Today starts the week for the Knowledge of Jesus just before making our Consecration to Jesus through Mary next Saturday. You may do this on your own before an image of Our Lady or you may have a witness of a priest if this is your first time. I will provide a document for you to print with the words of the Consecration on it for you to print - later this week. Below is the guideline and talk for this week. May we keep each other in prayer.
May St. Therese and Our Lady pray for us to come closer to Jesus - the One Who loves us!
27TH Day - Christ Our Last End – True Devotion to Mary
28th Day - The Gift of Jesus in the Eucharist/Passion- St. Matthew
29th Day - Imitating Jesus/Indifference to World – Imitation of Christ
30th Day - Royal Road of the Cross – St. Matthew & Imitation of Christ
31st Day - Love of God in the Blessed Sacrament – Imitation/True Dev.
32nd Day - Loving Jesus Above All Things – Imitation/True Devotion
33rd Day - Necessity of Communion – Imitation/True Devotion
Jesus Christ Our Last End – True Devotion Nos. 61, 62
Jesus Christ our Savior, true God and true Man, ought to be the last end of all our devotions, else they are false and delusive. Jesus Christ is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end of all things. We labor not, as the Apostle says, except to render every man perfect in Jesus Christ; because it is in Him alone that the whole plentitude of the Divinity dwells together with all the other plenitudes of graces, virtues and perfections. It is in Him alone that we have been blessed with all spiritual benediction; and He is our only Master, Who has to teach us; our only Lord on Whom we ought to depend; our only Head to Whom we must be united; our only Shepherd Who can feed us; our only Way Who can lead us; our only Truth Whom we must believe; our only Life Who can animate us and our only All in all things Who can satisfy us. There has been no other name given under heaven, except the name of Jesus, by which we can be saved. God has laid no other foundation of our salvation, our perfection or our glory than Jesus Christ. Every building which is not built on that firm rock is founded upon the moving sand, and sooner or later infallibly will fall.
By Jesus Christ, with Jesus Christ, in Jesus Christ, we can do all things; we can render all honor and glory to the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit; we can become perfect ourselves, and be to our neighbors a good odor of eternal life.
If, then, we establish solid devotion to our Blessed Lady, it is only to establish more perfectly devotion to Jesus Christ, and to provide an easy and secure means for finding Jesus Christ. Devotion to our Lady is necessary for us, as I have already shown, and will show still further hereafter, as a means of finding Jesus Christ perfectly, of loving Him tenderly, of serving Him faithfully.
The above text from “True Devotion to Mary” sums up the entire Consecration but we will proceed further in learning how we can obtain a close friendship and knowledge of Jesus. We learn from St John in 8:12 that Jesus is the light of the world. Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” Jesus instructs us that to be truly enlightened and freed of all blindness, we must follow Him. We can get frustrated at ourselves and those around us for not seeing the Truth. If we really analyze the situation, we can see that we are not walking with the Light of Christ – we have strayed from the path of Truth. When we encounter darkness and blindness in the world, we are called upon to pray for ourselves and those who are wandering to search for this Light of the World – Jesus Christ.
We might ask ourselves – How can I be fervent? How can I remain faithful to the Light of the World? In our studies this week we will touch on the importance of devotion to the Incarnation of Jesus, the gift of Himself in the Eucharist and the necessity of the cross. These are all essential in understanding Jesus.
We learn in the True Devotion Nos. 243-254 on the 31st day that we are called to have a special devotion to the Incarnation of the Word. First, to honor the mystery of dependence which God the Son was pleased to have on Mary, for His Father’s glory and our salvation. Secondly, to thank God for the infinite graces He has given Mary and particularly for having chosen Her to be His most holy Mother. St. Louis states that these are the two principal ends of the slavery of Jesus and Mary.
The Incarnation of Our Lord Jesus Christ is a profound mystery. One that St. Louis de Montfort says we should meditate on often and have a deep appreciate for. Why? God humbled Himself to become Man in order to be our Redeemer. God Himself chose to be dependent and obedient to Mary as Her Child. St. Louis says that when we think of Mary, we cannot consider Mary without considering the Incarnation. St. Alphonsus says, “In the Incarnation of the Eternal Word, Mary could not have humbled Herself more than She did humble Herself: God on the other hand, could not have exalted Her more than He did exalt Her”. She became the Mother of God.
