As we know a number of families who are being torn apart at the present time by the fact that a husband or a wife is serious about the pursuit of personal sanctity by eschewing worldliness, I thought it appropriate on this day, the Feast of Saint Paul of the Cross, the founder of the Congregation of the Passion, and the Commemoration of Saint Vitalis on the universal Roman Calendar, to offer a few reflections about Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, whose feast may be commemorated (along with that of martyr and apostle of Oceania, Saint Peter Chanel).
Saint Louis Grignion de Montfort was the great apostle of Our Lady's Most Holy Rosary and of Total Consecration to Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ through His Most Blessed Mother. He taught us that we must be earnest about pursuit of the "higher things" with every beat of our hearts, consecrated as they must be to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The purpose of our lives is to know, love and serve God in this life as He has revealed Himself to us exclusively through His Catholic Church so as to be happy with Him for all eternity in Heaven by being ready at all times to face Him at the moments of our Particular Judgments by being in states of Sanctifying Grace and having Perfect Contrition for our sins.
This just does not "happen." This is hard work as we must fight against our own fallen human nature and the cumulative effects of all of our past sins on our souls, past sins that incline us all the more to sin and that disorder our wills and make us more prideful and more stubborn and more hardened of heart with each passing day. We must be possessed of a thorough love of God in order to be detached from the things, people and places of this world.
This will cause us divisions with others, sadly, as some people in a family grow in the love of God more than others. Our Lord did, however, predict that such divisions would occur:
Fear not therefore: better are you than many sparrows. Every one therefore that shall confess me before men, I will also confess him before my Father who is in heaven. But he that shall deny me before men, I will also deny him before my Father who is in heaven. Do not think that I came to send peace upon earth: I came not to send peace, but the sword. For I came to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
"I came to set a man at variance"... Not that this was the end or design of the coming of our Saviour; but that his coming and his doctrine would have this effect, by reason of the obstinate resistance that many would make, and of their persecuting all such as should adhere to him.
And a man's enemies shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not up his cross, and followeth me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life, shall lose it: and he that shall lose his life for me, shall find it. He that receiveth you, receiveth me: and he that receiveth me, receiveth him that sent me. (Matthew 10: 31-40.)
The commentary in the Challoner Douay-Rheims Bible on verse thirty-five is important to reproduce here as so many worldly Catholics, many of whom are the victims of the conciliar revolution and thus have been robbed of the most basic elements of the sensus Catholicus and have been "catechized" by the "world" and by "worldly" relatives who hate the Faith because they are steeped, whether or not they realize it, in one unrepentant sin after another, come to despise those in their families who want to change their lives and to live for the "higher things" rather than to be immersed in the ways of the world:
"I came to set a man at variance"... Not that this was the end or design of the coming of our Saviour; but that his coming and his doctrine would have this effect, by reason of the obstinate resistance that many would make, and of their persecuting all such as should adhere to him. (Challoner Commentary)
Pope Leo XIII, writing in Exeunte Iam Anno, December 25, 1888, that human life does not consist of an engrossment in worldly affairs:
Now the whole essence of a Christian life is to reject the corruption of the world and to oppose constantly any indulgence in it; this is taught in the words and deeds, the laws and institutions, the life and death of Jesus Christ, "the author and finisher of faith." Hence, however strongly We are deterred by the evil disposition of nature and character, it is our duty to run to the "fight proposed to Us," fortified and armed with the same desire and the same arms as He who, "having joy set before him, endured the cross." Wherefore let men understand this specially, that it is most contrary to Christian duty to follow, in worldly fashion, pleasures of every kind, to be afraid of the hardships attending a virtuous life, and to deny nothing to self that soothes and delights the senses. "They that are Christ's, have crucified their flesh, with the vices and concupiscences"-- so that it follows that they who are not accustomed to suffering, and who hold not ease and pleasure in contempt belong not to Christ. By the infinite goodness of God man lived again to the hope of an immortal life, from which he had been cut off, but he cannot attain to it if he strives not to walk in the very footsteps of Christ and conform his mind to Christ's by the meditation of Christ's example. Therefore this is not a counsel but a duty, and it is the duty, not of those only who desire a more perfect life, but clearly of every man "always bearing about in our body the mortification of Jesus." How otherwise could the natural law, commanding man to live virtuously, be kept? For by holy baptism the sin which we contracted at birth is destroyed, but the evil and tortuous roots of sin, which sin has engrafted, and by no means removed. This part of man which is without reason -- although it cannot beat those who fight manfully by Christ's grace -- nevertheless struggles with reason for supremacy, clouds the whole soul and tyrannically bends the will from virtue with such power that we cannot escape vice or do our duty except by a daily struggle. "This holy synod teaches that in the baptized there remains concupiscence or an inclination to evil, which, being left to be fought against, cannot hurt those who do not consent to it, and manfully fight against it by the grace of Jesus Christ; for he is not crowned who does not strive lawfully." There is in this struggle a degree of strength to which only a very perfect virtue, belonging to those who, by putting to flight evil passions, has gained so high a place as to seem almost to live a heavenly life on earth. Granted; grant that few attain such excellence; even the philosophy of the ancients taught that every man should restrain his evil desires, and still more and with greater care those who from daily contact with the world have the greater temptations -- unless it be foolishly thought that where the danger is greater watchfulnesss is less needed, or that they who are more grievously ill need fewer medicines. (Pope Leo XIII, Exeunte Iam Anno, December 25, 1888.)
