On Deepening our Devotion to the Immaculate

August 19, 2018

 

Conference of St. Maximilian Kolbe: September 26, 1937

 

1. Sometimes we think to ourselves, or it might be that it is someone else who suggests such a thought, that here our devotion to Our Lady is too much. There are some who have said that this matter needs to be straightened out in some way, because it is an exaggeration. These and other similar things can at times be heard in certain places, or we might even run across reading them, or we ourselves might face a similar doubt. Whereas all of this comes from the fact (at least this is the case with those people that are of good will) that we know Our Blessed Mother too little. As a matter of fact, when it comes to more recent writers, they write almost nothing about Our Lady. My Mother,[1]Towards the Heights,[2]My Ideal Jesus Son of Mary [3] – this is very little and yet but a beginning. Even less is written about Our Lady in Protestant countries.

St. Louis de Montfort was persecuted by the Jansenists, among them priests and bishops. These influences of Jansenism are still present, and in Catholic countries Protestantism penetrates into Catholicism.

2. How do we go about deepening the cause of the Immaculate? There is one great danger in this – that of someone going about it by reason alone. Since here it is the Mother of God that we are dealing with, then the concept “of God” comes into play – this is a mystery and we will not grasp it by means of reason, because the mysteries of God go beyond our intellects. The professors of the Sorbonne, though learned and honorable, nonetheless were wrong, and John Duns Scotus alone defended the truth, which was later confirmed by the Holy Father. [4] Tradition tells us that when John Duns Scotus was on his way to the dispute, he was praying along the way, and coming upon a statue of the Immaculate he invoked Our Lady “Allow me to praise you, o Most Holy Virgin, and give me strength against your enemies.” He did not say “Bless me in my dispute,” but rather: “Allow me.” He felt unworthy of such a grace as that of being able to defend the Immaculate Conception. It is a grace, that of being able to praise the Immaculate with such a humble entreaty. If it was thus that he prayed on the way, how much preparation and prayer must there have been before that; we do not know how much, but from the circumstances we can suppose that there must have been a great deal of it. By means of prayer he turned to Our Lady, in order to be able to praise Her.

The first and most fundamental concern is a profound humility. We must clearly set the facts before ourselves, what it is that we are, and what is She.

The just man will fall seven times a day (cf. Prv 24:16), not to speak of ourselves, so imperfect, who often do not perhaps perceive even our sins, when we truly do commit them. We are sinful, while She is without blemish, without any sin. How do we appear before Her?

We are unworthy of looking even at a statue of Her, of pronouncing Her name, of thinking of Her, because we are blemished, while She is immaculate. This is the most important point, that we appear before Her as blemished, as sinful. Then only let us pray for the grace of which we are not worthy: that of thinking of Her, of becoming immersed in thought over her privileges. If we lack that truth, the truth of what we are in reality – then how can we count on our intellects being illumined? We will stumble in the same way that the learned men of the Sorbonne did. Hence the first and most important thing is profound humility and humble prayer.

3. Next it is good and necessary to read books, especially those written by the Saints. And not only to read them once, but many times. St. Louis de Montfort writes that he himself does not comprehend many things, [5] so it is evident that he was writing under the inspiration of the Blessed Mother. The depth of our understanding depends on our prayer and humility. Just as with our eyes we see and recognize things, but sometimes not too well, yet when we pick up a magnifying glass we notice many things which we do not perceive with our naked eye, likewise in the light of humility and prayer we see in more detail and in more depth the mysteries of God. Let us pray during our reading, so that we might come to know something by it. Moreover, besides reading we must meditate and intertwine our meditation with more prayer. If we exercise ourselves and meditate in such a way – then from the abundance of our hearts our lips will speak, and subjects for conversation will come to us spontaneously.

4. We know not so much by reason, as rather by prayer and penance. We must add here penance, which purifies the heart, making it capable of more clearly seeing and perceiving. Hence humble and trusting prayer, like that of a child to its mother. Let us not neglect reading, meditation, and availability to the younger friars. Through conversation we ourselves gain deeper knowledge of these things. But our conversations also have to be intertwined by prayer, in order for us not to go off topic.

Those who are in solemn vows have the duty of loving their neighbor, so they must share that which through a longer period of time in the Order they themselves have acquired – the duty of approaching their younger brethren and sharing these things with them.

And it is we that ought to love the Immaculate more than others, because we bear the name Niepokalanów [i.e. city of the Immaculate]. We belong entirely to Her along with all of the machinery and debts, and if we did not know Her, this would cause Our Lord and Our Lady a great displeasure. Therefore in this regard let us strive to be zealous.

Niepokalanów, Sunday, September 26th, 1937.

During the morning meditation.

Notes taken by Br. Witalian Miłosz.

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