Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In helping us grow closer to Jesus through Mary, St. Louis de Montfort in writing “True Devotion” points out ways we can be deceived by lies or confused by fears suggested to us by the evil one. He points out 7 kinds of false devotion to Mary. Yesterday we looked at “critical devotees” and today we look at the “scrupulous”. Let us keep in mind, we are listening to a Saint who has been given wisdom by God for the Church. Let us listen with the ears of our hearts to hear God’s Truth:
- Scrupulous devotees are those who imagine they are slighting the Son by honouring the Mother. They fear that by exalting Mary they are belittling Jesus. They cannot bear to see people giving to our Lady the praises due to her and which the Fathers of the Church have lavished upon her. It annoys them to see more people kneeling before Mary’s altar than before the Blessed Sacrament, as if these acts were at variance with each other, or as if those who were praying to our Lady were not praying through her to Jesus. They do not want us to speak too often of her or to pray so often to her.
Here are some of the things they say: "What is the good of all these rosaries, confraternities and exterior devotions to our Lady? There is a great deal of ignorance in all this. It is making a mockery of religion. Tell us about those who are devoted to Jesus (and they often pronounce his name without uncovering their heads). We should go directly to Jesus, since he is our sole Mediator. We must preach Jesus; that is sound devotion." There is some truth in what they say, but the inference they draw to prevent devotion to our Lady is very insidious. It is a subtle snare of the evil one under the pretext of promoting a greater good. For we never give more honour to Jesus than when we honour his Mother, and we honour her simply and solely to honour him all the more perfectly. We go to her only as a way leading to the goal we seek - Jesus, her Son.
- The Church, with the Holy Spirit, blesses our Lady first, then Jesus, “Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.” Not that Mary is greater than Jesus, or even equal to him - that would be an intolerable heresy. But in order to bless Jesus more perfectly we should first bless Mary. Let us say with all those truly devoted to her, despite these false and scrupulous devotees: "O Mary, blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus."
Being scrupulous can be a great trial for some who sincerely want to love both Jesus and Mary, and we need to pray for those who suffer this trial. I’ve known some who sincerely battle against the temptation and strive sincerely to love Jesus through Mary. St. Louis is merely warning us here, as he sees the evil one at work, seeking to devour souls as Holy Scripture warns us.
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your Faithful. Kindle in us, the fire of your Love. Jesus we trust in You! Holy Mary, Mother of God and Mother of the Church, pray for us.