"...whoever wishes to possess Jesus must possess Mary..."

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

How appropriate for us that today’s Gospel Reading is the account of Jesus’ visit to Martha’s home and Mary sat at His feet, listening to Him! In chapter 17 of St. Louis de Montfort’s book, “The Love of Eternal Wisdom” we are dwelling on our Mother Mary, whom Jesus gave us from His Cross; Mary, chosen from all Eternity by God, His Mother and the Mother of all is that same Mary who listened to ALL her Son said and did, pondering ALL in her heart. The Blessed Virgin Mary is both our Mother and Model.

St. Louis continues to encourage us to “Behold our Mother” as the greatest means of all …for Wisdom:

  1. The greatest means of all, and the most wonderful of all secrets for obtaining and preserving divine Wisdom is a loving and genuine devotion to the Blessed Virgin.

1 Necessity of genuine devotion to Mary

No one but Mary ever found favour with God (cf Lk 1.30) for herself and for the whole human race. To no other person was given the power to conceive and give birth to Eternal Wisdom. No one else had the power to “incarnate” Him, so to speak, in the predestinate by the operation of the Holy Spirit. The patriarchs, prophets and saints of the Old Testament yearned and prayed for the incarnation of Eternal Wisdom, but none of them was able to merit it. Only Mary, by her exalted holiness, could reach the throne of the Godhead and merit this gift of infinite value. She became the mother, mistress and throne of divine Wisdom.

  1. Mary is His most worthy Mother because she conceived Him and brought Him forth as the fruit of her womb. “Blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.” (Lk 1.42) Hence it is true to say that Jesus is the fruit and product of Mary wherever He is present, be it in heaven, on earth, in our tabernacles or in our hearts. She alone is the tree of life and Jesus alone is the fruit of that tree. Therefore anyone who wishes to possess this wonderful fruit in his heart must first possess the tree that produces it; whoever wishes to possess Jesus must possess Mary.

  2. Mary is also mistress of divine Wisdom. Not that she is above Him who is truly God, or even equal to Him. To think or say such a thing would be blasphemous. But because the Son of God, Eternal Wisdom, by making Himself entirely subject to her as his Mother, gave her a maternal and natural authority over Himself which surpasses our understanding. He not only gave her this power while He lived on earth but still gives it now in heaven, because glory does not destroy nature but makes it perfect. And so in heaven Jesus is as much as ever the Son of Mary, and Mary the Mother of Jesus. As His Mother, Mary has authority over Jesus, who because He wills it, remains in a sense subject to her. This means that Mary by her powerful prayers and because she is the Mother of God, obtains from Jesus all she wishes. It means that she gives Him to whom she decides, and produces Him every day in the souls of those she chooses.

Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, we praise and thank You for the gift of Mary to us!

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I’m such a weak person that I easily get overwhelmed by what I read about what one must do to be holy. But it’s easy to do everything with Mary’s help. All we have to do is ask for true graces and they are ours. As saints like St. Alphonsus Liguori tell us, she loves each of us more than all mothers combined have ever loved all their children. As Popes like Leo XIII tell us, Jesus made her Mediatrix of All Grace, and taught her all of a mother’s feeling that breathes nothing but pardon and love. We so badly need her help to find our own peace and renew the Church. Praise to Jesus Christ for giving us His Mother so that we, like little children, can trust in Him with Mary’s own trust!

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The Angelic Warfare Confraternity requires 15 Hail Mary prayers per day and are you surprised?

In all spiritual warfare the Hail Mary is the strongest, and we know that to be true. Yet, some would deny her power?

