Necessity of the Blessed Virgin and of Devotion to Her: Part Four
by St. Louis de Montfort
Taken from the
Catholic Classic, TRUE DEVOTION TO MARY
PROVIDENTIAL FUNCTION OF MARY IN THE LATTER TIMES
49. It was through Mary that the salvation of the world was begun, and it is through Mary that it must be consummated. Mary hardly appeared at all in the first coming of Jesus Christ, in order that men, as yet but little instructed and enlightened on the Person of her Son, should not remove themselves from Him in attaching themselves too strongly . . . to her. This would have apparently taken place if she had been known, because of the admirable charms which the Most High had bestowed even upon her exterior. This is so true that St. Denis the Areopagite tells us in his writings that when he saw our Blessed Lady, he would have taken her for a Divinity, because of her secret charms and incomparable beauty, had not the faith in which he was well established taught him the contrary. But in the second coming of Jesus Christ, Mary has to be made known and revealed by the Holy Ghost in order that, through her, Jesus Christ may be known, loved and served. The reasons which move the Holy Ghost to hide His spouse during her life, and to reveal her but little since the preaching of the Gospel, subsist no longer.
I. Existence of This Function and Reasons for It
50. God, then, wishes to reveal and make known to Mary, the masterpiece of His hands, in these latter times:
§ 1. Because she hid herself in this world and put herself lower than the dust by her profound humility, having obtained from God and from His Apostles and Evangelists that she should not be made manifest.
§ 2. Because, as she is the masterpiece of the hands of God, as well here below by as in Heaven by glory, He wishes to be glorified and praised in her by those who are living upon the earth.
§ 3. As she is the dawn which precedes and reveals the Sun of Justice, Who is Jesus Christ, she must be seen and recognized in order that Jesus Christ may also be.
§ 4. Being the way by which Jesus came to us the first time, she will also be the way by which He will come the second time, though not in the same manner.
§ 5. Being the sure means and the straight and immaculate way to go to Jesus Christ and to find Him perfectly, it is by her that the souls who are to shine forth especially in sanctity have to find Our Lord. He who shall find Mary shall find life [Prov. 8:35], that is, Jesus Christ, Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life [John 14:6]. But no one can find Mary who does not seek her; and no one can seek her who does not know her; for we cannot seek or desire an unknown object. It is necessary, then, for the greater knowledge and glory of the Most Holy Trinity, that mary should be more than ever known.
§ 6. Mary must shine forth more than ever in mercy, in might and grace, in these latter times: in mercy, to bring back and lovingly receive the poor strayed sinners who shall be converted and shall return to the Catholic Church; in might, against the enemies of God, idolaters, schismatics, Mahometans, Jews and souls hardened in impiety, who shall rise in terrible revolt against God to seduce all those who shall oppose them and to make them fall by promises and threats; and finally, she must shine forth in grace, in order to animate and sustain the valiant soldiers and faithful servants of Jesus Christ, who shall battle for His interests.
§ 7. And lastly, Mary must be terrible to the devil and his crew, as an army ranged in battle, principally in these latter times, because the devil, knowing that he has but little time, and now less than ever, to destroy souls, will every day redouble his efforts and his combats. He will presently raise up cruel persecutions and will put terrible snares before the faithful servants and true children of Mary, whom it gives him more trouble to conquer than it does to conquer others.
[It is interesting to note that today the increased efforts of the forces of evil are being countered by a corresponding increase in Marian devotion. St. de Montfort made a footnote mentioning growth in the Legion of Mary and renewed interest in the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin Mary in his day.]
II. Exercise of This Function
§ 1. In the struggle against Satan.
51. It is principally of these last and cruel persecutions of the devil, which shall go on increasing daily till the reign of Antichrist, that we ought to understand that first and celebrated prediction and curse of God pronounced in the terrestrial paradise against the serpent. It is to our purpose to explain this here for the glory of the most holy Virgin, for the salvation of her children and for the confusion of the devil: "I will put enmities between thee and the woman and thy seed and her seed; she shall crush thy head and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel." [Gen. 3:15]
52. God has never made and formed but one enmity; but it is an irreconcilable one, which shall endure and grow even to the end. It is between Mary, His worthy Mother, and the devil-----between the children and the servants of the Blessed Virgin, and the children and tools of Lucifer. The most terrible of all the enemies which God has set up against the devil is His holy Mother Mary. He has inspired her, even since the days of the earthly paradise-----though she existed then only in His idea-----with so much hatred against the cursed enemy of God, with so much ingenuity in unveiling the malice of that ancient serpent, with so much power to conquer, to overthrow and to crush that proud, impious rebel, that he fears her not only more than all Angels and men, but in a sense more than God Himself. Not that the anger, the hatred and the power of God are not infinitely greater than those of the Blessed Virgin, for the perfections of Mary are limited; but first, because Satan, being proud, suffers infinitely more from being beaten and punished by a little and humble handmaid of God, and her humility humbles him more than the Divine power; and secondly, because God has given Mary such great power against the devils that-----as they have often been obliged to confess, in spite of themselves, by the mouths of the possessed-----they fear one of her sighs for a soul more than the prayers of all the Saints, and one of her threats against themmore than all other torments.
