Feb. 28 - Day 9 - on our journey

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Just 4 days left in this preliminary period of 12 days. In St. Louis De Montfort’s treatise on True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, he wrote in Chapter 5 of a Biblical (Figure) Example of this Devotion: Rebecca and Jacob.

  1. The Holy Spirit gives us in Sacred Scripture, a striking allegorical figure of all the truths I have been explaining concerning the Blessed Virgin and her children and servants. It is the story of Jacob who received the blessing of his father Isaac through the care and ingenuity of his mother Rebecca. Here is the story as the Holy Spirit tells it. I shall expound it further later on…

Several paragraphs later St. Louis wrote his interpretation, and in so doing compares the two brothers Esau and Jacob. It reminded me in a way of the two sisters, Martha and Mary, as it can help us see what each of us may still need to empty out of our own hearts. Here is how St. Louis describes those who are like Esau:

…186. This is the usual conduct of sinners:

(1) They rely upon their own strength and skill in temporal affairs. They are very energetic, clever and well-informed about things of this world but very dull and ignorant about things of heaven.

  1. (2) And they are never or very seldom at home, in their own house, that is, in their own interior, the inner, essential abode that God has given to every man to dwell in, after his own example, for God always abides within himself. Sinners have no liking for solitude or the spiritual life or interior devotion. They consider those who live an interior life, secluded from the world, and who work more interiorly than exteriorly, as narrow-minded, bigoted and uncivilized.
  1. (3) Sinners care little or nothing about devotion to Mary, the Mother of the elect. It is true that they do not really hate her. Indeed they even speak well of her sometimes. They say they love her and they practise some devotion in her honour. Nevertheless, they cannot bear to see anyone love her tenderly, for they do not have for her any of the affection of Jacob; they find fault with the honour which her good children and servants faithfully pay her to win her affection. They think this kind of devotion is not necessary for salvation, and as long as they do not go as far as hating her or openly ridiculing devotion to her they believe they have done all they need to win her good graces. Because they recite or mumble a few prayers to her without any affection and without even thinking of amending their lives, they consider they are our Lady’s servants.
  1. (4) Sinners sell their birthright, that is, the joys of paradise, for a dish of lentils, that is, the pleasures of this world. They laugh, they drink, they eat, they have a good time, they gamble, they dance and so forth, without taking any more trouble than Esau to make themselves worthy of their heavenly Father’s blessing. Briefly, they think only of this world, love only the world, speak and act only for the world and its pleasures. For a passing moment of pleasure, for a fleeting wisp of honour, for a piece of hard earth, yellow or white, they barter away their baptismal grace, their robe of innocence and their heavenly inheritance.
  1. (5) Finally, sinners continually hate and persecute the elect, openly and secretly. The elect are a burden to them. They despise them, criticise them, ridicule them, insult them, rob them, deceive them, impoverish them, hunt them down and trample them into the dust; while they themselves are making fortunes, enjoying themselves, getting good positions for themselves, enriching themselves, rising to power and living in comfort.

Chapter 5, from paragraph 182 through paragaph 212, gives us much to ponder. I hope to spend some time with it today. God willing, tomorrow, I’ll post the chracteristics of those who are like Jacob. Again, I’d be grateful to hear from anyone on this journey who would like to share any insights or questions. Thanks.

In that part of True Devotion to Mary–numbers 184-212–St. Louis says many beautiful things about depending on Mary.

I think we can’t even begin to cast off the spirit of the world without her help.

The way he describes Jacob means that Jacob would be considered a wuss and a mama’s boy by the world.

He says that Jacob was meek and peaceful. He says in number 192 that while Esau went out to do successful things, Jacob stayed home to watch his mother and do everything to please her.

In number 194 he says that Jacob didn’t at all rely on himself but depended exclusively on his mother’s protection.

In number 199 he says we need to call on Mary incessantly for her help and tell her what is going on with us.

He says we need to relish the sweetness of Mary’s bosom, resting in her.

He says in 202 that Mary loves each of us more than all natural mothers together love their children.

In 208, St. Louis says that the servants of Mary are carried at her bosom, and that through her love they feel almost nothing of the weight of the cross.

Dear Patricius,

Thanks for your reply, as always. Yes, St. Louis gives us much to ponder throughout his treatise, but I had never thought about this particular chapter in the same way as I did after pondering so recently the story of the two sisters, Martha and Mary. The two brothers Esau and Jacob are teaching us similar lessons.

Toward the end of paragraph 184, I was most impressed by these words from St. Louis:

…as the early Fathers point out, Esau was the symbol of those who are too ready to imagine that there is an alliance between God and the world, because they themselves are eager to enjoy, at one and the same time, the blessings of heaven and the blessings of the earth…

The first 12 days of our preparation are being spent in “emptying ourselves of the spirit of the world, which is opposed to Jesus”. Esau shows us that we cannot serve two masters. We cannot love God and the world as if there were an “alliance” between God and the world. The spirit of the world opposes the spirit of Jesus.

Like Martha who listened to Jesus and learned how to choose the best part as Mary did, so must we continue to make the choice for God and the things of God. You got ahead of me in speaking about Jacob, today, I had planned to do that God willing, tomorrow. :slight_smile:

Of course you are right in reminding us of Mary’s powerful intercession. St. Louis wrote about Esau, then Jacob, and then especially how Rebecca is a symbolic figure of Mary, our Mother.

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