The three Persons of the Holy Trinity freely chose to have need of Mary for the Incarnation, each of them in their own way took her into consideration. The love that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit bore Mary and the riches with which they lavishly endowed her are justified by the role they entrusted to Her. Her role did not consist merely in giving His individual humanity to the Word; She was meant to extend this role to the accomplishment of the whole Christ – Head and members. The Incarnation is the beginning of the act of giving birth to the new humanity in Jesus Christ. St. Louis de Montfort says in the “True Devotion to Mary” that this birthing will only come to an end “at the end of time”. Meaning: “It was through the Blessed Virgin Mary that Jesus Christ came into the world, and it is also through Her that He must reign in the world.”
St. Louis continues to says, “God-made-man found freedom in imprisoning Himself in Her womb…He glorified His independence and His majesty in depending upon this loveable Virgin in His Conception, His Birth, His Presentation in the Temple, and in the thirty years of His hidden life. Even at His Death, She had to be present so that He might be united with Her in one Sacrifice.” St. Louis goes further by saying, “Since grace enhances our human nature and glory adds a still greater perfection to grace, it is certain that Our Lord remains in Heaven just as much the Son of Mary as He was on earth. Consequently, He has retained the submissiveness and obedience of the most perfect of all children toward the best of all mothers”. He points out that this dependence is in no way an abasement or imperfection of Jesus. He says, Mary is infinitely inferior to Her Son, who is God, and that She does not command Him like mothers do on earth. It is different in glory from what it was on earth. Her will is perfectly united to the Will of God – She never acts or desires anything against God’s Will but by Her tender love is interceding for us.
What does this mean for us? Why did He do this? This “dependence” is not optional for us, if we are to live in imitation of Jesus. By becoming man, God actually involves us in a filial dependence on Mary, as far as our spiritual life is concerned. It is our responsibility to acknowledge and live it at our own level, as Jesus Himself accepted and lived it at His own. Since this is Mary’s whole reason for being – to be the Mother of the Mystical Body of Christ; we can understand why God so generously lavished Her with profound graces. They were meant in turn to be given to us.
The Incarnation is a mystery of love. The association of Mary with the Holy Spirit in the Incarnation entails Her permanent cooperation with Him until the mystery (the entire mission of Christ) is accomplished. St. Louis sees the Incarnation as the seat of Divine Mercy because in it we find Jesus “through Mary”. Mary is really the way of mercy by which Jesus came to us and by which we should go to Him.
Let us conclude with how this gave amazing glory to the Father. St. Louis says in the “True Devotion to Mary”, “Jesus gave more glory to God than He would have given had He offered all the sacrifices of the Old Law. In Mary He gave His Father infinite glory, such as His Father had never received from man.” Jesus’ dependence on Mary, consequent of the Incarnation, enabled Him to “Give more glory to God His Father by submitting to His Mother for thirty years than He would have given Him had He converted the whole world by working the greatest miracles.” Could this be the reason Mary is so despised today? Satan is unleashed and has deceived even the elect in rejecting their Mother through their pride. The secret to sanctity is humility – The humility of Jesus and Mary. Let us be humble in imitation of Jesus and accept and embrace and depend on Mary-Our Queen and Mother. Let us repeat the words of Our Mother, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to Thy Word.”
The mystery of the Incarnation can help us with our love and understanding of the great gift of Jesus to us in the Blessed Sacrament. When we come to ask Our Lady for her profound humility in accepting the gift of Jesus Himself, we can come to experience ourselves the beauty of the soul of Our Lady as we receive Him in Holy Communion. We should always ask for the gift of humility from Our Lady before receiving Her Son at EACH Communion. This would follow the instruction of St. Louis de Montfort in living by Mary, with Mary, in Mary and for Mary. If we prayed to receive Our Lady in our soul before each Communion, how happy Jesus would be to come to that soul where His Holy Mother dwells.
