Consecration to the
Immaculate Heart of Mary
According to the Spirit of St. Louis de Montfort's
TRUE DEVOTION TO MARY
Fr. Nicholas A. Norman
DIRECTOR THE CONFRATERNITY OF MARY QUEEN OF ALL HEARTS
Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1949
THE EMINENCE OF MARY, PART 1
The Indictment of the Modern World
We live in times that, whether they be the last days, or not, fulfill to a striking degree the words of St. Paul:
"Know also this, that in the last days, shall come dangerous times. Men shall be lovers of themselves, covetous, haughty, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, wicked, without affection, without peace, slanderers, incontinent, unmerciful, without kindness, traitors, stubborn, puffed up, and lovers of pleasures more than of God: Having an appearance indeed of godliness, but denying the power thereof . . . ever learning, and never attaining to the knowledge of the truth." (2 Tim. 3:1-7).
"Lovers of themselves"-----Let not the success of sundry charity drives blind us to the woeful spirit of selfishness that has gripped the world in its loveless embrace. "What is in it for me?"-----this is the watchword of countless millions. Individuals are affected, and nations. So we have wars and the rumors of wars, the abominable housing situation, the grim, embattled strikes, ugly race prejudice, nervous impatience that explodes at the slightest delay in the fulfillment of personal desires, spiraling prices, a widespread breakdown of marriage, birth control and needless shuffling of child care to others, while so many mothers spend their time in activities of little or no value, or unnecessary employment, and so many fathers act as though their only duty towards their children were to provide them with material necessities and goods.
How many organizations, ostensibly high-minded and charitable in purpose, are impeded in their efforts by petty jealousies and cliques within their own ranks! Is the spirit still dominant among us all as much as it was among the first Christians, to unite for one purpose, and for one alone-----the glory of God and the extension of His Kingdom?
"Human frailty," we say unctuously, and let it go at that.
Once the pagans marveled, saying:
"See how these Christians love one another!"
They will say it today, but now with sardonic amusement.
"Covetous"-----Greed and avarice have wrecked the modern world and prostrated civilization. What else has caused wars, and so often lies beneath the high-flown words of diplomacy?
"Haughty, proud, blasphemers"-----For the first time in history, while the majority may agree in theory that there is a God, a vast proportion deny in practice the existence of a Deity, and are gods unto themselves. Colleges of learning use His Name, but define Him fantastically. His Name is not mentioned at the councils of the nations. "Nature" has usurped His place as the Author of Creation and the Arranger of its beautiful order.
"Disobedient"-----The revolt against the very idea of authority exists not only in children, but has become a real obsession in our age, an obsession which has reached even into the fields of art and music, and is responsible for the modern monstrosities, daubs and cacophonies. To a staggering number, freedom means license, whether they wish to admit it or not.
"Without affection"-----The world may have been as bad in pre-Christian times, but never since the Redeemer came and sanctified marriage has this exalted union been so abused, its promises so flouted. Never has personal desire counted for so much, and surrender for so little. Never has there been so little place in the world for children-----birth control, abortion, neglect.
"Without peace"-----The world is aflame with war, rumors of war, and revolt. Men cry "Peace, peace!"-----but there is no peace.
"Slanderers"-----"Propaganda" and "smearing" are common words now, and every child knows their meaning.
"Incontinent"-----The world has been sexy in many periods of its existence. Prominent men have paraded their mistresses. But when since the times of ancient Rome has divorce been so legalized and shameless, with its attendant progressive polygamy? When was there such widespread birth control? When has the human body been paraded in such nudity? What stigma is attached to adultery and infidelity? Is it not "love"? And must not "love" be satisfied at any cost, regardless of encumbering husband, wife or children? What unprinted horrors are discovered by scratching the veneer of modern respectability! How often we read of the flame of lust raging in the hearts even of children, leading them to murder. Obscene pinups are commonplace in the rooms of teenagers. When was the world so flooded with pornographic writings and pictures, so many of which find their way into the hands of children? What age has seen such filthy advertisements, promising to reveal secrets of perversion, sexy comics, provocative motion pictures, dirty jokes sent into clean homes via radio?
The Romans adored Venus. Is she not being adored again?
But is not all this "broadminded" and "modern"? It is as broadminded and modern as Sodom and Gomorrah.
"Unmerciful"-----Wandering refugees, wild children, slave labor, concentration camps nauseating in their horror, sadistic tortures that have shamed this decade forever and are still going on-----these outrival the cruelties of the Huns and Mongols. And all this in a "civilized" world!
"Traitors"-----When ever has the solid structure of the State well nigh universally been so shot through with the rat burrows of traitors working for another country, for foreign ideas and interests, covering their treason with the noble sounding cry of "Freedom, free speech, free press!" How many times in recent years has the enemy swallowed up a country without so much as firing a shot?
"Fifth columnists," "infiltration"-----these are common household words today.
"Lovers of pleasures more than of God . . ."-----no comment is needed.
