St. Francis de Sales tells us about Mary

Today, we offer some thoughts from Saint Francis de Sales on the Immaculata

Prayer for the Immaculate Conception
by Saint Francis de Sales

O Mary! Immaculate Lily of Purity, I rejoice with you that you have been filled with grace and have loved God more than the Seraphim from the first instant of your Immaculate Conception. May the most Holy Trinity be eternally thanked and adored for so many and such rare privileges bestowed upon you. I humble myself profoundly before you, seeing that I am so devoid of graces and poor in merits. O my most loving Mother, make me a partaker of the graces which you have received so abundantly, that I also may be able to love God ardently during life, and not be separated from Him in death. Amen. 

 

On the Immaculate Conception of Mary

The wonderful variety which is observable in the works of nature gives us a very high idea of the immeasurable riches of the Almighty Creator. And yet He manifests His power still more in the super natural order, and the wonderful diversity of the works of grace preaches more loudly the munificence of His mercy. God, in the excess of His goodness, did not merely grant a general redemption to men, sufficient for the salvation of each one, but He diversified and multiplied the super natural gifts which accompany this redemption with infinite liberality and wonderful variety. But His highest favors were lavished upon the most holy Virgin.

From all eternity the Heavenly Father had ordained in His love to form her heart to the perfection of charity, that she might love His Divine Son with the most perfect maternal love—as He had loved Him from all eternity with the most perfect paternal love. The Son of God cast His eyes upon this Virgin, and chose her for His Mother, and co-operator in the great work of the world’s redemption, a merciful Mother, a most powerful advocate of mankind—the most amiable, the most loving, and the most beloved of all creatures. It is the opinion of many theologians that our Lord sanctified St. John the Baptist in the womb of St. Elizabeth, by a ray of His light and grace, and gave him the use of reason together with the gift of faith, so that he knew his God, hidden in the immaculate womb of Mary, adored Him, and consecrated himself to His service.

If such a grace were granted by Our Lord to His precursor, who can doubt for a moment that He should have granted not only a similar, but a much greater privilege to her whom He Himself had chosen for His Mother, and that He should not only have sanctified her in the womb of her mother, St. Anne, but should have, moreover, raised her from the very first instant of her conception to a state of purity and sanctity? The adorable Redeemer of the human race, the eternal object of the love of His Heavenly Father, considered His Mother from that first moment, as a delicious garden which was to produce the fruit of eternal life, and He cultivated this garden in order that every kind of perfection should flourish therein.

He adorned her with the gold of charity and with a wondrous variety of virtues, that she might be able to sit at His side as a Queen—that is to say, occupy the first place amongst the elect, and, in this manner, enjoy the delights that are found at the right hand of the Eternal God. This Divine Mother was redeemed, therefore, in a manner becoming the dignity of the Son, for Whom she was created. Hence she was preserved from reprobation and from all danger of it, because she was enriched with the perfection of grace and with everything necessary for its preservation. Well is she compared to a beautiful aurora, or dawn, which, from its very beginning, went on increasing until it reached its perfect day.

O first-fruit of the Redemption! O masterpiece of the Redeemer! It is just, indeed, O my Divine Saviour, that as a Son full of love and devotion towards Thy Mother, in preventing her with the blessings of Heaven, Thou shouldest have preserved her, not only from sin like the Angels, but even from every danger of sinning, and shouldest, moreover, have removed from her path all that could hinder or even retard her in the exercise of Thy holy love. It was written in Thy eternal decrees that Thou wouldest at one day prefer her to all rational creatures who were dear to Thy Divine Heart, and that Thou wouldest call her the beloved object of Thy predilection, Thy dove, Thy spotless and beautiful one, perfect beyond compare.

A special privilege was reserved for Mary, worthy of a Son Who loved her with an infinite love, and Who, being infinitely good, wise and perfect, was to choose for Himself a Mother, and form her according to His own heart. He willed then that the grace of Redemption should be applied to her as a preservative remedy. Like the waters of the Jordan that, in the days of Josue, interrupted their course through respect for the Ark of the Covenant, so the stream of original corruption stayed its course at the feet of Mary, at the conception of this living tabernacle of the Eternal Covenant.

From the first instant of her conception, Mary knew her God, and loved Him sovereignly; from that moment she became impeccable, through the special assistance of the divine protection, and through the continual inflow of efficacious and preventing graces, to which she never offered the slightest resistance. God not only adorned her with the most abundant habitual grace, but He preserved it in her, keeping her always free from every evil inclination, every idle thought, and every feeling in the slightest degree contrary to the most perfect sanctity.