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Dear patricius,

We are all weak, yet God speaks to us all in our weakness, as He answered St. Paul:

“My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor 12:9)

Being given Grace, St. Paul could then reply:

I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Cor 12:10)

Whether a person is aware of Mary’s intercession as St. Alphonsus and you and many Popes have been conscious of Mary’s intercession to the point of writing about Mary being the Mediatrix of all graces, or whether some remain unaware of Mary’s intercession, we can pray with faith in God’s Love for His Mother when we can all pray for ourselves and for others: "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Yes, God gave Mary to us and wants us to love her as He loves her as a Mother who loves with a pure and unselfish love given to her by God in her Immaculate heart. St. Montfort’s words in this chapter are true and you are so right in your saying : “We so badly need her help to find our own peace and renew the Church. Praise to Jesus Christ for giving us His Mother so that we, like little children, can trust in Him with Mary’s own trust!”

Jesus we trust in You, through Mary. We praise and thank you for giving her to us as Mother and Model. Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us! We your children love and need you very much, help us and help those who may not yet know you and Jesus – Mother of Mercy, help all those in most need of His Mercy!

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Dear CatholicSpirit,

No I’m not surprised that some deny her power, for God told the serpent in Genesis 3:15 immediately after the original sin:

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; They will strike at your head, while you strike at their heel.

And we also hear God speak through Peter’s first letter:

Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in faith, knowing that your fellow believers throughout the world undergo the same sufferings. The God of all grace who called you to His eternal glory through Christ Jesus will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you after you have suffered a little. To Him be dominion forever. Amen. (1 Pet 5: 8-11)

Too few people really listen to God’s Word, and some who have heard it, forget it too easily. Poor Peter listened to Jesus but fell in his weakness when tempted by the evil one who frightened him enough to cause Peter to deny the Lord 3 times. Yet, Peter cried out and was given grace; he repented and when given more grace he resisted evil and followed Jesus to his own death on a cross. Mary our Mother, however, listened to everything Jesus said and did, pondering all in her Immaculate Heart. No wonder satan hates her and Scripture assures us satan hates her offspring! We need to pray fervently : “Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us.”

Thanks for your reply and your love for Jesus through Mary!

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To say that Mary “alone is the tree of life, and Jesus alone is the fruit of that tree” strikes me as heretical. Mary is simply not the “tree of life.” This statement can be understood to place Mary in a position superior to Jesus, as if she pre-existed Jesus. Further, Mary did not conceive Jesus by her own power- it was the Spirit acting as a result of her perfect submission to God’s will. Ligouri’s effusive Marian devotion so often seems to veer into highly troubling wording. Another Ligouri quote posted here some time ago stated that Jesus made himself “a slave to Mary.” That’s not true either.

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Dear Pitcairn,

Sorry that St. Louis De Montfort’s words, “Mary alone is the tree of life, and Jesus is the fruit of that tree” struck you as heretical – Actually, we hear and pray similar words from Luke’s Gospel: "Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with you, blessed are you among women and Blessed is the Fruit of Your Womb Jesus…" The statement is clear in the Gospel when we consider the Truth that Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary alone. No other woman bore Jesus as the fruit of her womb except Mary who said “Be it done unto me according to your word.”

St. Louis is not comparing Mary “literally” to a tree but is rather reminding us that Jesus is the “new Adam” and Mary the “new Eve” as the Fathers and the Doctors of the Church have referred to them for centuries. St. Alphonsis and other saints who praise the marvelous work of God done in and through Mary are seeking only to come close to what God’s Love and Power can do!

The utter Humility of God in the Incarnation is indescribably beautiful, that He would choose to assume a human nature and become like us in all things, except sin! Jesus in His Love gave Himself totally as a “slave” on the Cross – Listen to St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians in which God tells us:

Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus, Who, though He was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, He emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, He humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.(Phil 2: 5-8)

And again in Luke’s Gospel, God tells us that Jesus as a boy of 12 after being found in the Temple by Mary and Joseph:

He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and His mother kept all these things in her heart. (Luke 2:51)

Hope this can help you see the truth in what St. Louis de Montfort and St; Alphonsus and other saints are sharing with us. The Catechism of the Catholic Church also assures us in paragraph 971 that the Church’s true devotion to Mary is “intrinsic” to Christian Worship. We really cannot do without her since God chose to send Jesus through her.