One sentence from the passage above needs to be emphasized:
"Therefore this is not a counsel but a duty, and it is the duty, not of those only who desire a more perfect life, but clearly of every man "always bearing about in our body the mortification of Jesus." (Pope Leo XIII, Exeunte Iam Anno, December 25, 1888.)
It is a duty of the interior life to reject worldliness by "bearing about in our body the mortification of Jesus," which means that we must have custody of our eyes and our ears and our lips and of our minds as we judge all things in this world in light of the world to come. This is not an option. This is a duty, and those Catholics who take this duty seriously are doing nothing other than trying to help themselves and their family members get home to Heaven.
Father Frederick Faber's passage, contained in his meditation on the Sixth Dolor of Our Lady in his The Foot of the Cross/The Dolors of Mary, concerning the hatred of heresy that should beat within the heart of a believing Catholic has been quoted on this site quite a lot A few sentences are worth repeating again, however, by way of demonstrating that there is indeed nothing we can say to "worldlings" who consider it utter madness to insist that Catholicism is the one and only foundation of personal and social order as we insist that no heresy, including Protestantism, is pleasing to God in the slightest or can serve anything other than the interests of chaos and disorder.
In the judgment of the world, and of worldly Christians, this hatred of heresy is exaggerated, bitter, contrary to moderation, indiscreet, unreasonable, aiming at too much, bigoted, intolerant, narrow, stupid, and immoral. What can we say to defend it? Nothing which they can understand. We had, therefore, better hold our peace. If we understand God, and He understands us, it is not so very hard to go through life suspected, misunderstood and unpopular. The mild self-opinionatedness of the gentle, undiscerning good will also take the world's view and condemn us; for there is a meek-loving positiveness about timid goodness which is far from God, and the instincts of whose charity is more toward those who are less for God, while its timidity is searing enough for harsh judgment. There are conversions where three-quarters of the heart stop outside the Church and only a quarter enters, and heresy can only be hated by an undivided heart. But if it is hard, it has to be borne. A man can hardly have the full use of his senses who is bent on proving to the world, God's enemy, that a thorough-going Catholic hatred of heresy is a right frame of mind. We might as well force a blind man to judge a question of color. DivIine love inspheres in us a different circle of life, motive, and principle, which is not only not that of the world, but in direct enmity with it. From a worldly point of view, the craters in the moon are more explicable things than we Christians with our supernatural instinct. (Father Frederick Faber, The Foot of the Cross, published originally in England in 1857 under the title of The Dolors of Mary, republished by TAN Books and Publishers, pp. 291-292.)
Saint Paul the Apostle makes much the same point in his Second Epistle to the Corinthians:
For what man knoweth the things of a man, but the spirit of a man that is in him? So the things also that are of God no man knoweth, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of this world, but the Spirit that is of God; that we may know the things that are given us from God. Which things also we speak, not in the learned words of human wisdom; but in the doctrine of the Spirit, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the sensual man perceiveth not these things that are of the Spirit of God; for it is foolishness to him, and he cannot understand, because it is spiritually examined. But the spiritual man judgeth all things; and he himself is judged of no man. (2 Cor. 2: 11-15)
The commentary for the phrase "sensual man" found in the Douay-Rheims Bible (Challoner Version) speaks quite clearly about the fact that those who are steeped in naturalism consider it madness that anyone would insist that there is a truth revealed by God Himself that binds all men at all times in all circumstances without any exception whatsoever:
14 "The sensual man"... The sensual man is either he who is taken up with sensual pleasures, with carnal and worldly affections; or he who measureth divine mysteries by natural reason, sense, and human wisdom only. Now such a man has little or no notion of the things of God. Whereas the spiritual man is he who, in the mysteries of religion, takes not human sense for his guide: but submits his judgment to the decisions of the church, which he is commanded to hear and obey. For Christ hath promised to remain to the end of the world with his church, and to direct her in all things by the Spirit of truth. (Challoner Commentary.)
Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort elaborate on these essential points in The Love of Eternal Wisdom:
There are several kinds of Wisdom. First there is true and false wisdom. True wisdom is fondness of truth, without guile of dissimulation. False wisdom is fondness of falsehood, disguised under the appearance of truth. This false wisdom is the wisdom of the world, which, according to the Holy Spirit, is threefold "Earthly, sensual and devilish wisdom" (Jas. 3: 15). True wisdom is natural and supernatural. Natural wisdom is knowledge, in an eminent degree, of natural things in their principles; supernatural wisdom is knowledge of supernatural and divine things in their origin.
But we must be aware of being mistaken in our choice, for there are several kinds of wisdom. There is the Wisdom of God--the only true Wisdom, that deserves to be loved as a great treasure. There is also the wisdom of the corrupt world, which must be condemned and detested as evil and pernicious. Moreover, there is the wisdom of the philosophers, which we must despise wen it is not true philosophy and because it is often dangerous to salvation.
So far, following the advice of St. Paul, we have spoken of the Wisdom of God to chosen souls, but lest they should be deceived by the false luster of worldly wisdom, let us expose its deceit and malice. The wisdom of the world is that of which it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise" (1 Cor. 1: 19) according to the world. "The wisdom of the flesh is an enemy to God.... This is not the wisdom descending from above but earthly, sensual, devilish" (Rom. 8: 7, Jas. 3: 15).
This worldly wisdom consists in the exact compliance with the maxims and fashions of the world; in a continuous trend toward greatness and esteem. It is a secret and unceasing pursuit of pleasures and personal interests, not in a gross and open manner, so as to cause scandal, but in a secret, deceitful and scheming fashion. Otherwise, it would not be what the world calls wisdom, but rank licentiousness.
