JESUS LIVING IN MARY:
HANDBOOK OF THE SPIRITUALITY OF ST. LOUIS DE MONTFORT
REPARATION

Summary
I.  Introduction. 
II. Types of Reparation in the Writings of Montfort: 
	1.	Reparation as healing or restoration; 
	2.	Reparation for public offenses. 
III. Saint Louis de Montfort and Reparation of Outrageous Insults to God: 
	1.	Catherine de Bars and the Benedictines of the Blessed Sacrament; 
	2.	The Visitation and Saint Margaret Mary; 
	3.	Atonement for outrages: 
		a.	Letters; 
		b.	Hymns. 
IV. Conclusion. 
V. Evaluation: 
	1.	The problem; 
	2.	The solution. 
VI. Relevance.

I. INTRODUCTION
Reparation is an ambiguous term. Even in profane use it may be employed in the sense of 
repair of a damaged object or an act of justice whereby payment of some sort is made 
for damage done. In religious use it has a variety of meanings. It means principally 
the work of redemption accomplished by Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sense of 
"repairing the damage done" by Adam’s revolt and the sin of his progeny; Christ 
restores us to God’s friendship. The term is also used in a generic way for restitution 
for injuries, usually when moral theology cannot measure precisely what such payment 
would entail. In popular devotional literature and also in ascetical theology, 
reparation is the making of amends for insults given to God through sin, either one’s 
own or another’s. Through Saint Margaret Mary’s devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus—a 
devotion stemming through Saint John Eudes back through Saints Gertrude and Mechtilde 
and Saint Francis’ devotion to the Five Wounds and Passion of Christ—"reparation" took 
on a more distinctive meaning. Saint Margaret Mary saw Christ’s heart and his love 
ignored and ridiculed; the response of man is to be reparation through adoration, 
prayer, and sacrifice.
After a brief review of Saint Louis de Montfort’s use of the term "reparation," the 
article will touch on his teaching of reparation as making amends for the insults given 
to our Lord through sin and negligence of his love.

 

II. TYPES OF REPARATION IN THE WRITINGS OF MONTFORT
The root "repar" is found in Louis Marie’s writings about forty times in such terms 
as reparation, reparatrice, repairer, to repair. The object of this "reparation" may 
be creation, humanity, Heaven, the Honor of God, and of course scandals and 
injustices. In most cases Montfort does not use the word as contemporary 
spirituality defines it, as compensation for an outrage against love.1 Occasionally 
he refers to reparation in ways that are unrelated or tangential to spirituality, 
e.g., repair of church buildings (RM 16), reparation for damage caused by an enemy 
(SR 99), for damage done to the property of others (H 29), or for honoring the devil 
(H 100; cf. also the word "irreparable" and the loss of "what one knows not how to 
repair": H 12:30; H 115:1; H 139:15).
1. Reparation as healing or restoration
It was in the writings of Poiré2 and Grasset that Montfort first encountered the 
idea that Mary, in unity with her Son, atones for the fallen world. He also knew 
Eadmer of Canterbury’s assertion that, through her piety, Mary had "succeeded most 
worthily in atoning for the fallen universe—ut reparatrix perditi orbis dignissime 
fieret."3 In LEW and TD, "reparation" means restoring the universe and, in 
particular, healing the wounds of mankind caused by sin. When Adam became a slave of 
the demon and the object of God’s anger, "nothing could restore his privileges" (LEW 
40). Wisdom, by whose word "everything was made and everything was restored" (LEW 
95), chose "to become man in order to restore fallen humanity" (LEW 104; see also TD 
156; H 13, 14). In Mary, Jesus "has perfectly restored the glory" that sin had taken 
from the Father (TD 248). Mary, the "restorer of the human race" (TD 28), is 
completely united with the Son; as she gains the fidelity and perseverance of those 
who commit themselves to her, she "makes good the losses caused by Eve’s 
unfaithfulness" (TD 175). According to Alain de la Roche, "who restored the devotion 
of the Rosary" (SR 27), "by this prayer [the Angelic Salutation] the whole world was 
restored" (TD 250; see also SR 49). Through the Angelic Salutation, the ruins of 
heaven have been repaired and "the empty thrones in heaven have been filled" (SR 
45).
2. Reparation for public offenses
Montfort cites the example of the preacher who at one time had preached against the 
Rosary and then "publicly acknowledged his former error" (SR 32), and that of the 
woman who had given herself to the devil and felt "an intense desire to make amends 
for this terrible deed" (SR 109). He called on the Daughters of Wisdom to make 
public reparation for their faults (RW 53, 306) and invited them to atone for "the 
scandals of all of your brothers" (H 37, 112; it is unclear whether he is referring 
to those who have committed these acts or to those who have been their victims). We 
know that Montfort founded confraternities for the reparation of such public wrongs.