To prepare ourselves for a worthy reception of Jesus in Holy Communion we not only call upon Mary but we ask ourselves the following questions: “Who is it that is coming?” “To whom does He come, and why is He coming?” We can answer, “It is my Creator, who has given me everything that I possess, in whom I live, and move and am. It is God all Powerful, all Wise, all Knowing, all Holy, all Beautiful!” Jesus Christ is coming, the Eternal Son of the Father, who moved by love unspeakable, came down from Heaven into the pure womb of the Virgin, was born into this world and lived as man among sinners! The Good Shepherd is coming to seek His lost sheep; My Redeemer is coming who died on the cross for sinners. To whom is He coming? To a miserable sinner who has not fulfilled the end of his creation, to a steward who has wasted his master’s goods, to a servant who has disobeyed his Lord, to a subject who has rebelled against his Prince, to a redeemed captive who has been unthankful to his Deliverer, to a soldier who has deserted his Commander, to a prodigal child who has turned his back upon his Father, to a spouse who has been unfaithful to her Bridegroom.
HOW GREAT IS THE DISTANCE BETWEEN HIM WHO IS RECEIVED AND THE SINNER WHO RECEIVES!
Who can think of this and not feel himself completely unworthy of such a grace! Does this not stir into a repentant soul the desire to receive on one’s knees and (on one’s tongue).
The saints with their lives teach us that to possess Love is to love Him; it is to allow oneself to be penetrated by His fire – by the Holy Spirit like our Lady. On our own, we cannot love. This love comes from the Holy Spirit, and where ever the Holy Spirit is – there is His Spouse, Mary. Mary with the Holy Spirit has been the one who has nourished us with the Body and Blood of Her Son in Holy Communion. The Dispenser of Graces has entered into our soul with the Holy Spirit to give us the graces Jesus wants us to have. Love comes from God and is given back to Him. This is why we must humble ourselves at all times knowing that any charity, any love, any grace coming from our souls originated by the Holy Spirit with the cooperative work of Mary. This is exactly what Our Lady was saying during the Magnificat. The Carmelite mystics call this passive love not because the soul does not move but because the soul does not move itself. The Holy Spirit moves it and it works under His Divine impulse. Therefore, it can truly be said that the Holy Spirit loves in the soul and that the soul loves with the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is rightly called fire – Divine Fire. The Holy Spirit possesses the soul and that soul burns by a divine fire. Charity or love is the intimate fire that burns the soul, but the Holy Spirit, present in the soul is both the cause of that fire and its glorious end. At first the soul does not burn totally because it needs to be purified in order that the Divine Fire may perfectly penetrate and possess it. Little by little the divine penetration is effected and the soul gradually burns more thoroughly, more profoundly. The divine penetration becomes so perfect, the spiritual combustion so complete that the soul is “deified” – changed into fire – into Love. St. John of the Cross explains this with the burning of a log in a fire. The fire is difficult to get started on the log but once it takes hold of it – it is consumed and becomes ablaze – so much so that the wood is transformed. St. Paul states in 1Cor. 6:17 “he who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with Him.”
It is the Holy Spirit that gave Christ to the world at the moment of His conception. Likewise, in the Eucharist, the Holy Spirit gives us Jesus through Mary. Every time we Communicate, our souls and hearts become the temple of the Most Holy Trinity with the Father, through Jesus, in the Holy Spirit.
Christian holiness must be realized according to the relationship we have with the Eucharist, it must be Eucharistic holiness. We are united in Christ. The offering of ourselves and the Church would be nothing without Christ; it would be neither holy nor acceptable to God as we are only sinful creatures. The offering of the Body of Christ must be accompanied by the offering of one’s own body. On the altar, the priest acts in the place of Christ, the High Priest, but also in the place of Christ the High Victim. Each member of the Church is simultaneously both priest and victim while acknowledging the essential difference between the ministerial priesthood and the universal priesthood of all baptized persons. So when we unite ourselves to Jesus and offer ourselves up with Him through Mary to the Father, we are united in such a way that we too are Eucharistic. Our life’s little actions, words, and deeds become crumbs of the Eucharistic Jesus that feed the world. It is because of the Eucharist that love enters the world. We are in the world for the most sublime of reasons – to be living sacrifices in imitation of Jesus.
The secret of happiness lies in a total offering of one’s self just like Mary – “Let it be done unto me according to Thy Word”. We can achieve this same offering through this Consecration. She will allow us to withhold NOTHING back so that by Her to Jesus we may receive the Holy Spirit – THE SPIRIT OF LOVE. The Holy Spirit impels the soul very strongly to offer oneself without ceasing like the log that is transformed into fire. The Eucharistic soul does not desire anything but love for the Father and seeing that HE IS NOT LOVED, that soul soon undergoes the martyrdom of martyrdoms – the sorrow of Jesus in the Host that cries “I thirst”. That soul now hungers for souls to satiate the thirst of Jesus. That soul feels the pain of Christ’s rejection in the world and becomes a victim of love of the Heavenly Father and shares in the Cross of Jesus Christ.