Those who process according to the wisdom of the world, are those who know how to manage well their affairs and to arrange things to their temporal advantage, without appearing to do so;
--who know the art of deceiving and how to cleverly cheat without it being noticed; who say or do one thing and have another in mind;
--who are thoroughly acquainted with the way and the flattery of the world;
--who know how to please everybody, in order to reach their goal, not troubling much about the honor and interests of God;
--who make a secret, but deadly, fusion of truth with untruth; of the Gospel with the world; of virtue with vice; of Jesus Christ with Satan;
--who wish to pass for honest people, but not as religious men; who despise and corrupt or readily condemn every religious practice which does not conform to their own.
In short, the worldly-wise are those, who being guided only by their human senses and reason, seek only to appear as Christian and honest folk, without troubling much to please God, or to do penance for the sins which they have committed against His divine Majesty. The worldling bases his conduct upon his honor, upon what people say, upon convention, upon good cheer, upon personal interest, upon refined manners, upon witty jokes. These are the seven innocent incentives, so he thinks, upon which he can rely, so that hey may lead an easy life. He has virtues of his own, for which is canonized by the world. These are manliness, finesse, diplomacy, tact, gallantry, politeness and sprightliness. He considers as serious sins such traits as lack of feeling, silliness, dullness and sanctimoniousness.
The Ten Commandments of the Worldly Man:
1. Thou shalt be well acquainted with the world.
2. Thou shalt appear to be an honest man.
3. Thou shalt be successful in business.
4. Thou shalt kept what is thine.
5. Thou shalt get on in the world.
6. Thou shalt make friends.
7. Thou shalt be a society man.
8. Thou shalt make merry.
9. Thou shalt not be a killjoy.
10. Thou shalt avoid singularity, dullness and an air of piety.
Never was the world so corrupt as it is now, because it was never so astute, so wise in its own conceit and so cunning. It is so skillful in deceiving the soul seeking perfection, that it makes use of truth to foster untruth, of virtue to authorize vice and it even distorts the meaning of Christ's own truths, to give authority to its own maxims. "The number of those who are fools, according to God, is infinite" (Eccles. 1: 15)
The earthly wisdom, spoken of by St. James, is an excessive striving for worldly goods. The worldly-wise make a secret profession of this type of wisdom when they allow themselves to become attached to their earthly possessions; when they strive to become rich; when they go to law and bring useless actions against others, in order to acquire or to keep temporal goods; when their every thought, word and deed is mainly directed toward obtaining or retaining something temporal. As to working out their eternal salvation and making use of the means to do so--such as reception of the Sacraments and prayer--they accomplish these duties only carelessly, in a very offhanded manner, once in a while and for the sake of appearances.
Sensual wisdom is a lustful desire for pleasures, The worldly-wise make a profession of it, when they seek only the satisfaction of the senses; when they are inordinately fond of entertainment; when they sun whatever mortifies and inconveniences the body, such as fasting and other austerities; when they continually think of eating, drinking, playing, laughing, amusing themselves and having an agreeable time; when they eagerly seek after soft beds, merry games, sumptuous feasts and fashionable society.
Then, after having unscrupulously indulged in all these pleasures--perhaps without displeasing the world or injuring their health--they look for the "least scrupulous" confessor (such is the name they give to those easy going confessors who shirk their duty) that they may receive from him, at little cost, the peaceful sanction of their soft and effeminate life, and a plenary indulgence for all their sins. I say, at little cost, for these, sensually wise, want, as penance, the recitation of only a few prayers, or the giving of an alms, because they dislike what afflicts the body.
Devilish wisdom consists in an unlawful striving for human esteem and honors. This is the wisdom which the worldly-wise profess when they aim, although not openly, at greatness, honors, dignities and high positions; when they wish to be seen, esteemed, praised and applauded by men; when in their studies, their works, their endeavors their words and their actions, they seek only the good opinion and praise of men, so that they may be looked upon as pious people, as men of learning, as great leaders, as clever lawyers, as people of boundless and distinguished merit, or deserving of high consideration; while they cannot bear an insult, or a rebuke; or they cover up their faults and make a show of their fine qualities.
With Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Wisdom, we must detest and condemn these three kinds of false wisdom if we wish to acquire the true one, which does not seek its own interest, which is not found on this earth, nor in the heart of those who lead a comfortable life, but which abhors all that which is great and high in the estimation of men.
To come to the perfect possession of Divine Wisdom, we must accept and follow His teaching. We must begin renouncing ourselves and keeping the great commandments of loving God and our neighbor. We must renounce the flesh, the world and its temporal goods. Above all we must renounce our self-will. To do this, we must humbly pray, we must do penance and suffer persecution. For all this we need the help of Divine Wisdom, Who invites us to go to Him.
With His help we need not fear, provided we be clean of heart. To succeed we must persevere and not look back; we must walk in the light and act according to the teachings of Divine Wisdom; we must be vigilant and avoid the maxims of the false prophets; we must not fear what may be done to our body and reputation, but only be solicitous about the kingdom of God, which we can only enter by the narrow gate. Therefore, we must keep in mind the Eight Beatitudes and we must be thankful to God for having taught us these heavenly truths. (St. Louis de Montfort's True Devotion: Consecration to Mary, Complete Five-Week Preparation, compiled by Father Helmuts Libietus, Angelus Press, 1998, pp. 31-36, taken from Saint Louis de Montfort's book, The Love of Eternal Wisdom.)
Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort taught us that we must pray the Rosary constantly to obtain the Heavenly graces that we need to reject the false "wisdom" of this world:
The chief concern of the Christian should be to tend to perfection. "Be faithful imitators of God, as his well-beloved children," the great Apostle tells us. This obligation is included in the eternal decree of our predestination, as the one and only means prescribed by God to attain everlasting glory.
Saint Gregory of Nyssa makes a delightful comparison when he says that we are all artists and that our souls are blank canvasses which we have to fill in. The colors which we use are the Christian virtues, and the original which we have to copy is Jesus Christ, the perfect living image of God the Father. Just as a painter who wants to do a lifelike portrait places the model before his eyes and looks at it before making each stroke, so the Christian must always have before his eyes the life and virtues of Jesus Christ, so as never to say, think or do anything which is not in conformity with his model.
It was because Our Lady wanted to help us in the great task of working out our salvation that she ordered Saint Dominic to teach the faithful to meditate upon the sacred mysteries of the life of Jesus Christ. She did this, not only that they might adore and glorify him, but chiefly that they might pattern their lives and actions on his virtues.
Children copy their parents through watching them and talking to them, and they learn their own language through hearing them speak. An apprentice learns his trade through watching his master at work; in the same way the faithful members of the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary can become like their divine Master if they reverently study and imitate the virtues of Jesus which are shown in the fifteen mysteries of his life. They can do this with the help of his grace and through the intercession of his blessed Mother.
Long ago, Moses was inspired by God to command the Jewish people never to forget the graces which had been showered upon them. The Son of God has all the more reason to command us to engrave the mysteries of his life, passion and glory upon our hearts and to have them always before our eyes, since each mystery reminds us of his goodness to us in some special way and it is by these mysteries that he has shown us his overwhelming love and desire for our salvation. "Oh, all you who pass by, pause a while," he says, "and see if there has ever been any sorrow like to the sorrow I have endured for you. Be mindful of my poverty and humiliations; think of the gall and wormwood I took for you in my bitter passion.
These words and many others which could be given here should be more than enough to convince us that we must not only say the Rosary with our lips in honor of Jesus and Mary, but also meditate upon the sacred mysteries while we are saying it. (St. Louis de Montfort's True Devotion: Consecration to Mary, Complete Five-Week Preparation, compiled by Father Helmuts Libietus, Angelus Press, 1998, pp. 31-36, taken from Saint Louis de Montfort's book, The Love of Eternal Wisdom.)
Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort suffered much for his own rejection of the ways of the world in his day, especially from those vile people known as Jansenists. He had to be detached from many of his own plans, including his famous Calvary scene, which he was ordered to tear down after he had gone to so much time and effort to build it for the honor and glory of God and to bring to the public's mind the sufferings of Our Lady at the foot of the Holy Cross as she watched her Divine Son, Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, suffer and die to redeem us from our sins. We must trod the path of the saints as well by being totally detached from the ways of this passing world, being attached always and at all times only to the will of God, Who desires us to scale the heights of personal sanctity with every beat of our hearts.
Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort offered the ineffable Sacrifice of the Cross in an unbloody manner in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We, too, must be devoted to the Holy Mass, which is the perfect prayer, in order to attached to the things of Heaven that we are willing to sacrifice all in this world for the love of the Most Holy Trinity.
This is how the matter is put in the American preface to The Hidden Treasure: Holy Mass, by Saint Leonard of Port Maurice:
"Where there is no Mass," writes one of the Fathers of the English Oratory, "there is no Christianity." The reason is plain. Christ's life was one of sacrifice--not merely of the figurative sacrifice of praise and prayer, but one of outward act, of suffering and of death. His religion must be like Himself: it must be the continuation of the divine human life that He led upon earth, representing and perpetuating, by some sacred rite, the sacrifice that began in the womb of Mary and ended upon the cross of Calvary. That rite is the holy Mass. Do we always realize it as such? Does the conviction sink deep into us, when offering, or assisting at the adorable sacrifice, that Jesus is re-enacting, in our presence, the mysteries of His life and death?
The altar of the Mass is the holy house of Nazareth, the city of Bethlehem, the Egyptian place of exile, the hill of Calvary, the garden-tomb in which Our Saviour's corpse reposed, and the Mount of Olives from which He ascended. The Passion, it is true, is that which is primarily represented and continued in the holy Mass; yet the prayers and rites of the sacrifice refer, at times, to other mysteries. Thus the dropping of a part of the sacred host into the chalice, before the Agnus Dei,represents the reunion of Christ's soul with His body and blood on the morning of the Resurrection. For a description of the many and beautiful analogies between the eucharistic life of Our Lord and His sacred Infancy, we refer the reader to Father Faber's Treatise on the Blessed Sacrament.
The Mass is truly a "hidden treasure," and, alas, our cold, dead faith allows it to remain so. If we valued it as we ought, we would hurry every morning to the church, ceaseless of the snows of winter and the heats of summer, in order to get a share of the riches of this treasure.
The saints knew the value of one Mass: that it was a dark day in their calendar on which they were deprived of the happy privilege of saying or hearing Mass. Although St. Francis de Sales was overburdened with apostolic work on the Mission of the Chablais, he made it a point never to miss his daily Mass. In order to keep his holy resolution, he had frequently to cross the river Drance, to the village of Marin, in which there was a Catholic church. It happened, in the winter of 1596, that a great freshet carried away a portion of the bridge over the stream, and the passengers were, in consequence, compelled to cross on a plank laid over those arches of the broken structure that had withstood the waters. Heavy falls of snow, followed by severe frosts, made this board very slippery, so that it became dangerous to attempt passing on on it; but St. Francis was not be deterred, for despite the remonstration of his friends, he made the perilous journey every morning, creeping over the icy plank on his hands and feet, thus daily risking his life rather than lose Mass.
