|JESUS LIVING IN MARY:
HANDBOOK OF THE SPIRITUALITY OF ST. LOUIS DE MONTFORT
TITLE PAGE , FORWARD AND OTHER FRONT MATTER
PRAYER TO JESUS LIVING IN MARY
O Jesus, alive in Mary,
Shape there your noble virtues,
Make us sharers in your mysteries,
To the glory of your Father,
St. Louis Marie de Montfort
"Thanks to Saint Louis of Montfort, I came to understand that true devotion to the Mother of God is actually Christocentric, indeed, it is very profoundly rooted in the Mystery of the Blessed Trinity, and the mysteries of the Incarnation and Redemption."
His Holiness John Paul II, from
EDITOR IN CHIEF
Jesus Living in Mary:
Handbook Editorial Offices:
Copyright © 1994 by The Montfort Missionaries
Designed and Typeset by Sara Day Graphic Design, Beverly, Massachusetts
Front Cover Art by Vittoria Paravicini Bagliani: Cross icon depicts Virgin Mary and the Apostle John with Blessed Marie Louise and St. Louis de Montfort beneath. At bottom, St. Laurent-sur-Sevre.
Back Cover Art by Gisele A. Branchard: Weaving in which Mother Marie Louise holds scroll with the words "Yes, you will possess wisdom". Father de Montfort holds scroll saying "I am all yours and all that I have is yours".
Photos by Robert Houser.
Back Flap Art (artist unknown): The Rennes Painting probably from the deathbed sketch of Montfort.
Front Flap Art: Wood statue of Our Lady of Wisdom which tradition holds to have been carved by Montfort. Photo by Robert Houser.
Printed in the United States of America by
ISBN # 0-910-984-58-1
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOG CARD
St. Louis de Montforts signed motto was: God Alone. He was dedicated to this goal, to this ideal alone. For the journey from God Alone to God Alone, he asked that it be the battle cry, one uttered with St. Michael the Archangel. He used the heart symbol as a reminder that the God who is worshiped is the God who is love.
The deathbed signature of the saint on his last will and testament. April 27, 1716.
Brothers of St.
Company of Mary 181
End Times 345
|French School 437
Holy Spirit 493
Jesus Christ 565
Last Things 579
Legion of Mary 597
Little Crown 607
Love of the Eternal Wisdom 633
Marie Louise 667
Montfort, St. Louis Marie de 753
Montfort Spirituality 815
Oxford Movement 875
Parish Missions 883
Path of Perfection 907
Sacred Heart 1075
Secret of Mary 1113
Slavery of Love 1157
True Devotion 1209
It is a testimony to the beauty and power of St. Louis Marie de
Montforts teaching that, nearly three centuries after his death, Christians on five
continents are still drawn to his example and his message. This Apostolic Missionary
progressively opens for us a path of baptismal conversion and transformation that leads us
Yet precisely this distance of three centuries requires that contemporary men and women seek guidance in interpreting Montforts worldview and thought in light of the culture and theologies of the new millennium. If anything, St. Louis Marie de Montfort wonderfully understood the people of his time and place; three hundred years later he would surely seek companions who could reveal the treasures of Divine Wisdom to the men and women of our vastly different age.
The general councils of the Montfort Familythe Missionaries of the
Company of Mary, the Daughters of Wisdom, and the Brothers of St.
Gabrielcommissioned JESUS LIVING IN MARY, Handbook of the Spirituality of St. Louis
Marie de Montfort with this end in mind. Most sincere
St. Louis Marie de Montfort wrote with fire and clarity, deeply rooted in the scriptures and in the theological tradition of the Church. Nevertheless, he always prized the Wisdom of God above all other human intellectual efforts. May this handbook be an instrument, a channel, for a deeper comprehension of Montforts spirituality, but may Our Lady and the Holy Spirit prepare our heartslike that of Blessed Marie Louise Trichet, Montforts first disciple in this way of holinessfor the presence of the Wisdom of Love.
Apparently a collection of diversified topics, this Handbook of the Spirituality of Saint Louis Marie de Montfort hopes to offer the opportunity for a unique, profound and unified experience of the Holy. The volume enables an experiencehow-ever slightof mystery in its deep meaning: a taste of what is beyond the senses, a knowledge of what cannot be grasped, a sight of what cannot be seen. The articles taken as a whole are an introduction to the wisdom of a giant among the saints, a vagabond Gospel troubadour known simply as the Father from the village of Montfort.
