1. True devotion to the Blessed Virgin is interior – that is, it comes from the mind and from the heart. Its source in us is the esteem in which we hold the Blessed Virgin, the exalted idea we have formed of her greatness and the love we cherish for her.
2. True devotion is the tender, that is full of trust in the Blessed Virgin, like the confidence a child has in its mother. It leads us to have recourse to her in all our needs of body and of soul and to do so with great simplicity, confidence and tenderness. We look to this good Mother for help in all our needs, at all times, in all circumstances...
3. True devotion to the Blessed Virgin is holy – that is, it leads us to avoid sin and to imitate her, especially in her then principal virtues: her profound humility; her lively faith; her unquestioning obedience; her unceasing prayer; her all-embracing mortification; her incomparable purity; her ardent charity; her heroic patience; her angelic sweetness; and her divine wisdom.
4. True devotion to the Blessed Virgin is constant. It strengthens us in doing good, and it prevents us from frivolously abandoning our devotional practices; it gives us courage to stand up to the world and to reject the ways and the wisdom of this world; it enables us to fight the flesh with its passions and concupiscences and the devil with his temptations.
5. True devotion to the Blessed Virgin is disinterested – that is, it inspires the soul to seek, not itself, but God alone, in His Holy Mother. A true worshipper of Mary does not serve this august Queen in a spirit of gain and of self- interest ; nor with a view to obtaining temporal, physical or even spiritual benefits; but he serves her solely because she deserves to be served and God alone to be served in our serving her...
St. Louis Marie finished this section of the Treatise as follows: “I forsee clearly that angry beasts trembling with fury, will arise to render with their satanic teeth this little book and him whom the Holy Ghost has used to write it; or at least they will strive to stifle it in the dumb silence of a forgotten box, so that it may be swallowed up in oblivion. They will even attackand persecute those who read this book and who practice its doctrine. But this is of no consequence – rather, indeed it is better so! This prevision encourages me and makes me hop for a mighty success – for a great legion of brave and valiant soldiers of Jesus and Mary, recruited from both sexes, to war against the world, the devil, and corrupted human nature, in the time of even greater peril that is to come.”
In fact St. Louis Marie died in 1716 at the early age of 43 worn out by his great exertions. At his death he gave the manuscript of the Treatise to his successor but in the years that followed it was nto deemed prudent or useful to seek the Royal licence, without which it could not be printed. During the French Revolution it was buried for safety in the ground in a box of old books. The box was subsequently brought back to the monastery but the existence of the manuscript was seemingly forgotten. In 1842 it was found by a priest seeking material for a sermon. The first edition fo the book was published in 1843.
Copies of the Treatise on the True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin are available from any Council of the Legion of Mary.
It is easy to forget about the Holy Spirit, perhaps because it is hard to picture him. We have the image of the dove, of course, which surmounts the Legionary vexillum. But Mary is also given to us as the human icon of the Spirit. In her we see someone who has let the Spirit enter into her life so as to make her fruitful in an extraordinary way.
We should never look at Mary without thinking of the Spirit and what he can do in our lives also, if we let him, if we say yes. In these days we ask the Holy Spirit to come on us afresh. We ask him to make us, like Mary, receptive to God’s will and grace.
We ask him to fill us, as he filled her, with the joy of salvation. As the Holy Spirit made Mary the cause of our joy, may he make us all, both priests and laity, humble apostles of that joy.