JESUS LIVING IN MARY: HANDBOOK OF THE SPIRITUALITY OF ST. LOUIS DE MONTFORT
I. Introduction: 1. The etymology of the word; 2. From the profane to the religious sense; 3. Salvation as God’s loving kindness. II. Salvation in the Seventeenth Century: 1. Parish missions; 2. Jansenism. III. Montfort and the Salvation of His Neighbor: 1. Aspirations of the young priest; 2. Montfort the missionary; 3. His plan for his mission: a. Prayer for Missionaries, b. Rule of the Missionary Priests of the Company of Mary. IV. Montfort’s Vision of Salvation: 1. An all-encompassing vision; 2. A unified concept: a. The Rosary, b. The Cross, c. Perfect Consecration to Jesus Christ through Mary. V. Conclusion.
This article will present a general overview of the meaning of salvation and consider the method Saint Louis de Montfort employed to proclaim God’s healing love in and through Christ Jesus. The word “salvation,” a familiar one in the Christian language, has a long history. We can better understand its significance for us today if we briefly review this history and clear away the historical accumulations that have obscured the word’s meaning.
1. The etymology of the word
Words become as familiar to our lips as the feel of coins in our fingers. Just as coins become worn and illegible, words lose their original meaning through repeated use. Such is the case with the word “salvation.” The concept can trace its lineage to the Sanskrit word sarvah,1 from which its rich etymological history derives. The root, sar, became sal in the Latin languages. Thus, for example, we have the French word salut and the English “salute,” to wish someone good health, as well as the words “salutary” and “salubrious,” promoting health. Later, the word “salvation” became associated with a danger from which one escapes, something that threatens the integrity of a material or physical good.
2. From the profane to the religious sense
From the beginning of our existence, mankind has been surrounded by dangers. Pagans turned to their gods to ask for help and protection. The OT understanding of salvation springs from concrete experiences: deliverance from mortal danger, healing from serious illness, freedom from captivity, victory in battle (cf. Ps 7:11; 22:22; 86:2; etc.). It is not only individuals who cry out for liberation but the nation as a whole. To these chosen people, God revealed His name (Ex 3:14) and, at the same time, revealed Himself as the Savior of His people (cf. Ex 3:16). Every subsequent revelation has contained this duality: God in His transcendence and God the Savior. “Your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel” (Is 41:14). Judith, in her prayer, “cried out to the Lord with a loud voice and said, . . . thou art God of the lowly . . . savior of those without hope” (Jdt 11:1, 9). This notion of total healing of the people of God developed concurrently with the concept of the God of the covenant in the history of Israel, and of the breaking of this covenant through sin. Understanding of one allowed for understanding of the other, as we see in Zechariah’s hymn: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them. . . . He spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we would be saved from our enemies. . . . Thus he . . has remembered his holy covenant . . . to grant us that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness” (Lk 1:68ff). Mankind’s greatest misfortune is to be separated from its Creator, especially if this separation should become final. Salvation—and here we return to the word’s distant etymological origins—signifies man’s complete flowering, in the fullness of his being, into eternal life. “And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (Jn 17:3). This is the good news, the Gospel brought to the world by Christ and by those who followed him, proclaiming his message of salvation: “To you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord” (Lk 2:11).
Although the NT employs for salvation the term sotería, which can mean both bodily health and the well-being of spiritual life, in NT it is a religious term and is almost never applied to purely earthly conditions. In its fullest sense, salvation is Jesus: “Today,” Jesus says to his host, Zacchaeus, “salvation has come to this house” (Lk 19:9; cf. Lk 18:42). Those who turn to him in loving surrender encounter and accept God’s forgiveness personally enfleshed. They are “healed,” “saved” in and through a dynamic, mutual relationship with Christ Jesus.
3. Salvation as God’s loving kindness
“In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son” (1 Jn 4:10). Cut off from God because of sin, mankind finds salvation only through God’s merciful initiative. “It was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath that he swore to your ancestors, that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who maintains covenant loyalty with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations” (Deut 7:8-9). This love takes the first step. “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. The more I called them, the more they went from me . . . . Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, I took them up in my arms; but they did not know that I healed them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with bands of love” (Hos 11:1-2, 3-4). In spite of mankind’s forgetfulness and rebellions, throughout the history of His people, God has never ceased to follow them with His love and to renew His pardon. He was not content to speak to them through His messengers, the prophets; He came Himself, in His Son. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life” (Jn 3:16). This Son is Jesus, whose name means “YHWH saves.”
