not mean that I am
actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please
you does in fact please you.
And I hope that I have that desire in all
that I am doing.
And I know that if I do this, you
will lead me by the right road
though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore will I trust you always
though I may seem to be lost
and in the shadow of death, I will
not fear, for you are ever with me
and you will never leave me
to face my perils alone.


#6

thank you :slight_smile:

I will pray for greater humility. I do believe these things. I just need to humble myself and remember who I am, and who Mary is, and who God is.

I think this devotion is getting me to notice my pride more, and that’s what discouraged me. I didn’t know I had that much pride. LOL! and I’m sure I have much more! Lord have mercy on me a poor sinner :frowning:


#7

In my TAN edition of the True Devotion of Mary book, it deals with this immediately after the devotion part. Mine is something like page 80 or something


#8

Thanks! :slight_smile:

Oki I prayed the Rosary for this intention yesterday - that God would help me understand, and that I would be more humble and trust Mary. I feel MUCH better today. I’ll keep on praying :slight_smile: I know that Mary loves us very much, and we can definitely trust her to help with our salvation, and if we entrust our families to her she will take care of them too. She would take care of us better than anyone.


#9

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