May 2, 2017 – “Dear children! I am calling you to pray, not to ask for but to offer sacrifice – sacrificing yourselves. I am calling you to reveal the truth and merciful love. I am praying to my Son for you, for your faith which is all the more diminishing in your hearts. I am imploring Him to help you with the divine spirit, as I also desire to help you with my motherly spirit. My children, you must be better. Only those who are pure, humble and filled with love sustain the world – they are saving themselves and the world. My children, my Son is the heart of the world. He should be loved and prayed to, and not always betrayed anew. Therefore, you, apostles of my love, spread the faith in the hearts of people by your example, your prayer and merciful love. I am beside you, I will help you. Pray for your shepherds to have all the more light, so as to be able to illuminate all those who live in darkness. Thank you.”
Our Lady’s message here contains both love and a gentle reprimand. She warns of dwindling faith in hearts, and to remind us of the mission she’s been calling us to take; a mission of prayer, sacrifice of self, virtue, and revealing truth and merciful love which is Jesus Christ Himself.
She is making known to us of how we should be living and behaving, united with her and Jesus. And like a sweet and concerned Mother, she tells us something so important:
“My children, you must be better…”
For me, I couldn’t help but keep this simple sentence so close to my heart. How many times have we personally heard this from our own mothers, who are so concerned about our well-being and only desire the very best for us?
Mary is the Mother of all mothers. She possesses the great love of God within her Immaculate Heart, and she is constantly concerned about our spiritual welfare and well-being. She wants us to live for God, Who is the source of all life and goodness, and not for our own egos. She never stops praying to her Son, Jesus, for our sake, and is always seeking to take care of us like the loving Mother she is.
So, how can we be better? What is there that can help us to draw closer to Jesus, and progress in the spiritual life?
It is without a doubt that the fastest, most direct, way to the Heart of Jesus is through the Heart of Mary. A mother is also a teacher. And being that Mary is the Mother of God, and our Mother also, there is much we can learn and obtain from her Immaculate Heart.
St. Louis de Montfort explains in detail the characteristics of true devotion to the Blessed Mother in his book True Devotion to Mary. Here’s what he wrote:
After having laid bare and condemned the false devotions to the most holy Virgin, we must, in a few words, characterize the true devotion. It must be interior, tender, holy, constant, and disinterested.
True devotion to our Lady is interior; that is to say, it comes from the spirit and the heart. It flows from the esteem we have of her, the high idea we have formed of her greatness, and the love which we have for her.
It is tender; that is to say, full of confidence in her, like a child’s confidence in his loving mother. This confidence makes the soul have recourse to her in all its bodily or mental necessities, with much simplicity, trust, and tenderness. It implores the aid of its good Mother, at all times, in all places, and about all things; in its doubts, that it may be enlightened; in its wanderings, that it may be brought into the right path; in its temptations, that it may be supported; in its weaknesses, that it may be strengthened; in its falls, that it may be lifted up; in its discouragements, that it may be cheered; in its scruples, that they may be taken away; in its crosses, toils, and disappointments of life, that it may be consoled under them. In a word, in all its evils of body and mind, the soul’s ordinary refuge is in Mary, without fearing to be importunate to her or to displease Jesus Christ.
True devotion to our Lady is holy; that is to say, it leads the soul to avoid sin, and to imitate in the Blessed Virgin particularly her profound humility, her lively faith, her continual prayer, her universal mortification, her divine purity, her ardent charity, her heroic patience, her angelical sweetness, and her divine wisdom. These are the ten principal virtues of the most holy Virgin.
True devotion to our Lady is constant. It confirms the soul in good, and it does not let it easily abandon its spiritual exercises. It makes it courageous in opposing the world in its fashions and maxims, the flesh in its weariness and passions, and the devil in his temptations. So that a person truly devout to our Blessed Lady is neither changeable, irritable, scrupulous, nor timid. It is not that such a person does not fall, or change sometimes in the sensible feeling of devotion, or in the amount of devotion itself. But when he falls, he rises again by stretching out his hand to his good Mother. If he loses the taste and relish of devotion, he does not disturb himself because of that; for the just and faithful client of Mary lives on the faith of Jesus and Mary, and not on sentiments and sensibilities.
Lastly, true devotion to our Blessed Lady is disinterested; that is to say, it inspires the soul not to seek itself but God only, and God in His holy Mother. A true client of Mary does not serve the august Queen from a spirit of lucre and interest, nor for its own good, whether temporal, corporal, or spiritual; but exclusively because she merits to be served, and God alone in her. He does not love Mary precisely because she does him good, or because he hopes in her; but because she is so worthy of love. It is on this account that he loves and serves her as faithfully in his disgusts and dryness, as in his marriage of Cana. Oh! how such a client of our Blessed Lady, who has no self-seeking in his service of her, is agreeable and precious in the eyes of God and of His holy Mother! But in these days how rare is which a sight! It is that it may be less rare that I have taken my pen to put on paper what I have taught, in public and in private, during my missions for many years.
The best person to teach us how to be true disciples of Christ, to love Him more and to be better for Him, is the one who was the very first of his disciples; the Blessed Virgin Mary, His Mother. After all, it was Jesus Himself Who gave her to us all through St. John to be our Mother [John 19:25-27].
Devotion to Our Lady does not ever take us away from Christ, it only brings us even closer to Him, always!
By being devout to Mary, we are also being devout to Christ. By following her, we are being taught how to truly follow Christ.
Our Lady keeps nothing for herself, she brings everything to her Son Jesus. If we seek to better ourselves then Mary is the person to go to; she teaches and forms us to be perfect for Jesus.
When you think about it, it’s really quite a beautiful chain! The Heart of Mary takes us to the Heart of Jesus; the Heart of Jesus takes us to the Heart of the Father.
We are currently in the month of May; the month dedicated to the Blessed Mother. In this, her month of May, let us seek recourse in her Immaculate Heart in all things, contemplate her purity and faithfulness, and allow her to teach us how to be better disciples of Jesus by being apostles of her Motherly love.
Let us give our hearts to our Holy Mother so that she can make them all the more beautiful for Jesus!
P.S. – Next Saturday, May 13th, is the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima! A few days ago (May 4th), many began a novena in honor of Our Lady of Fatima, and as a sign of love to her who told us there, “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will Triumph!”
Each of us can choose an offering to the Blessed Mother.
As a prayer, we know that she will love any extra rosary offered for Her intentions, adding of course two very special prayers taught by the Angel to the 3 little shepherds at Fatima.
1. “My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love Thee! I ask pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love Thee.”
2. “Most Holy Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit- I adore Thee profoundly. I offer Thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges, and indifferences whereby He is offended. And through the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of Thee the conversion of poor sinners.”
For 9 days, let’s dedicate these 30 minutes to Her who, by her coming in Fatima in 1917, obtained for us the end of the 1st world War!
So, in case you haven’t started this novena yet, you can certainly catch up now and join us as well as millions of Christians around the globe in anticipation of this beautiful feast day!
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!