The Secret of Mary

by St. Louis de Montfort

With Imprimi Potest, Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1947

-------- Part I --------

The Nature and Scope of this Devotion


28. It consists in giving oneself entirely and as a slave to Mary, and to jesus through Mary; and after that to do all that we do, with Mary, in Mary, through Mary and for Mary. [2] I shall now explain these words.

Scope: Total Surrender

29. We should choose a special feast-day on which to give, consecrate and sacrifice to Mary voluntarily, lovingly and without constraint, entirely and without reserve: our body and soul, our exterior property, such as house, family and income; and also our interior and spiritual possessions; namely, our merits, graces, virtues and satisfactions. [3]

It should be observed here that by this devotion the soul sacrifices to Jesus, through Mary, all that it holds most dear, things of which even no religious order would require the sacrifice; namely, the right to dispose of ourselves, of the value of our prayers and alms, of our mortifications and satisfactions. The soul leaves everything to be freely disposed of by Our Lady so that she may apply it all according to her own will for the greater glory of God, which she alone knows perfectly. [This very similar to The Heroic Act of Charity, which can be found in Joan Carroll Cruz' beautiful prayer book by TAN, PRAYERS AND HEAVENLY PROMISES on page 98. This prayer book also has a slightly shorter version of the De Montfort Consecration -----The Web Master. We have a text version of the Act HERE.]

Surrender of the Value of Our Good Works

 30. We leave to her disposal all the satisfactory and impetratory value of our good works, so that after we have made the sacrifice of them----- although not by vow-----we are no longer the masters of any good works we may do; but Our Lady may apply them, sometimes for the relief or the deliverance of a soul in Purgatory, sometimes for the conversion of a poor sinner, etc. [4]

31. By this devotion we also place our merits in the hands of Our Lady, but only that she may preserve, augment and embellish them, because we cannot communicate to one another either the merits of sanctifying grace or those of glory. However, we give her all our prayers and good works, inasmuch as they have an impetratory and satisfactory value, that she may distribute and apply them to whom she pleases. If, after having thus consecrated ourselves to Our Lady, we desire to relieve a Soul in Purgatory, to save a sinner, or to assist a friend by our prayers, our alms-deeds, our mortifications and sacrifices, we must humbly ask it of Our Lady, abiding, however, by her decision, which remains unknown to us; and we must be fully persuaded that the value of our actions, being dispensed by the same hand which God Himself makes use of to distribute to us His graces and gifts, cannot fail to be applied for His greater glory.

Three Kinds of Slavery

   32. I have said that this devotion consists in giving ourselves to Mary as slaves. [5] But notice that there are three kinds of slavery. The first is the slavery of nature; in this sense all men, good and bad alike, are slaves of God. The second is the slavery of constraint; the devils and the damned are slaves of God in this second sense. The third is the slavery of love and of free will; and this is the one by which we must consecrate ourselves to God through Mary. It is the most perfect way for us human creatures to give ourselves to God our Creator.

Servant and Slave

   33. Notice again, that there is a great difference between a servant and a slave. A servant claims wages for his services; a slave has a right to none. A servant is free to leave his master when he likes-----he serves him only for a time; a slave belongs to his master for life and has no right to leave him. A servant does not give to his master the right of life and death over him; a slave gives himself up entirely, so that his master can put him to death without being molested by the law. It is easily seen, then, that he who is a slave by constraint is rigorously dependent on his master. Strictly speaking, a man must be dependent in that sense only on his Creator. Hence, we do not find that kind of slavery among Christians, but only among pagans. 

 Happiness of the Slave of Love

   34. But happy and a thousand times happy is the generous soul that consecrates itself entirely to Jesus through Mary as a slave of love after it has shaken off by Baptism the tyrannical slavery of the

2. We must, therefore, note two things in this devotion: first, an act of total consecration to Jesus through Mary; and secondly, a state of being consecrated. That state consists in the permanent disposition of living and acting habitually in dependence on Mary; and that is called the spirit or the interior part of this consecration. This practice, although it embraces our entire life, appears so small and trifling at first glance, that St. Louis De Montfort has justly compared it to the mustard seed. But one comes to realize its vital energy and its wonderful effects when it has grown strong by persistent exercise. 

3. These words show us the far-reaching effect of this consecration, which St. Louis De Montfort calls a perfect renewal of the Baptismal vows; and, indeed, in making it we give ourselves anew to Jesus Christ, Our Lord, through the hands of Mary. 

4. It may riot be amiss to give here a short explanation of the Heroic Act of Charity, and to point out in what it differs from this act of consecration.

   According to a definition of the Sacred Congregation of Indulgences [December, 1885], the Heroic Act of Charily consists in this: that a member of the Church Militant offers to God, for the souls in Purgatory, all the satisfactory works which he will perform during his lifetime and also all the suffrages which may accrue to him after his death.

   By the Act of Consecration to Jesus through Mary as taught by St. Louis De Montfort, we give to Our Lady not only the satisfactory works of our life, but all else, nothing excepted. The use to be made of our good works and satisfactions is not determined by us, as it is in the Heroic Act, but it is left to Mary's intention and will. In his Act of Consecration, St. Louis De Montfort does not seem to comprise directly the suffrages which may accrue to us in Purgatory, but indirectly they are implied: "I leave to thee . . . all that belongs to me . . . in time and in eternity."

    Neither the Heroic Act nor our Act of Consecration implies a vow, yet both may be made with a vow, if discretion and sound judgment are not lacking in making such a solemn promise to God.

5. These words show us the true nature of this consecration. By making it we place ourselves in a state in which we are owned by Jesus and Mary and are totally dependent on Their will. Now that is the nature and the condition of a slave. But to remove the idea of there being any degradation or tyrannical violence in this noble servitude, St. Louis De Montfort explains that it is a voluntary slavery, full of honor and of love, giving us the liberty of the true children of God.

   There is then no reason for being scared or repelled by the words "slave" and "slavery." Consider the state, not the word which expresses the state of total, of lasting and disinterested subjection and dependence on the Master through the Mother. One may ask why not use other words? It is because there are none to express adequately this special state of consecration.



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