There is a double polarity which is clearly experienced as one plunges into the depths of the ecclesial grace God offered this missionary. There is, first of all, the feeling of profound satisfaction as one discovers the fulfillment for which ones very existence has almost unknowingly yearned. But as our spirit peacefully sighs, "I am at home here!," there is at the same time a subtle groan from deep within our being, "I do not want to be here!" It is as though a primordial battle is being fought within the profundity of our existence, a combat between good and evil, between life and death itself. And we know that we are not the only participants in this struggle. We are one with all peoples from the start of the human race to fulfillment; in fact, with all matter, even the farthest speck of existence in outer space. Our insatiable, sinful nature insanely demands to be constantly fed; far stronger still is the craving of the spirit for the Only who can fulfill our being itself.
The spirituality of Saint Louis Marie strongly lures us to free ourselves of those all too comfortable sinful shackles which prohibit unrestrained soaring into the brightness of eternal Light. By disclosing through present realities the ultimately triumphant and glorious end times, he urges us to listen not to the voice of the evil one which only leads to existential defeat.
Everything in Montfort cries out: "Choose Life, no matter the painful wrenching involved!" "Choose the Cross for it is only from its triumphant Wood that you pluck the fruit of eternal Life." "Choose Incarnate Wisdom and become a fool in the eyes of the world."When through Gods gift we actively let ourselves be drawn into God Alone, wonderful yet awesome transformations begin to occur. The inherent weakness of language makes it impossible fully to express the splendor of the path undertaken. It is the glory of the tenderness of God. It is the taste of the Trinity of Love. It is our fulfillment within the dynamic Lover who so powerfully divinizes us.
The Montfort path is the same one which Wisdom took to enter the human family: the Immaculate Mary. Her spirit permeates every aspect of Father de Montforts staunchly Christ-centered doctrine. To be bathed in her spirit is the turning point of our advance into a renewed baptismal consecration of union with the triune God.
The key, then, to an understanding of Montfort spirituality is to grasp that this vagabond saint is unreservedlymadly, the world would sayin love with Love Itself, who becomes enfleshed through Marys "Yes." Love-language is his vocabulary. Expressions which shock, like "slavery," "desire for the Cross," "the anger of God," "lose yourself in Mary," must be defined only through the help of the dictionary of love. His writings and most especially his canticles are a rendition of the Song of Songs.
This strong and uncompromising spirituality overflows into every aspect of existence. A life of evangelical freedom, totally trusting in Gods loving providence; a servants active love for the poor, the outcasts; an unflinching fidelity to the Church: they are some of the characteristics of those who integrate the saints consecration spirituality in their life. Montforts hope is to form a great squadron of men and women from every walk of life to live the gospel of Jesus Christ so valiantly that the Church will be constantly reformed and the earth renewed.
Too long has this treasure been hoarded. This Handbook is published so that all, most especially Montforts beloved laypeople, can share in this saints evangelical vision. Its appearance marks an important moment not only in the history of the communities Saint Louis de Montfort founded, but for the faithful throughout the world. This English edition has gone through drastic revisions since its anticipated audience is so broadly based. It is not intended just for English speaking Christians of the western world; on the contrary, its readers will include, among others, numerous Asians and Africans. The contents of this Handbook cannot respond to all the circumstances of such a wide group. Moreover, most of the authorities on Saint Louis de Montfort areat least at this timerepresentative of the West and are understandably contextualized by its culture. Nonetheless, we are convinced that this volume will do immeasurable good in renewing the baptismal commitments of the faithful throughout the world. Theologians and spiritual authors will find in these pages insights into the teachings of Saint Louis de Montfort which have at times been misunderstood if not caricatured, since never explainedat least in Englishas a whole. It is among the hopes of the editors that the real Montfort will come forth from these pages who will then challenge contemporary societyas he did his ownto a deeper and more powerful apostolic life in the Eternal and Incarnate Wisdom, the son of Mary.
To study the Handbook with profit, it is strongly recommended that the reader have at hand a copy of God Alone: The Collected Works of Saint Louis Marie de Montfort. The Collected Works and the Handbook are twin volumes which depend on each other.
