For anyone not too familiar with St. Maximilian Kolbe, this little gem of a booklet is an excellent introduction, jam-packed with insights on how we can grow closer in union with the Mother of God.
For those familiar with St. Maximilian’s deep devotion to the Immaculate, this booklet will serve as a continued source of inspiration and solace:
It is worth stressing that this spiritual booklet (69 pp., Angelus Press) is fundamentally practical, a veritable guide for us on how we can give ourselves over to the Immaculate. Not surprisingly, humble prayer is the foundation we must lay if we are to join ourselves to her. St. Maximilian cautions against relying on our intelligence or reason to know our Mother, as the intellect is too weak and reasoning “can lead to a detour.” John Duns Scotus is singled out as having composed the perfect example of humble prayer: “Deign to let me praise thee, O sacred Virgin, and give me strength against thine enemies.”
Humility necessarily leads to obedience, which is at the heart of St. Maximilian’s teaching. Our Lord Jesus and Mary both practiced perfect obedience toward each other. And this is how Mary acts as Mediatrix of all graces and as indispensable advocate for us. To pray directly to the Most Holy Trinity:
with an express exclusion of her, is pride and something diabolical, and the essence of sin is always pride, that is, non-conformity with the will of God; and the will of God is this, that we go to Him …through the most holy Mother."
Once we have humbled ourselves and become obedient to the will of our Mother, it is then a matter for us to fuse our will with hers, “just as her will is united most perfectly to the Will of God.”
This booklet is thoroughly infused with the language of peace and mercy and joy. For those who might become discouraged, who think “I don’t have the strength for this, to progress in this way; others can do it but not me,” St. Maximilian offers these gentle words of advice:
That is precisely what it is all about, that we don’t have the strength. And if someone feels this way, it is thanks to the most holy Mother. If someone feels he has the strength, then let him pray the Mother of God not to feel he has the strength because if someone relies on himself, then he is truly in danger of falling. Your whole point of support must be the Immaculate. We must never have confidence in ourselves."
Let us let ourselves be led, then; let us be peaceful, peaceful; let us not attempt to do more than that which she wills or more quickly …Peace, then, peace, much peace in an unlimited confidence in her.… Above all, never let yourselves be troubled, never be frightened, never fear anything. The Immaculate, in fact, is she perhaps not aware of everything? If this were not the case, it would really be a problem."
The booklet ends on an ominous, prophetic note:
[Recently] "I was reading a book in French on the Immaculate. The authors have such hesitations about that which concerns the honor of the Divine Mother. They are of the opinion that though it is fitting to honor, Mary, like the devil they do not want to bow before her.… And even if wise and learned theologians come and preach wise and sublime things, but teach you something else than what I have taught you, don’t believe them…. We believe that the Immaculate exists and that she leads us to our Lord Jesus Christ, and if someone teaches otherwise, let him be anathema!"
Thirty years later, wise and learned theologians, in the name of ecumenism, descended on Rome at Vatican II and refused to bow to Mary.
Book review by Scott Quinn