Presentata Curia 26th September 2013

Allocutio: De Montfort on Our Lady

I hope next month to take a look at Frank Duff’s understanding of Our lady’s role. But first it is right that he should begin looking at the thinking of the Saint who so inspired Frank Duff and indeed Pope John Paul II, namely De Montfort. (By the way I can only give you here my condensed version and hope I don’t seriously distort the message.) He opens his Treatise with these words, “It is through the Blessed Virgin Mary that Jesus Christ came into the world; and it is also fitting that though that he should reign over the world”. This needs a lot of unpacking.

De Montfort says this, “I hold with the entire Church that in comparison with the infinite Majesty of the Most High God, Mary is no more than a mere creature formed by his hand; that in the light of such comparison she is less than an atom - nay more that she is nothing . . . Consequently this great Lord, eternally independent and sufficient to himself has absolutely no need - and still has no need - of the Blessed Virgin for the fulfilment of his designs ..” But this said he goes on to say that since God decided to effect his plans through her HE will not change this way of acting from century to century. Everything from now on will be done through her. You already see it in the little signs that break out when she is on earth. By her John the Baptist is released from original sin while in his mother’s womb, by her water is changed into wine and Jesus public ministry begins. The Trinity will continue to work this way across history. He also says that just as with Christ’s physical body so now too with his Mystical Body. It will be born also of Mary.

Here is a fact that is striking: God made himself dependent on Mary. De Montfort emphasises this again and again. He has allowed her make the decision as to whether he will come on earth. He allowed her to call the shots. And he still does.

Why this? The great personal quality that Our Lady had was humility. “Her prayer to God was that He should deign to humble her and keep her lowly and poor”. And God kept her obscure in her lifetime on earth. Because she is the most humble she submits to everything God wants and she only wants what he wills. God on his part in submitting to her actually exercises his real freedom. He adds elsewhere “Satan, being a proud spirit, suffers infinitely more from being conquered and punished by a little and humble servant of God whose lowliness humiliates him more ignominiously than does the power of God.”

De Montfort uses another way of coming to things by use of the idea of the mystical Body. If Christ the Head is born of her then so must the Body, his Church because otherwise we have a monster. Christ must in some way be formed in us in her spiritual womb. He says, “It is she who will produce the great events that will mark the ending of time.” And if the Holy Spirit cannot produce great events it is because he does not find in us a sufficiently strong union with Our Lady. “I do not believe that any person can achieve intimate union with Our Lord and perfect fidelity to the Holy Spirit, unless he has established a very deep union with the Blessed Virgin and a great dependence on her help”. “God has made her the unique treasurer of His riches and the sole dispensatrix of his graces in order that she may ennoble, exalt and enrich whomsoever she chooses; that she may guide whomsoever she chooses through the straight way to heaven; that she may preserve, in the midst of dangers, their steps through the narrow gate; and that she may give to whom she has chosen, the throne, the sceptre and the crown of the heavenly king.”

The salvation of the world will be consummated through Mary just as through her it was begun. De Montfort sees Our Lady as having a huge role in the unfolding of what is to come. It is through her that souls destined for great sanctity will find Christ. “They will carry the gold of love in their hearts, the frankincense of prayer in their minds, the myrrh of mortification in their bodies”. I think that is a great sentence. Read it again.

The way for us he says is voluntary slavery in the service of Mary. If Jesus submitted himself to her so must we. That is how salvation for ourselves and others will happen. If Christ came to us through her we must go to him through her. It is lacking humility to approach God on our own. We do well to go with Mary. (By the way I note that St. Ignatius did that too.) God is always conquered by the tenderness and prayer of his most blessed mother.

God found in our race a special soul if you like who bowled him over. She still does it to him. With her on our side the graces gained are immense.

I leave it to yourselves to dig this goldmine on Our Lady.
Fr Paul Churchill

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