We will now conclude this explanation of the essence of the True Devotion to Mary by looking at a particular point of the devotion which seems to be a great stumbling block that prevents many from practicing it or at least from fully entering into the devotion once undertaken.
Montfort explains that when one undertakes the True Devotion that…
Anyone who in this way consecrates and sacrifices himself voluntarily to Jesus through Mary may no longer dispose of the value of any of his good actions. All his sufferings, all his thoughts, words, and deeds belong to Mary. She can then dispose of them in accordance with the will of her Son and for his greater glory. This dependence, however, is without detriment to the duties of a person’s present and future state of life. One such duty, for example, would be that of a priest who, by virtue of his office or otherwise, must apply the satisfactory or prayer value of the Holy Mass to a particular person. For this consecration can only be made in accordance with the order established by God and in keeping with the duties of one’s state of life. (True Devotion, #124)
Now it is the reaction of many if not most Catholics today that this means that we cannot pray for our friends and family as we used to if we undertake this devotion. They think it means that we are giving up are ability to pray for others when they ask it of us and that we cannot pray for anyone anymore. Montfort, however, very clearly explains that we need not trouble ourselves over this point, and indeed quite the contrary…
Some may object that this devotion makes us powerless to help the souls of our relatives, friends and benefactors, since it requires us to give our Lord, through Mary, the value of our good works, prayers, penances, and alms-giving.
To them I reply:
(1) It is inconceivable that our friends, relatives and benefactors should suffer any loss because we have dedicated and consecrated ourselves unconditionally to the service of Jesus and Mary; it would be an affront to the power and goodness of Jesus and Mary who will surely come to the aid of our relatives, friends and benefactors whether from our meagre spiritual assets or from other sources.
(2) This devotion does not prevent us from praying for others, both the living and the dead, even though the application of our good works depends on the will of our Blessed Lady. On the contrary, it will make us pray with even greater confidence. Imagine a rich man, who, wanting to show his esteem for a great prince, gives his entire fortune to him. Would not that man have greater confidence in asking the prince to help one of his friends who needed assistance? Indeed the prince would only be too happy to have such an opportunity of proving his gratitude to one who had sacrificed all that he possessed to enrich him, thereby impoverishing himself to do him honour. The same must be said of our Lord and our Lady. They will never allow themselves to be outdone in gratitude. (True Devotion, #132)
And some would even object in a much more selfish sort of way, but again Montfort explains that there is nothing to fear, and indeed again quite the contrary…
Some may say, perhaps, if I give our Lady the full value of my actions to apply it to whom she wills, I may have to suffer a long time in purgatory. This objection, which arises from self-love and from an unawareness of the generosity of God and his holy Mother, refutes itself.
Take a fervent and generous soul who values God’s interests more than his own. He gives God all he has without reserve till he can give no more. He desires only that the glory and the kingdom of Jesus may come through his Mother, and he does all he can to bring this about. Will this generous and unselfish soul, I ask, be punished more in the next world for having been more generous and unselfish than other people? Far from it! For we shall see later that our Lord and his Mother will prove most generous to such a soul with gifts of nature, grace and glory in this life and in the next.
(True Devotion, #133)
And so let us enter into this wonderful devotion with an open heart ready to love our Lady and her Son through her. She will help us guiding us and taking us by the hand when we are afraid. Let us not shy away from this most wonderful of all devotions.
The many motives for practicing this devotion will be the subject of the next series, and here is Part I.