In the face of the perplexities that today’s decadent world arouses in the hearts of faithful Catholics, an invitation to heroic confidence points the way to the blessed days of Our Lady’s triumph.
Imagine the situation of a medieval youth who hears stories about helpless pilgrims who are the targets of assaults and every kind of abuse on the roads to Jerusalem. Moreover, he hears that the Holy Places themselves, where the Divine Redeemer suffered and died to redeem men from sin and eternal death, are being brutally desecrated and destroyed by enemies of the Faith. Filled with holy zeal for the Lord God of hosts, the boy takes a vow and enlists in the Crusades.
However, he had suffered a terrible accident in his childhood which considerably reduced his agility. Confronted by the enemy, the young man moves with all the vigour of his spirit to strike the right blow, but his limbs do not respond to the impetus of his soul. He soon realizes that he is heading for failure and defeat.
But then, against all expectation, an indomitable and valiant crusader fighting at his side notices his difficulty, takes up position behind his weaker brother in arms and, becoming one with him in the fight, takes control of his arms; he wields the shield and the sword with the same agility and precision as when he acts with his own limbs. Unexpectedly, the lame knight begins to perform unimaginable feats and becomes one of the greatest heroes on the battlefield! The condition for achieving the glory of success consisted only in letting himself be guided with total flexibility and unpretentiousness by his “guardian angel”, without creating obstacles.
What would be better for that young man: to enjoy physical integrity in order to defeat the enemy with his own strength, or to allow himself to be taken over by the “angel” and thus acquire his incomparable proportions in the art of the fight?
Something similar can be applied to the spiritual battles fought for the triumph of the Heart of Mary. We are living through a historical juncture of apexes: on one side, we have the apogee of Sacred Slavery to Jesus through the hands of Our Lady, the proximity of the revelation of the Secret of Mary1 and the consequent flood of graces that will be poured out upon humanity; on the other side, the extreme weakness of those who are called to be the recipients of these graces and to contemplate the splendorous dawn of the pinnacle-era of history.
Faced with this panorama, the children and slaves of Our Lady who wish to be faithful have but one path before them: that of unpretentiousness. It is not enough to recognize that they are nothing, that they do not have the willpower to take even one step along the path to holiness, that they depend in everything on Mary’s grace and help. If they are to become valiant and fearless warriors of the Virgin, they will be asked to abandon themselves completely and to be entirely flexible to the action of the Holy Spirit in their souls. In this way they will attract the benevolent gaze of the Almighty, who will assume them and perform great works through them.
Crippled by nature, divine by grace
This mystery caused Our Lady’s soul to rejoice and proclaim that God had looked upon the nothingness of His handmaid and worked wonders in Her (cf. Lk 1:49). Yes, in the canticle of the Magnificat, Mary wanted to proclaim a future still far off, but in which She already rejoiced. She contemplated her chosen ones, so weak, inconstant and lacking the necessary qualities for carrying out the mission of establishing her reign on earth; nevertheless She also discerned that in this chosen generation the Most High would manifest all His power. Through union with the Blessed Trinity, they would become true tabernacles of divine life, just as She had been when She gave birth to the Child Jesus.
With the august event of the union of the divine and human natures within the virginal womb of Our Lady, a new era in God’s relationship with creation began, maintained in the course of history by providential men who prepared the way for the full realization of the divine plans. Now, the advent of this culmination, that is, of the Reign of the Virgin, will open for her children and slaves an even superior regime in their relationship with the Blessed Trinity. The Paraclete Spirit will unite Himself to each one in a manner never before seen, making them the apostles envisaged and longed for by so many ardent souls in times past, particularly by Mary’s great prophet, St. Louis Grignion de Montfort, in his Fiery Prayer: “men who are free but still in bondage to your love and your will; men after your own heart who, without taint or impediment of self-love, will carry out your will to the full and, like David of old, lay low all your enemies.”2
How much we must desire the prompt establishment of this new economy of grace in the hearts of Mary’s beloved children! For this, we need to persevere in this longing as we wait, and to keep our faith alive in the fulfilment of the promise, even if we are experiencing the most terrible abandonment or we are confronted with the clearest denial.
This attitude of soul will win from Heaven an abbreviation of the days of affliction, and the hastening of the entire fulfilment of the divine plans. Like new Jacobs (cf. Gn 32:24-28), we will fight with God so that His glory may be the most complete and splendid, and the defeat of His enemies the most annihilating and humiliating.
The story of the Maccabees and our days
As we ponder the superabundance and excellence of this new Marian regime of graces, a question inevitably arises: what is the devil plotting to prevent it from flourishing? Will he infiltrate it with the aim of attacking the souls called to participate in it? But if not even the heavenly spirits have been given to know about the supernatural treasures which Our Lady carries in her Heart, and of which She wants men to be partakers, what will the demons know about them? Nothing, absolutely nothing! Nevertheless, the evil angels act like dogs that sniff out the presence of grace.
“Watch and pray” (Mt 26:41), taught the Divine Master! The infernal enemy will try to distort and obstruct the flow of these graces to humanity, causing the children of the Virgin to give up advancing. In what way? In the same way that someone could ruin a book that has not yet been written. That is to say, simply by causing so much trouble, torment and hindrance to the writer that he gives up the enterprise. If he surrenders before the obstacles, the book will not exist; that is to say, grace will be rejected a priori.
