February 1 – LIVING OUR BAPTISM
LIVING OUR BAPTISM
Louis Grignion, who chose to be called Louis-Marie de Montfort in remembrance of his baptism in the church at Montfort, made baptism the main theme·of his spiritual teaching. This is strongly emphasised in Jesus living in Mary, and Pope John Paul II stressed it during his visit to Saint-Laurent-sur-Sevre on 19 September 1996.
«Because my pastoral visit has as its own theme the sacrament of baptism, I would like to highlight the fact that, in the mind of St Louis Marie, the whole spiritual life flows directly from the sacrament of holy baptism, as is shown by an important passage of the Act of Consecration to Jesus by the hands of Mary, written in his own precise wording. In the middle of the Act of Consecration we find these words: “I – here, one states one’s name, for example, Louis Marie, or Jean-Paul or Charles – · unfaithful sinner, I renew and ratify today in your hands the promises of my baptism: I renounce for ever Safan, his pomps and works, and I give myself entirely to Jesus Christ, Incarnate Wisdom, to carry my cross after him all the days of my life” (…).
“In speaking to you, men and women religious, I would like to reiterate that, “in the Church’s tradition, religious profession is considered a unique and fruitful deepening of the baptismal consecration in the sense that, by it, an intimate union with Christ (…) grows” (Vita consecrata, No. 30). You are called to go further, thanks to “a special gift of the Holy Spirit” (ibid.) because you choose to practise in a radical way the evangelical counsels to follow Christ: and you take as your model the Virgin Mary, “sublime example of perfect consecration, by her total gift of self to God” (ibid. No. 28).
“The demands made by your vows may appear to your contemporaries difficult to understand and almost impossible to live up to. Do not let this upset you! To tell the truth, faithful and humble as you are, you give a witness sorely needed. Your free choice of celibacy, of the sacrifice of temporal goods and of obedience answers the questions that many have about their own values. To sum it up, your practice of the evangelical counsels has no other meaning than to witness with an undivided heart to the infinite love of God, which is man’s greatest good. Your life also witnesses to the freedom which results from filial, not slavish, dependence on God (cf. Vita consecrata, No. 21). Your vocation is to be living signs of God in the world “by being mirrors of the image of his Son” (Rom 8:29).
“(…) I would like to end by repeating in Grignion de Montfort’s words how much your life finds its true meaning in the person of Christ: “God has laid no other foundation for our salvation, perfection, glory than Jesus Christ” (True Devotion No. 61).