Dear Christian reader! beg this glorious saint to obtain for you and me some portion of his burning love for the most holy and adorable sacrifice of the altar. (Saint Leonard of Port Maurice, The Hidden Treasure on the Immense Excellence of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, published in Dublin, Ireland, 1861, by J. Duffy.)
We must never be discouraged or disheartened because others, be they relatives or friends or total strangers, calumniate us for our defense of Christ the King. It has been this way since the Sanhedrin sought to intimidate the first Pope, Saint Peter, into silence about the Holy Name of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ:
And calling in the apostles, after they had scourged them, they charged them that they should not speak at all in the name of Jesus; and they dismissed them.
And they indeed went from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were accounted worthy to suffer reproach for the name of Jesus. And every day they ceased not in the temple, and from house to house, to teach and preach Christ Jesus. (Acts 5: 40-42.)
Saint Louis Grignion de Montfort also taught us to be friends of the Holy Cross as we must bear our daily crosses with joy and gratitude in order to save our souls and to make reparation for our sins and those of the whole world:
0. Ninth. The love you are told to have for the Cross is not sensible love, for this would be impossible to human nature.
It is important to note the three kinds of love: sensible love, rational love and love that is faithful and supreme; in other words, the love that springs from the lower part of man, the flesh; the love that springs from the superior part, his reason; and the love that springs from the supreme part of man, from the summit of his soul, which is the intellect enlightened by faith.
51.God does not ask you to love the Cross with the will of the flesh. Since the flesh is the subject of evil and corruption, all that proceeds from it is evil and it cannot, of itself, submit to the will of god, and His crucifying law. It was this aspect of His human nature which Our Lord referred to when He cried out, in the Garden of Olives: “Father, . . . not My will but Thine be done.” (Luke 22, 42). If the power powers of Our Lord’s human nature, though holy, could not love the Cross without interruption, then, with still greater reason, will our human nature, which is very much vitiated, repel it. At times, like many of the saints, we too may experience a feeling of even sensible joy in our sufferings, but that joy does not come from the flesh though it is in the flesh. It flows from our superior powers, so completely filled with the divine joy of the Holy Ghost, that it spreads to our lower powers. Thus a person who is undergoing the most unbearable torture is able to say: “My heart and my flesh have rejoiced in the living God” (Ps. 83, 3).
52. There is another love of the Cross which I call rational, since it springs from the higher part of man, his reason. This love is wholly spiritual. Since it arises from the knowledge of the happiness there is in suffering for God, it can be and really is perceived by the soul. It also gives the soul inward strength and joy. Though this rational and perceptible joy is beneficial, even very beneficial, it is not an indispensable part of joyous, divine suffering.
53.That is why there is another love, which the masters of the spiritual life call the love of the summit and highest point of the soul and which the philosophers call the love of the intellect. When we possess this love, even though we experience no sensible joy or rational pleasure, we love and relish, in the light of pure faith, the cross we must bear, even though the lower part of our nature may often be in a state of warfare and alarm and may groan, weep and sigh for relief; and thus we repeat with Jesus Christ: “Father . . . not My will but Thine be done” (Luke 22, 42), or with the Blessed Virgin: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto Thy word” (Luke 1, 38). (Saint Louis de Montfort, A Circular Letter to the Friends of the Cross, Montfort Publications, p. 24.)
To perfectly love the Cross, Saint Louis de Montfort explains, we must be willing to suffer all things well, to suffer them with equanimity and joy. This has special application today in this time of apostasy and betrayal when so many families are so torn apart from by the apostasies and sacrileges wrought by the conciliarists, allies of the devil who have set believing Catholics against each other in the most bitter terms. It is difficult to lose the respect and esteem of others, especially family members and close friends, when one has come to recognize that those who defect knowingly from even one article contained in the Deposit of Faith have expelled themselves from the Catholic Church and cannot hold ecclesiastical office within her legitimately. It is difficult to persevere in the truth when all manner of pressure is brought to bear to conform to the “mainstream” of opinion. This is how many Catholics went over to Arianism in the Fourth Century and how many Catholics in England defected to Protestantism in the Sixteenth Century. It is hard to go against the tide of prevailing views. It is, however, necessary to do so to be faithful to Our Lord, Who was abandoned by all but one of His Apostles at the foot of the Cross:
54. Tenth. Be resolved then, dear Friends of the Cross, to suffer any kind of cross without excepting or choosing any: all poverty, all injustice, all temporal loss, all illness, all humiliation, all contradiction, all calumny, all spiritual dryness, all desolation, all interior and exterior trials. Keep saying: “My heart is ready, O God, my heart is ready” (Ps. 56, 8) Be ready to be forsaken by men and angels, and seemingly by God Himself. Be ready to to be persecuted, envied, betrayed, calumniated, discredited and forsaken by everyone. Be read to undergo hunger, thirst, poverty, nakedness, exile, imprisonment, the gallows, and all kinds of torture, even though you are innocent of everything with which you may be charged. What if you were cast out of your our home like Job and St. Elizabeth of Hungary; thrown, like this saint, into the mire; or dragged upon a manure pile like Job, malodorous and covered with ulcers, without any to bandage your wounds, without a morsel of bread, never refused to a horse or a dog? Add to these dreadful misfortunes, all the temptations with which God allows the devil to prey upon you, without pouring into your soul the least feeling of consolation.