II. Salvation in the Seventeenth Century
The seventeenth century was a time of solid spirituality and extraordinary religious vitality that led to the development of saintly priests, including several who were canonized: Francis de Sales, Vincent de Paul, John Eudes. There was a sincere interest in the salvation of sinners and the task of leading them back to their Christian obligations. Some theologians, however, propounded doctrines on the role of divine grace and salvation that proved excessive, and their deviations led to a subtle and tenacious heresy called Jansenism,2 which was so rigorous that it closed the doors of hope and divine mercy to sinners, doors that had been so bounteously opened by the entire prophetic tradition.
1. Parish missions
As Montfort was preparing himself for his ministry of parish missions, France could already boast of generations of pioneers in this apostolic ministry dedicated to the conversion and salvation of all. In 1625, Vincent de Paul founded the Congregation of the Mission,3 approved by Urban VIII in 1633. The priests of the Oratory, the Jesuits, the Capuchins, and the Eudists all were involved in forming mission teams. Toward the close of the seventeenth century and the beginning of the eighteenth, Brittany and the west of France were the scene of an impressive outbreak of evangelizing activity, due to the establishment of numerous monasteries and a revival of Christian life at every level in society. Missionaries traveled in groups of six to twelve or sometimes, as among the Capuchins, twelve to twenty. Several would preach, while others would hear confessions for eight, fifteen, or thirty hours.4 “They wished to convert and instruct sinners and at the same time lead them to holiness” (Bremond). These missions were supported by “endowments,” sometimes worth thousands of livres. The missions themselves had to be renewed every five or ten years.5 History has left us some celebrated names, such as Le Nobletz, Maunoir, Leuduger, and also the Father from Montfort.
Before Christian people felt the effects of its moral teachings in the form of an excessively rigorous administration of Penance and the Eucharist,6 Jansenism was the product of an elite of theologians and spiritual figures.7 With the intention of presenting St. Augustine’s doctrine on grace in all its purity, the Dutch theologian Cornelius Jansen (Jansenius)—encouraged by Jean du Vergier de Hauranne, Abbot of Saint-Cyran and a friend and fellow graduate of the University of Louvain—taught that human nature was so thoroughly corrupted by original sin that it was incapable of doing good; as a result, the unfaithful were unable to love God. The sole remedy was grace, but God granted grace only to those who were predestined—those who were redeemed by Christ, whereas God is “the Savior of all people” (1 Tim 4:10). At Jansenism’s most extreme, this interior grace was said to be so irresistible that humans were deprived of their freedom and could not collaborate in their own salvation. In July 1705, eight months before he was to meet with Montfort, Pope Clement XI reiterated the condemnation of his predecessors Urban VIII (1643) and Innocent X (1653). Certainly Clement must have had the religious situation in France in mind when, after listening to Montfort, then a young priest of only six years, he made him a part of his apostolic plans, saying, “You have a great field in France in which to exercise your zeal. Stay in France, and always work with a perfect submission to the bishops of the dioceses to which you are called. By this means, God will give His blessing to your works.”8 Montfort returned to France with the title of “Apostolic Missionary.”
III. Montfort and the Salvation of His Neighbor
Cicero would have said, “One is born a poet, but one becomes an orator.” One is a gift of nature; the other, the result of art. In the words of his friend Blain, Montfort was “born for the apostolic life.” His earliest childhood years presaged his future, as he strove to initiate his young sister, Guyonne-Jeanne, into prayer: a missionary wholly dedicated to the salvation of his fellow human beings.