THE CROSS OF JESUS CHRIST
Those who truly love Jesus want to share in His sufferings. They want to know His Heart. They want to comfort His Heart. This is who Mary is. Our Consecration will lead us to experience this sharing of the “cross”. One cannot be united to Christ if we are not united to the cross. Jesus cannot be seen in this life without the cross. It gives Jesus consolation to know that He can share this passion of horrible human ingratitude with His Eucharistic souls. It is a means of reparation. If we truly love Him and want to console Him whom we love, how can we deny Him the gift of ourselves in sharing in His passion. We must ask Him like St. Francis of Assisi to not be allowed to die without sharing in that love for the salvation of souls by uniting ourselves to Jesus for the glory of the Father. The highest love for the Father is the complete accomplishment of His Will in the perfect and personal participation by every soul in the sacrifice of Jesus. Since Mary was the only soul who perfectly accomplished this union with Jesus on the cross, it is only wise to seek to accomplish this ourselves with Her, in Her and by Her.
To love the Cross, we must see Jesus on it and understand the personal and indestructible ties that bind Him to it. To love the Cross, we must experience the sweet and strong attraction which Jesus Crucified exercises over souls, as He Himself promised in John 12:32 when He said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all things to Myself.” When man is abandoned to himself, he hates pain but when the fire of the Holy Spirit burns within his soul, there is nothing he loves so intensely. It seems like madness but that madness is the madness of a God in love, who willed to die for us and who left on earth this sublime folly for us to share in.
The Holy Spirit, who communicates the science of the cross and infuses love for it in souls; also gives to chosen souls a participation in it according to His loving designs. We must remember that martyrdom itself without love means nothing. Hell is suffering but it is sterile, desolate and full of despair. In order for sacrifice to have value, it must be the fruit of love and to have infinite value, it must be the fruit of infinite love. All the souls who wish to share in the sacrifice of Jesus, all who wish like Him to offer themselves to the Father in their Holy Communions must offer themselves through the Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit with His Spouse, Mary who unites our poor sorrows with the infinite sorrows of Jesus, mingles our blood with the Divine Blood, nails us to the Cross with the Divine Victim and fuses our hearts with the Divine Heart of Jesus. It is important to understand that the Eucharist is the sacrifice of Calvary – the sublime mystery of the Cross. Jesus unites with us in the Eucharist and asks us to prolong His Passion, His martyrdom, His immolation to “complete what is lacking to the Passion of Christ” Col 1:24. The crucifixion of Christ, in anyone who is His member, is fruitful, supremely fruitful in obtaining graces of salvation for souls and for glorifying the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ to whom belongs all honor and glory.
In conclusion, when Jesus left the earth to go to the Father, He wanted to stay with us until the consummation of the world, so He instituted His Sacrament of Love – the Eucharist. When we partake of this great Sacrament, we are called to be Eucharistic souls, like Mary. We partake in the sufferings of Christ on the cross as He cries “I thirst”. We are called to be Jesus in the world but since Jesus was formed in the Immaculate Womb of Mary, we cannot nor will we be formed by the Holy Spirit other than in this same pure Womb of our Heavenly Mother.
In order for Mary to form Jesus within us, we must imitate Her loving abandonment, Her immaculate purity and her hidden life of prayer. We must always say, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to Your Word.”
As we read the passages for the next seven days, it is recommended at this time to increase our awareness of Mary’s presence. This can be increased by frequent visits to the church and praying before her image in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. We can say little prayers throughout our day to increase our awareness of her presence and that of the Holy Spirit’s. If possible, we can make a pilgrimage to a nearby shrine to show our eagerness for our closeness to her.
20th Day - St. Luke Chap. 2, Nativity, Finding of Jesus in the Temple
21st Day - Secret of Mary Nos. 23-24, True devotion to Mary
22nd Day - True Devotion N. 105-110, Characteristics of true devotion
23rd Day - True Devotion N. 120-121, Nature of perfect devotion
24th Day - True Devotion N. 152-164, Easy, short, perfect, secure way
25th Day - True Devotion N. 213-225, Wonderful effects of this devotion
26th Day - True Devotion N. 12-38, Relation of Jesus with Mary
Notice that most of our readings are taken from the writings of St. Louis de Montfort. It would be really great if more than what was required could be read as well. If you do not have the book, Secret of Mary written by St. Louis de Montfort, this too could be purchased – if not now, maybe at a later date.