Firmly believe that this is the summit of divine glory and real happiness for the true, perfect Friend of the Cross. (Saint Louis de Montfort, A Circular Letter to the Friends of the Cross, Montfort Publications, p. 28.)
Even many believing Catholics have lost their love of the Cross and the humiliation that we must suffer frequently as means used by God to grind us into dust in order to beat out our pride and sense of "self-importance." We must understand that the only way to win the crown of glory in eternal life is to be willing to have a crown of thorns beat into our own skulls each and every day of our loves, considering our sufferings as nothing in comparison to those endured by Our Divine Redeemer during this days of His Passion and Death. The Cross is indeed the solution to every problem that we face in our lives:
57. Third, consider the Wounds and Sorrows of our crucified Jesus. Hear what He himself has to say: “All ye that pass along the thorny and crucifying way I had to follow, look and see. Look with the eyes of your body; look with the eye of contemplation, and see if your poverty, nakedness, disgrace, sorrow, desolation are like unto Mine. Behold Me, innocent, as I am, then will you complain, you are guilty” (Lam. 1, 12).
The Holy Ghost tells us, by the mouth of the Apostles, that we should keep our eyes on Jesus Crucified (Gal. 3, 1) and arm ourselves with this thought of Him (1 Pet. 4, 1) which is our most powerful and most penetrating weapon against all our enemies. When you are assailed by poverty, disrepute, sorrow, temptation or any other cross, arm yourselves with this shield, this breastplate, this helmet, this two-edged sword (Eph. 6, 12-18), that is, with the thought of Jesus crucified. There is the solution to your every problem, the means you have to vanquish all your enemies.
58. Fourth, lift up your eyes, behold the beautiful crown that awaits you in Heaven if you carry your cross as you should. That was the reward which kept patriarchs and prophets strong in faith under persecution. It gave heart to the Apostles and martyrs in their labors and torments. Patriarchs used to say as Moses had said: “We would rather be afflicted with the people of God,” so as to enjoy eternal happiness with Him, “than to have the pleasure of sin for a short time (Heb. 11, 25-26). The prophets repeated David’s words: “We suffer great persecutions on account of the reward (Ps. 68, 8; 118, 112). The Apostles and martyrs voice the sentiments of St. Paul: We are, as it were, men appointed to death: we are made a spectacle to the world, and to angels, and to men,” by our sufferings “being made the offscouring of the world,” (1 Cor. 4, 913), “by reason of the exceeding and eternal weight of glory, which this momentary and light tribulation worketh in us” (2 Cor. 4, 17).
Let us see and listen to the angels right above us: “Be careful not to forfeit the crown that is set aside for you if you bravely bear the cross that is given to you. If you do not bear it well, someone will bear it in your stead and will take your crown. All the saints warn us: fight courageously, suffer patiently and you will be given an everlasting kingdom.” Let us hear Jesus: “To him only will I give my reward who shall suffer and overcome through patience” (Apoc. 2, 6; 11, 17; 3, 5; 21,7). (Saint Louis de Montfort, A Circular Letter to the Friends of the Cross, Montfort Publications, p. 26-27.)
After Holy Mass, of course, the most important aid to our salvation is Our Lady’s Most Holy Rosary, which was given to Saint Dominic de Guzman in the manner described by Saint Louis Grignion de Montfort:
Since the Holy Rosary is composed, principally and in substance, of the Prayer of Christ and the Angelic Salutation, that is, the Our Father and the Hail Mary, it was without doubt the first prayer and the first devotion of the faithful and has been in use all through the centuries from the time of the Apostles and disciples down to the present.
But it was only in the year 1214, however, that Holy Mother Church received the Rosary in its present form and according to the method we use today. It was given to the Church by Saint Dominic who had received it from the Blessed Virgin as a powerful means of converting the Albigensian's and other sinners.
I will tell you the story of how he received it, which is found in the very well-known book "De Dignitate Psalterii" by Blessed Alan de la Roche . Saint Dominic, seeing that the gravity of people's sins was hindering the conversion of the Albingensians, withdrew into a forest near Toulouse where he prayed unceasingly for three days and three nights. During this time he did nothing but weep and do harsh penances in order to appease the anger of Almighty God. He used his discipline so much that his body was lacerated, and finally he fell into a coma.
At this point Our Lady appeared to him, accompanied by three angels, and she said:
"Dear Dominic, do you know which weapon the Blessed Trinity wants to use to reform the world?"
"Oh, my Lady," answered Saint Dominic, "you know far better than I do because next to your Son Jesus Christ you have always been the chief instrument of our salvation."
Then Our Lady replied:
"I want you to know that, in this kind of warfare, the battering ram has always been the Angelic Psalter which is the foundation stone of the New Testament. Therefore if you want to reach these hardened souls and win them over to God, preach my Psalter."
So he arose, comforted, and burning with zeal, for the conversion of the people in that district he made straight for the Cathedral. At once unseen angels rang the bells to gather the people together and Saint Dominic began to preach.
At the very beginning of his sermon an appalling storm broke, out, the earth shook, the sun was darkened, and there was so much thunder and lightning that all were very much afraid. Even greater was their fear when looking at a picture of Our Lady exposed in a prominent place they saw her raise her arms to heaven three times to call down God's vengeance upon them if they failed to be converted, to amend their lives, and seek the protection of the Holy Mother of God.