1. Aspirations of the young priest
In a letter dated December 6, 1700, scarcely six months after his ordination, Montfort confided to his spiritual director, Leschassier, the superior at Saint-Sulpice, his desire for the apostolic ministry of preaching. Although the members of Saint-Sulpice had been watching over Montfort and had expected that he would remain there, they regretfully allowed him to leave and advised him to visit a holy priest at Nantes, named René Lévêque, who had established a community of priests intended for parish missions. This experience, as Montfort reveals in that same letter, was disappointing, and he describes it in detail (L 5). Several months later, he wrote again to Father Leschassier: “As you know, I have not the slightest inclination to stay in the Saint Clément community” (L 9).9 He was torn between his attraction to a life in seclusion and his “tremendous urge to make our Lord and his holy Mother loved, to go in a humble and simple way to teach catechism to the poor in country places and to arouse in sinners a devotion to our Blessed Lady” (L 6). He cites the encouraging example of a good priest, unnamed: “He used to go about from parish to parish teaching the people catechism and relying only on what Providence provided for him.” Then he reveals the plans that he had probably harbored since his ordination and that tortured him inside: “When I see the needs of the Church I cannot help pleading continually for a small and poor band of good priests” to carry out this apostolic work (L 6).
2. Montfort the missionary
On the strength of his mission from the Pope, Montfort resumed the hard apostolic labor he had dreamed of. “It is done, I roam through the world, / I have the spirit of a vagabond / To save my poor neighbor. / What! I see the soul of my dear brother / Perish everywhere from sin / And my heart is not touched? / No, no, Lord, that soul is too dear to me” (H 22:1). “I see this soul, so beautiful, / Fall into eternal death. / Shall no one feel any sorrow? / What! I see the blood of God who loves / Spread among all in vain / And His prize forever lost? / I would rather be anathema” (H 22:2). We hear there an echo of St. Paul, who cried out: “I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my own people” (Rom 9:2-3). Montfort castigated evil everywhere that he found it. He describes at length, in LEW 75-82, the false wisdom, worldly, carnal, and diabolical, against which he does battle. He returns to this theme in ten hymns, numbers 29 through 39. In the first, made up of ninety-two stanzas of 6 lines each, or 552 lines in all, he speaks of every sin from all levels of society: pride among the great; indolence, self-complacency, ignorance among the peasants; drunkenness, slander; even in the religious Orders, envy and discord. “Injustice in the palace, / Scandals before the public; / In secret beds and places, / Filthy impurities” (H 29:19). “See the world and its misfortunes. / Can we love anything so miserable? / Can we follow its adherents / In their deplorable fate? / Let us all cry out together: Woe, woe / Woe to this deceitful world” (H 29:91). We must imagine these words on the lips of a preacher who is burning with passion, in order to grasp the effect they must have had on his audience. This preacher was animated with the Spirit of the ancient prophets: “They proclaim their sin like Sodom, they do not hide it. Woe to them! For they have brought evil on themselves. . . . Woe to the guilty! How unfortunate they are, for what their hands have done shall be done to them” (Isa 3:9, 11). How many times did Jesus himself condemn the world? “Woe to you who are full now, for you will be angry. Woe to you who are laughing now, for you will mourn and weep. Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets” (Lk 6:25-26). “Woe to me if I do not proclaim the gospel!” said St. Paul (1 Cor 9:16). This was Montfort’s view, in spite of the dangers he encountered from those on both ends of the religious/theological spectrum who tried on several occasions to kill him.10 He preached without any endowment to ensure his subsistence, relying totally on Divine Providence.11 His only companion at that time was a young man to whom Montfort said one day, like Christ, “Come, follow me.” This man became Brother Mathurin. Less than three years before he died, in August 1713, Father de Montfort traveled to Paris to find heirs to his spirit and to throw his coat, like Elijah, over some new Elisha (2 Kings 2:13). He had prayed for thirteen years to have missionaries for his little Company who would continue his proclamation of salvation.
3. His plan for his mission
It was during this long gestation that Montfort carried in his heart and in his prayer the missionaries whom he wished to associate with him. PM gives a general description of his ideal missionary for his Company. RM describes his intentions for his Company in more detail. Its author’s clear and methodical mind is apparent throughout and expresses perfectly his expectations for the mission.
a. Prayer for Missionaries.