May the Heart of Jesus give us a spark of His love for His Mother as we begin to draw closer to her during this next week.
UNION WITH MARY
Since God is love, let us ask Our Blessed Mother to teach us to love. We will be judged by how much we lived our lives with this love for God and neighbor. Let us begin our search of Mary by asking Her to show us Her Heart-full of love. Let us contemplate the Heart of Jesus’ Mother, the Heart with its pure immaculate blood, the Heart from which was taken the first drops of the Precious Blood, the Heart that was pierced and broken with sorrow for us Her children. May we love Mary with some of that fire that Jesus desires should be enkindled upon the earth towards Her. Let our prayer be: Mary teach me to love with Your love – let me love with Your Heart! Her passions, her thoughts, her actions will be placed into the hearts of her children. We should endeavor to have no thoughts and desires but the thoughts and desires of Mary. This desire is not wrong since Mary’s desires are always the desires of God – Her will is perfectly united to God’s.
It should be the desire of every child of Mary to look forward to when their soul is really and truly united to God so strongly that He will be able to make use of it as He wills, knowing that there will be no obstacle put in the way of the working of His Holy Spirit. We must strive to constantly keep watch over our hearts to keep them pure and our souls empty of everything that is not of God. We must be vigilant in asking Mary to keep us humble. She will teach us that every grace given to us by God through Her should be faithfully attributed to God alone and not take any credit for ourselves. God will then be able to use us for His greater glory knowing that He can trust that the work will be done in union with the Heart of Mary- one that has been molded by Her.
How happy we will be once we are founded in truth seeing the things of God by the light given to us by the Holy Spirit through the prayers and intercession of Our Mother Mary. This is the grand effect of this devotion. St. Louis de Montfort states that Mary’s faithful servant who advances not to the first, second or third step alone, but who makes this devotion their habitual state are souls given graces so great that these graces may be in some sense compared even to those enjoyed by our first parents in their state of innocence. This happy state is not gained without conflict, without struggle, without great molestations from the evil one. However, those who place themselves into the hands of Mary are placed securely therein and are protected so strongly from any assaults as long as we have recourse to Her.
Before this happy time can be experienced, the child of Mary must ask for the grace of profound humility, trust and deep love. We must pray: “Mary, please take from me everything which displeases God and replace it with that which is pleasing to God.” Depending on the state of our souls, this may mean “minor surgery” or “major surgery”. We must be patient and trusting in this prayer and believe that the Holy Spirit will work in us through Our Mother Mary. We must leave ourselves in Her hands to do with as She wishes. If we persist in having our own way, secretly if not openly, we will spoil Mary’s work – or delay it. We must remain detached, without self-seeking or self-will so that the Holy Spirit can work through Mary in us. It is the delight of God to pour forth His Holy Spirit upon souls rooted in Mary.
Once this work has begun to take place in our souls, we must regard any charge which we are given in life as a charge given by God Himself. We may wish to do something else, but God wishes this particular thing. Therefore, we should do it gladly and with great love for God. It is not the greatness of what we do, but THE WAY in which we perform it that will render us pleasing to God. His Way – not our way. “I must decrease, and He must increase.”
Through this devotion of consecrating ourselves “To Jesus through Mary,” we are beginning a work in time that is to influence eternity. We are sowing a grain of mustard seed that will spring up and become a great tree. It will gradually sprout and bring forth leaves, blossoms, and finally fruit – fruit which God Himself will delight in. God, through Mary, will give us great graces, graces given us for the sake of others as much as for ourselves. (and always for His glory)
Let us resolve to perform all we do in union with Jesus and Mary. What delight His Sacred Heart will experience as His children come before Him, humble, simple, dead to themselves, but with Mary living and dwelling in them. Let us resolve to live this Consecration well until we are called home by Our Lady and presented to the Blessed Trinity.
* * * * * * *
So that more souls may be called to consecrate themselves to Jesus through Mary let us pray:
“Immaculate Heart of Mary, please send forth the graces of Your Flame of Love to all of mankind.”
