Oh, Dearest Mother, Sweetest Virgin of Altagracia, our Patroness. You are our Advocate and to you we recommend our needs. You are our Teacher and like disciples we come to learn from the example of your holy life. You are our Mother, and like children, we come to offer you all of the love of our hearts. Receive, dearest Mother, our offerings and listen attentively to our supplications. Amen.



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aussieannie
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Posted: March 07 2007 at 2:27am | IP Logged Quote aussieannie



" Our good Master stooped to enclose himself in the womb of the Blessed Virgin, a captive but loving slave, and to make himself subject to her for thirty years."...Chapt 4, paragraph 139 - True Devotion.


Helen wrote:
Weíre using St. Louis De Montfortís True Devotion to Mary as a starting point because it is a classic, readily available, and foundational element of Marian devotion. If you donít have any established practices, this book is a very good place to begin. See where it leads you.

Feel free to share your insights and ask questions about the book just as if we were together at the oasis discussing ways to find our Hidden Treasure together.


What is our practical goal?

We have 7 chapters to read and discuss by April the 25th, where we will then start our 33 day preparation to culminate in our consecration on the 27th of May Ė the feast of Pentecost.

How to approach the fourth chapter?

If we can all hope to have read this 4rd Chapter by 18th of March? You can evenly pace yourself with 4 chapters per day.   With an average of 12 days per chapter, this allows prayer time, for our hearts to be touched and enlightened, asking for Maryís guidance through it all.   A novena asking for these particular graces, could be a suggestion also, it does not have to be lengthy prayers each day, three Hail Maryís is powerful.

Most importantly Ė where do we bring our thoughts for this 4th Chapter?

This thread will be here for us to keep coming back to, so we may share our many, varied thoughts and to ask questions during this time.   




The True Devotion by St Louis de Monfort


PART II: THE PERFECT DEVOTION TO OUR LADY


Chapter 4: Motives Which Recommend This Devotion


1. By it we give ourselves completely to God


2. It helps us to imitate Christ


3. It obtains many blessings from our Lady


4. It is an excellent means of giving glory to God


5. It leads to union with our Lord


6. It gives great liberty of spirit


7. It is of great benefit to our neighbour


8. It is a wonderful means of perseverance


~




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Posted: March 10 2007 at 6:34am | IP Logged Quote aussieannie

I am slowly making my way to the half way point of this chapter.      What a chapter!!       I like to bracket the quotes that touch me or I have questions over.   There are brackets everywhere!!!

I am sighing over this chapter, as if I were listening to music hitting a crescendo of beautiful, high notes ~ coloratura!

I would love to chat about this chapter - does anyone have a quote that particularly touches them in some way?   If you would like to share it, I'd love to hear it!

What I'd love more than anything, would be to sit in a living room with you all and read this together.....anyone want to catch the next tide and find the EAC?         It heads in a southern direction right past my place!

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Posted: March 10 2007 at 5:55pm | IP Logged Quote mariB

Aussieannie,

I've been taking this book all in. It's as if I need to be quiet to digest it all.
I've been reading Monfort's Secret of the Rosary along with it. I'm just not ready to respond to chapter 4 because I'm still praying about chapter 3 and the total and complete commitment to Mary.

Paragraph 122 is overwhelming to me. I've read it many times and I want to commit but I am so concerned that I may not live up to it. At the same time there is an incredibly strong desire in me to give all. I have prayed the Rosary more than I ever have in my life, I have committed more to God than ever in my life and the example of St. Therese is constantly in the forefront of our lives from opening to her in a book to seeing her picture some where. She is, to me, the example to commitment to our Lord and to Mary.

Praise God that I do see so clearly now Mary's role in the salvation of mankind. I mean, not with my head now, but with my heart.

This forum has, most of all, led me closer to God.

I have started chapter 4, and it is again like looking into a mirror to see myself how I really am and then to see myself as I really want to be.

