What is True Devotion?
By Delia Mundy
The devotion to Our Lady as described by St. Grignon de Montfort is as important today as it is misunderstood. Here is its essential, culled from his book True Devotion to Mary. Read these lines, and then read – and put into practice – the book.
"Devotion," St. Thomas teaches, "is the readiness of our will to conform to the will of God.”
Devotion may be described as a great love or a strong attachment. "I have a great devotion to Our Lady," we would say if asked. In fact, as Catholics we would feel insulted should this devotion be in question.
If we agree with all the saints who have cried out "De Maria numquam satis", “Of Mary there is never enough", then we will also agree that our devotion to and love of Our Blessed Mother may be renewed and increased so as to more perfectly serve Our Lord through her.
True Devotion to Many by St. Louis Marie Grignan de Montfort (1673-1716) is considered to be the greatest single book on the Messed Virgin ever written. It is the classic statement on the spiritual way to Jesus through Mary. In fact, it is said that no catholic should pass beyond the age of 20 without having read it. Pope Plus IX declared that St. Louis de Montfort's devotion to Mary was the best and most acceptable form of devotion to Our lady.
"Another book, and yet another consecration" one may be tempted to think. Not exactly, the essence of this devotion consists in a slavery of the will. The main difference is that you renounce any reward and become a slave of love, having the privilege of belonging to and serving Jesus Christ through Mary.
The word "slave" has the effect of making a person feel repelled by its connotations. We, almost automatically, reject the idea of hardship without reward. St. Louis de Montfort says there is nothing among Christians which makes us more absolutely belong to Jesus Christ and His holy Mother, that the slavery of the will, according to the example of Jesus Christ Himself, who took on Himself the form of slave for love of us (Phil. 2:7)
This devotion consists in giving ourselves entirely to Our Lady, in order to belong entirely to Jesus through her. We must give her:-
You will offer all that you have materially and spiritually now and in the future without holding anything back and without expecting any reward for our offering and service except the honor of belonging to Jesus Christ through Mary and in Mary.
There are two things in the good works we perform, satisfaction and merit.
-The satisfactory value of a good action is that it satisfies for the pain due to sin or will obtain some new grace.
-The meritorious value merits or earns grace now and eternally glory hereafter.
In this devotion we give to Our Lady all the: satisfactory and meritorious value of our actions. The merits, graces, and virtues are not communicable, but we give her them to keep them, augment them and embellish them for us and to worthily present them to God on our behalf. Our satisfactions, however, we give her to communicate however she wishes and for the greater glory of God.
By faithfully observing this practice, you will give Jesus more glory in one month than by any other practice, however difficult, in many years; because doing your actions by our Blessed Lady, you abandon your own intentions. 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. By placing all your trust in Mary when approaching or speaking to Jesus you will practise humility far more that the people who acts by themselves and trusts in their own efforts.
Surrendering the right to dispose of our interior goods and of the satisfactions we gain by our good works day after day is more than we do even in a religious order. In religious orders we give God the goods of fortune by the vow of poverty, the goods of the body by the vow of chastity, our own will by the vow of obedience and sometimes the liberty of the body by the vow of cloister. But, by these vows we do not give Him the liberty or the right to dispose of the value of our good works. We do not strip ourselves of that which is dearest and most precious, our merits and our satisfactions.
Pope St. Pius XI said, "I have practised this devotion ever since my youth."
Reading the book does require some interest and attention, as do the 33 days of preparatory exercises that precede the consecration. It is encouraging to consider the words of Pope St. Pius X, "I heartily recommend True Devotion to Mary so admirably written by Blessed de Montfort, and to all who read it grant the Apostolic Benediction."
"We must conclude, from what Jesus Christ is with regard to us, that, as the Apostle said (1 Cor. 6:19-20), we do not belong to ourselves but are entirely His, as His members and His slaves, whom He has bought at an infinitely dear price, the price of all His Blood. Before Baptism we belonged to the devil, as his slaves -- but Baptism has made us true slaves of Jesus Christ, who have no right to live, to work or to die, except to bring forth fruit for that God-Man (Rom. 7:4); to glorify Him in our bodies and to let Him reign in our souls, because we are His conquest, His acquired people and His inheritance." (True Devotion Ch. 68)