Slaves of love to Mary
To achieve this disposition of maximum, total and unrestricted docility to the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of Christ (cf. Rom 8: 9) we need the Holy Virgin Mary to be the model, the guide and the form for all our actions. We say with all the strength of soul and heart, today and always, “TOTUS TUUS, MARIA!”, as taught by the example of Blessed John Paul II, whom we consider the Father of our Religious Family. We want to manifest our love and gratitude to the Blessed Virgin by making a fourth vow – slavery to Mary according to Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort – so as to obtain her indispensable help to extend the Incarnation in all things. It is a total surrender to Mary to better serve Jesus Christ, and it has two aspects:
- Maternal slavery of love.
- “Marianizing” life.
Maternal slavery of love
This consecration to Mary is done as a “maternal slavery of love” according to Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort’s commendable method. He refers to such slavery as “willing” or “loving,” because we freely and willingly, moved only by love, offer ourselves and all our goods to Mary and through her to Jesus Christ. This offering is a fuller and more conscious renewal of the promises made in our baptism when we were clothed in Christand in our religious profession. Moreover, Mary’s dominion and maternal providence over all things, especially the souls of the faithful, becomes manifest through this loving slavery. According to Saint Bonaventure, “any faithful soul, and even the universal Church, is a slave of Mary the Queen.”
John Paul II says “surrender to Mary, in the spirit of St. Louis Grignion de Montfort, has seemed to me the best means of participating fruitfully and effectively in this reality, in order to draw from it and share with others its inexpressible riches… I think we are confronted here with the sort of paradox often to be noted in the Gospels, the words ‘holy slavery’ signifying that we could not more fully exploit our freedom… For freedom is measured by the love of which we are capable.”By this slavery of love, we offer to Christ through Mary not only our bodies, souls and goods, but also our good works (past, present and future), together with their satisfactory and meritorious value. Thus, she may dispose of everything according to her approval. We are certain that we must go to the Incarnate Word through Mary, his Mother, and that she will form “great saints.”
“Marianizing” life is the fruit and natural consequence of the consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary. To “marianize” life, first it is necessary to do everything through Mary. This “through Mary” indicates the way: the fusion of intentions. There is nothing that the Mother of God keeps for herself, but in everything she teaches and tells us – as to the servants at Cana – do whatever he tells you (Jn 2:5).
Secondly, we must do everything with Mary. She is our companion and model – the masterpiece of God – who should guide “all our intentions, actions and operations.”The Apostle Paul said, be imitators of me, as I am of Christ (1 Cor 11:1); with greater reason we can say the same of the Virgin Mary – in whom the Almighty, whose name is Holy, has done great things.“While in the most holy Virgin the Church has already reached that perfection whereby she is without spot or wrinkle, the followers of Christ… turn their eyes to Mary who shines forth to the whole community of the elect as the model of virtues."
Thirdly, it is necessary to act in Mary – in intimate union with her – which means the abiding unity that should exist between the consecrated soul and the Mother of God. He who loves abides in the beloved, and thus so is ardent love, tending toward a mutual union, becoming more profound and more solid with each positive act. In this way one imitates the Incarnate Word who came into the world and dwelt in Mary’s womb for nine months; and Jesus’ last command and gift becomes effective: Behold your mother! And from that hour that disciple took her into his own home (Jn 19:27).
Finally, it is necessary to do everything for Mary. The Blessed Virgin – who always submitted to Christ according to the Father’s eternal design – must be the end that guides all our actions, the object that attracts the heart of each consecrated person and the motive at the beginning of any work. Mary is the “proximate end, our mysterious intermediary and the easiest way of reaching Him.”
Every faithful slave of Jesus in Mary must therefore, invoke her, salute her, think of her, talk about her, honor her, glorify her, entrust himself to her, rejoice and suffer with her, work, pray and rest with her. In brief, one must seek to live always, through Jesus and Mary, with Jesus and Mary, in Jesus and Mary, and for Jesus and Mary.
(Constitutions of the Institute of the Incarnate Word, nnº 82-89).