God Bless you. I will pray more deeply and meditate on chapter 4 and please pray for me on this journey as you are always in my prayers.

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Posted: March 11 2007 at 5:27am | IP Logged Quote aussieannie

MariB wrote:
I have committed more to God than ever in my life and the example of St. Therese is constantly in the forefront of our lives from opening to her in a book to seeing her picture some where. She is, to me, the example to commitment to our Lord and to Mary.


Thank you for sharing about your connection to St Therese - I was thinking of her only today Marianne when I was reading chapter 4 out loud (I seem to take things in better when I read out loud and it also helps us all to explain and discuss things in the round) I instantly thought of her when in paragraph 136 it mentioned that our conscration was so complete and encompassing that our eating and drinking even our sleeping is offered through Mary to Jesus. Remember how St Therese stated she was just as loving to the Heavenly Father when she was asleep as when she was awake....   In all our moments in life we can make it a prayer and an offering.

I am moved by your prayerful and contemplative approach to the True Devotion and touched by your prayers for me, you will have mine during these weeks leading up to Penecost.

It is lovely to journey with you all in this special way.




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Posted: March 11 2007 at 4:28pm | IP Logged Quote Helen

mariB wrote:
Paragraph 122 is overwhelming to me. I've read it many times and I want to commit but I am so concerned that I may not live up to it. At the same time there is an incredibly strong desire in me to give all. I have prayed the Rosary more than I ever have in my life, I have committed more to God than ever in my life and the example of St. Therese is constantly in the forefront of our lives from opening to her in a book to seeing her picture some where. She is, to me, the example to commitment to our Lord and to Mary.

Dear Marianne,
Every year when I renewed my consecration to Our Lady with the Franciscans of the Immaculate, I cried through the prayers.
I can't live up to the consecration.
But some how, I realize in my heart that OUr Lady wants me to offer myself to her, so that I may fully offer myself to the Lord.

When I made my "final" consecration, the final renewal of the vow, I resolved I would not cry during that prayer. I didn't cry.
But, there was a new part to the ceremony, one I hadn't realized (or noticed before.) I had to say

"From now on, I will love only Christ Crucified."
(or words to that effect.)

Here I began crying again. How could I possibly say, in all honesty, that I would love ONLY Christ Crucified. But there I was, kneeling at the altar with the priest handing me my final consecration Crucifix, expected to say these words. I said them. I meant them as much as I could with my weakened disposition.

We just try to live the consecration, day by day, minute to minute. All the while asking Our Lady to transform our hearts so that we may receive the Lord in His fullest.

I'm glad your with us in the journey! It is such a help to my faith to see such good, open hearted people.

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Posted: March 11 2007 at 4:29pm | IP Logged Quote Helen

oh... and I'm behind on my reading. I hope to catch up!

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Posted: March 15 2007 at 6:09am | IP Logged Quote mariB

Thank so much, Helen and Aussieannie, for helping me on this journey.

This is such a powerful book and I am seeing more and more the beauty and the neccessity of devotion to Mary.

In paragraph 135 Monfort states:" We can conceive of no higher calling than that of being in the service of God and we believe that the LEAST of God's servant's richer, stronger, and nobler than any earthly monarch who does not serve God"

This has given me great strength. This is what we should live for. I know if I can be the LEAST of servants, God will help me with the rest.

In paragraph 136: "Thus whatever we do, whether we are awake or asleep, whether we eat or drink, whether we do important or unimportant work, it will always be true to say that everything is done for Jesus and Mary."

The preceeding paragraph is what was intimidating to me. Then one night as I lay in bed, I prayed and then I visualized the activities of my day with Mary and Jesus as my sole purpose of these activities and great peace enveloped me and I knew that I would not have to feel worried about whether or not I could give all to Jesus and Mary, but that the Holy Spirit would through me.

And then Monfort finishes paragraph 136 with:

"Our offering always holds good, whether we think of it or not, unless we explicitly retract it. How consoling this is!"