 

III. SAINT LOUIS DE MONTFORT AND REPARATION OF 
         OUTRAGEOUS INSULTS TO GOD
After examining some of the historical roots of Montfort’s desire "to make amends" 
for insults to the Lord, a study of his letters and hymns will reveal his own 
thoughts on reparation for outrages committed by Christians against divine Love.
1. Catherine de Bars and the Benedictines of the Blessed Sacrament
Montfort was familiar with the spirituality of Catherine de Bar (Mechtilde of the 
Blessed Sacrament, 1614–1698), the foundress of the Benedictines of the Blessed 
Sacrament, if only because his sister Guyonne-Jeanne had joined the order in 1702. 
Since the beginning of the seventeenth-century, Christianity had known some great 
profanations of the Blessed Sacrament, which renewed attention to the atonement 
dimension of adoration and gave rise to various societies for the Blessed Sacrament. 
The first monastery was officially established on March 12, 1654, and the queen 
herself was present to read an official proclamation of atonement. In the view of 
Catherine de Bars, the adoration offered by the religious was rooted in their status 
as victims, as a result of their unity with Christ in the Eucharist. They were 
obligated to make reparation for those who did not pray. Catherine de Bars, however, 
did not consider herself among the "innocent victims" offering their lives in 
reparation, but rather as among the sinners atoning for sins against the Lord, 
especially in the Eucharist. We can see her influence at the beginning of the 
eighteenth century in formulas for atonement and exercises of reparation that were 
included in various manuals for adoration and for confraternities of the Blessed 
Sacrament.
2. The Visitation and Saint Margaret Mary
While at the Monastery of the Visitation at Poitiers, Montfort, although he never 
mentions her name or convent, in all probability became familiar with Saint Margaret 
Mary (1647–1690), a nun of the Order of the Visitation at Paray-le-Monial, she had 
mystical experiences which led to devotion to the Sacred Heart. An apparition in 1673 
was the starting point for her mystical life. In it Jesus invited the future saint to 
exchange her heart for his. She was no longer simply his slave, but the object of his 
passionate love. This in a way goes beyond the kind of "slavery" advocated by Cardinal 
Pierre de Bérulle (died 1629), founder of the Oratory of France and also of what 
Brémond has called the French School of spirituality. Saint Louis de Montfort considers 
"slavery of love" a recognition on our part of the tender and passionate love of God 
for us in Jesus Christ. 
Margaret Mary had another apparition, in 1675, in which Jesus lovingly complained 
that, even among those consecrated through religious vows, his love for mankind was 
returned only with ingratitude. Our Blessed Lord requested that the first Friday after 
the octave of the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament be established as a feast day to honor 
his Sacred Heart and to atone for the insults inflicted upon it. Devotion to the Sacred 
Heart is characterized by redamatio, the atoning love of the faithful who have in some 
way experienced the love that Christ has first given them and who wish to give their 
love to Christ in return. 
3. Atonement for outrages
Atonement for outrages is discussed both in Montfort’s letters and in his hymns.
a. Letters. 
In his letters, Saint Louis de Montfort uses the term "victim" to indicate a person 
whose life is spent in atonement for the insults offered Our Lord through sin but 
especially to the Eucharistic Lord. To his sister, admitted to the monastery of the 
Benedictine Nuns of the Blessed Sacrament, he wrote: "You are now immolated, truly, 
deeply and for ever. Let no day pass without offering yourself in sacrifice as a 
victim. Spend more time before the altar praying than in resting and eating" (L 12). 
Montfort encouraged her to live the life of a sacrificial victim, in the spirit of the 
Benedictines of the Blessed Sacrament, and to atone for him: "It is a source of great 
of happiness and a great honor for me to have someone so near to me offering loving 
sacrifices to make up for the faults ["outrages"] I have, alas, so often committed 
against Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament" (L 19; cf. also Letters 17, 18). He even 
addresses her, in light of her vocation, as "Dear victim in Jesus Christ" (L 19).
b. Hymns. 
The Cantiques of Montfort call for reparation to Jesus for insults committed against 
him in general and most especially in the Eucharist and to his Sacred Heart.
•Amends for injuries to Jesus in General. 
Montfort’s hymns invite us to make amends for songs that are offensive to God’s 
honor (H 1:23), and to restore, through penance, the "glory and honor of the Lord" 
(H 13:12) while also making amends for "the outrages / against Jesus at his Passion" 
(H 13:13). He notes that "To righteousness, repentance / Makes an atonement of 
honor" (H 13:38). 
•Amends for Injuries to the Eucharistic Lord. 
He particularly invites us to atone for the outrages inflicted on the Blessed 
Sacrament: "Make honorable amends / To Jesus dishonored / Even in a sacred place . . 
. / Cry, angels, cry, / Cry and atone / For this excess, this supreme insult" (H 
158:12). H 136, "Reparation (Making Amends) to the Most Holy Sacrament of the altar," 
is a nineteen verse bitter satire on the customs of his times which so often ignored 
if not insulted the Eucharistic presence: "Let us moan, let us bitterly weep / . . . 
For Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament / Is Forgotten, Insulted even in His Extreme 
Love (H 136:1). After detailing the disgraceful state of the church building, the 
missionary does not hesitate to point out the blasphemous attitude of some of the 
people towards the Blessed Sacrament, but reserves his sharpest barbs for the cleric 
in charge of the church. His hymn ends with the prayer: "Pardon, my sweet Jesus, both 
for them and for us / Have pity on us, have pity on you yourself! / Ah!, that we would 
be able to atone these outrages / By your own Blood and our weak homage" (H 136:18).
•Reparation and devotion to the Sacred Heart. 
Montfort demands reparation for the outrages inflicted on the Blessed Sacrament, 
especially in the seven hymns that are expressly written to foster devotion to the 
Sacred Heart (H 40–44, 47, 48). There we see devotional characteristics that can be 
traced to Paray-le-Monial: Jesus’ reproach that his love is insulted, redamatio, and 
acts of reparation.
•Jesus’ love insulted. 
The Sacred Heart is the symbol of the love that the Son bears for us and that he 
demonstrated by surrendering himself completely to the Father for our sake (H 40, 
41; also H 132:7: "My heart has exhausted itself for you"). But this love is too 
often insulted: "All of my labors are tossed to the ground / My blood, my Heart, my 
charity" (H 42:16). He is overwhelmed by non-Christians, heretics, and, especially, 
malicious Catholics, who "surpass the cruelty" of the others and who show "only 
indifference" toward his Heart (H 43:13, 17).
•"Redamatio" (returning love with love) and the offer of comfort. 
The Heart of Jesus "looks for solace" to give to the penitent soul (H 42:2). "Your 
tears give me pleasure," it says to that soul. "I have suffered many affronts / So that 
I can be here now for you. / Make amends with your homage" (H 42:5.33). "My Heart 
loves and desires you, / For you my heart was pierced, / My heart longs for your 
heart" (H 43:38). "Let us love this Heart, because it loves us, / Love is paid with 
love" (H 44:2; cf. also H 47:18; H 132:8; H 133:9; H 135:4).
•Acts of reparation. 
The act that is "The most glorious to the Lord . . . / Is to restore His honor" (H 
44:17). We must "atone for the injury / That we have done to this divine Heart" (H 
44:18) and make "honorable amends" (H 133:9). Hymn 47, entitled "Reparation to the 
Heart of Jesus," asks for pardon on behalf of many different sinners, from the 
unfaithful laity to wicked priests. For a missionary such as Montfort, pious desires 
alone do not make reparation: "It is the end that I crown / And not the beginning," 
says Jesus in the hymn. The invitation to the "Princes of France" to love the 
"victorious heart," accompanied by a promise of victory for their troops (H 42:30), 
may be our oldest written trace of Saint Margaret Mary’s message to Louis XIV. 