"Ever learning and never attaining to the knowledge of the truth. . ."-----Our institutions of learning are bursting today as never before in history and they present numerous courses in widely varied fields. How many have for their object the education of man for the material concerns of life? How much time is allotted for the intensive cultivation of man's noble
To attain the truth means to find and to hold forever the Truth, the Infinite, Ineffable Essence. It calls not merely for a theoretical knowledge of the Divinity, but for intimate union with the All-Good, the All-Beautiful, the All-True.
Because so many have been so far from attaining the Truth, the foregoing indictment holds true. But those who have attained it have found the peace that surpasses all understanding.
ATTAINING THE TRUTH
In spite of all our troubles, we still speak of our era as "civilized times." We have automobiles, jet planes, streamlined trains, radio, television, plastics, the manifold applications and appliances of electricity, air conditioning, sanitation, penicillin, X-rays, and other as yet undreamed of wonders lie just beyond the horizon. They would soon be ours, if . . .
If . . .! If selfishness, misunderstandings, hatreds and fear were not draining the resources of mankind as we stand on the alert for cataclysmic war. Are we civilized?
What is civilization? Is it the existence in the world of such material marvels, really the product of only a comparatively few minds, or is it in the ability of all men to profit permanently by these things, as they free us from the burdens of earth to give us time and opportunity to achieve the sublime destiny of our immortal spirit?
Is civilization the pampering and the coddling of the senses, the making of life more comfortable, or is it the development of rugged character, that can live at peace with fellowman, while all try to perfect and ennoble the deathless spirit that places man at the pinnacle of all the visible creation?
Herein lies the indictment of our times, that we have gone pell-mell down the road of sense, and are making but desultory attempts to ascend the way of the spirit.
At the end of the low road of sense lies death, corruption, and the stench of decay. At the heights of the high road of the spirit awaits peace, and a joy immeasurable" beyond that of all our wistful dreams.
The road down is easy to sense" hard to spirit, in its ever-growing disillusionment, emptiness and frightening desolation. The road up is hard to sense but easy to the spirit, in the peace that surpasses all understanding.
At the dawn of reason we come to a parting of the ways. Two roads lie ahead, one dipping slightly downward, the other sloping gently up. One is called Pleasure and one is called Truth. Neither is hard to follow, though going up is more difficult than going down. But they are not far apart, and it is easy to go from one to the other.
But at adolescence comes a sharp turning. One leads steeply upward, the other swiftly down. The latter, though, is so broad, so smooth, so well-traveled; there is so much to see, so much to do! Food, drink, pleasures abound, as far as the eye can see. The other road seems so deserted, so narrow now and rocky, with dense forest and long dark tunnels. So it is that many say:
"The roads have been marked wrong. It is on the wide road that I shall find my joy and my fortune. Can all these people walking it be making a mistake?"
So they start down, merrily sure. At first they see many a lane marked "To Truth," but pass them by. The slope becomes steeper, the momentum increases. There are still roads over to Truth, but they are fewer now, their markings hardly distinguishable. But after a while food and drink begin to lose their appeal, and the pleasures to dim. Uneasiness grips the heart. Downward, downward. Ever easier to go down, ever harder to go back. Faster, faster, as the night comes on, until in the darkness the false road ends at a precipice, and with a despairing cry they plunge into the abyss. This is the story of every lost soul.
What shall take away the fear and the loneliness of the other path? There will be no fear in the company of a sure guide, one who has traversed every step of the way, has been through every dark tunnel and frightening wood, one alert and strong enough to repel every danger, one who knows every step of the way unto the very heights. There will be no loneliness if that guide be a friend, loved with all the power of our heart, and loving even more in return. Love makes all things easy, and the miles will pass away unnoticed. "For though I should walk in the midst of the shadow of death, I will fear no evils, for thou art with me." (Ps. 22:4). No fear, no tedium, no heartache, no desire to leave our Beloved to join the mocking throng. "My beloved to me, and I to Him." (Cant. 2:16). This is all that is needed to make the going easy, and the final arrival sure.
There is only one under Our Lord among all the children of men who can fulfill perfectly the place of guide and beloved, only one with complete experience and complete love-----the Immaculate Virgin. She has explored the way unto the Truth, and attained Him in a measure that no one else ever will or can. She has known all the darknesses that lead unto the light, the depths of suffering that has richly merited her the title of Queen of Martyrs. She alone of all mankind knows the fullness of the glory and the inexpressible joy that awaits at the end of the road. And her beauty is so compelling, and her love so selfless and Divine, that if we but lift our eyes unto her we shall love her ardently in return and never wish to be separated from her. And if we but give her our hand, in complete trust, she will guide us safely to the Goal of All Desire.
So those whom she has guided and who have found Him, call to us with all possible loving urgency: "Go to Mary!"
WE MUST FIND MARY
"In me is all grace of the way and of the truth, in me is all hope of life and of virtue." (Eccles. 24:25). In her we shall find the grace to attain unto Him Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
To attain unto the Truth as the Apostle would have us do, we must first find Mary. To find Mary means to be united in intimate communion with her. This necessity is not intrinsic, but the Eternal Father has freely willed it that way and no other. Who shall say Him nay?
How do we know that the Father wants it that way? To understand this we must know something of Our Lady's place in the Divine economy of salvation. This is something not too clearly understood by many Christians.