Paragraph 137: "Moreover, as I have said before, no other act of devotion enables us to rid ourselves so easily of the possessiveness which slips unnoticed even into our best actions."

This made me realize that there have been many times I have done good for another thinking I was completly serving God when deep within there was pride still alive there and those acts were not completely in service of God as I had thought.

What a beautiful lenten practice to contemplate ALL of our services to others as a total service to Jesus and Mary and to reach into our hearts to see if we have the complete intentions of our Lord.

Thank you, Helen, for sharing your experience in your consecration to Mary. This will help me make my journey knowing that if I completely give all to Jesus and Mary, if I lay my head on my mother's lap, I too can arrive where God has willed me to.

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Posted: March 15 2007 at 9:06pm | IP Logged Quote Helen

I'm trying to catch up on the reading. (How is everyone else doing?) Tonight, something jumped out at me that I wanted to share.

I think most of realize how willful we are. The Lord can chisel us into saints or he can melt us into saints by the flame of a candle. I believe consecration to Mary is the latter.

St. Louis wrote:

But, on the other hand, if you venture to go towards God blindly without a mediator, he vanishes and is nowhere to be found. How dearly he loves the humble of heart! It is to such humility that this devotion leads us, for it teaches us never to go alone directly to our Lord, however gentle and merciful though he may be, but always to use Mary's power of intercession, whether we want to enter his presence, speak to him, be near him, offer him something, seek union with him or consecrate ourselves to him.
(End of part 2 of Chapter 4)

Here St. Louis gives us a concrete strategy so that we may cultivate the flame of Mary's candle. By constantly striving to talk to the Lord, offer to the Lord our actions, thoughts and good deeds through Mary, she will melt away our willfulness.

This concrete practice Iíve really tried to work at: Continually calling upon Our Lady to be part of my conversations with the Lord. Even when I didnít ďfeelĒ like turning to Our Lady first, I would go against my feelings. At first, I experienced a lot of temptation

You canít do that all the time
you can go directly to Christ.
Too much Mary! Stop it.

All of these temptations spoke loudly within me. I'll tell you what I said to myself:
Donít listen to it.

Persevere, keep going. If the practice of total consecration doesnít bear fruit for you, you can stop. But, I doubt it wonít bear fruit!!

But, the important word is TOTAL.

We have the wonderful John Paul IIís example to emulate: Totus Tuus.

(What kind of cheerleaders would we have on our sidelines?

Rah!, Rah!,
Go! Go!)


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cathhomeschool
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Posted: March 16 2007 at 9:59pm | IP Logged Quote cathhomeschool

Helen, what you have said is so true.

Paragraph 144 is SO consoling and enheartening:
Quote:
The Blessed Virgin, mother of gentleness and mercy, never allows herself to be surpassed in love and generosity. When she sees someone giving himself entirely to her in order to honour and serve her, and depriving himself of what he prizes most in order to adorn her, she gives herself completely in a wondrous manner to him. She engulfs him in the ocean of her graces, adorns him with her merits, supports him with her power, enlightens him with her light, and fills him with her love. She shares her virtues with him - her humility, faith, purity, etc....



As is this:
Quote:
146. ...(1) She purifies them of every taint of self-love and of that unconscious attachment to creatures which slips unnoticed into our best actions. Her hands have never been known to be idle or uncreative. They purify everything they touch. As soon as the Blessed Virgin receives our good works, she removes any blemish or imperfection she may find in them.


Now I assume that this must only apply to those who are truly trying to live virtuous lives. For if we are not really trying to improve and are just "taking advantage" of Our Lady, why would she remove blemishes from our offerings? So I assume it applies to those with good intent.


