Jesus Christ our Saviour, true God and true Man, ought to be the last end of all our other devotions, else they are false and delusive.
If, then, we establish the solid devotion to our Blessed Lady, it is only to establish more perfectly the devotion to Jesus Christ, and to put forward an easy and secure means for finding Jesus Christ. If devotion to our Lady removed us from Jesus Christ, we should have to reject it as an illusion of the devil; but on the contrary, so far from this being the case, there is nothing which makes devotion to our Lady more necessary for us, as I have already shown, and will show still further hereafter, than that it is the means of finding Jesus Christ perfectly, of loving Him tenderly, and of serving Him faithfully.
Our best actions are ordinarily stained and corrupted by the ground of evil which is so deeply laid up in us. When we put clean and clear water into a vessel which has a foul and evil smell, or wine into a cask the inside of which has been spoilt by another wine which has been in it, the clear water and the good wine are spoilt, and readily take the bad odour. In like manner, when God puts into the vessel of our soul, spoilt by original and actual sin, His graces and heavenly dews, or the delicious wine of His love, His gifts are ordinarily spoilt and corrupted by the bad leaven and the evil which sin has left within us. Our actions, even the most sublime and virtuous, feel the effects of it. It is therefore of great importance in the acquiring of perfection, which it must be remembered is only acquired by union with Jesus Christ, to empty ourselves of every thing which is bad within us; otherwise our Lord, who is infinitely pure and hates infinitely the least stain upon our souls, will cast us out from His presence, and will not unite Himself to us.
It is more perfect, because it is more humble, not to approach God of ourselves, without taking a mediator. The very foundation of our nature, as I have just shown, is so corrupted, that if we lean on our own works, industries, and preparations, in order to reach God and to please Him, it is certain that our justices will be defiled, or be of little weight before God, to engage Him to unite Himself to us, and to hear us. It is not without reason that God has given us mediators with His Majesty. He has seen our unworthiness and incapacity. He has had pity upon us; and, in order to give us access to His mercies, Ho has provided us with powerful intercessors with His grandeur, insomuch that to neglect these mediators, and to draw near to His holiness directly, and without any recommendation, is to fail in humility. It is to fail in respect towards God, so high and so holy. It is to make less account of that King of kings than we should make of a king or prince of earth, whom we should not willingly approach without some friend to speak for us.
Text from St. Louis-Marie Grignon de Montfort, A Treatise on the True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, trans. Frederick William Faber (London: Burns and Lambert, 1863).
To be continued next Saturday . . .