St Louis de Montfort

Passion Prayer

The Jesuit brother, Alphonsus Rodriguez, used to say his Rosary with such fervour that he often saw a red rose come out of his mouth at each Our Father, and a white rose at each Hail Mary, both equal in beauty and differing only in colour.  —St Louis de Montfort ‘Secrets of the Rosary’

St Alphonso Rodriguez

St Alphonso Rodriguez

 

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Fundamental grounding

Herald of the Rosary

 …Our Lady revealed that after she appeared to Saint Dominic, her Blessed Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, appeared to him and said, ‘Dominic, I rejoice to see that you are not relying on your own wisdom and that, rather than seek the empty praise of men, you are working with great humility for the salvation of souls. “‘But many priests want to preach thunderously against the worst kinds of sin at the very outset, failing to realize that before a sick person is given bitter medicine, he needs to be prepared by being put into the right frame of mind to really benefit by it. “‘That is why, before doing anything else, priests should try to kindle a love of prayer in people’s hearts and especially a love of my Angelic Psalter. If only they would all start saying it and would really persevere, God in his mercy could hardly refuse to give them his grace. So I want you to preach my Rosary.”  —St Louis de Montfort ‘Secrets of the Rosary’

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May the month of Mary

To Our Lady

Mary, I’m awkward at work or play,
And from the path of duty often do I stray.

Mary, Mother, guide me in all I do or say,
For I’m a willful child and often have my way,

Mary, make me gentle as the winds of May,
Mary, make me see the right and do it every day.

Oh Mary, hear an awkward,
Listen to her prayer–
Watch over her, dear Mother,
And keep her in your care.

By G. H. Harriott

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Nurtured on the fruits of the Holy Spirit, St Louis de Montfort amazingly identifies a startling reality about Mary. More than even God, Satan despises Mary. Arrogant to the highest degree, Satan can comprehend God’s ability to thwart his diabolical ways, however the thought of a mere woman, a lowlife handmaid of the Lord able to dominate him sends him into the greatest outrage. Our Blessed Mother makes my heart blossom into the brightest of joy. St Louis de Montfort’s words from ‘True Devotion to Mary’.

“Satan fears her not only more than angels and men but in a certain sense more than God himself. This does not mean that the anger, hatred and power of God are not infinitely greater than the Blessed Virgin’s, since her attributes are limited. It simply means that Satan, being so proud, suffers infinitely more in being vanquished and punished by a lowly and humble servant of God, for her humility humiliates him more than the power of God.”

In trial or difficulty I have recourse to Mother Mary, whose glance alone is enough to dissipate every fear.”. –Saint Therese of Lisieux

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Reflections upon Mary, the woman

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Because, doing your actions (devotion) by our Blessed Lady, as this practice teaches, you abandon your own intentions and operations, although good and known, to lose yourself, so to speak, in the intentions of the Blessed Virgin, although they are unknown. Thus you enter by participation into the sublimity of her intentions, which are so pure that she gives more glory to God by the least of her actions—for example, in twirling her distaff or pointing her needle—than St Lawrence by his cruel martyrdom on the gridiron, or even all the saints by their heroic actions put together. It was thus that, during her sojourn here below, she acquired such an unspeakable aggregate of graces and merits that it were easier to count the stars of the firmament, the drops of water in the sea or the grains of sand upon its shore, than her merits and graces –St Louis de Montfort ‘True Devotion to Mary’

