The priest who guided me through the Montfort consecration to Mary said that the merits of our good works go to Mary for her use according to the will of God. One question in two modes:
I. Suppose I seek a plenary indulgence for a friend. Which of these things happens? (1) My friend receives the indulgence, (2) Mary receives the indulgence for a more useful disposal of it, or (3) my friend receives the indulgence and Mary receives the merit of having asked for it.
II. Suppose I pray for a friend’s conversion. Which of these happens? My friend receives the grace of conversion, (2) Mary receives the grace of conversion for the more useful disposal of it, or (3) my friend receives the grace of conversion and Mary receives the merit of having asked for it.
Essential question: How do the prayers of a slave of Jesus and Mary work? I take it as given, of course, that prayers are heard and granted by the grace of God, and the order of grace is cooperative but not transactional–the obvious answer to the essential question is “According to the will and by the grace of God.” But theologically, how does this work?
Thanks, crystal, for the nuance on indulgences; apparently I misunderstood someone or imagined it.
So, if indulgences are basically non-transferable and can only be obtained for oneself or for souls in Purgatory, then I would guess that indulgences gained under consecration to Mary are for souls in Purgatory according to her discretion. Is that correct?
I had also heard that when you pray, there is not just the intention and the grace accorded to that, God willing, but there is a merit accorded because you’re praying. Is that so? I would assume that the merit is what goes to Mary.
Have you ever read “True Devotion”? I think St Louis de Montfort goes into this a bit… basically what happens, is all your merits (good works, sufferings, etc) belong to Mary and she decides where they go - based on God’s will, of course - but if you have a particular intention, you can ask her to consider it and to apply the merit to that intention (like a friend you’re praying for, souls in Purgatory, etc). Regarding indulgences, I don’t really know, maybe ask a priest about that.
Hope that makes sense. Regarding prayer, the way I see it is Mary just makes everything you give to God more beautiful, for Him.
I am glad you mentioned this because I did the consecration last month, and am now enrolled in the Association of Mary Queen of All Hearts which is mentioned in the book. As I understand it, every thing of ours belongs to Mary - even our spiritual benefits which we recieve from our good works - so that she who is so much the more generous and wise, and loving than I, can apply them in ways very pleasing to God.
Since she is God`s Mother, and Queen of Heaven and Earth, - and because of her role in the Incarnation (and hence, redemption) - she brings us closer to God, and since she is full of grace, grace comes through her to us. (if Christ is the Head of the Church, His Body, Mary is like the neck).
The Church has taught this for a while now… even in the early Church, there are prayers for Mary to help in our salvation.
She obtains much grace for us through her intercession, which is so powerful with Jesus because she is His Mother.
I know all that. The Queen of Heaven isn’t really so much in the “early” Church, that’s more medievel Catholicism, but the rest I won’t disagree with really. But where did the early Church teach that Mary could take my good works and re-distribute them in any way she wants? This treasury of merit and taking our works and re-working them, this seems very ahistorical and innovative…
I don’t know exactly when this was formulated, but it’s not modern. I know the medieval Saints talked about it.
In any case… I don’t think that really matters… God has shown the Church more and more about Mary as time went on. None of it contradicts the early Church, but there are some things that we didn’t know about her in detail before.
However, there are actually some early Church quotes that suggest this role of Mary… (even if it wasn’t fully developed yet :)). What they say is not specifically that Mary can distribute our merits, but that all merits have been given to her and that she is the mediatrix to Jesus, who is our one Mediator with the Father. In other words, Mary acts as intercessor…her mediation is that of intercession, but she obtains graces for us.
St. Ephraem: "With the Mediator, you are the Mediatrix of the entire world.” |(around 4th century)
Antipater of Bostra, one of the Fathers of the Council of Ephesus (AD 431), wrote: "Hail you who acceptably intercede as a Mediatrix for mankind.”
Blessed Virgin, immaculate and pure you are the sinless Mother of your Son, the mighty Lord of the universe. You are holy and inviolate, the hope of the hopeless and sinful; we sing your praises. We praise you as full of every grace, for you bore the God-Man. We all venerate you; we invoke you and implore your aid…Holy and immaculate Virgin…be our intercessor and advocate at the hour of death and judgment…you are holy in the sight of God, to Whom be honor and glory, majesty, and power forever (373 AD, St. Ephem of Edessa)
It becomes you to be mindful of us, as you stand near Him Who granted you all graces, for you are the Mother of God and our Queen. Help us for the sake of the King, the Lord God Master Who was born of you. For this reason you are called ‘full of Grace’…" (373 St. Athanasius)
Blessed Virgin Mary, who can worthily repay you with praise and thanksgiving for having rescued a fallen world by your generous consent? …accept then such poor thanks as we have to offer, unequal though they be to your merits. Receive our gratitude and obtain by your prayers the pardon of our sins. Take our prayers into the sanctuary of heaven and enable them to bring about our peace with God…Holy Mary, help the miserable, strengthen the discouraged, comfort the sorrowful, pray for your people, plead for the clergy, intercede for all women consecrated to God. May all who venerate you, feel now your help and protection. …Make it your continual care to pray for the people of God, for you were blessed by God and were made worthy to bear the Redeemer of the world, who lives and reigns for ever. (St Augustine in 430 A.D. )
8th century, St. Germanus: "None is ever granted any gift, except through thee, O most chaste; no grace of mercy is ever shown to anyone, but through thee, O most worthy of all veneration.”