 

IV. CONCLUSION
The theme of reparation (in the spiritual sense) is not explicitly discussed in the 
prose works as it is in the hymns. But we can assume that Montfort was aware of what 
was happening at Paray-le-Monial while he wrote these works. His spiritual 
experience led him down many different paths. He affirmed the goodness of the Lord, 
who is touched by the misery of fallen humanity. Divine Wisdom brought together the 
members of the Trinity, so to speak, "for the purpose of rehabilitating man in the 
state he formerly created him" (LEW 42). Montfort also writes of the love that is 
ridiculed by all, even by Christians (FC 11), and he discusses the satisfactory 
value of atonement for sins committed (TD 122, 171). Like Margaret Mary, he affirms 
the redamatio—the response of love to the gift of love—but Montfort sees this as a 
total, all-inclusive response. It refers not to specific practices of atonement, 
such as on the first Friday, but to making a complete gift of oneself, a 
consecration. To make such a gift is in Montfort’s view the ideal in any Christian 
life; and although Montfort never explicitly mentions it, reparation would certainly 
be encompassed by this gift. He does not discuss reparation when he speaks of the 
works undertaken by the friends of Wisdom "for the glory of God and the salvation of 
souls" (LEW 100), nor when he explains why the Cross is "precious" (LEW 176) and why 
we should consecrate ourselves to Jesus through Mary (TD 135–37), nor even when he 
explains how consecration gives greater glory to Jesus Christ (TD 222–25). But this act 
of consecration does indeed contain an element of reparation. In this act we in effect 
acknowledge how much Wisdom has done for us through love, and, simultaneously, we 
acknowledge our own unfaithfulness (LEW 223, 225). By offering ourselves through the 
mediation of Mary, we are truly honoring Jesus Christ, because "we are showing that, 
because of our sins, we are unworthy to approach his infinite holiness directly on our 
own" (SM 36; cf. TD 223).

 

V. EVALUATION
1. The problem
Treading unconsciously in the footsteps of the late medieval nominalists, and 
forgetting that mankind is joined by a constitutive, essential link with its Creator, 
modern Western thinkers have too often set mankind and God in opposition to each other, 
as if in the present order of things man could go his way and God His own. Some 
contemporary thinkers then reject God; the others reject mankind.  Even for some 
members of the French School, who were anxious to assert God’s greatness, creation 
itself and mankind in particular were considered as somehow "separate" from the Creator 
and Redeemer —to such an extent that it was said that "the entire universe should be 
destroyed for His glory."4 From this perspective, reparation provides additional 
grounds for man’s destruction: his sin.
2. The solution 
Although Montfort is generally grouped with the French School, there is no problem 
of this kind in his writing. Saint Irenaeus’s statement that "the glory of God is a 
living person"5 reflects Montfort’s conception of mankind’s relationship with God. 
But there is no sanctimony in Montfort’s optimism: he thinks of mankind as 
disfigured, precisely because its connection with God has been substantially damaged 
by sin. Reparation necessarily implies restoration of the glory of God, redamatio, 
and the Cross. It also implies service to man and to society, as many encyclicals, 
dating back to Leo XIII’s Rerum novarum (1891), as well as the Second Vatican 
Council (GS 3), have affirmed. 

 

VI. RELEVANCE
Montfort can contribute to a spirituality of atonement precisely because he enables the 
Christian to overcome artificial distinctions between various kinds of reparation, and 
thereby to experience reparation in its profound unity, in accordance with the highly 
comforting yet incredibly urgent teachings and examples of Wisdom incarnate (LEW 173). 
Montfort’s unifying theme of Wisdom not only clarifies the meaning of "reparation," but 
also brings contemporary man face to face with the horror of insulting our brother, 
Jesus the Eternal and Incarnate Wisdom.
From another standpoint, Saint Louis Marie’s teaching on reparation shows an 
essential inter-relatedness of all within the Body of Christ. The insults to the 
Lord committed by an individual affect the entire creation, the blasphemies of 
nations even more so. Montfort therefore hopes to offset this lack of harmony by 
acts of reparation, especially by acts directed to the Eucharistic Lord; for love of 
Jesus expressed by even one individual helps to restore the relationship of this 
universe with God in Christ Jesus.
J. Stern - P. Gaffney

 

Notes:
(1) É. Glottin, "Réparation," in DSAM 13 (1988), 394. (2) Cf. in particular 
Triple couronne (Triple crown), second Treaty, ch. VI; cf. Montfort’s Notebook, 57–
60. Montfort used the 1639 edition. (3) De excellentia Virginis Mariae, c. 9 (PL 
159, 573D); cf. A. Cabassut, "Éadmer," in DSAM 4/1 (1960), 4. Montfort attributes 
this text to Saint Anselm and also to Saint Bernard. (4) Attributed to Condren 
(1588–1641) by his biographer, Amelote; cf. A. Molien, "Condren," in DSAM 2 (1953), 
1376. (5) Contra haereses, IV, 20, 7.

 


Taken from: Jesus Living in Mary: Handbook of the Spirituality of St.
Louis de Montfort (Litchfield, CT: Montfort Publications, 1994).
Provided courtesy of the Montfort Fathers © All Rights Reserved.

 

Electronic Copyright © 1998 EWTN
All Rights Reserved
.
Provided Courtesy of:
Eternal Word Television Network
5817 Old Leeds Road
Irondale, AL 35210
www.ewtn.com