I have included an extra sheet to this. They are the words of Jesus and Mary. They express Their great desire for souls – it should be our desire if we are to strive to be one with Their Hearts. At the bottom is the Fatima prayer of reparation.
God bless you and may we keep each other in prayer during these next 7 days.
In the 4th Chapter of the City of God – The Incarnation by Mother Mary Agreda, Our Lady has stated in the instructions these following words:
“When I turned from the consideration of this most liberal condescension of the Most High, to the perception and understanding of the foolish hard-heartedness of the sinners, My soul was pierced with an arrow of mortal anguish – which remained for life. Many times the Most High in order to heal the affliction and consternation of My heart in this sorrow, sought to console Me by saying, “Accept Thou, my Spouse, the gifts which the blind and ignorant world in its unworthiness despises and is incapable of receiving and understanding.”
“Be now My companion in the sorrow which I suffered and which is so little noticed by the living. In order to imitate Me, you must deny yourself, forget yourself entirely and crown your heart with the thorns of sorrow at the behavior of mortals.”
“Weep in seeing them laugh at their eternal damnation, for such weeping is the most legitimate occupation of the true sorrow of My Most Holy Son.”
Words from Our Lord to St. Margaret Mary:
“And He showed me that it was His great desire of being loved by men and of withdrawing them from the path of ruin into which Satan hurls such crowds of them, that made Him form the design of manifesting His Heart to men, with all the treasures of love, of mercy, of grace, of sanctification and salvation which it contains, in order that those who desire to render Him and procure for Him all the honor and love possible, might themselves be abundantly enriched with those divine treasures of which this Heart is the source. He should be honored under the figure of this Heart of flesh, and its image should be exposed…He promised me that wherever this image should be exposed with a view to showing It special honor, He would pour forth His blessings and graces. This devotion was the last effort of His love that He would grant to men in these latter ages, in order to withdraw them from the empire of Satan which He desired to destroy, and thus to introduce them into the sweet liberty of the rule of His love, which He wished to restore in the hearts of all those who should embrace this devotion.”
“O Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we adore You profoundly. We offer You the Most Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles throughout the world, in reparation for the offenses, sacrileges and indifferences by which He is offended. And through the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, we beg the conversion of poor sinners.” (To be said often in reparation)
Saturday, September 16th starts the second week of our 33 Day Preparation. Below is the Preparation for this:
KNOWLEDGE OF SELF
The next 7 days will be to examine the knowledge of self. The days break down as follows:
13th day - St. Luke – Need for Prayer
14th day - Imitation of Christ – Obedience of a humble heart
15th day - St. Luke – Need for Penance
True Devotion to Mary – Need of Mary in order to die to self
16th day - True Devotion to Mary – Prayer
17th day - Imitation of Christ – Judgment & Punishment of sinners
St. Luke – Account of Stewardship
18th day - St. Luke – Unprofitable Servants
Imitation of Christ – Suffering
19th day - St. Luke – Spirit of Children
KNOWLEDGE OF SELF
We live in very busy lives. Our minds are divided with so many thoughts that often times good things that we learn are forgotten or rarely considered once we have learned them. We are so wrapped up in the business of everyday life that we do not take the time to think of things that are important such as what we are, where we are, why we are, where we come from, where we are going, why we are going there, etc.
What are we? We are creatures of God. Where are we? We are living in God’s world of mercy. Why are we? We are because of the infinite goodness, mercy and love of God; we are created to love Him. Where do we come from? We come from nothing. Are we going to be saved or damned? Some will be saved because they will have done the Will of God on earth; some are going to be damned because they will refuse to do the Will of God and thus do their own will.
We are creatures of a good and loving Creator. We are made by this good God for Himself. We are placed in a world where God has an enemy; but in a world where Jesus dwells, though in a hidden manner. We are placed here with every means of defeating our enemy; but some people care not to use these means and are easily seduced by him; others fight for a while and then grow tired and give way; some fight one day and not the next, others basely desert God and go over to His enemy. Some however, fight bravely and perseveringly and defend not only themselves, but others from the snares of Satan.
We are in a world where we may be very happy, but where many of us, through our own fault, are not happy. We have grand heavenly riches at our disposal. We have means daily and hourly of increasing our happiness in heaven and earth. We have only to acknowledge that “every good gift and every perfect gift is from our Good Heavenly Father. There is literally no end to these graces, the precious gifts God bestows upon us are given to us so long as we give glory to Him. We must remember that when they are given to us, it is to better ourselves and others for His Kingdom. They are never given to us because of any good found already in us – we are merely empty vessels or should try to be empty for Him. There is absolutely nothing God will not give to us since He has already given Himself to us through His Only Begotten Son Jesus. Yet how is it that we still find ourselves discontented and unhappy in this world?