53. What Lucifer has lost by pride, mary has gained by humility. What Eve has damned and lost by disobedience, Mary has saved by obedience. Eve, in obeying the serpent, has destroyed all her children together with herself, and has delivered them to him; Mary, in being perfectly faithful to God, has saved all her children and servants together with herself, and has consecrated them to His Majesty.
54. God has not only set an enmity, but enmities, not simply between Mary and the devil, but between the race of the holy Virgin and the race of the devil; that is to say, God has set enmities, antipathies and secret hatreds between the true children and the servants of Mary and children and slaves of the devil. They have no love for each other. They have no sympathy for each other. The children of Belial, the slaves of Satan, the friends of the world [for it is the same thing] have always up to this time persecuted those who belong to our Blessed lady, and will int he future persecute them more than ever; just as Cain, of old, persecuted his brother Abel, and Esau his brother Jacob, who are the figures of the reprobate and the predestinate. But the humble Mary will always have the victory over that proud spirit, and so great a victory that she will go so far as to crush his head, where his prode dwells. She will always discover the malice of the serpent. She will always lay bare his infernal plots and dissipate his diabolical councils, and even to the end of time will guard her faithful serpents from his cruel claw.
But the power of Mary over all the devils will especially shine forth in the latter times, when Satan will lay his snares against her heel: that is to say, her humble slaves and her poor children, whom she will raise up to make war against him. They shall be little and poor and in the world's esteem, and abased before all like the heeh, trodden underfoot and persecuted as the heel is bu the other members of the body. But in return for this they shall be rich in the grace of God, which Mary shall distribute to them abundantly. They shall be great and exalted before God in sanctity, superior to all other creatures by their lively zeal, and so well sustained with God's assistance that, with the humility of their heel, in union with Mary, they shall crush the head of the devil and cause Jesus Christ to triumph.
§ 2. In the formation of the apostles of the latter times.
55. In a word, God wishes that his holy Mother should be at present made known, more loved, more honored than she has ever been. This, no doubt, will take place if the predestinate enter, with the grace and light of the Holy Ghost, into the interior and perfect practice which I will disclose to them shortly. Then they will see clearly, as far as faith allows, that beautiful Star of the Sea, They will arrive happily in harbor, following its guidance, in spite of the tempests and the pirates. They will know the grandeurs of that Queen, and will consecrate themselves entirely to her service as subjects and slaves of love. They will experience her sweetness and her maternal goodness, and they will love her tenderly like well-beloved children. They will know the mercies of which she is full, and the need they have of her help; and they will have recourse to her in all things, as to their dear advocate and Mediatrix with Jesus Christ. They will know what is the surest, the easiest, the shortest and the most perfect means of going to Jesus Christ; and they will give themselves to Mary, body and soul, without reserve, that they may thus belong entirely to Jesus Christ.
56. But who shall those servants, slaves and children of Mary be?
They shall be the ministers of the Lord who, like a burning fire, shall kindle the fire of Divine love everywhere. They shall be "like sharp arrows in the hand of the powerful" Mary to pierce her enemies. [Ps. 126:4]
They shall be the sons of Levi, well purified by the fire of great tribulation, and closely adhering to God [1 Cor. 6:17], who shall carry the gold of love in their heart, the incense of prayer in their spirit, and the myrrh of mortification in their body. They shall be everywhere the good odor of Jesus Christ to the poor and to the little, while at the same time, they shall be an odor of death to the great, to the rich and to the proud worldlings.
57. They shall be clouds thundering and flying through the air at the leats breath of the Holy Ghost; who, detaching themselves from everything and troubling themselves with nothing, shall shower forth the rain of the Word of God and of life eternal. They shall thunder against sin; they shall storm against the world; they shall strike the devil and his crew; and they shall pierce through and through, for life or for death, with their two-edged sword of the Word of God [Eph. 6:17], all those to whom they shall be sent on the part of the Most High.
58. They shall be the true apostles of the latter times, to whom the Lord of Hosts shall give the word and the might to work marvels and to carry off with glory the spoils of His enemies. They shall sleep without gold or silver, and, what is more, without care, in the midsts of the other priests, ecclesiatics, and clerics [Ps. 67:14]; and yet they shall have the silvered wings of the dove to go, with the pure intention of the glory of God and the salvation of souls, whosoever the Holy Ghost shall call them. Nor shall they leave behind them, in the places where they have preached, anything but the gold of charity, which is the fulfillment of the whole law [Ro. 13:10].
59. In a word, we know that they shall be true disciples of Jesus Christ, walking in the footsteps of His poverty, humility, contempt of the world, charity; teaching the narrow way of God in pure truth, according to the holy Gospel, and not according to the maxims of the world; troubling themselves about nothing; not accepting persons; sparing, fearing and listening to no mortal, however influential he may be. They shall have in their mouths the two-edged sword of the Word of God. They shall carry on their shoulders the bloody standard of the Cross, the Crucifix in their right hand and the Rosary in their left, the sacred names of Jesus and Mary in their hearts, and the modesty and mortification of Jesus Christ in their behavior.
These are the great men who are to come; but Mary is the one who, by order of the Most High, shall fashion them for the purpose of extending His empire over that of the impious, the idolaters and the Mohametans. But when and how shall this be? God alone knows.
As for us,
we but to hold our tongues, to pray, to sigh and to wait:
"With expectation I have waited."