Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira


Commentary on the

Treatise on True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin

(paragraph no. 261 - cont.)





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We continue our series with Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira’s commentary on paragraph no. 261 from St. Louis de Montfort’s famous book Treatise on True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin.  In the first part of the series we discussed doing all our actions “with Mary” and now we are discussing “in Mary”. 

“In this divine place there are trees planted by the hand of God and watered by his divine unction which have borne and continue to bear fruit that is pleasing to him.” 

These are the acts of virtue that Our Lady practices continually. 

“There are flower-beds studded with a variety of beautiful flowers of virtue, diffusing a fragrance which delights even the angels.” 

The virtues of Our Lady are the admiration of even the angels who are so holy and pure. 

“Here there are meadows verdant with hope, impregnable towers of fortitude, enchanting mansions of confidence and many other delights.” 

Here we have the principal virtues of Our Lady: the meadow is green, and green is the colour of hope.  She has a great confidence.  The image of impregnable towers is beautiful.  This is the virtue of fortitude that Our Lady has and that protects all her other virtues. 

“Only the Holy Spirit can teach us the truths that these material objects symbolise.”


In other words He speaks of material things.  Only with the help of grace, though, can a person have an idea of what this is in the spiritual order, especially the supernatural order.


“In this place the air is perfectly pure.  There is no night but only the brilliant day of the sacred humanity, the resplendent, spotless sun of the Divinity….”


She is as beautiful as the day by her nature, but Christ, who dwells there, is not the day, but rather the sun which is the source of all the beauty of the day.  Thus Jesus Christ is the sun of the divinity present in Mary. 

“…the blazing furnace of love, melting all the base metal thrown into it and changing it into gold.” 

It is a beautiful image.  A person can be hard and cold like iron, but once thrown into this furnace of the love of God that is Our Ladyin other words, if one is a devotee of Our Lady he becomes like iron all ablaze.

There is yet another aspect.  Base metal that is thrown into a fire is not transformed into gold, but Our Lady is a fire that transforms base metal into gold.  In other words, She transforms the soul into a noble metal.  She transforms the soul totally, making it noble. 

“There the river of humility gushes forth from the soil, divides into four branches and irrigates the whole of this enchanted place.  These branches are the four cardinal virtues.” 

This is a beautiful concept.  The four cardinal virtues are those that regulate all the actions of man.  Justice, temperance, fortitude, and prudence are the four cardinal virtues.  All other virtues come under these four.

So he says that there is as if a river of humility in Our Lady that opens into four branches that are the four cardinal virtues.

What does this mean?  Whoever is humble possesses the four cardinal virtues in a superabundant way.  How is one truly humble?  It is most of all by being humble before God.

Humility before God consists in acknowledging everything we owe to Him and for which we should pay tribute.  We should therefore be in relation to God loving, faithful, filial, and paladins of His cause entirely.  This is humility since we acknowledge that we owe this to Him and practice it.  We live in a continuous holocaust in relation to God.  Humility puts our souls in this position.  In this way the soul acquires the four cardinal virtues.  Our Lady was this way.

We shall continue another day to consider what St. Louis means by “living in Mary”, but I will finish for the moment by saying that it is impossible to make any comment about Our Lady without having the impression one is next to a supernatural river or a tree where one feels a special feeling of ease just as one has when by a tree or river on this earth, but on a different level of course.

After a day spent in a super modern city full of agitation, how good it is to be able to pause a while to consider this marvellous panorama that is the soul of Our Lady.

to be continued... 

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