The reader cannot fail to notice the hundred and more references to the Hymns of Father de Montfort which are interspersed throughout this volume. As yet these Canticles are not found in English although they form a major part of his works. This startling lack will be filled by winter 1995 when the English translation of the Canticles will at last be published. May the trilogyCollected Works, Handbook and Canticlesform a powerful instrument of constant renewal within the People of God.
This volume could not have seen the light of day without the enthusiastic support and expertise of Richard Payne. To him and to all the contributors, assistants and benefactors, the Company of Mary offers heartfelt thanks.
Patrick Gaffney, s.m.m.
This book may be considered as a "barometer of the times." It records, bears witness, and gives meaning to our situation and anticipates historys path into the future. The editors of this handbook sought to capture what is essential in the spirituality of St. Louis Marie de Montfort, but they wished to remain concise. They sought what was perennial and deep, but they wished to remain current and clear. The past publishing success of works from or about the classical traditions of Christian spirituality that have appeared in many countries demonstrate that they respond to the pressing hunger in our contemporary society for what is "tried and true." Yet, carried away by the dizzying rhythms of present-day life, locked in a struggle with time and space, modern men and women want to know as much as possible and as quickly as possible.
This book represents a desire to respond concisely and profoundly to the need felt by many contemporary Christians to draw fully on the experience and the writings of the great missionary and spiritual father St. Louis Marie de Montfort (1673-1716).
Montforts influence is widespread. It affects all levels of people and transcends cultural boundaries: from the ordinary Christian to Pope John Paul II, who has acknowledged that his own spiritual life is greatly indebted to his reading of True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin. St. Louis Marie de Montfort is the sole modern author he cites in his encyclical Redemptoris Mater (1987), as a "witness and teacher" of true Marian spirituality.
This is a timely and, indeed, necessary moment to present to the women and men of today, and especially to religious families who are inspired by Montfort, the whole of his spiritual legacy to the Church. We must render justice where it is due. During the three centuries that separate us from Montfort, his spirituality has been given serious study through the prism of this aspect or that: sometimes in the light of his devotion to Our Lady, at other times in the light of his love for Eternal Wisdom, of his apostolic inspiration, or of his prophetic vision of the latter times. Our duty now is to broaden those horizons and, without losing any of the contributions made in the past, encompass all of Montforts major contributions to the field of Christian spirituality.
Since the publication in 1966 of the first French edition of the complete works of Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, an effort has been under way to make available worldwide the entire corpus of Montforts writings. This book is part of that effort. It attempts to offer readers the joy of discovering in Montfort a spirituality that is not confined to those classical limits familiar to everyone (such as Christ Wisdom, the Cross, Mary, the apostolate, etc.). It embraces other themes as well, such as friendship, covenant, God, Holy Spirit, Providence, world, faith, hope, love . . .
Other characteristics make this handbook distinctive. Readers will not
find an encyclopedic compendium of all of Montforts themes; instead, the most
important concerns of modern spiritual life are here. This book is not concerned with
providing information but, rather, with giving
If the handbook is successful in performing this service, we undoubtedly owe its success to the contributors, who drafted the various articles with love and skill, the insightful expert advisers A. Bossard and P. Gaffney, and the diligent translators and secretaries. But above all we owe it to Father Gérard Lemire, recently superior general of the Montfort Missionaries, who, with the full agreement of Sister Ines of the Eucharist, superior general of the Daughters of Wisdom, and with Brother Jean Friant, superior general of the Brothers of Christian Instruction of Saint Gabriel, is responsible for the idea of this handbook on montfort spirituality.
May we express the wish that this handbook will embrace a wider circle
of readers, leading to a personal, transforming, and definitive encounter with God, who
through the saints lets a ray of His glory shine on the paths of history.
A. God Alone, The Collected Writings of St. Louis Marie de Montfort
B. Documents of the Second Vatican Council
AA Apostolicam actuositatem
C. Dictionaries, Reviews, and Other Sources
AAS Acta Apostolicæ Sedis.
Taken from: Jesus Living in Mary: Handbook of the
Spirituality of St.
Provided courtesy of the Montfort Fathers © All Rights Reserved.
Electronic Copyright © 1998 EWTN
Eternal Word Television Network