As to her body, we may believe it was endowed with singular perfections. St. Joachim and St. Anne received her from God through a particular, and we may say, even a miraculous grace, so that she was one of the most excellent works of the Holy Ghost, and breathed only sanctity and purity. This Queen loved, then, her virginal body, not only because it was docile, humble, pure and obedient to Divine Love, but still more because from it was formed the Body of her Saviour. Truly has this Holy Virgin been called elect as the sun, because as the sun shines resplendent above all the stars, through the excellence of its prerogatives, so there is no one amongst all the Saints who has obtained, or can ever obtain, graces superior to those bestowed upon Mary.

There are Saints who have received signal graces from our Lord, and these, compared with the rest of the world, are like queens crowned with charity, and occupy a distinguished position in the love of our Divine Saviour. But His most blessed Mother is the Queen of all Queens, for she is not only crowned with charity, but with the perfection of charity, and to use an expression of the Holy Spirit, Who says that the Son is the crown of the Father; her crown is in truth her Son; that is to say, the sovereign object of charity, the Eternal Love, forms her crown.

Spiritual Flowers

How lovely is the rose and yet it causes great sadness in my soul. It reminds me of my sin, on account of which the earth was condemned to produce thorns.—St. Basil.

Mary, conceived without sin, is compared to the incorruptible cedar, the scent of which puts serpents to flight.—St. Alphonsus Liguori.

How great will be our happiness in heaven, where we shall be able to contemplate Mary, to love her and be loved by her; for she alone forms a paradise of delights. Mary is truly, after God, all that is beautiful, sweet, glorious and amiable in that celestial realm; all is in Mary, all through Mary, all, in fine, is hers.—St. Bonaventure.

Nothing is of greater service to our soul, nor more sustains and strengthens it, than the frequent thought of Mary.—St. Teresa.

 

(Saint Francis de Sales. “The Saint Francis de Sales Collection” [16 Books] Catholic Way Publishing. Kindle Edition)

†  Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of our hearts, Mother of the Church, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of poor sinners, especially our Pontiff.

Purification and Presentation, 2018

Today, which is also a First Friday,  we offer a new post to commemorate one of the oldest feasts in the Church, the Purification of Mary and the Presentation of the infant Jesus in the Temple.

The feast of the Purification of Mary is also the feast of the Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple, and both rites were observed in order to fulfill Mosaic Law; that is to say, this venerable old feast is all about obedience! The obedience of Mary, the most pure and perfect example of God’s creation humbly submitting to the ancient Mosaic Law of purification, and the Divine Infant, truly God as well as truly man, submitting in utmost humility to the Mosaic Law, consecrating God to God as it were.

As we consider the Blessed Virgin Mary and her Divine Child in the Temple, we note that it is in their actions, that is to say, in their choices, that we learn the essential truths of our faith and begin to grasp the significance of the choices we ourselves are required to make. For humility demands obedience, and wherever we see true obedience, there is humility in action.

It was a common sight in those days to see proud young fathers and mothers present their first born sons in the great Temple of Jerusalem. There was perhaps, little to distinguish the Holy Family as they brought in their infant Son, wending their way through the throng of devout Jews. However, in stark contrast to the other women  offering their sons, Mary’s consecration of Jesus under the Old Law was to be consummated on the altar of the Cross, the turning point in salvation history, fulfilling the Old Law and beginning the New Law. Thus, Mary’s offering was, on this day, nothing less than the obedient acceptance of the complete oblation of the Sacred Victim, her beloved Son.

For God so loved His creation that in order to save men from their sins, He spared not even His own beloved Son but delivered Him up to save us all, as St. Paul reminds us. God’s justice demanded that the Blessed Virgin Mary know in full every aspect of the sacrifice that was demanded of her innocent Son. This was, as St. Francis de Sales reminds us, so that “together with the sacrifice of the life of the Son, the heart of the mother might be sacrificed also. … although Mary, from the moment she was made mother of Jesus, gave her consent to His death, yet the Lord wished her on this day to make in the Temple a solemn sacrifice of herself, by offering solemnly her Son, and sacrificing to the divine justice His precious life.”

“This child is set for the fall, and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be contradicted.”

As we consider the scene, we note Simeon’s great sorrow; for although  God had promised him that he should not die before seeing Christ the Saviour, he now realized the immense suffering which these two innocents would have to endure. Thus it was with an immeasurable sorrow that Simeon addressed the most Blessed Virgin Mary,  “And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed.”

At the moment when the priest Simeon mentioned the sword and the sign of contradiction, which were prophetical of the passion and death of the Lord, the Child bowed His head, signifying His acceptance of Simeon’s prophecy as the sentence of the eternal Father pronounced by His minister. All this the loving Mother noticed and understood. She felt the sorrow predicted by Simeon and was wounded by the sword, of which She had thus been warned. As in a mirror her spirit was made to see all the mysteries included in this prophecy; how her most holy Son was to be the stone of stumbling (1),  the perdition of the unbelievers, and the salvation of the faithful; the fall of the synagogue and the establishment of the Church among the heathens; She foresaw the triumph to be gained over the devils and over death, but also that a great price was to be paid for it, namely her Son’s frightful agony and death on the Cross. She foresaw the boundless opposition and contradiction, which the Lord Jesus was to sustain both personally and in His Church (2). At the same time she also saw the glory and excellence of the predestined souls.

