The Secret of Mary
by St. Louis de Montfort
-------- Part I --------
THE SECRET OF MARY
OUR SANCTIFICATION BY THE PERFECT DEVOTION
TO THE BLESSED SLAVERY OF LOVE
Interior Practice of the Holy Slavery of Love
Its Guiding Formula
43. I have said that this devotion consists in doing all our actions with Mary, in Mary, through Mary and for Mary.
Scope of This Formula
44. It is not enough to have given ourselves once as slaves to Jesus through Mary, nor is it enough to renew that act of consecration every month or every week. That alone would not make it a permanent devotion, nor could it bring the soul to that degree of perfection to which it is capable of raising it. It is not very difficult to enroll ourselves in a confraternity, nor to practice this devotion in as far as it prescribes a few vocal prayers every day; but the great difficulty is to enter into its spirit. Now its spirit consists in this, that we be interiorly dependent on Mary; that we be slaves of Mary, and through her, of Jesus.
I have found many people who, with admirable zeal, have adopted the exterior practices of this holy slavery of Jesus and Mary, but I have found only a few who have accepted its interior spirit, and still fewer who have persevered in it.
MEANING AND EXPLANATION OF THIS FORMULA
Act with Mary
45. The essential practice of this devotion is to do all our actions with Mary. This means that we must take Our Lady as the perfect model of all that we do.
46. Before undertaking anything, we must renounce ourselves and our own views.  We must place ourselves as mere nothings before God, unable of ourselves to do anything that is supernaturally good or profitable to our salvation. We must have recourse to Our Lady, uniting ourselves to her and to her intentions, although they are not known to us; and through Mary we must unite ourselves to the intentions of Jesus Christ. In other words, we must place ourselves as instruments in the hands of Mary, that she may act in us and do with us and for us whatever she pleases, for the greater glory of her Son, and through the Son, for the glory of the Father; so that the whole work of our interior life and of our spiritual perfection is accomplished only by dependence on Mary.
Act in Mary
47. We must do all things in Mary;  that is to say, we must become accustomed little by little to recollect ourselves interiorly and thus try to form within us some idea or spiritual image of Mary.  She will be, as it were, the oratory of our soul, in which we offer up all our prayers to God, without fear of not being heard; she will be to us a Tower of David, in which we take refuge from all our enemies; a burning lamp to enlighten our interior and to inflame us with Divine love; a sacred altar upon which we contemplate God in Mary and with her. In short, Mary will be the only means used by our soul in dealing with God; she will be our universal refuge. If we pray, we will pray in Mary; if we receive Jesus in Holy Communion, we will place Him in Mary, so that He may take His delight in her; if we do anything at all, we will act in Mary; everywhere and in all things we will renounce ourselves.
Act through Mary
48. We must never go to Our
Lord except through
Mary, through her intercession and her influence with Him. We must
Act for Mary
49. 40 Lastly, we must do all our actions for Mary. This means that as slaves of this august princess, we must work only for her, for her interests and her glory-----making this the immediate end of all our actions-----and for the glory of God, which must be their final end. In everything we do, we must renounce our self-love, because very often self-love sets itself up in an imperceptible manner as the end of our actions. We should often repeat, from the bottom of our heart: "O my dear Mother! It is for thee that I go here or there; for thee that I do this or that; for thee that I suffer this pain or wrong."
Not More Perfect to Go Straight to Jesus without Mary
50. Beware, predestinate soul, of believing that it is more perfect to go straight to Jesus, straight to God. Without Mary, your action and your intention will be of little value; but if you go to God through Mary, your work will be Mary's work, and consequently it will be sublime and most worthy of God. 
Not Necessary to Feel and Enjoy What You Say and Do
51. Moreover, do not try to feel and enjoy what you say and do, but say and do everything with that pure faith which Mary had on earth and which she will communicate to you in due time. Poor little slave, leave to your Sovereign Queen the clear sight of God, the raptures, the joys, the satisfactions and the riches of Heaven, and content yourself with pure faith, although full of repugnance, distractions, weariness and dryness, and say: "Amen, so be it," to whatever Mary, your Mother, does in Heaven. That is the best you can do for the time being. 
Not Necessary to Enjoy Immediately the Presence of Mary
52. Take great care also not to torment yourself should you not enjoy immediately the sweet presence of the Blessed Virgin in your soul, for this is a grace not given to all; and even when God, out of His great mercy, has thus favored a soul, it is always very easy to lose this grace, unless by frequent recollection the soul remains alive to that interior presence of Mary. Should this misfortune befall you, return calmly to your Sovereign Queen and make amends to her. 
WONDERFUL EFFECTS OF THIS INTERIOR PRACTICE
53. Experience will teach you much more about this devotion than I can tell you; and if you remain faithful to the little I have taught you, you will find so many rich fruits of grace in this practice that you will be surprised and filled with joy.
54. Let us set to work then, dear soul, and by the faithful practice of this devotion let us obtain the grace "that Mary's soul may be in us to glorifY the Lord, that her spirit may be in us to rejoice in God," as St. Ambrose says. "Do not think that there was more glory and happiness in dwelling in Abraham's bosom, which was called Paradise, than in the bosom of Mary, in which God has placed His throne," as the learned Abbot Guerric says.