It is because we have not yet given up ourselves. We have not made ourselves empty vessels. We have not cast away self-love. We are called to turn our whole selves to God but we are so engrossed with ourselves. We are so bent upon keeping our mind upon ourselves and those around us. We busy ourselves with matters that do not concern us, without the intention of doing good This makes us of the earth or earthly.
Our lives might be beautiful under the most commonplace circumstances. When we think of religious cloisters, we think of dedicated souls to God. Many times we might have the temptation-“If only I could go live as a monk away from the world”. This is stated not to demean the religious life for it is a calling above the world but we have not been called to that life. God’s Will for us is to live in the world as His laity. We must find holiness in our daily lives but we sigh over our lives, and return to our accustomed work in the same earthly spirit as before, when we might return to it with a determination of making our lives heavenly, of living to give glory to God, of living upright in His presence, of walking before Him, striving for perfection, of imitating our holy God by being holy in thought and word.
Let us think of the angels and how they fell away during their trial and soon were in Hell. They had fallen from a holy place – Heaven. Our place of probation on this earth is not so very different from theirs. Now that Jesus has come into this world taking our human nature as well as His Divine Nature, we can no longer say that the angels in the heavens, during their time of probation, were nearer to God, more closely united to Him than we are. No, and let us carefully consider this truth. Jesus is found here in our tabernacles – the source of all grace. Also, Mary, the Dispenser of His Graces, is extremely eager to make all of us saints if we just seek her help. We just have to will to make our lives holy and they will be holy and pleasing to God. The life of a Religious is holy because their sanctity consists in fulfilling the Will of God. We too can attain that holiness in the state to which God has called us. We simply need to endeavor to be determined to make every effort to allow God to unite Himself with our soul by the means He has afforded us.
God has given us wonderful examples of many saints living in the world, having the most ordinary duties and yet were favored by Him with His love and were united to Him in a remarkable way. Of course, there is not a better example than Mary. She is such a means of grace for us in so many ways by not only being the Dispenser of those graces but also by being a model of God’s grace. She did not hurry and scramble through life and miss its dignity and beauty. She let God’s grace penetrate every aspect of her life and make it beautiful. Think of how the sun in the sky, when it shines upon even little places, how it makes everything beautiful. We are called to let the sun of God’s Presence be ever before us, and we will walk through life with His light surrounding us. We are not called to do extraordinary things but to lead simple, humble lives. Not that the extraordinary lives of some saints are not to be admired; they are to be admired; they give great glory to God. We are not all called to do extraordinary things yet we can find that same love and peace they found in accomplishing God’s Will and accepting what it is God is calling us to. Everything around us seems commonplace and ordinary but we are ourselves – extraordinary. We are called to be temples of the Living God. We tend to miss the extraordinary that is around us. God lives within us! Let us sit quietly in the Presence of God and with our good angel at our side, and with Mary Our Mother, and ask God to show us His Goodness.
Let us think over what we are and where we are and why we are living as far as God will reveal to us the reason of our creation. If we knew true happiness; if we understood the gifts of God; if we realized the goodness of God in creating us; in placing us in this world of mercy; in destining for us a glorious eternity with Him, in our happiness in being members of His Church, in living in the midst of priceless treasures of which the Church is the custodian and which she gives to her children through the hands of Mary – how different we would be! If we realized more especially the Real Presence of Jesus with us! Yes, He is ever with us, Our Lord and Master, God made Man. The Dear Lord who walked the streets of Jerusalem and whose tender Heart throbbed with love – is with us still! His Heart beats with the same undying love for men, and sadly the fact is that so little love Him in return. We have all we can desire since all that is desirable may be obtained from God by prayer. He desires to show us mercy – He desires we should be saved and live with Him for all eternity. May we ask Our Holy Mother Mary to intercede for us in showing us who we are and where we are going. May she give us the graces to be faithful to Jesus for all eternity.
Below is a list of questions for our reflection during these 7 days of trying to acquire “Knowledge of Self”.