What did you do here upon the earth Holy Mother that produced such splendid praise? It was more than birthing Jesus. It must concern the way you lived your life throughout your life. How did you conduct yourself? Weren’t there people who used the name of your Son improperly that upset you? There had to be times you were right, yet others perceived you being wrong? Justifiable anger, did it overwhelm you even once? Enduring the suffering of Our Savior at the hands of the Roman soldiers how could your heart not be filled with anger and hate? During His passion, did you feel only sorrow, love and compassion for your Son? How did you do it Holy Mother? Your Son, Our Lord and Savior is Divine, the Son of God, yet you were absolutely human. How could you control your emotions and feelings so peacefully?  Did prayer come naturally, purely, and easily to you?  Didn’t others frustrate you through their imperfections? Weren’t there days you were slothful in thought and action? Times you wanted to curse God? Did not the praises of Elizabeth and Simeon fill you with even the slightest arrogance? Ohh Holy Mother listen to the pleading of one devoted to you, one who fails so miserably time after time. How did you do it Holy Mother? There had to be a time when pride overwhelmed you when you contemplated who you carried within your womb? How could you not feel righteous in raising yourself in your own eyes above others? You the truest of contemplatives, how did you know how to conduct yourself as you did? Who instructed you?  Didn’t being so powerful in prayer elevate your self-esteem? False humility never plagued you? Playing the profound mystic for others never tempted you? Being admired as holy and wise never attracted you?  You never lusted after sweet consolations? The wonders you experienced how could you not be self-absorbed? How could you be in constant acquiescence to Holy will? Did you not want to teach everyone, being right about all matters regarding your Son? Did the apostles comprehend the immensity of your majesty while enjoying your company? Did the beloved disciple John recognize you would be crowned in heaven, granted reign as Queen above all queens? I know so little about your earthly life. While alive, I see you as such a simple, quiet, yet commanding woman, one who garnered profound respect with a whisper, working efficaciously behind the scenes, while never dominating the thoughts of your compatriots.  How could you be so simple, you amidst the most complex of lives? As my Holy Mother, I know you so well.  I love you so dearly. You have always been so near. How blessed it is to have you always above me, sheltering me with your loving mantle. I have never doubted your presence, even during my darkest hours.

Our Lady’s words to Juan Diego: Let not your heart be disturbed. Am I not here, who is your Mother? Are you not under my protection? Am I not your health? Are you not happily within my fold? What else do you wish? Do not grieve nor be disturbed by anything.

On the day after the feast of the Assumption he was again shown great joy in the court of heaven. No one was trying to gain entrance who arrived unworthy. As the servant was trying to get in, a young man came up, grabbed him by the hand, and said, “Friend, you do not belong in there at this time. Stay outside. You have incurred guilt, and before you may hear the heavenly singing, you have to make up for your misdeed”. And he led him somewhere down a crooked path into a hole under the earth. There it was dark and barren and wretched.  He could go neither this way nor that, like someone who lies captive where he can see neither sun nor moon. Finding this painful, he began to sigh and feel miserable because of his imprisonment. Soon the messenger came and asked how he was doing. “Poorly, poorly,” he replied. Then the young man said to him, “You should know that the exalted Queen of heaven is angry with you for that failing because of which you are a prisoner here”. The servant became frightened and said, “Alas, wretched me! How have I offended her?” He said, “She is angry with you because you do not like to preach about her on her feast days. And yesterday on her great feast day you refused, against the wish of your superior, to preach about her.” The servant replied, “Dear friend and lord, I think she is worthy of such great honor that I feel unequal to the task, and I leave it to the more mature and worthy (friars) because it seems to me that they can preach about her more worthily than a poor man like me”. The youth said, “Know that she would like you to do it, that she considers it a pleasing service from you. And so do not refuse anymore”. The servant began to weep and said to the young man, “Dear messenger, reconcile me to the pure Mother. I give you my word that it will never happen again”. The young man looked at him amicably, consoled him kindly, and led him out of the prison and back home. He said, “I could tell by the look on the friendly face of the Queen of heaven and by her words when she speaks of you that she forgives you. She is no longer angry with you and wants always to be like a mother to you”. Henry Suso “The Exemplar, The Life of The Servant”

Ann ease with the fighting nature. I truly had a premonition. I was concerned. Do not be so obstinate. I will approach you after mass calmly, holding to the Eucharist. If all is good say ‘do not worry’. If you struggle, please speak with me.

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Mary Hidden

Can I offer myself to God solely based upon pure intent, simple and humble in nature, seeking no accolades or self-glorification on the deepest level. Unworthy servant I am, do I truly understand who I am and who God is? Forsaking self-promotion, abandoning faith focused upon personal elevation, I touch upon truth. Praying in a hidden alcove, loyal to the Church, collapsed upon the shoulders of saints, reposed within ritual and tradition, adoring the cross, resurrection, and Eucharist, the nature of grace reveals herself. A loving Mother hovering tenderly above dispenses abundantly.

Mary lived in obscurity most of her life. Her humility was so great that she desired to hide, not only from all other creatures, but even from herself, so that only God should know her. She asked Him to conceal her, and to make her poor and humble. God delighted to hide her; in her conception, in her birth, in her mysteries, in her resurrection and assumption. St Louis de Montfort ‘True Devotion to Mary’

Mary’s unknowing: “How shall this happen, since I do not know man?” Luke 1:34

So often God performs his greatest work in silence. Mary is alone. As the Holy Spirit comes upon her, and the power of the Most High covers her with its shadow (Luke 1:35-36), she conceives the Holy One to be called Son of God. The whole world was to be affected by this event which God worked in seclusion and silence. So, too, does His grace work in one’s soul. Mary’s was a secret joy until God willed to reveal it to others.

