“Here is a secret, chosen soul, which the most High God taught me and which I have not found in any book, ancient or modern. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, I am confiding it to you, with these conditions:
“That you share it only with people who deserve to know it, that you use this secret to become holy and worthy of heaven, and that you thank God every day of your life for the grace he has given you in letting you into a secret that you do not deserve to know.”
From the opening of The Secret of Mary, by St. Louis-Marie de Montfort
Let us begin with prayer
“Before you read any further, in an understandable impatience to learn this truth, kneel down and say devoutly the Ave Maris Stella ("Hail, thou star of ocean") [here], and the "Come, Holy Spirit" [here], to ask God to help you understand and appreciate this secret given by him. As I have not much time for writing and you have little time for reading, I will be brief in what I have to say.”
From The Secret of Mary, n. 2
True Devotion to Mary
“This devotion consists in performing all our actions with Mary, in Mary, through Mary, and for Mary.
“It is not enough to give ourselves just once as a slave to Jesus through Mary; nor is it enough to renew that consecration once a month or once a week. That alone would make it just a passing devotion and would not raise the soul to the level of holiness which it is capable of reaching. It is easy to enroll in a confraternity; easy to undertake this devotion, and say every day the few vocal prayers prescribed. The chief difficulty is to enter into its spirit, which requires an interior dependence on Mary, and effectively becoming her slave and the slave of Jesus through her. I have met many people who with admirable zeal have set about practising exteriorly this holy slavery of Jesus and Mary, but I have met only a few who have caught its interior spirit, and fewer still who have persevered in it.”
From The Secret of Mary, nn. 43-44
To act with Mary
“The essential practice of this devotion is to perform all our actions with Mary. This means that we must take her as the accomplished model for all we have to do.
“Before undertaking anything, we must forget self and abandon our own views. We must consider ourselves as a mere nothing before God, as being personally incapable of doing anything supernaturally worthwhile or anything conducive to our salvation. We must have habitual recourse to our Lady, becoming one with her and adopting her intentions, even though they are unknown to us.”
From Secret of Mary, nn. 45-46
To act in Mary
“We must always act in Mary, that is to say, we must gradually acquire the habit of recollecting ourselves interiorly and so form within us an idea or a spiritual image of Mary.”
From Secret of Mary, n. 47
To act through Mary
“We must never go to our Lord except through Mary, using her intercession and good standing with him. We must never be without her when praying to Jesus.”
From Secret of Mary, n. 48
To act for Mary
“We must perform all our actions for Mary, which means that as slaves of this noble Queen we will work only for her, promoting her interests and her high renown, and making this the first aim in all our acts, while the glory of God will always be our final end.”
From Secret of Mary, n. 49
The heart of the Total Consecration
It should be clear that true devotion is more than the mere recitation of prayers, though (during the period of preparation for the act of consecration) we do indeed recite many prayers. The daily Rosary is necessary, but its outward recitation is not sufficient.
No, true devotion consists of an inward habitual disposition of the will which is regularly expressed in acts of self-abandonment to divine Providence as manifested through Mary’s will. True devotion consists in giving ourselves and all we have over to the blessed Virgin Mary, that she may dispose of us and our valuables (especially the spiritual goods of our soul) according to her good pleasure – for she who bore Wisdom in her womb knows well the designs of God’s Providence.
Hence, true devotion to Mary is identical with perfect conformity of the soul to God’s will.
To give all entirely and freely to Mary
“This devotion consists in giving oneself entirely to Mary in order to belong entirely to Jesus through her. It requires us to give:
(1) Our body with its senses and members;
(2) Our soul with its faculties;
(3) Our present material possessions and all we shall acquire in the future;
(4) Our interior and spiritual possessions, that is, our merits, virtues and good actions of the past, the present and the future.
“In other words, we give her all that we possess both in our natural life and in our spiritual life as well as everything we shall acquire in the future in the order of nature, of grace, and of glory in heaven. This we do without any reservation, not even of a penny, a hair, or the smallest good deed. And we give for all eternity without claiming or expecting, in return for our offering and our service, any other reward than the honour of belonging to our Lord through Mary and in Mary, even though our Mother were not - as in fact she always is - the most generous and appreciative of all God's creatures.”
From True Devotion, n. 121
“Note here that two things must be considered regarding our good works, namely, satisfaction and merit or, in other words, their satisfactory or prayer value and their meritorious value. The satisfactory or prayer value of a good work is the good action in so far as it makes condign atonement for the punishment due to sin or obtains some new grace. The meritorious value or merit is the good action in so far as it merits grace and eternal glory. Now by this consecration of ourselves to the Blessed Virgin we give her all satisfactory and prayer value as well as the meritorious value of our good works, in other words, all the satisfactions and the merits. We give her our merits, graces and virtues, not that she might give them to others, for they are, strictly speaking, not transferable, because Jesus alone, in making himself our surety with his Father, had the power to impart his merits to us. But we give them to her that she may keep, increase and embellish them for us, as we shall explain later, and we give her our acts of atonement that she may apply them where she pleases for God's greater glory.
“It follows then: that by this devotion we give to Jesus all we can possibly give him, and in the most perfect manner, that is, through Mary's hands. Indeed we give him far more than we do by other devotions which require us to give only part of our time, some of our good works or acts of atonement and penances. In this devotion everything is given and consecrated, even the right to dispose freely of one's spiritual goods and the satisfactions earned by daily good works.
“It follows then that anyone who in this way consecrates and sacrifices himself voluntarily to Jesus through Mary may no longer dispose of the value of any of his good actions. All his sufferings, all his thoughts, words, and deeds belong to Mary. She can then dispose of them in accordance with the will of her Son and for his greater glory.
“It follows that we consecrate ourselves at one and the same time to Mary and to Jesus.”
From True Devotion, nn. 122-125
Servus Mariae non peribit!
The slave of Mary will not perish!