This is just a little help aid – taken from the book, “According to the Effects of Holy Communion and the Eight Beatitudes” by Fr. Lawrence G. Lovasik, SVD
Continue to read out of the Preparation Book and/or "True Devotion to Mary". Also try to fit a rosary in along with the prayers given.
May we keep each other in prayer.
I am sorry for not posting this a few days ago. For those who would like to make the Consecration - To Jesus through Mary the St. Louis deMontfort Way, they can still start now by using "True Devotion to Mary" by St. Louis deMontfort.
The first 12 Days is to divest ourselves of the World. This is to understand the conflict that the world gives us. We need to understand the enemies of the Church which are: the devil, the world and the flesh. Contrary to modern ideas - the world is an enemy! This is a new idea for some and it may even be neglected in some forms of Consecration because we have integrated the ways of the world with our religious beliefs causing us to be mediocre which is repulsive to Our Lord. Therefore, St. Louis deMontfort gives us perennial Truth! Times change but the Truth NEVER CHANGES! God's ways yesterday are God's ways today - contrary to popular belief.
THE FIRST TWELVE DAYS
WITHDRAWING FROM THE SPIRIT OF THE WORLD
During this entire 33 days we are asked to spend some time reading, meditating on a certain passage and praying. This is broken down into four sections:
12 days – Withdrawing from the World
7 days - Knowledge of Self
7 days – Knowledge of Mary
7 days – Knowledge of Jesus
The book “Preparation for Total Consecration” is our guide as to what each day proposes. The guide can be found at the back of some "True Devotion to Mary" books as well. We can add readings from “True Devotion to Mary” as we are allowed in our daily lives. It is proposed that we not only say the prayers in the book but try to add a Rosary and if possible – Daily Mass (for extra graces).
It is also recommended that making a good Confession before we begin the 33 days and just before the Consecration date would afford us a deeper commitment and more grace.
The meditations should be made in the presence of Our Lady. We should start these 33 days off by asking her to show us each day what it is we are trying to discover on this journey. The spirit of the world is opposed to the Spirit of God. It is critical to be serious about this section because the more room we clear in our souls, the more room the Holy Spirit has to fill it.
Begin the daily meditation not only in the company of Mary but with the desire to start a new life with Jesus through her. We must wish to give ourselves entirely to her as He did. Mary is longing to make another Jesus of us. It is by the operation of the Holy Spirit that we will have this new life in Christ. We must draw the resolution from each meditation to desire earnestly to be emptied of the evil spirit, the spirit of the world, and our own selfish spirit, that there may be in us no obstruction to God’s Spirit and to being transformed in Christ. Repeating little prayers throughout the day and keeping the presence of God always before us will be helpful.
Throughout the first week, we are to ask Mary to ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten us about what it exactly is that keeps us from her Son. She will expose these things to our mind so that we can renounce them. It is critical that we trust ourselves entirely to God and His grace to accomplish removing the obstacles from our souls. He is more anxious to assist us in overcoming these defects that we are in overcoming them.
It is important to understand that everything is God’s grace. We must understand grace and its value if we are to not be of the spirit of the world. Grace is the life of God in our souls – the more grace – the more God dwells within that soul. We should eagerly seek to acquire and preserve this grace. We can acquire it through practicing His presence, prayers, Mass, spiritual reading, acts of love, etc. We can preserve this grace by staying far from sin and going to Confession often.
“Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build it.” We must have constant recourse to God and not neglect the seemingly smallest grace because the smallest grace is great. We must use all the natural means God has given us in His service but we must remember that it is by God’s grace that we can ever succeed. An example of the spirit of the world would be for one to always look to self or man for the answer or solution instead of God. And even when the answer or solution is given – the world gives the credit NOT to God who is always the giver of all good things.
So our goal during these 12 first days is to come to understand the difference of the world vs. God. The spirit of the world is so a part of our lives that sometimes we do not see where the difference lies.
The passages in the “Preparation Book” will help us to come to understand this. Praying the Litany of the Holy Spirit will give us enlightenment to see these differences.
POINTS FOR THE FIRST WEEK
God bless you in this endeavor. - I will post Knowledge of Self just before this time period begins.
Bernadette Porter is a Traditional Catholic, a wife of 42 years with 6 adult home-schooled children and 6 grandchildren. A sincere devotion to Mary, the Mother of God leads me to want to share "The Church's best kept secret" - Mary!