Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
Commentary on the Treatise on True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin
(paragraph no. 262, 263)
Different aspects of “living in Mary”
Britain Needs Fatima (*)
We continue our series with Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira’s commentary on paragraph no. 262-263 from St. Louis de Montfort’s famous book Treatise on True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin.
262. The Holy Spirit speaking through the Fathers of the Church, also calls our Lady the Eastern Gate, through which the High Priest, Jesus Christ, enters and goes out into the world. Through this gate he entered the world the first time and through this same gate he will come the second time.
The Holy Spirit also calls her the Sanctuary of the Divinity, the Resting-Place of the Holy Spirit, the Throne of God, the City of God, the Altar of God, the Temple of God, the World of God. All these titles and expressions of praise are very real when related to the different wonders the Almighty worked in her and the graces which he bestowed on her. What wealth and what glory! What a joy and a privilege for us to enter and dwell in Mary, in whom almighty God has set up the throne of his supreme glory!
263. But how difficult it is for us to have the freedom, the ability, and the light to enter such an exalted and holy place. This place is guarded not by a cherub, like the first earthly paradise, but by the Holy Spirit himself, who has become its absolute Master. Referring to her, he says, “You are an enclosed garden, my sister, my bride, an enclosed garden and a sealed fountain.” Mary is enclosed. Mary is sealed. The unfortunate children of Adam and Eve, driven from the earthly paradise, can enter this new paradise only by a special grace of the Holy Spirit, which they have to merit.
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These paragraphs present different aspects of “living in Mary”. St. Louis de Montfort lists Our Lady’s incomparable grandeurs: what God did with her in the Incarnation when, through the Holy Spirit, She conceived the Word Incarnate. To live in Mary is to continuously bear in mind the incomparable grandeurs of Our Lady and develop one’s spiritual life in light of them.
Later, Our Lady spiritually, mystically gave birth to the Holy Catholic Church, whose mother she is. When considering closely all these marvels in her soul, one sees her as a cathedral, a basilica, a sealed sanctuary for God’s sole use, a garden only God can enter because no one has the right, the capacity, or conditions to enter into Our Lady.
So what does it mean “to enter into Our Lady”?
It means not only to have these grandeurs continuously in mind, but also to act as a son who knows he is her son, and with these grandeurs in mind—even those of mercy that are just as great as the others—to develop a spiritual life in relation to them. We will see in a bit what it means to develop a spiritual life in relation to the grandeurs of Our Lady.
St. Louis de Montfort says that these grandeurs are such that a man corrupted with Original Sin—as well as with his own infidelities and sins, possibly even grave ones—is not worthy, not capable, cannot elevate himself of his own strength to consider these grandeurs. One could compare this to a four-legged animal that tries to stand on two legs. He might do it for a moment, but immediately goes back to walking on all fours.
Why? Because the animal’s whole being leads him to the ground. Similarly if we hear a sermon that is very deep, with elevated concepts, our fallen nature is such that, just as the four-legged animal—we return immediately to trivial considerations and sometimes even sinful ones. We thus stray from these most elevated horizons.
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