A historical fact illustrates this stratagem of the prince of darkness in a paradigmatic way. “Smelling” in the air that the Incarnation of the Word was approaching, Satan understood that the only way to prevent it would be to destroy the Chosen People, and above all, the True Religion, for then the prophecies would lose their meaning and the Saviour would be deprived of the necessary bases to work the Redemption and to found the Holy Church. The Messiah’s mission would have been utterly thwarted and the new regime of graces that He would have inaugurated for humanity would have been frustrated from the very outset.
To achieve this, the devil made use of Antiochus Epiphanes. By the action of this wicked king, who was joined by the “wicked men” (1 Mc 1:12) of Israel, many apostatized from the covenant with the Lord, adopting pagan customs. The worship of God was replaced by idolatrous rituals in Jerusalem, and a terrible religious persecution was unleashed against the Maccabees and the few Israelites who remained faithful! But the Lord never abandons those who are authentic in their love. Assisting them with graces and extraordinary interventions, He granted them victory after victory, until the complete annihilation of their enemies and the restoration of divine worship (cf. 1 Mc 1-4).
History seems to repeat itself in our own day, with all those who sincerely love Our Lady. The forces of evil have “smelt” the change of key in the salvific plan and want to prevent, or at least distort, the copious graces that the Immaculate Heart of Mary is beginning to pour out on her children. Perhaps sensing that he will soon be crushed by the heel of the Virgin, the devil, out of desperation, provokes all kinds of insults, blasphemies and sacrileges against the Mother of God, denying Her the glories and the honour that the Church has always paid Her from the beginning. But when we see these things happening, let us remember the exploits of the Maccabees and repeat the words of the Divine Master: “look up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Lk 21:28).
Sublime battle cry: “Confidence! I have overcome the world!”
During the Last Supper, soon after the son of perdition had left the Upper Room to consummate his infamous betrayal, Our Lord addressed words of extreme affection and encouragement to His disciples, announcing to them the coming of the Paraclete Spirit and warning them of the terrible persecutions that would soon befall them. Never had a victorious general dared to speak to his troops in such a way, and the Redeemer concluded His fiery discourse of love with a sublime battle cry, “confidence, I have overcome the world” (Jn 16:33).
Confidence thus emerges as the most powerful and destructive weapon of Christ’s disciples in the struggle against the powers of evil, which are united in preventing the consolidation and expansion of God’s Kingdom in hearts and in society. For this reason, the perfidious Serpent spares no effort to create snares in order to extirpate this virtue, as far as possible, from the very foundations of man’s psychological structure. To remove from human nature the ability to trust was, without doubt, one of the most fateful evils that the Revolution has been able to cause!
It becomes fundamental for Our Lady’s children to recognize their own weakness and to know how to trust in the strength that comes from divine grace. Providence has allowed, and will still allow, many trials in the phase leading up to Mary’s reign, precisely so that they may be convinced of this reality. For how can anyone confide in grace if he does not experience weaknesses in himself? What can the Mother of Mercy do for those who think they are self-sufficient, strong and secure? Only the sick take benefit from both the doctor and medicine…
However, more than restoring to her beloved ones the ability to confide, the Blessed Virgin wants them to become paragons of confidence! In her unspeakable goodness, She will ask one son to practise this virtue in the face of misfortune; another, amidst adversity; a third, in the struggle against his own weaknesses; yet another, in recognizing that he is greatly loved by Her. Finally, Our Lady wants to make of each child a precious stone inlaid in the magnificent jewel of confidence!
The dawn of the Reign of Mary already shines on earth!
The graces that will be bestowed on the souls most called and most united to the heavenly Queen already participate in the specific graces of her reign, which will gradually extend to the whole of society. These graces are still unknown, even to the Angels, because until now they have been hidden in the divine Paradise of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The words of the Apostle can be well applied to them when he refers to the heavenly realities: “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived” (1 Cor 2:9).
In this grandiose picture, the author of these lines cannot fail to highlight the role of a hero of confidence: St. Joseph. At the Incarnation of the Word, the Eternal Father made him guardian of the graces of the hypostatic union. It is also to the Glorious Patriarch that Our Lady entrusts the Marian graces. At every moment, like a kind and vigilant father, he embraces, protects and sustains the elect of his virginal Spouse.
What, then, should be the attitude of true devotees, Mary’s children and slaves of love? A profound awareness of the importance of these graces. In what way? By having complete confidence in Her! To confide means to believe in the superabundant and gratuitous love of Our Lady, which comes down from on high and is capable, in an instant, of converting them into the apostles of the latter times prophesied by St. Louis Grignion de Montfort.
Paraphrasing the Divine Saviour, they can proudly proclaim: “Confidence, confidence, confidence! Mary Most Holy, the Queen of history, She who alone has crushed all heresies, triumphed over Satan and the accursed Gnostic and egalitarian Revolution! The dawn of the Reign of her Wise and Immaculate Heart already shines on earth!” ◊
Taken, with slight adaptations, from:
Mary Most Holy! God’s Paradise Revealed to Men.
São Paulo: Arautos do Evangelho, 2020, v.III, p.173-183
1 In his writings, St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort refers to the slavery of love to Mary that he preaches as a secret revealed by the Most High of a sure path to holiness. More than in pious practices, this secret consists in doing all things with Mary, in Mary, through Mary and for Mary (cf. ST. LOUIS-MARIE GRIGNION DE MONTFORT. Le secret de Marie, n.1; 28).
2 ST. LOUIS-MARIE GRIGNION DE MONTFORT. Prière Embrasée, n.8.