This work, more than any of his other writings, displays the purity and transparency of his apostolic ardor and indicates how deeply he took the salvation of souls to heart. It should certainly not be classified as simply one prayer among others. Its spiritual quality is exceptional, akin to what one finds in the highest reaches of the mystical life, the sixth mansion, wherein St. Teresa of Avila places the zeal of souls. Something similar animated Montfort. He wanted to convert sinners and ensure their salvation so that he might restore to God the glory that sin had taken from Him. “But above all, bear in mind your dear Son . . . his cruel death and the blood he shed, all these cry out to you for mercy, so that, by this Congregation, his kingdom may bring down the empire of his enemies and rise upon its ruins” (PM 4). With all the strength and familiarity of Elijah speaking to YHWH (cf. 1 Kings 18:27), he cries out: “Be mindful, Lord, of your Congregation, when you come to dispense your justice. . . . Your divine commandments are broken, your Gospel is thrown aside, torrents of iniquity flood the whole earth carrying away even your servants. . . . Will everything come to the same end as Sodom and Gomorrah?” (PM 5). One cannot help thinking of St. John of the Cross’s remark about how few souls arrive at that intense degree of charity that bears fruit in an apostolate, a doctrine that conforms to the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas: “The preaching of the divine word must proceed from the fullness of contemplation.”12 As a young priest, Montfort must surely have received, at the moment of his ordination, a special grace of the Holy Spirit, in light of the mission he was to accomplish. When Samuel anointed David, “the spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward” (1 Sam 16:13). The imprint of the Holy Spirit is apparent in the words that fall from his pen: “Would it not be better for me to be dead, Lord, than to see you offended daily so deliberately and with such impunity and, daily, to stand, myself, in ever-increasing danger of being swept away by the ever-swelling flood of iniquity?”—as if it were a question of his own salvation. “I would rather die a thousand deaths than endure such a fate. Send me your help from heaven or let me die” (PM 14). His zeal had no limits except those of the absolute reign of God. “When will it happen, this fiery deluge of pure love with which you are to set the whole world ablaze and which is to come, so gently yet so forcefully, that all nations, Moslems, idolaters and even Jews, will be caught up in its flames and be converted?” (PM 17).
b. Rule of the Missionary Priests of the Company of Mary.
The deepest desire of Montfort’s soul, even before his sole companion had joined him at his side, was codified in the Rule that stipulates what he wanted from his missionaries. Their apostolic objective took priority, and they were to dedicate themselves wholly to the task of saving souls, and that task alone. Others could train priests or form seminarians. “Only priests who have already completed their seminary training are to be admitted to the Company” (RM 1). All other occupations, no matter how beneficial, were to be abandoned “as being contrary to their missionary vocation so as to feel free at all times to repeat after Jesus Christ: pauperibus evangelizare misit me Dominus, the Lord has sent me to preach good news to the poor, or, as the Apostle said: non misit me Dominus baptizare sed evangelizare, Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel” (RM 2). “The purpose of these missions is to renew the spirit of Christianity among the faithful. Therefore, the missionaries will see to it that, as the Pope has commanded, the baptismal vows are renewed with the greatest solemnity. They are not to give absolution or communion to any penitent who has not first renewed his baptismal promises with the rest of the parishioners” (RM 56). Montfort was not, of course, acceding to the rigorism of Jansenism, but he clearly wished to convey the seriousness of this step. Montfort was not the sort of confessor that worldly people seek for themselves. “They go looking for some broad-minded confessor (that is how they describe lax confessors who shirk their duty) to obtain from him on easy terms the peaceful sanction for their soft and effeminate way of living and a generous pardon for their sins” (LEW 81). Montfort maintained in himself and required of his missionaries a healthy balance in the work of the confessional: “They must not be either too strict or too lax in imposing penances or granting absolution but must hold to the golden mean of wisdom and truth” (RM 59). The true preacher in Montfort’s eyes is the man who has the gift “for knowing and relishing the truth and getting others to relish it” (RM 60). This is a difficult thing; it requires that we receive from God, “as a reward for one’s labors and prayers, a tongue, a mouth and a wisdom which the enemies of truth cannot withstand” (RM 61). Such preachers “have received the gift of proclaiming God’s eternal word,” and “all the members of the Company of Mary must one day be preachers of this caliber” (RM 62).
