by Barb Ernster –
St. Louis de Montfort, who wrote the classic book on the spiritual way to Jesus through Mary, summarized that “true devotion to Mary is a way of holiness that is short, sure, easy and perfect.” His writings and teachings seem to parallel the message of Fatima, which calls for the establishment of “true” devotion to Mary in her Immaculate Heart, and the promise of her triumph!
The 17th century saint writes in True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary that those who belong to our Blessed Lady will always be hated by the children and slaves of Satan, and “will be persecuted more than ever in the future…But the humble Mary will always have the victory over that proud spirit and will lay bare his infernal plots and crush his head – where his pride dwells.”
He prophesied about the formation of the “apostles of the latter times.” If you have done a consecration to Jesus through Mary program, based on his magnificent insights, or if you are faithfully living the Fatima message, which is the devotion to the Immaculate Heart, you will be happy to know how Our Lady might be using you in these times of hope and anticipation. For, according to St. Louis:
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 in the world’s esteem, and abased before all like the heel, trodden underfoot and persecuted as the heel is by 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.
Our Lady called us at Fatima to be formed in her Immaculate Heart so as to be raised up by her to make war against the devil. St. Louis says these apostles will simultaneously “fight with one arm and rebuild with the other;” will “thunder against sin” and “storm against the world;” will “drive out all idolaters, the impious and schismatics.”
Four hundred years ago, St. Louis exhorted, “God wishes that His Holy Mother should be at present more known, more loved, more honored than she has ever been.” Fast forward to Fatima in 1917; Our Lady appears and says on more than one occasion: “God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart.” Fatima is known as the “school of Mary”, because it is within her Immaculate Heart that we learn resolute faithfulness to Jesus in all things, perfect union with the Holy Trinity, and perfect virtue that makes us apostles of love.
The Fatima children developed this true devotion to Mary simply by living the Fatima message and taking serious the message of Our Lady and the Angel of Peace to offer everything to God as a sacrifice. Lucia demonstrated through nearly nine decades after the apparitions a life of total consecration to Jesus through Mary. None of them had studied de Montfort’s work, yet the five characteristics of true devotion he cites are evident in their lives.
True devotion to our Lady is interior; that is, it comes from the mind and the heart, it flows from the esteem we have for her, the high idea we have formed of her greatness and the love which we have for her.
True devotion to Mary is tender; it is full of confidence in her like a child’s confidence in his loving Mother. This confidence makes the soul have recourse to her in all its bodily and mental necessities, with much simplicity, trust and tenderness.
This devotion to Mary is holy; it leads the soul to avoid sin and imitate the virtues of the Blessed Virgin, particularly her profound humility, her lively faith, her blind obedience, her continual prayer, her universal mortification, her divine purity, her ardent charity, her heroic patience, her angelic sweetness and her divine wisdom. These are the ten principle virtues of the most holy Virgin.
True devotion is constant; it confirms the soul in good, and does not let it easily abandon its spiritual exercises. It makes it courageous in opposing the world and its fashions and maxims, the flesh in its weariness and passions; and the devil in his temptations, so that a person truly devout to our Blessed Lady is neither changeable, irritable, scrupulous nor timid.
True Devotion to our Lady is disinterested; it inspires the soul not to seek itself, but God only, and God in His holy Mother. A true client of Mary does not serve that august Queen from a spirit of lucre and interest, nor for his own good, whether temporal or eternal, corporal or spiritual, but exclusively because she deserves to be served and God alone in her.
The First Saturday of the month is just around the corner. It is a chance for us to show that we are disinterested in all that is going on around us, but focused solely on serving Our Lady as her apostles in these latter times.
Barb Ernster is the Communications Manager for the World Apostolate of Fatima, USA