St. Louis-Marie de Montfort is the saint through which the modern world has come to know Marian Consecration.
Born in France in 1673, Louis entered seminary at the age of 20. It was during his time at Saint-Suplice in Paris that he had the opportunity to study. Much of that time was spent on the Virgin Mary and her place in the Christian life.
His studies deepened his devotion to the Rosary and his desire to make Our Lord and his Mother more loved, particularly through foreign missionary work. However, Louis was asked to preach in parish missions to his fellow countrymen. Thus it was that he confronted Jansenism head-on by preaching love for the Eucharist, the saving power of the cross, love of Our Lady and devotion to the Rosary.
Teaching that consecration to the Blessed Mother is the most perfect way to live out one’s baptismal promises, St. Louis steadfastly believed that his form of consecration was nothing new, but was the long-standing tradition of coming to Christ through the hands of the Blessed Mother and as such is founded on five basic principles:
- Christ must be the ultimate end of all devotion. St. Louis tells us that Mary is so completely in union with Jesus that she no longer exists because Jesus alone lives and reigns in her more perfectly than in all the angels and saints. Being devoted to Mary IS being devoted to Christ.
- We belong to Jesus and Mary as their slaves. Before our baptism, we were slaves of the devil. Through baptism we become slaves of Christ as he paid the infinite price for us – the shedding of his Precious Blood. We certainly are slaves of Christ and “this is the same thing as being slaves of Mary since Jesus is the fruit and glory of Mary.”
- We must rid ourselves of what is evil in us. The evil that is rooted in each of us can taint our good works, even those of the highest virtue. It’s imperative that by grace we grow in self-knowledge, empty ourselves of self, and choose a devotion that will be the most sanctifying for us. If we don’t do this, our self-love will taint even our greatest sacrifices, leaving us without anything pure to offer the Lord upon our death.
- It is more humble to have an intermediary with Christ. Going to Christ through Mary is a more perfect way because it supposes a greater humility than to approach God on our own. “Through her, Jesus came to us; through her, we should go to Him.” She is not the sun which blinds our weak sight with its light. Instead, she is the moon who reflects the sun’s light, softening it in such a way that we are able to see despite our limited perception.
- It is difficult to keep the graces we receive from God because of our sin. Because the enemy desires to rob us of grace and merit, through our own sin we loose the very treasures we have been trying to store up for Heaven. We could sorely use the help of a sturdier vessel to hold these treasures. Mary is this vessel and would keep safe that which we so easily lose if we would only ask her.
“For we never give more honor to Jesus than when we honor his Mother, and we honor her simply and solely to honor him all the more perfectly. We go to her only as a way leading to the goal we seek – Jesus, her Son.”
All quotations are from St. Louis de Montfort’s work True Devotion to Mary.