IV. Montfort’s Vision of Salvation
However eloquent he must have been, to judge from the crowds that pressed round to hear him speak, Montfort was not only a prestigious preacher but a holy preacher with only one ambition, one reason for being, which was to have his people experience the need for salvation and to find that need fulfilled in Christ Jesus. Like the prophet Elijah, he was consumed with zeal for God: “I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant” (1Kings 19:10).
1. An all-encompassing vision
Montfort’s viewed salvation not simply as bringing the sinner out of moral misery but also as bringing him or her to a stable and progressive Christian life. Montfort was not a preacher who, on completing a parish mission, simply left to begin new work elsewhere, as if he had merely carried out a contract to do missionary work in that area for a couple of weeks. Montfort articulated a universal vision of his mission. Preaching led to conversion, but conversion was only a way station, not the final destination. Perseverance and progress in virtue were needed. “Better is the end of a thing than its beginning” (Eccles. 7:8).
2. A unified concept
Saint Louis Marie speaks of “the means of saving . . . souls, such as confession, holy communion, prayer, etc” (LEW 80). There are, however, three means of salvation proposed by Montfort that should be given special attention: the Rosary, the Cross, and most especially the baptismal Consecration renewal through Mary.
a. The Rosary.
In one of his methods for saying the Rosary, Montfort dedicated the tenth decade to “the conversion of sinners, perseverance for the just” (MR 9). Montfort knew that perseverance could be obtained through prayer, which is why he established the Rosary everywhere. The Ave Maria “obtains indulgence / And grace for the sinner, / To the just go fervor / And perseverance” (H 89:16). “I, who write this, have learnt from my own experience that the Rosary has the power to convert even the most hardened hearts. . . . When I have gone back to parishes where I had given missions, I have seen tremendous differences between them; in those parishes where the people had given up the Rosary, they had generally fallen back into their sinful ways, whereas in places where the Rosary was said faithfully I found the people were persevering in the grace of God and advancing in virtue day by day” (SR 113).
b. The Cross.
The mystery of the Cross is a cornerstone of Montfort’s doctrine; he is traditionally referred to as an apostle of the Cross and the Rosary. The Cross plays a critical role in every one of his written works, because “God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us” (1 Thess 5:9-10). It would be impossible for us to speak of salvation without speaking of the Cross. Montfort’s all-encompassing vision of salvation required that he address this essential point. As mentioned above, his mission was not short- term—it did not end with conversion. Its ultimate outcome was a life given wholly to God, a life in which we fulfill the potential promised by our Baptism and live the mystery of the Cross. This does not simply mean leading a virtuous life; rather, it means authentic holiness, as Montfort himself expressed it so clearly. It was with this goal in mind that he often founded the Association of the Friends of the Cross on the completion of a parish mission, which normally lasted several weeks. Those who had followed thirty-three sermons of the mission were eligible to join. After solemnly planting a large cross, Montfort would distribute to each member a small embroidered cross, to be pinned to his or her sleeve as a reminder of discovered truths. For many years after his death, one of these groups continued to exist at La Rochelle, with about sixty members. For Montfort, this was a way of encouraging perseverance in Christian perfection. “Christian holiness consists in this: 1. Resolving to become a saint: ‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine’; 2. Self-denial: ‘Let him renounce himself’; 3. Suffering: ‘Let him take up his cross’; 4. Acting: ‘Let him follow me’” (FC 13). It is rare indeed today to hear words as urgent as those Montfort spoke to his Friends of the Cross!
c. Perfect Consecration to Jesus Christ through Mary.
Montfort’s logical mind would never have allowed him to leave out of his vision of salvation “the greatest means of all, and the most wonderful of all secrets for obtaining and preserving divine Wisdom” (LEW 203), which is perfect devotion to Mary, the act of “losing ourselves” in Our Lady so that she can mold us into Jesus Christ. This is, in Montfort’s view, a “perfect renewal of the vows and promises of holy baptism” (TD 120). Here again we see the same urgent demands for holiness: “Chosen soul, living image of God . . . , God wants you to become holy like him in this life and glorious like him in the next” (SM 3). This is salvation. He tells the soul in whom he is confiding his secret of Mary: “Inspired by the Holy Spirit, I am confiding it to you, with these conditions: . . . That you use this secret to become holy and worthy of heaven” (SM 1). Saint Louis Marie gave his people, through his preaching of total Consecration, a solid means of living their faith, a program of life that, precisely because it so intensifies union with Our Lady, is such an excellent means of living in Jesus Christ, our salvation.