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Posted: April 25 2007 at 10:35pm | IP Logged Quote cathhomeschool

Ladies, I have been reviewing my notes and found that, while many of my questions were answered as I read on, a couple were not.      So though we are technically through with the reading portion of our preparation, I would still love it if anyone could shed light on a couple of things!   

de Montfort says wrote:
172. ...It must be noted that our good works, passing through Mary's hands, are progressively purified. Consequently, their merit and their satisfactory and prayer value are also increased.


This idea is mentioned elsewhere too, and I don't really understand it. How can Our Lady purify our works? We have offered what we have offered. We have sacrificed what we have sacrificed -- however big or small. How (Why?) can she make it more than it is?



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Posted: April 25 2007 at 11:10pm | IP Logged Quote aussieannie

Yes, I think that things have been hectic for me in the last few weeks with homeschooling camps and Easter, so I'd like to chat more about the chapters too.

I think that the main trouble with offering all our actions and prayers, they are tainted in some way or other with self love....seems so impossible to keep our actions completely pure in that manner. When I sit an anaylse that fact, I really start to comprehend, just how this is so true.    

If all graces come from God, if we can't even think to do a good thing, if it were not for the grace of God, how can we really take pride, in what feels like, our completely autonomous actions? Because the truth is, they're not autonomous. But it can feel like that and so we fall to it in so many little ways....

What we do know is Mary was completely free from it. All her actions were pure and completely humble. I believe this is why DeMonfort says that Mary's simple action of threading of her needle was more meritorious than all the martyrdoms and good actions of the saints combined - it wasn't what was done, it was how it was done.

It is this humility that completely confounds the devil, for it was his downfall. Humility is the only foundation for the building any virtue - Mary has this virtue in it's fullness.

Now we know that we can never completely rid ourselves from this subtle pride - we can improve, but it is something we battle everyday anew until the grave.   When we beforehand, choose to give everything through the hands of Our Lady, we are firstly acknowledging we have this inherent weekness of pride in all our good actions (there is humility in that acknowledge that pleases God) - secondly, we are asking that she pass on our actions through her pure and humble hands to give to Jesus, so that Jesus will know we are doing the best we can with our impure and tainted actions. The spiritual reality is that Mary does actually bueatify our actions, these are just not 'nice feelings' from our end or Our Lady's.

I always like to see things in relation to child and mother - we are all mothers who are gifted particularly to really feel these analogies from the soul.

If I had a child who was to give an apple to his daddy each day, but this fumbly fingered child, just seems to have a knack for dropping it, smearing it in someway, even taking little nibbles from it.. but that this child was aware of these little things and really did wish to do better.

If this child came to me before hand and said, "mummy, can YOU please help me clean up the apple when I drop it, or cut out the bruises and core and peel it so daddy will like it better?"   I am immediately touched by his humility,love and desire to do better and please. When I tell dh about this, I know that he will be greatly touched too. This dear little child is really trying! Because I know HOW to present a perfect offering of an apple, I will help my child and teach my child to do the same and increase his capacity to the best of his ability.

This action of the child would be more pleasing than another child who keeps dropping and bruising the apple and doesn't really mind it being presented this way...

I don't know if this has covered every aspect of your question, I'd be interested to hear other women's thoughts too....

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Posted: April 30 2007 at 9:12pm | IP Logged Quote cathhomeschool

Anne, your analogies and explanations are always so helpful to me! I completely understand when I think of the child, his mother and the apple. I think that the key here is intent. The child really does want to do his best, and so his mother helps. This is an aspect that I so often forget when reading True Devotion. It makes sense that if we are really trying, that will please Our Lord. I still have a hard time accepting in my heart that Our Lady can purify our works (seems unfair, but then if God were "fair" we'd all go to Hell, I know.), however it makes sense and I choose to believe with the hope that complete acceptance (if not understanding) will eventually come to my heart. I imagine that my perfectionism is what is struggling with this. How can Mary make us more "perfect" than we are? But I do believe and understand the apple and have meditated on that. The key is love, maybe? Mary's love for us, and our love for Mary and her Son and our desire to serve out of love. Thank you so much for your explanation!

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