Why Mary in My Apostolate? (part II)
This is a bold assertion, is it not? Up to now you have never really understood it, have you? I am going to show you that there is not the least exaggeration in my assertions. Only give me your attention and your good will, and ask Jesus to make you understand the mission which He has confided to His mother and the part He wishes you to play to help her in this mission. But listen first to what happened to a great apostle of the nineteenth century. In the beginning he did not see any more clearly than you do why he should put our Blessed Mother in his apostolate, and he had to be compelled by Heaven to do so. I speak of the Venerable Libermann, who founded a society of missionaries dedicated to the conversion of the Negroes. At present his society numbers over three thousand, and they have converted and evangelized hundreds of thousands of Negroes in Africa and in the New World.
The Venerable Founder had gone to Rome to submit the project of his work to the Holy See. While awaiting an answer, he drew up the Rule of his future Order.
“While engaged in this work,” he relates, “a singular thing happened to me in which the good pleasure of the Most Holy Heart of our Good Mother was most manifest; and even now it is a cause of great consolation for me. “Only Father Tisserand (one of his first two companions) was of the opinion that we ought to consecrate our work to the Most Holy Heart of Mary. Father Le Vavasseur and myself did not believe that an apostolic work should be consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, although we had full confidence in this Most Holy Heart.
“I thought that the society should find in its consecration the essence of all its devotions and a perfect model of all the fundamental virtues of the apostolate. Why I did not also see that we would find these things perfectly in the Most Holy and Immaculate Heart of Mary, I do not know. “I decided, therefore, upon another scheme for this dedication. I devoted myself with great pains to sketch the plan in question, but I could think of nothing; I was very much discouraged. Consequently I made a visitation of the seven churches and went to visit several churches dedicated to the Most Holy Virgin. Then, without my being able to say why, I decided to consecrate the work to the Most Holy Heart of Mary. I returned to my house and immediately began to draw up the proposed plan. Now I saw things so clearly that at a single glance I comprehended the whole scheme and all of the developments with their details. This was for me a consolation and an inexpressible joy.
“In the course of the work, especially in the explanation of its details, now and then difficulties arose and I became puzzled. I then hastened to make a visit to one of Mary’s shrines (Saint Mary Major, Santa Maria in Trastevere, the Madonna del parto in the church of the Augustinians, and the Madonna della pace), and I knew that upon my return home I had only to take up my pen. Difficulties disappear5ed, and the uncertain details were clarified. This never failed me.”1)
1) Lettres spirituelles, III, 362 ff.