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Then I can assure you it isn’t. The problem’s mostly is a bad understanding of what is being said.

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It’s said that “There is no blemish in you” Cant 4:7.

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Dear englands123,

Your profile indicates you consider yourself Catholic, but are you unaware that The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches:

CCC 411 - …Mary benefitted first of all and uniquely from Christ’s victory over sin: She was preserved from all stain of original sin and by a special grace of God committed no sin if any kind during her whole earthly life. (cf Pius XI Ineffabilis Deus: DS 2803; Council of Trent: DS 1573).

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What bible did you get that from ?

@englands123 don’t be worried to engage with the CAF community in dialogue. And don’t be afraid.

There are a lot of good people here. Good Christians and non Christians. It’s a place of dialogue, and of learning. Welcome to the forum.

That’s right. The wonderful goodness of our Blessed Mother is a gift from the Infinite Goodness of God in Jesus Christ, who gave her to each and every human being from the Cross, as St. John Paul II tells us in Redemptoris Mater.

Blessed Pope Piux IX says such beautiful and mysterious things about Mary in his Apostolic Constitution on the Immaculate Conception. He said that Mary approaches “as near to God as is possible for a created being”, and wrote:

From the very beginning, and before time began, the eternal Father chose and prepared for his only-begotten Son a Mother in whom the Son of God would become incarnate and from whom, in the blessed fullness of time, he would be born into this world. Above all creatures did God so loved her that truly in her was the Father well pleased with singular delight. Therefore, far above all the angels and all the saints so wondrously did God endow her with the abundance of all heavenly gifts poured from the treasury of his divinity that this mother, ever absolutely free of all stain of sin, all fair and perfect, would possess that fullness of holy innocence and sanctity than which, under God, one cannot even imagine anything greater, and which, outside of God, no mind can succeed in comprehending fully.
https://www.papalencyclicals.net/pius09/p9ineff.htm

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The depths of Catholic spirituality includes a wide variety of saints from the past. Not all used the love language of St. Louis on his presentation of Mary. I know that a lot of Protestants may not understand this, so it is important to distinguish between that which is doctrine, like the immaculate conception, and that which is part of Marian spirituality.

But yes, a person can know Christ, and have Him in his heart without Marian devotion, as many Protestants know. That could not, however, have Jesus if not for Mary, as the incarnation is central to salvation.

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Indeed, it is very important. This is especially true when it comes to evangelization. To be a Catholic, you must assent to the Marian dogmas. It is OK if you cannot assent to Marian Spirituality as described by De Montfort or Ligouri.

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Dear pnewton,

Thanks for your reply. Not only our Protestant brothers and sisters but even some Catholics do not understand De Montfort’s writings.

There is a difference between "knowing " and “knowing about” and there is a difference between supernatural faith which is a gift from God and natural faith which is something we can reason to in our minds. I’ve met nonCatholics who have a love and zeal for Jesus but without any true knowledge or devotion to Mary, they lack the fullness of Truth which the Catholic Church has been given.

Only God knows the heart of any person and I believe His great Mercy draws souls to Himself, so I continue to encourage Catholics as well as non Catholics to listen with the ever deepening openness to what Jesus told John and through John all of us: “Behold your Mother”; to hear deeply and obey as John did: John took Mary into his life.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches:

I. MARY’S MOTHERHOOD WITH REGARD TO THE CHURCH

Wholly united with her Son . . .

964 Mary’s role in the Church is inseparable from her union with Christ and flows directly from it. “This union of the mother with the Son in the work of salvation is made manifest from the time of Christ’s virginal conception up to his death”;[ it is made manifest above all at the hour of his Passion:

Thus the Blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully persevered in her union with her Son unto the cross. There she stood, in keeping with the divine plan, enduring with her only begotten Son the intensity of his suffering, joining herself with his sacrifice in her mother’s heart, and lovingly consenting to the immolation of this victim, born of her: to be given, by the same Christ Jesus dying on the cross, as a mother to his disciple, with these words: “Woman, behold your son.”