For Mary kept all this in her Immaculate Heart, bearing within her soul such a profound sorrow that no human can ever fathom. The saints assure us that ever after, each glance at this divine, innocent and most lovable Son yielded the most intense pangs of sorrow. St. Francis de Sales explains further,

Thus, Mary not only offered her Son to death that day in the Temple, but was offering Him up at every moment of her life; for she revealed to St. Bridget that this grief which St. Simeon announced to her, never left her heart till she was assumed into heaven. Hence St. Anselm says: ‘Oh Lady, I cannot believe, that with such a sorrow thou would have been able to live one moment, if God Himself, who gives life, had not strengthened thee by His divine power.’ And St. Bernard affirms, speaking of the great sorrow that Mary endured on this day, that hence forth she suffered a living death, bearing a grief more cruel than death. She lived, dying at every moment, because grief for the death of her beloved Jesus was at every moment assailing her.

What lesson can we draw from this Mystery of the Presentation? If we are to be truly Mary’s children, living our consecrations to her, then we must accept with equanimity the sorrows and sufferings given to us; not only those we ourselves endure but also those we behold suffered by the Bride of Christ, that is, the Church. The Immaculate Virgin offered up her sufferings united with those of her Divine Son and Saviour. She was silent before Herod, and she was silent as Jesus stood before the Sanhedrin,  and before Pilate. This is not to say she was indifferent. Not at all. Indeed, Mary held all of this, every brutality and indignity suffered by her beloved Son was held in her Immaculate and Sorrowful Heart. We her children, can do no less, nor should we seek to do more. For as a loving child, in obedience to the Mother, models his behaviour on hers, we attend to all our Saviour’s sufferings, we do not turn away, but abide with Him in sorrowful love with Mary our Mother, offering all in reparation.

Now the above essay should not be construed as the encouragement of what Dr. Roberto de Mattei rightfully condemns as minimalism, that is the willful neglect of our duty to confront the errors in the Church. In her Message of Fatima, our most Blessed Mother has providentially given us the means for increasing sanctifying grace in our lives to nourish our souls and provide us with the spiritual weapons for this great battle for the Church, for souls, Now this battle requires that we confront the enemy at every  opportunity.  Dr. de Mattei reported on the case of a priest using his pulpit at Mass to scandalize the congregation by denying the Credo and the priest in another area that advised the faithful of their obligation to stand up and counter this public apostasy of the faith.  Have you considered what you would do in such a situation?

I must admit, on the three occasions when I observed offenses against the faith during a diocesan TLM, (all in the same diocese, but in different churches) I just got up and walked out. For a timid person, it was a bit of a stretch, but I did do my best to explain to others why I will no longer attend Mass there. The result was not exactly stellar,  just one family followed suit, but they are a beautiful family, five souls now attending a Society Chapel exclusively. And we never tire of working and praying for more!

One effective form of action is to become informed and then spread the word, about the anti-life agenda of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. I suggest Michael Hichborn’s post on the Lepanto Institute site, LINK. The amount of money being raked in by these corrupt wolves in shepherd’s clothing is astounding.  Speaking out on this to other Catholics whenever possible is not only a good way to serve the Truth, it is an opportunity for penance, as we all no doubt know!

Today, the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary continues to suffer as the current occupiers of the Vatican, filled with passionate intensity continue their war to eclipse the true Church, Christ’s Pure and Holy Bride, with the Luciferian Church of Man. So many souls are swept away in this maelstrom!

Please, renew your consecration this day! And don’t forget tomorrow is First Saturday of Reparation!

Footnotes

(1) In this phrase we note the terrible sorrow of Mary for all the chosen souls who turn from the truth and are lost forever. Many of whom are her own children who chose to disobey.

(2) Even as  those first “Chosen People”, the race of Jesus Christ and His most Blessed Mother, rejected His saving grace, so also the Church today rejects His grace. This is to complete the cycle. And even as Jerusalem was destroyed for its perfidious rejection, so also we shall see the parallel in our own day.

For our accustomed post on the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, see here.

The above post quotes and paraphrases articles by Saint Francis de Sales  (available on Kindle by Catholic Way) and Venerable Mother Maria de Agreda (Mystical City, Veritatis Splendor Pub.).  Both are on Kindle.

  Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of our hearts, Mother of the Church, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of poor sinners, especially our Pontiff.
  Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy kingdom come! Viva Cristo Rey!
  Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.
  St. Joseph, protect us, protect our families, protect our priests.
  St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.

Please pray for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary!

~ by evensong for love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, King.
Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin! Give me strength against thine enemies!

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