Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Paragraphs #70 - 72 in St. Louis de Montfort’s “True Devotion” show us the beauty of “voluntary slavery” by which “we freely choose God”:
Now there are three kinds of slavery; natural slavery, enforced slavery, and voluntary slavery. All creatures are slaves of God in the first sense, for “the earth and its fullness belong to the Lord”. The devils and the damned are slaves in the second sense. The saints in heaven and the just on earth are slaves in the third sense. Voluntary slavery is the most perfect of all three states, for by it we give the greatest glory to God, who looks into the heart and wants it to be given to Him. Is He not indeed called the God of the heart or of the loving will? For by this slavery we freely choose God and His service before all things, even if we were not by our very nature obliged to do so.
There is a world of difference between a servant and a slave. 1) A servant does not give his employer all he is, all he has, and all he can acquire by himself or through others. A slave, however, gives himself to his master completely and exclusively with all he has and all he can acquire. 2) A servant demands wages for the services rendered to his employer. A slave, on the other hand, can expect nothing, no matter what skill, attention or energy he may have put into his work. 3) A servant can leave his employer whenever he pleases, or at least when the term of his service expires, whereas the slave has no such right. 4) An employer has no right of life and death over a servant. Were he to kill him as he would a beast of burden, he would commit murder. But the master of a slave has by law the right of life and death over him, so that he can sell him to anyone he chooses or - if you will pardon the comparison - kill him as he would kill his horse. 5) Finally, a servant is in his employer’s service only for a time; a slave for always.
No other human state involves belonging more completely to another than slavery. Among Christian peoples, nothing makes a person belong more completely to Jesus and His holy Mother than voluntary slavery. Our Lord Himself gave us the example of this when out of love for us he “took the form of a slave”. Our Lady gave us the same example when she called herself the handmaid or slave of the Lord. The Apostle considered it an honor to be called “slave of Christ”. Several times in Holy Scripture, Christians are referred to as “slaves of Christ”.
The Latin word “servus” at one time signified only a slave because servants as we know them did not exist. Masters were served either by slaves or by freedmen. The Catechism of the Council of Trent leaves no doubt about our being slaves of Jesus Christ, using the unequivocal term “Mancipia Christi”, which plainly means: slaves of Christ.
By God’s Grace, let us ponder these words today. Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your Faithful. Kindle in us the Fire of Your Love. Jesus we trust in You! Mary Mother of the Church, pray for us.