Oct. 21 - How do we "die to self" and live in Christ?

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Continuing St. Louis de Montfort’s “True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin”:

  1. Secondly, in order to empty ourselves of self, we must die daily to ourselves. This involves our renouncing what the powers of the soul and the senses of the body incline us to do. We must see as if we did not see, hear as if we did not hear and use the things of this world as if we did not use them. This is what St. Paul calls “dying daily”. Unless the grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single grain and does not bear any good fruit. If we do not die to self and if our holiest devotions do not lead us to this necessary and fruitful death, we shall not bear fruit of any worth and our devotions will cease to be profitable. All our good works will be tainted by self-love and self-will so that our greatest sacrifices and our best actions will be unacceptable to God. Consequently when we come to die we shall find ourselves devoid of virtue and merit and discover that we do not possess even one spark of that pure love which God shares only with those who have died to themselves and whose life is hidden with Jesus Christ in him.

  2. Thirdly, we must choose among all the devotions to the Blessed Virgin the one which will lead us more surely to this dying to self. This devotion will be the best and the most sanctifying for us. For we must not believe that all that glitters is gold, all that is sweet is honey, or all that is easy to do and is done by the majority of people is the most sanctifying. Just as in nature there are secrets enabling us to do certain natural things quickly, easily and at little cost, so in the spiritual life there are secrets which enable us to perform works rapidly, smoothly and with facility. Such works are, for example, emptying ourselves of self-love, filling ourselves with God, and attaining perfection.

The devotion that I propose to explain is one of these secrets of grace, for it is unknown to most Christians. Only a few devout people know of it and it is practised and appreciated by fewer still. To begin the explanation of this devotion here is a fourth truth which is a consequence of the third.

God willing, tomorrow I’ll post # 83.

Come Holy Spirit, bring us into all Truth, as Jesus promised. (Jn 16:13)
Mary, Mother of the Church pray for us!

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WORDS OF SAINT JOHN PAUL II

Mysterium fidei! If the Eucharist is a mystery of faith which so greatly transcends our understanding as to call for sheer abandonment to the word of God, then there can be no one like Mary to act as our support and guide in acquiring this disposition. In repeating what Christ did at the Last Supper in obedience to His command: “Do this in memory of me!”, we also accept Mary’s invitation to obey Him without hesitation: “Do whatever he tells you” ( Jn 2:5). With the same maternal concern which she showed at the wedding feast of Cana, Mary seems to say to us: “Do not waver; trust in the words of my Son. If He was able to change water into wine, He can also turn bread and wine into his body and blood, and through this mystery bestow on believers the living memorial of His Passover, thus becoming the ‘bread of life.’”

In a certain sense Mary lived her Eucharistic faith even before the institution of the Eucharist, by the very fact that she offered her virginal womb for the Incarnation of God’s Word . The Eucharist, while commemorating the passion and resurrection, is also in continuity with the incarnation. At the Annunciation Mary conceived the Son of God in the physical reality of His body and blood, thus anticipating within herself what to some degree happens sacramentally in every believer who receives, under the signs of bread and wine, the Lord’s body and blood. (Encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia , April 17, 2003, n. 54-55)

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Dear hazcompat,

Thanks so much for this excerpt from Pope St. John Paul II. How truly he wrote the Truth he heard from the Lord:

…At the Annunciation Mary conceived the Son of God in the physical reality of His body and blood, thus anticipating within herself what to some degree happens sacramentally in every believer who receives, under the signs of bread and wine, the Lord’s body and blood. (Encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia , April 17, 2003, n. 54-55)

How he must have pondered St. Louis de Montfort’s words in True Devotion on how to practice “True Devotion” at Holy Communion:

.Implore Mary to lend you her heart so that you may receive her Son with her dispositions. Remind her that her Son’s glory requires that He should not come into a heart so sullied and fickle as your own, which could not fail to diminish his glory and might cause him to leave. Tell her that if she will take up her abode in you to receive her Son - which she can do because of the sovereignty she has over all hearts - He will be received by her in a perfect manner without danger of being affronted or being forced to depart. “God is in the midst of her. She shall not be moved.”

Tell her with confidence that all you have given her of your possessions is little enough to honour her, but that in Holy Communion you wish to give her the same gifts as the eternal Father gave her. Thus she will feel more honoured than if you gave her all the wealth in the world. Tell her, finally, that Jesus, whose love for her is unique, still wishes to take His delight and His repose in her even in your soul, even though it is poorer and less clean than the stable which He readily entered because she was there. Beg her to lend you her heart, saying, “O Mary, I take you for my all; give me your heart.” (From paragraph # 266)

Let us please continue to pray for one another, for the Church and for all those in most need of God’s Mercy, through Mary our Mother.