II. DEVOTION TO THE BLESSED VIRGIN

971 “All generations will call me blessed”: “The Church’s devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship.” The Church rightly honors "the Blessed Virgin with special devotion. From the most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honored with the title of ‘Mother of God,’ to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs… This very special devotion … differs essentially from the adoration which is given to the incarnate Word and equally to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and greatly fosters this adoration." The liturgical feasts dedicated to the Mother of God and Marian prayer, such as the rosary, an “epitome of the whole Gospel,” express this devotion to the Virgin Mary.

The word “intrinsic” is very important in paragraph #971 - it means “essential”. It seems to me Catholics need to hold fast to the Truth we’ve been given regarding Mary, in charity to help those who do not yet know her in Truth – in Christ.

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Yes, and of course God looks to the heart. The Blessed Virgin helps everyone, including those that don’t know about her role as “our mother in the order of grace” (Vatican II).

But God wants us to know the whole truth about her role, as you say, and to tenderly love the mother given to each of us from the Cross.

The whole truth includes both the Marian dogmas and the teachings of the ordinary Magisterium of the Church.

Vatican I wrote:

In matters of faith and morals, the bishops speak in the name of Christ and the faithful are to accept their teaching and adhere to it with a religious assent. This religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra; that is, it must be shown in such a way that his supreme magisterium is acknowledged with reverence, the judgments made by him are sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will. His mind and will in the matter may be known either from the character of the documents, from his frequent repetition of the same doctrine, or from his manner of speaking.
http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19641121_lumen-gentium_en.html

For example, Popes Saint Pius X exercised the ordinary magisterium when he wrote this in the Encyclical “Ad Diem Illum”:

Yes, says St. Bernardine of Sienna, “she is the neck of Our Head, by which He communicates to His mystical body all spiritual gifts” (Quadrag. de Evangel. aetern. Serm . x., a. 3, c. iii.).

Hapless are they who neglect Mary under pretext of the honor to be paid to Jesus Christ! As if the Child could be found elsewhere than with the Mother!

Yet in the midst of this deluge of evil, the Virgin Most Clement rises before our eyes like a rainbow, as the arbiter of peace between God and man: “I will set my bow in the clouds and it shall be the sign of a covenant between me and between the earth” ( Gen . ix.,13). Let the storm rage and sky darken - not for that shall we be dismayed. “And the bow shall be in the clouds, and I shall see it and shall remember the everlasting covenant” ( Ibid .16). “And there shall no more be waters of a flood to destroy all flesh” ( Ibid .15.). Oh yes, if we trust as we should in Mary, now especially when we are about to celebrate, with more than usual fervor, her Immaculate Conception, we shall recognize in her that Virgin most powerful "who with virginal foot did crush the head of the serpent" (Off. Immac. Conc.).
http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19641121_lumen-gentium_en.html

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This is true. I think sometimes because we know protestants don’t understand Mary’s complete role and our devotion to her, we tend to back off talking about her. I found for myself when I was a protestant what helped me best was someone explaining her role and their love of her to me.

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Dear MagdalenaRita,

Thank you so very much for posting your experience, I am so grateful to you! A dear friend now gone to be with Jesus and Mary, once told me she felt so sorry for anyone who never “met Mary” and I was moved by the sincerity with which she said those words. Your reply reminded me of this dear friend for her love of Jesus through Mary was very great. Why would anyone who loves Mary not want to share her with others? I am so grateful someone shared her with you, and that today you have shared your experience with those who may read this post.

Please, let us pray for one another and for all God’s children to grow closer to Jesus through Mary. If you have never read St. Louis de Montfort’s little treatise on True Devotion to Mary, you can read it on line HERE. I think you’d be blessed by it. :slight_smile:

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I am a former Baptist myself. I understand a little of the struggle involved in learning Marian spirituality.

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