Mother Mary, pray for us that we may always allow God’s grace to work silently in our soul

Mary Assumption

Mary Assumption

During mass, am I consumed with adoration, gratification for the miracle of the Eucharist? Am I participating fully, or am I focused upon others, perhaps imagining others admiring, reducing the most sacred of time down to worldly imperfection? Does my mind wander, unfocused, consumed by fantasy, imagination running wild? Am I intellectualizing, perceiving myself an authority of the Church, judging the piety of others, reasoning, delusional in thought, seeing myself as a Bible scholar. Am I consumed with myself or have I stilled my mind? There before me, willing to be consumed, is the Presence. Opening heart and mind, the left hand unaware of the right, I must offer my brokenness to Christ, concentrating upon who Christ is? Who are you Lord? Lord who are you? Please, I beg Lord, let Yourself be known to me? I am quiet, stilled, empty, constantly engaged in the process of transforming myself into a vessel worthy of filling. I hear the Gospel–the Good News. I ingest the Host. I verbalize responses? I have prepared myself for mass through proper conduct, maintaining sanctifying grace, devoted to contemplation, cleansing psychologically, I wait upon You, my Lord. Lord, authentically, I approach. I am willing to acknowledge ignorance in order to know You better my Lord. Allow me to understand who you are. Lord I want to know You, to accept You in your fullness. Fill me Lord–my heart, soul, body and mind are Yours. All I am is Yours.

Oh Great and Glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my heart. Give me true faith, certain hope, and perfect charity. Grace me with understanding and knowledge so that I may carry out Thy commandments. The simple prayer offered by Saint Francis of Assisi before the cross of San Damiano. Christ responded.

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Honoring the Blessed Mother

Mary pierced

Mary pierced

“From day to day, from moment to moment, she increased so much this twofold plenitude that she attained an immense and inconceivable degree of grace. So much so, that the Almighty made her the sole custodian of his treasures and the sole dispenser of his graces. She can now ennoble, exalt and enrich all she chooses. She can lead them along the narrow path to heaven and guide them through the narrow gate to life. She can give a royal throne, sceptre and crown to whom she wishes. Jesus is always and everywhere the fruit and Son of Mary and Mary is everywhere the genuine tree that bears that Fruit of life, the true Mother who bears that Son.”

–St. Louis Marie de Montfort

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Prayer guidance from a master

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There are two sorts of mental prayer; one common and easy, the other very special, extraordinary and advanced, something received rather than made….There is a very great difference between these two sorts of prayer: the former may in some pleasure be taught by words, the second we cannot so teach, because no words are able to express it. It is a hidden manna, which no man knoweth but him that receiveth it.  Even the receiver cannot explain how it is, nor even properly understand how it is, as Cassian well deserves, quoting to this effect what he calls a divine and heavenly saying of the blessed St. Antony Abbot: ‘Prayer is not perfect as long as the monk at prayer is aware of the very fact that he is praying.’…we cannot express what this prayer is, nor teach it to others, but you must not seek to apply yourself to it, nor raise yourself to it if God does not raise you; apply you and lift you up to it. That would be great pride and presumption, and you would be deprived of the grace of prayer that you deserved, and be left without any. ‘He hath led me’, says the Spouse, ‘into His cellar’ (Cant., ii. 4).    This entry which God gives to the soul into His privacy, and into His wine cellar, to sate and inebriate her with His love, is a most particular gift of the Lord: the Bride did not go in by herself, no, not until her beloved took her by the hand and led her in.  The lifting of yourself up to the kiss of His mouth is not a thing you can or ought to do, unless He Himself lifts you up.  It would be great impertinence and audacity…
–St Alphonsus Rodriquez, ‘On Christian Perfection’.

The well-known Jesuit, Brother Alphonsus Rodriguez, used to say his Rosary with such fervor that he often saw a red rose come out of his mouth at each Our Father and a white rose at each Hail Mary. The red and white roses were equal in beauty and fragrance, the only difference being in their color.  –St. Louis De Montfort  ‘The Secret of the Rosary’

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