“It is an easy way (the way of true devotion to Mary, added by SF). It is the way which Jesus Christ Himself trod in coming to us, and in which there is no obstacle in reaching Him. It is true that we can attain divine union by other roads; but it is by many more crosses and strange deaths, and with many more difficulties, which we shall find it hard to overcome. We must pass through obscure nights, through combats, through strange agonies, over craggy mountains, through cruel thorns and over frightful deserts. But by the path of Mary we pass more gently and more tranquilly.”
Today is the feast of the French Marian missionary saint, St. Louis Marie de Montfort (b. 1673- d. 1716). St. Louis de Montfort is known for his books True Devotion to Mary, The Secret of the Rosary, The Love of Eternal Wisdom, and The Secret of Mary. I am hesitant to write of him today, because my time is limited; and I am concerned that I will fail to properly represent this saint to whom the Catholic world owes so much. I think that what I will do is recommend one book for readers who have yet to read him.
If you were to pick one book of Fr. de Montfort’s, I would recommend his True Devotion to Mary. There are PDF versions online, but if you were to buy a hard copy, I advise this edition. The publisher’s note on Amazon states:
True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin is one of the greatest and most celebrated books ever written about Our Lady. Praised by popes, mystics and theologians, this profound and powerful book presents Mary as the essential and infallible key to the heart of Jesus. Nowhere will you find a deeper and more life-changing book on that quintessentially Catholic doctrine: the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the life of the Christian and the life of the Church. Unpublished during the saint s life time, it has enjoyed the endorsement of the many outstanding popes the Church has been blessed with since its discovery in 1842. John Paul II, in particular, was its tireless champion, crediting True Devotion with a turning-point in his spiritual life, adopting his motto, Totus tuus, from St. Louis. The key to De Montfort’s Marian spirituality is that he considered Our Lady to be the infallible and chosen gate to the heart of Christ To Jesus through Mary: it is Christ Himself Who is at the centre of True Devotion. Size: 6 x 8.25 This edition has been re-typeset using the text of the 1947 edition originally published by The Father’s of the Company of Mary, Colbury, Totton under the imprimatur of Johannes Henricus, Epus Portus Magni, 21st May 1947.
This edition is worth the investment if you are building your own, or a child’s, book collection. It will last a lifetime; and, possibly, another generation or two.
The following link is to an audio instruction which is a jump start in understanding the work of St. Louis de Montfort; and, in particular, his book True Devotion to Mary:
Many popes have recommended True Devotion to Mary as noted in the following article excerpt (source noted at end of excerpt):
- Pope Pius IX (1846-1878) promoted it as one of the best forms of Marian devotion, and gave the decree, “the Venerable Servant of God, Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, practiced the virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity toward God and neighbor, the cardinal virtues of Prudence, Justice, Fortitude and Temperance, and the related moral virtues, to an heroic degree.” Pius IX was also the pope who solemnly defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.
- Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903), known as the “Rosary Pope,” beatified Montfort in 1888, was highly influenced by True Devotion and decreed a plenary indulgence for those who practiced Montfort’s Marian consecration. Pope Leo also wrote a total of eleven encyclicals on the rosary during his pontificate.
- Pope St. Pius X (1903-1914) adopted much of Montfort’s Marian language in his encyclical on the Immaculate Conception, Ad diem illum, writing, “since it is through Mary that we attain to the knowledge of Christ, through Mary also we most easily obtain that life of which Christ is the source and origin.” He also granted an Apostolic Blessing for anyone who reads True Devotion.
- Pope Pius XII (1939-1958) canonized Louis de Montfort on July 20, 1947, where he highly praised the new saint, saying, “[Montfort’s] great secret of attracting and giving souls to Jesus was his devotion to Mary. All his activity was founded upon her, all his confidence rested in her. In opposition to the joyless austerity, melancholy fear and depressing pride of Jansenism, he promoted the filial, trustful, ardent and expansive love in action of a slave of Mary.”…
- Pope St. John Paul II (1978-2005) was highly influenced by Montfort, and recounted how he “read and reread many times and with great spiritual profit” Montfort’s writings. He also encouraged the faithful to follow the example of Montfort, saying, “In repeating every day ‘Totus tuus,’ and living in harmony with her, one can attain to the experience of the Father in limitless confidence and love, to docility to the Holy Spirit, and to the transformation of self according to the image of Christ.” He singled out Montfort’s writings again and again in the many documents he wrote on the Blessed Mother and even considered proclaiming him a “Doctor of the Church.” (source)
That is a strong list of endorsements, to say the least.
May you have a good feast of St. Louis de Montfort, author of True Devotion to Mary.
St. Louis de Montfort, pray for us!