Few men have contributed so much to spread Marian devotion as Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort. He was a popular and vigorous missionary from the west of France, who died at the age of 43 in 1716, exhausted by his sermons and his penances. His famous books such as Mary’s Secret or The Treaty of True Devotion, which became known a long time after his death, had a considerable influence. “It is also through Mary that we must approach God and unite ourselves perfectly and strictly to his Majesty, without fearing rejection”.
“Only God!” is one of Grignion’s key formulas. For him, everything comes from the Father and everything returns to the Father. Mary is at the heart of this and rightly so: “When someone has once found Mary, and through Mary, Jesus and through Jesus, God the Father, he has found all that is good…all of God’s grace and friendship, all truth against lies, all ease and victory against lies, all ease and victory against difficulties of salvation, all sweetness and all joy in the bitterness of life”.
The fact of serving Mary does not lessen the importance of the Cross but it presents it in a totally different way. “Since Mary is the mother of the living, she gives all her children pieces of the Tree of Life, which is Jesus’ cross.
I began this meditation by quoting Pope John Paul II’s appeal for holy priests at the International Priests’ Retreat in Rome in 1984.
I end by making my own the Pontiff’s concluding prayer on that same occasion: “May the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ the Eternal High Priest, accompany and sustain you. May she teach you, as a Mother to her beloved children, to say always Fiat to the will of Christ, her Son, who has chosen you to be His ministers. May she inspire you to often sing the Magnificat for the marvels which God is working in your priestly lives and through your pastoral ministry. May she lead you to imitate her Stabat at the foot of the Cross, when difficulties, misunderstandings and sufferings arise on your way to perfect holiness. In this way, with Mary and like her, you will taste the joy of the resurrection of Christ and witness to the whole world that Jesus is Lord !”