Our faith proclaims: “For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven; by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary and became man.” Basing himself on this truth, Montfort writes: “The salvation of the world began through Mary and through her it must be accomplished” (TD 49). Montfort’s voice no longer resounds in the churches of Brittany, but his works still speak to us. Their message is a vibrant, undiluted call to salvation. Two hundred and fifty years after Montfort, the Second Vatican Council endorsed a similar vision (LG 52), and John Paul II, for his part, has referred to the “precise place in the plan of salvation” of the Mother of the Redeemer (RMat 1). The Vicar of Christ has not hesitated to point out explicitly Saint Louis de Montfort’s Consecration as “an effective means for Christians to live faithfully their baptismal commitments” (RMat 48).
H. M. Guindon
Notes: (1) R. Grandsaignes d’Hauterive, Dictionnaire des racines des langues européennes (Dictionary of the Roots of European Languages), vol. Sal-V, Larousse, Paris 1987, 129. (2) Dictionnaire practique des connaissances religieuses (Practical Dictionnary of Religious Knowledge), Letouzey-Ané, Paris 1925, 3:1145. (3) “He was alone in Paris in having established an institution that was dedicated exclusively to missionary work.” B. Porcheron, Paris I, in Histoire des diocèses de France (History of Dioceses in France), Beauchesne, Paris 1987, 20:244. (4) “These missions, which were one of the great novelties of Tridentine pastoral activity, multiplied in number. They were conducted along standard lines that various accounts and narratives describe: preaching, conversion of sinners, confessions, communions, solemn ceremonies and processions, with shocking and dramatic sideshows that were a part of the pedagogy of such missions. . . . There is no indication that these missions bore any lasting fruit.” Ibid., 246. (5) In 1678 a lawyer, Pierre Lebardier, founded a mission at Montoir to provide for the Capuchins at Croisic every seven years. Y. Durand, Nantes, in Histoire des diocèses de France, 1985, 18:136. (6) Even though severity seemed to be the rule in the second half of the seventeenth century (B. Häring, La Loi du Christ [The Law of Christ], Desclée, Tournai 1960, 1:45), an excessive number of confessors were accused of leniency and of leading sinners to damnation because it was necessary to postpone or deny absolution until the penitent could give proof of his or her improved conduct. Le Camus, bishop of Grenoble, wrote: “In a town like Grenoble or Chambéry . . . there are scarcely forty persons to be absolved out of four thousand, if we have to find converts to absolve them: if confessors are doing this, it is scandalous.” H. Baud, Genève-Annecy, in Histoire des diocèses de France, 1985, 19:141. (7) This includes disciples of Bérulle. At Lyon, “the Oratorians had welcomed the new doctrine.” J. Gadille, Lyon, in Histoire des diocèses de France, 1983, 16:141. “Jansenism came to Nantes from the Oratory. . . . The congregation was won over by the theories of Jansen.” The same was true of the Benedictines with Dom Louvard, who convinced the faculty of theology at Nantes (Durand, Nantes, 139f). (8) Grandet, 100. (9) The goal of this community was to conduct parish missions. Its founder provided “more than sixty” such missions, but it was languishing at the time of Montfort’s stay there, and later it became contaminated with Quesnelism after the bull Unigenitus condemning Jansenism, and its members were “appealers” of the bull at the next council (Durand, Nantes, 139). (10) Some young libertines who were told to leave one mission waited for Montfort for four hours at a street corner. He never came. “We would have cracked his skull if he had come by.” On the other hand, his speech was immensely successful. “After the men, three thousand women followed the mission in an atmosphere of intense piety.” Father Gabriel-Marie, Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort, routier de l’évangile (Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort, Traveler of the Gospel), Saint-Laurent-sur-Sèvre/Montreal 1966, 127, 129. (11) Montfort formally excluded these foundations: “They will give all their missions in complete dependence on Providence and must not accept any endowment for future missions as do some communities of missionaries founded by the King or by private persons” (RM 50). (12) Summa Theologiae I-II, q. 188, a. 6.
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.
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