God wished, by means of these supernatural phenomena, to spread the new devotion of the Holy Rosary and to make it more widely known.
At last, at the prayer of Saint Dominic, the storm came to an end, and he went on preaching. So fervently and compellingly did he explain the importance and value of the Holy Rosary that almost all the people of Toulouse embraced it and renounced their false beliefs. In a very short time a great improvement was seen in the town; people began leading Christian lives and gave up their former bad habits. . De Dignitate Psalterii. The importance and Beauty of the Holy Rosary, by Blessed Alan de la Roche, O.P., French Dominican Father and Apostle of the Holy Rosary.
This miraculous way in which the devotion to the Holy Rosary was established is something of a parallel to the way in which Almighty God gave His law to the world on Mount Sinai and obviously proves its value and importance.
Inspired by the Holy Ghost, instructed by the Blessed Virgin as well by his own experience, Saint Dominic preached the Holy Rosary for the rest of his life. He preached it by his example as well as by his sermons, in cities in country places, to people of high station and low, before scholars and the uneducated, to Catholics and to heretics.
The Holy Rosary which he said every day was his preparation for every sermon and his little tryst with Our Lady immediately after preaching.
One Day he had to preach at Notre Dame in Paris, and it happened to be the feast of St. John the Evangelist. He was in a little chapel behind the high altar prayerfully preparing his sermon by saying the Rosary, as he always did, when Our Lady appeared to him and said:
"Dominic, even though what you have planned to say may be very good, I am brining you a much better sermon."
Saint Dominic took in his hands the book Our Lady proffered, read the sermon carefully and when he had understood it and meditated on it, he gave thanks to the Blessed Mother.
When the time came, he went up into the pulpit and, in spite of the feast day, made no mention of Saint John other than to say that he had been found worthy to be the guardian of the Queen of Heaven. The congregation was made up of theologians and other eminent people who were used to hearing unusual and polished discourses; but Saint Dominic told them that it was not his wish to give them a learned discourse, wise in the eyes of the world, but that he would speak in the simplicity of the Holy Spirit and with His forcefulness.
So he began preaching the Holy Rosary and explained the Hail Mary word by word as he would to a group of children and used the very simple illustrations which were in the book Our Lady had given to him.
Carthagena, the great scholar, quoting Blessed Alan de la Roche in "De Dignitate Psalterii," describes how this took place:
"Blessed Alan writes that one day Father Dominic said to him in a vision: 'My son, it is good to preach; but there is always a danger of looking for praise rather than the salvation of souls. Listen carefully to what happened to me in Paris so that you may be on guard against this kind of mistake: I was to preach in the great church dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and I was particularly anxious to give a brilliant sermon, not out of pride, but because of the high intellectual stature of the congregation.
'An hour before the time I had to preach, I was recollectedly saying my Rosary - as I always did before giving a sermon - when I fell into ecstasy. I saw my beloved friend the Mother of God coming towards me with a book in her hand.
'"Dominic," she said, "'your sermon for today may be very good indeed, but no matter how good it is I have brought you one that is very much better."
'Of course I was overjoyed, took the book and read every word of it. Just as Our Lady had said, I found exactly the right things to say in my sermon, so I thanked her with all my heart.
'When it was time to begin, I saw that the University of Paris had turned out in full force as well as a large number of noblemen. They had all seen and heard of the great things that the good Lord had been doing through me. So I went up into the pulpit.
'It was the feast of Saint John the Apostle but all I said about him was that he had been found worthy to be the guardian of the Queen of Heaven. Then I addressed the congregation:
"'My Lords and illustrious Doctors of the University, you are accustomed to hearing learned sermons suited to your aesthetic tastes. Now I do not want to speak to you in the scholarly language of human wisdom but, on the contrary, to show you the Spirit of God and His Greatness.'"
Here ends the quotation from Blessed Alan, after which Carthagena goes on to say in his own words:
"Then Saint Dominic explained the Angelic Salutation to them, using simple comparisons and examples from everyday life."
Blessed Alan, according to Carthagena, mentioned several other times when Our Lord and Our Lady appeared to Saint Dominic to urge and inspire him to preach the Rosary more and more in order to wipe out sin and to convert sinners and heretics.
In another passage Cathagena says:
"Blessed Alan said Our Lady revealed to him that after she had appeared to Saint Dominic, her Blessed Son appeared to him and said:
'Dominic, I rejoice to see that you are not relying upon your own wisdom and that, rather than seek the empty praise of men, you are working with great humility for the salvation of souls.
'But many priests want to preach thunderously against the worst kinds of sin at the very outset, failing to realize that before a sick person is given bitter medicine he needs to be prepared by being put in the right frame of mind to really benefit by it.
'This is why, before doing anything else, priests should try to kindle a love of prayer in people's hearts and especially a love of my Angelic Psalter. If only they would all start saying it and would really persevere, God, in His mercy, could hardly refuse to give them His grace. So I want you to preach my Rosary.'
In another place Blessed Alan says:
"All priests say a Hail Mary with the faithful before preaching, to ask for God's grace. They do this because of a revelation that Saint Dominic had from Our Lady. 'My son,' she said one day 'do not be surprised that your sermons fail to bear the results you had hoped for. You are trying to cultivate a piece of ground which has not had any rain. Now when Almighty God planned to renew the face of the earth He started by sending down rain from heaven - and this was the Angelic Salutation. In this way God made over the world.
'So when you give a sermon, urge people to say my Rosary, and in this way your words will bear much fruit for souls.'
"Saint Dominic lost no time in obeying, and from then on he exerted great influence by his sermons."
This last quotation is from the "Book of Miracles of the Holy Rosary" (written in Italian) and it is also to be found in Justin's works (143d Sermon).
I have been very glad to quote these well-known authors word for word in the original Latin  for benefit of any priests or other learned people who might otherwise have doubts as to the marvelous power of the Holy Rosary.
As long as priests followed Saint Dominic's example and preached devotion to the Holy Rosary, piety and fervor thrived throughout the Christian world and in those religious orders which were devoted to the Rosary. But since people have neglected this gift from heaven, all kinds of sin and disorder have spread far and wide. (Saint Louis de Montfort, The Secret of the Rosary.)
Saint Louis de Montfort's The Secret of the Rosary contains this meditation on the beauty of the Hail Mary, including its reference to the dogmatic truth that Our Lord is indeed the Mother of God:
Even though there is nothing so great as the majesty of God and nothing so low as man insofar as he is a sinner, Almighty God does not desire our poor prayers. On the contrary, He is pleased when we sing His praises.
Saint Gabriel's greeting to Our Lady is one of the most beautiful hymns which we can possibly sing to the glory of the Most High. "I will sing a new song to you." This new hymn which David foretold was to be sung at the coming of the Messiah is none other than the Angelic Salutation.
There is an old hymn and a new hymn: the first is that which the Jews sang out of gratitude to God for creating them and maintaining them in existence -- for delivering them from captivity and leading them safely through the Red Sea -- for giving them manna to eat and for all His other blessings.
The new hymn is that which Christians sing in thanksgiving for the graces of the Incarnation and the Redemption. As these marvels were brought about by the Angelic Salutation, so do we repeat the same salutation to thank the Most Blessed Trinity for His immeasurable goodness to us.
We praise God the Father because He so loved the world that He gave us His only Son as our Savior. We bless the Son because He deigned to leave heaven and come down upon earth -- because HE WAS MADE Man and redeemed us. We glorify the Holy Ghost because he formed Our Lord's pure Body in Our Lady's Womb -- this Body which was the Victim of our sins. In this spirit of deep thankfulness should we, then, always say the Hail Mary, making acts of faith, hope, love, and thanksgiving for the priceless gift of salvation.
Although this new hymn is in praise of the Mother of God and is sung directly to her, nevertheless it greatly glorifies the Most Blessed Trinity because any homage that we pay Our Lady returns inevitably to God Who is the cause of all her virtues and perfections. When we honor Our Lady: God the Father is glorified because we are honoring the most perfect of His Creatures; God the Son is glorified because we are praising His most pure Mother, and God the Holy Ghost is glorified because we are lost in admiration at the graces with which He has filled His Spouse.
When we praise and bless Our Lady by saying the Angelic Salutation she always passes on these praises to Almighty God in the same way as she did when she was praised by Saint Elizabeth. The latter blessed her in her most elevated dignity as Mother of God and Our Lady immediately returned the praises to God by her beautiful Magnificat. Just as the Angelic Salutation gives glory to the Blessed Trinity, it is also the very highest praise that we can give Our Lady.
One day when Saint Mechtilde was praying and was trying to think of some way in which she could express her love of the Blessed Mother better than she had done before, she fell into ecstasy. Our Lady appeared to her with the Angelic Salutation in flaming letters of gold upon her bosom and said to her: "My daughter, I want you to know that no one can please me more by saying the salutation which the Most Adorable Trinity sent to me and by whichHe raised me to the dignity of Mother of God.
"Bye the word Ave (which is the name Eve, Eva), I learned that in His infinite power God has preserved me from all sin and its attendant misery which the first woman had been subject to.
"The name Mary which means "lady of light" shows that God has filled me with wisdom and light, like a shining star, to light up heaven and earth.
"The words full of grace reminds me that the Holy Ghost has showered so many graces upon me that I am able to give these graces in abundance to those who ask for them through me as Mediatrix.
"When people say The Lord is with thee they renew the indescribable joy that was mine when the Eternal Word became incarnate in my womb.
"When you say to me blessed art thou among women I praise Almighty God's divine mercy which lifted me to this exalted plane of happiness.
"And at the words blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, the whole of heaven rejoices with me to see my Son Jesus Christ adored and glorified for having saved mankind." (Saint Louis de Montfort, The Secret of the Rosary, "The Sixteenth Rose.")
We must, as the consecrated slaves of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray as many Rosaries each day as our state-in-life permit, confident that Our Lady will use whatever merits we earn and give them to the Most Sacred Heart of her Divine Son for the honor and glory of the Most Blessed Trinity and for the good, temporal and eternal, of the souls of all men on the face of this earth. Nothing should matter to us other than being faithful as we seek to be ready at all times to die in states of Sanctifying Grace as members of the Catholic Church and to be known at that moment as a friend of Christ the King in life and at the hour of our deaths.
Our Lady will show us how to store up treasure in Heaven, and her devoted and humble client, Saint Louis Grignion de Montfort, will teach us how to let Our Lady work miracles of grace in our souls by surrendering ourselves to her Divine Son through her own Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart.
What need have we of the world and its pleasures?
We have Christ the King's Most Holy Cross.
We have Our Lady's Most Holy Rosary.
What more do we need?
Viva Cristo Rey! Vivat Christus Rex!
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint John the Evangelist, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.
Saints Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, pray for us.
Saint Paul of the Cross, pray for us.
Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, pray for us.
Saint Vitalis, pray for us.
Saint Peter Chanel, pray for us.