It Establishes Mary's Life in the Soul
55. This devotion, faithfully practiced, produces many happy effects in the soul. The most important of them all is that it establishes, even here below, Mary's life in the soul, so that it is no longer the soul that lives, but Mary living in it; for Mary's life becomes its life. And when, by an unspeakable yet real grace, the Blessed Virgin is Queen in a soul, what wonders does she not work there! She is the worker of great wonders, particularly in our soul, but she works them in secret, in a way unknown to the soul itself, for were it to know, it might destroy the beauty of her works.
Mary Causes Jesus to Live in That Soul
56. As Mary is the fruitful Virgin everywhere, she produces in the soul wherein she dwells purity of heart and body, purity of intention and of purpose, and fruitfulness in good works. Do not think, dear soul, that Mary, the most fruitful of all pure creatures, who has brought forth even a God, remains idle in a faithful soul. She will cause Jesus Christ to live in that soul, and the soul to live in constant union with Jesus Christ. "My dear children, with whom I am in labor again until Christ is formed in you." [Gal. 4: 19]. If Jesus Christ is the fruit of Mary in each individual soul, as well as in all souls in general, He is, however, her fruit and her masterpiece more particularly in a soul in which she dwells.
Mary Becomes Everything to That Soul
57. In fine, Mary becomes everything to that soul in the service of Jesus Christ. The mind will be enlightened by Mary's pure faith. The heart will be deepened by Mary's humility. It will be dilated and inflamed by Mary's charity; made clean by Mary's purity; noble and great by her motherly care. But why dwell any longer on this? Only experience can teach the wonders wrought by Mary, wonders so great that neither the wise nor the proud, nor even many of the devout can believe them.
SPECIAL FUNCTION OF THE HOLY
Through Mary, Jesus Will Reign
58. As it is through Mary that God came into the world the first time, in a state of humiliation and annihilation, may we not say that it is through Mary also that He will come the second time, as the whole Church expects Him to come, to rule everywhere and to judge the living and the dead? Who knows how and when that will be accomplished? I do know that God, Whose thoughts are as far removed from ours as Heaven is distant from the earth, will come in a time and a manner that men expect the least, even those who are most learned and most versed in Holy Scripture, which is very obscure on this subject.
59. We ought also to believe that toward the End of Time, and perhaps sooner than we think, God will raise up great men full of the Holy Ghost and imbued with the spirit of Mary, through whom this powerful Sovereign will work great wonders in the world, so as to destroy sin and to establish the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, her Son, upon the ruins of the kingdom of this corrupt world; and these holy men will succeed by means of this devotion, of which I do but give here the outline and which my deficiency only impairs.
10. From these indications, however abstract, we may learn that the act of union with Mary, as understood by St. Louis be Montfort, requires two things in the work of our sanctification: 1) the removal of all obstacles [sin and its occasions] by renouncing ourselves; 2) the union of our will with the will of God and of our actions with the impulse of Divine grace. Without that self-renunciation in all things, our union with Mary would be very imperfect, our dependence on her would be an illusion [see 3, 4 and 5, The Tree of Life]. Note also, that by telling us to renounce our own views and intentions, however good they be, in order to adopt those of Mary, De Montfort counsels the practice of that which is most perfect.
11. In indicates an indwelling, an intimate union which produces unity. As St. Louis De Montfort expresses it, we must "enter into Mary's interior and stay there, adopting her views and feelings." Mary must become, as it were, the place and the atmosphere in which we live; her influence must penetrate us. As soon as this disposition of our soul has become habitual, we can say that we dwell in Mary, and having thus become as one moral person with her, we abide in her and she dwells in us, in the sense explained above [see note 3, secret-mary3.htm].
12. St. Teresa gives similar advice to beginners for keeping recollected and united with Our Lord when at prayer. She recommends the use of images, and in this she is of the same mind as St. Louis De Montfort, who had recourse to images and banners, to the erection of calvaries and of other exterior displays that appeal to the senses and elevate the soul to God.
13. This does not mean that we may not approach Our Lord directly to speak to Him in prayer or contemplation; nor does it mean that in every action of ours we must think of Mary actually and distinctly; a virtual intention is sufficient. St. Louis De Montfort, indeed, says that our offering or act of consecration, if renewed but once a month or once a week [we might add, once a day], does not establish us in the spirit of this devotion, which is a state or a habit; yet he remarks that our interior look toward Mary, though it be but a general and hasty look, is sufficient to renew our offering.
14. Useful advice to those who are but beginning and who might think that they do nothing good because they do not see or feel. St. Louis De Montfort reminds them of the truth that our union with God consists in an act of the will. In his True Devotion he says that that act may be either mental or expressed in words; it can be made in the twinkling of an eye. In his prayer to Mary [found further on], he makes us ask for detachment of the senses in our devotion.
15. This interior
of Mary is a favor St. Louis De Montfort enjoyed in an exceptional
as we may see by reading his life. He says: "It is a grace not given to
all." Yet he exhorts us all to practice his true devotion and promises
to all without exception "that Mary's soul will be in them." It is
he always insists upon the condition of perseverance in practicing this
devotion. As there are, however, but few souls who remain faithful to
spirit, even in a lower degree, we must say that this presence of Mary
is not given to all.
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