Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Let me repeat only the first line of paragraph 228 from True Devotion by St. Louis De Montfort:
- During the first week they should offer up all their prayers and acts of devotion to acquire knowledge of themselves and sorrow for their sins.
During Wk 1, people in past years strongly objected to St. Louis’ suggesting we might wish to consider our corrupted nature as: “snails, toads, snakes or goats,”. I did not object because the Lord speaks in the Gospel of Matthew about separating sheep from “goats” (cf Mt 25:32) and He also called the scribes and pharisees “snakes” and a brood of vipers! (cf Mt 23:33). I remember the very day when it dawned on me – many years ago – I could be a pharisee! It came as a surprise and it a great grace for me. I thank the Lord and continue to repent of all the times I thought too highly of myself and sought my glory rather than His Glory in work and in relationships.
Seeking the grace of self-knowledge is so important! It is easy to look at the world and see what opposes God and His Commands, but to look within ourselves and be ready to acknowledge how we ignored or disobeyed Him is another matter it seems to me.
God does not command what is impossible with His Grace! He has told us to be perfect as He is Perfect and He has given us all we need to see the journey through to the end – one grace-filled moment at a time. He has given us His Mother to take into our lives as John did on Calvary and behold her as both Mother and Model for the Church. He has given us Himself in the Eucharist and His Word to guide us as a Lamp shining in the darkness. He encounters us in all the Sacraments to bring us more and more into true union with Himself and to make us holy in the perfection of Charity. He encounters us all the more as we humbly open our hearts, asking to receive Him.
St. Augustine puts it simply in his classic work “The City of God”, when he explains there are two cities being built in this world: the city of man is being built by those who love themselves to the contempt of God. The City of God is being built by those who love God to the contempt of self. The “self” that opposes God follows the spirit of the world, while those who seek to die to that “self” are seeking to follow Christ and to say as St. Paul said, “It is no longer “I” who live, but Christ lives in me.” (cf Gal 2:20).
By God’s Grace, may we learn this week and continually learn everyday, what God desires us to learn about ourselves. May we repent of the sins we know, and trust Him to give us grace to know more of what needs to “die” in us so that we may live in Him. Let us continue to pray to the Holy Spirit, and trust in the powerful intercession of Mary, our Mother: