So (the shepherds) went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. (Luke 2:16)
So little is said about Mary in Scripture. She remained largely hidden in Scripture. In our day, the expectation of many is that the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart is near and will usher in the Kingdom of the Divine Will, the Sabbath rest, the Era of Peace. Oh Mother! How we long for peace! May God will it!
Providentially, a few Marian graces have lined up for me recently. December 12, feast of Our Lady of Tepeyac (Guadalupe) will mark the 10th anniversary of my total consecration to Mary. For the last nine years I have used St. Louis de Montfort’s consecration preparation to renew my consecration annually. This year, as I missed my regular start date, I decided to use the simpler format of “33 Days to Morning Glory”. This book had been recommended to me numerous times over the years, but I always went back to de Montfort. This year, am I ever glad I missed my start date! “33 Days” is a jewel that cites the superb teachings of St. Louis de Montfort, St. Maximilian Kolbe, St. Mother Teresa, and St. John Paul II to lead us to Jesus through the bosom of our Mother.
A second grace I received that dovetails quite beautifully with it is another book that was recommended to me, which I began reading at about the same time I started “33 Days”. It is Fr. Emil Neubert’s “My Ideal: Jesus, Son of Mary”. I must say I am stunned at the parallels as I go along. Fr. Neubert’s book goes even further and has Jesus speaking about his Mother in terms so loving that the reader soon realizes that they can never love Mary enough to please Jesus. The more we love her, the more pleased he is. I even got the feeling as I read, that the reason he spent his first 30 years with her in a hidden life is that he was reluctant to leave the little sanctuary of her presence, that oasis of perfect love. He says in the book that he was completely docile to her wishes during that whole time. It gave me an inkling into what is not said in Scripture about the events of the wedding at Cana. I felt that Jesus was waiting for her go-ahead to launch his public mission, and he got it that night at the wedding.
These two books come to me on the heels of being introduced to the Flame of Love devotion as given to Elizabeth Kindelmann (which has an Imprimatur), as well as a renewal of my interest in the Divine Will writings of Luisa Piccarreta (which also have an Imprimatur). I see Mary’s golden thread leading me gently forward.
All this has occurred while we are on the cusp of the Year of Mercy. Certainly this is no coincidence. The words of Jesus to St. Faustina have been coming back to me often: “He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice.” (Diary 1146). The fact that “doors of mercy” are opening in every diocese in the world on December 8, feast of the Immaculate Conception could be likened to a providential earthquake launching a tsunami of mercy. I believe this Year of Mercy may be precisely what Jesus is referring to in his words to St. Faustina.
Each one of these graces alone would be remarkable. The fact that each one has come to me one after the other is quite astounding. I can’t help but think of the Scripture verse from Romans 5:20: “Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” Yes, the times are dark and sin has increased unimaginably. But God has not left us orphaned. He has reserved graces specifically for this time. We are at war with the principalities and powers, as you well know, dear friends. But God has taken out the big guns and lots of ’em! All he needs are faithful, obedient soldiers willing to take up the arms. What a tragedy if these powerful weapons are left to lie on the ground unused and trampled underfoot. Let us not be afraid, under the leadership and protection of our General, the Blessed Virgin, to pick them up and use them to crush the head of the enemy.
Before I expand on this list of weapons I want to counsel you not to be intimidated by the demands of these graces. We are not necessarily called to do each one perfectly, but to discern our calling and live that grace as best we can. Many of us are already living some of these graces. Then let’s live them better. If you can add more, then do, but be comforted knowing that God knows our limitations. Ask for more grace at every Communion and you will be amazed at how much you can do.
- Certainly the fasting and prayer of the Rule are tremendous graces for the age, having been our boot camp, training us in the ways of discipline over the years. An army must, of course, be disciplined.
- The rosary is an absolute necessity, daily recitation of at least 5 decades. Strength training.
- The chaplet of Divine Mercy is another necessity especially in this Year of Mercy. Compassion. A soldier without compassion is a danger to all.
- Frequent Confession and Communion are pre-supposed in the group reading this article, but again, God knows our limitations of job, family, health. But all of us can make a daily examination of conscience and act of spiritual communion. God will honor us for our efforts. Purification and good nourishment.
- If we are serious about being in Mary’s army, then the weapon of Total Consecration is a must, either through St. Louis de Montfort’s program or the “33 Days” book. In the BSP we renew our consecration daily. The daily consecration is the way we live our daily relationship with our Mother, but once a year—kind of like a birthday—we really show her (and ourselves) what she means to us by renewing our consecration in a more formal way. The Consecration is the soldier’s armor and shield, and puts us in our Mother’s little sanctuary of love and safety.
- If you only pick up one of the other weapons, let it be adding to your Hail Mary’s the Flame of Love prayer. “…Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, spread the effect of grace of thy Flame of Love over all of humanity, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.” I often pray just this phrase in the night if I can’t sleep. Our Lady told Elizabeth Kindelmann that this prayer “blinds satan”. That is a powerful promise. And it only adds about five minutes to the rosary, a small price for so great a promise. Sniper training.
- If you still need to be convinced how critical Mary is to God’s plan for the salvation of the world, “My Ideal…” is the book to read. But even if you think you already know that, read it anyway. You will be amazed and delighted. Loyalty to your commanding officer.
- The Divine Will teachings are an unbelievable grace for our age, they are the source of a new and divine holiness. I cannot do justice to it in one line, so I am including links and resources further on in this article. Special forces training.
As I said these weapons are available and are meant to be picked up. We can become proficient in any or all of them, depending on how much damage we want to inflict on the enemy. The beauty of the Divine Will teachings is that we bring Mary and Jesus into each moment and so our whole day becomes a prayer and a weapon. I am sure there are many more graces and weapons, but this is the program I feel I have been put on so that is the one I am sharing. Quite likely many of you are already on a plan, having been given orders from your General, and that’s wonderful, but I really feel these are the Big Guns!
Here are some links to jump-start your training:
- Free Montfortian consecration materials: http://www.myconsecration.org
- “33 Days to Morning Glory” book or ebook: http://tinyurl.com/qf3bhfe
- Flame of Love resources: http://www.theflameoflove.org/ out of Montreal has a 96 page booklet that has all the essential points for under $1 USD. Or you may visit the US site at https://www.flameoflove.us/order/ and request a free copy of the full diary of Elizabeth Kindelmann. Both sites have a lot of information on the Flame of Love devotion.
- “My Ideal: Jesus Son of Mary” book or ebook: http://tinyurl.com/nbwu4yw
- Anthony Mullen’s summary of God’s plan as outlined in “My Ideal”: http://tinyurl.com/jlhgwl7
- Finally, the Divine Will. For a really good overview please see Daniel O’Connor’s free pdf book, The Crown and Completion of All Sanctity: http://tinyurl.com/hv7cqx8 . For unsurpassed teachings on Luisa’s writings, Fr. Robert Young has offered Saturday morning podcasts on the Divine Will for several years on http://radiomaria.us/ . Not to be missed is his Introduction to the Divine Will at http://tinyurl.com/zxbf57d in which he explains his own journey and gives proofs of the orthodoxy of the devotion. Fr. Robert Young’s other podcasts on the Divine Will may be accessed on Radio Maria or on http://www.divinewilltallahassee.com/radio-archives , which also includes older podcasts. If you find there are too many and you despair of ever getting to all of them, Fr. Young refers to the Twelfth Volume of Luisa’s writings as the critical piece. If you only listen to one group of podcasts let it be those. The Volume number is referenced in the title. One of the most powerful prayers given to Luisa is the 24 Hour of the Passion at http://tinyurl.com/gtq86np which have been prayed by many souls over the last century and I believe should be prayed by everyone at least once. Fr. Iannuzzi explains their efficacy here http://tinyurl.com/h7cgj6o .
Dear friends we are in the time of times, and we have been purposed by God for these times. Let us pray not to “flee for fear of the wolves” but to raise our arms in prayer using all the powerful weapons our General is pleased to extend to us. Let the wolves flee from us for we are under the leadership and protection of Jesus and Mary, and completely surrendered to them. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)
I will end with an excerpt from “My Ideal”:
(Mary) “You are beginning to understand by what means you may carry on your Apostolate, but you are far from understanding with what confidence you should go about it…What can you do? By yourself, nothing. With me, wonderful things. Was it not because He who is mighty looked upon the nothingness of His handmaid that He accomplished great things in her? Have you never read that ‘the foolish things of the world, God has chosen to confound the wise; and the weak things of the world God has chosen to confound the strong?’ Listen to my words and meditate upon them. I want you to understand two truths, which will give you an invincible Faith in the success of your mission, a Faith which will move mountains.
“To begin with, remember that your Apostolate is my Apostolate, and that your interests are mine. It was to me, not to you, that God confided the mission of crushing the serpent’s head and of establishing the Kingdom of my Son in the world; you only participate in my mission. I am the Commandress-in-Chief of the Army of Christ; you are merely my soldier. It is my children not yours, who must be saved. Does not a mother desire the salvation of her children much more ardently than a stranger would? Does not the General wish for victory much more intensely than a private? Are not the interests of Jesus infinitely more precious to me than to you?
…“Offer your prayers and sufferings to Jesus through my hands so that my intentions for your Apostolate may be realized. Before starting anything, pray to me and see what my intentions may be, so that you may act as my instrument. (Then) begin with supreme confidence in your success, because it is I who am working through you. Be careful not to let your ideas take the place of mine…You will be certain of success only if you persist in the disposition of acting according to my intentions.”
Finally, dear friends, remember that we have nothing to fear. The Mother of Mercy is leading this ragtag band of Eucharistic warriors! As Marino Restrepo said in one of his talks, we are not on the defensive, we are on the offensive. Mary’s army wins. She crushes the head of the serpent with her heel. It’s go-time Brothers and Sisters! Let’s roll!
Holy Mary, Mother of God, spread the effect of grace of Thy Flame of Love over all of humanity, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
From my other blog: http://www.pelianitoblog.wordpress.com
Ezekiel 9:3-6 The Lord called to the man clothed in linen, who had the writing-case at his side, and said to him, ‘Go through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of those who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it.’ To the others he said in my hearing, ‘Pass through the city after him, and kill; your eye shall not spare, and you shall show no pity. Cut down old men, young men and young women, little children and women, but touch no one who has the mark. And begin at my sanctuary.
“My child, weep and wail, sigh and groan over what sin has purchased for the world. For it has purchased annihilation many times over. Yet I tell you, do not despair; remain in hope. Pray for all, but especially those who will die suddenly. The greatest tragedy of all is a lost soul, and so many have no one to pray for them. My little warriors, you have much work to do. Do not let one of my little ones be lost for lack of prayer. I am granting many graces. Ask and you shall receive—grace up on grace—so that your work for souls will bear abundant fruit. Children, PRAY, and offer sacrifices. Multiply them in the Divine Will and you will see miracles. The floodgates have been opened. Give me everything and I will give you more than you can imagine!”
O my beloved Father, grace upon grace! In the divine will grant us all we need to complete the task set before us. We praise you and thank you for calling us and equipping us for this important work. Jesus we trust in you—save souls! Amen.