True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin
This is the book for which St. Louis Marie de Montfort is probably best known. It should however be read In the context of the Love of Eternal Wisdom, where he makes it plain that a “tender devotion to the Blessed Virgin” is only a means (though the most effective mean) to acquire and preserve Divine Wisdom.
In True Devotion, St. Louis Marie sets out his teachings on devotion to Mary in general and proposes a particular form of devotion, which involved total devotion or consecration of oneself to Jesus through the hands of Mary. The first part of this book is devoted to showing that devotion to Mary is not an end in itself. It is always a means of becoming more dedicated to the ministry of Jesus Christ. However, he claims, the means are necessary for this, and indeed the surest way to achieve this goal. He examines the Quality of what he calls “true” (or sincere) devotion to Mary, as opposed to false devotion. And he explained that there were many kinds of true devotion to him. But he claims, based on his own experience and reading, that he has found one form of devotion to Mary whose purpose is to bring us closer to Jesus Christ) more effective than others.
The form of devotional service to Mary to which he refers (and which he earnestly proposes to his readers) consists of total self-devotion to Jesus Christ through the hands of Mary. This total dedication he refers to as devotion and he carefully explains that, although we may speak of “devotion to Mary”, it should always be understood only as a step towards “devotion to Jesus Christ”. an explanation of what this total devotion means in practice and a description of its effect on the person doing it is meant to encourage us to embrace it. It also examines various devotional practices intended to help us live them, both “exterior” and “interior” practices, as he calls them. Among exterior practices, he talks about reciting the Rosary, a topic he discusses more fully in The Secret of the Blessed Rosary.
This form of devotion to Mary was known in the time of St. Louis Marie (and before) as “Holy Servant”, and she spends some time explaining the meaning of this phrase, insisting that, far from being forced slavery, it must be a “slavery for love”. Another phrase that is more in tune with our modern way of thinking, can easily be used in place of this.
St. Louis Marie another creation. The Secret of Mary, is a shorter presentation of many of the same things found in True Devotion.