O Jesus living in Mary, come and live in your servants!

Dear FSHSM1968,

Thanks so much for your “heart” which indicates you liked the words of St. Louis de Montfort. Today we celebrate the Memorial of Pope St. John Paul II another great “Champion” of our Mother Mary who read St. Louis de Montfort’s “True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin” as a young man and having Consecrated himself praying St. Louis de Montfort’s “Act of Total Consecration”, he lived the Truth he heard from God.

Hopefully, if you have never read “True Devotion”, you will click on the link and begin to read it online or you may simply continue to follow these threads and listen to God’s Wisdom coming through His saints. May you daily grow closer to Him through Mary, Mother of the Church!

IOANNES PAULUS PP. II
REDEMPTORIS MATER
On the Blessed Virgin Mary
in the life of the Pilgrim Church

PART I - MARY IN THE MYSTERY OF CHRIST

1. Full of Grace

  1. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (Eph. 1:3). These words of the Letter to the Ephesians reveal the eternal design of God the Father, his plan of man’s salvation in Christ. It is a universal plan, which concerns all men and women created in the image and likeness of God (cf. Gen. 1:26). Just as all are included in the creative work of God “in the beginning,” so all are eternally included in the divine plan of salvation, which is to be completely revealed, in the “fullness of time,” with the final coming of Christ. In fact, the God who is the “Father of our Lord Jesus Christ”-these are the next words of the same Letter-“chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace” (Eph. 1:4-7).

The divine plan of salvation-which was fully revealed to us with the coming of Christ-is eternal. And according to the teaching contained in the Letter just quoted and in other Pauline Letters (cf. Col. 1:12- 14; Rom. 3:24; Gal. 3:13; 2 Cor. 5:18-29), it is also eternally linked to Christ. It includes everyone, but it reserves a special place for the “woman” who is the Mother of him to whom the Father has entrusted the work of salvation.19 As the Second Vatican Council says, “she is already prophetically foreshadowed in that promise made to our first parents after their fall into sin”-according to the Book of Genesis (cf. 3:15). “Likewise she is the Virgin who is to conceive and bear a son, whose name will be called Emmanuel”- according to the words of Isaiah (cf. 7:14).20 In this way the Old Testament prepares that “fullness of time” when God “sent forth his Son, born of woman…so that we might receive adoption as sons.” The coming into the world of the Son of God is an event recorded in the first chapters of the Gospels according to Luke and Matthew.

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Dear hazcompat,

Again, thanks for quoting Pope St.John Paul II as he wrote so truly of God’s plan from the beginning, to send Jesus through Mary. St. Louis de Montfort’s book on “The Love of Eternal Wisdom” was (at least it seemed to me, when I read it) the way God led this saint to write “True Devotion”.

God willing, if I live long enough to finish this current series of threads going through the treatise on “True Devotion” from paragraph 1 to the end of it, perhaps I’ll begin another series on “The Love of Eternal Wisdom”. Pope St. John Paul certainly lived by God’s Grace what he heard from God through the power of the Holy Spirit, working in St. Louis de Montfort as well as the Holy Spirit working in his own soul as a young man, before he became a priest and eventually Pope!

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Edited to add:

This “emptying of self” is so important. Yet, “dying daily” as Scripture tells us to practice, is ignored by so many in the world today.

Yesterday, my husband and I were blessed in hearing a “true homily” at Mass encouraging the reading of John’s first letter during this week and the daily praying of the Lord’s prayer, prayed very slowly.

Let us LISTEN to God in Scripture and as He also speaks to us through His saints, especially Mary our Mother!

Deep wisdom in addition to the valuable reflection of this thread

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Dear Athanasly,

Thanks so much for your “heart” and for sharing this video. I watched the video and the one following which was an interview with Fr, Catoir of “The Christophers” concerning Fr. Henri Nouwen’s “near death experience” which he wrote about – both videos were great assets to this thread.

There was even more simplicity in the second video, perhaps because it was a bit longer and easier to hear in the context of a whole message. The first video you posted, however was also beautiful and very appropriate to St. Louis de Montfort’s question, “How do we ‘die to self’ and live in Christ?”

Thanks so much! Hopefully you have read or one day will read, St. Louis de Montfort’s small treatise on “True Devotion” to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
I try to include a link to the online version for anyone who may want to read the book.

I read several of Henri Nouwen’s books some years ago, but have not read the one spoken about in the second video. I think I’ll see if there is an online version of it. It looked like a small book too. Thanks again!

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