• Our Lady of Good Counsel, patroness of the 11 guidelines - feast day: April 26 Oor Lady of Good Counsel
  • Novena to Our Lady of Good Counsel - April 17 to 25
    • Holy Virgin, moved by the painful uncertainty we experience in seeking and acquiring the true and the good, we cast ourselves at thy feet and invoke thee under the sweet title of  Mother of Good Counsel.  We beseech thee: come to our aid at this moment in our worldly sojourn when the twin darknesses of error and of evil that plots our ruin by leading minds and hearts astray.

      Seat of Wisdom and Star of the Sea, enlighten the victims of doubt and of error so that they may not be seduced by evil masquerading as good; strengthen them against the hostile and corrupting forces of passion and of sin.

      Mother of Good Counsel, obtain for us from thy Divine Son the love of virtue and the strength to choose, in doubtful and difficult situations, the course agreeable to our salvation. Supported by thy hand we shall thus journey without harm along the paths taught us by the word and example of Jesus our Savior, following the Sun of Truth and Justice in freedom and safety across the battlefield of life under the guidance of thy maternal Star, until we come at length to the harbor of salvation to enjoy with thee unalloyed and everlasting peace. Amen.
      (By Pope Pius XII, 23 January 1953).

The blessed path of tribulations

The monk, who continues faithfully in his cell and lets himself be molded by it, will gradually find that his whole life tends to become one continual prayer. But he cannot attain to this repose except at the cost of stern battle; both by living austerely in fidelity to the law of the cross, and willingly accepting the tribulations by which God will try him as gold in the furnace. In this way, having been cleansed in the night of patience, and having been consoled and sustained by assiduous meditation of the Scriptures, and having been led by the Holy Spirit into the depths of his own soul, he is now ready, not only to serve God, but even to cleave to him in love. Carthusian Statutes, chapter 3 External link.

As an example, Dom Pablo (Thomas Verner Moore External link) states that for the soul to turn spontaneously to the contemplation of God "it is necessary that it should have labored long and suffered much in a life devoted to the service of God." He spent his last years back at Miraflores, not speaking Spanish, blind, finally alone with God. This will be ultimately the path of the SBPCLC's. The Suffering Servant External link

Mary's spiritual motherhood

We celebrate the eternal newness of the mystery that is Mary‘s spiritual engendering of Christ in our hearts. Carthusian Statutes, chapter 21 External link.

If therefore we are truly living in union with God, our minds and hearts, far from becoming shut in on themselves, open up to embrace the whole universe and the mystery of Christ that saves it. Apart from all, to all we are united, so that it is in the name of all that we stand before the living God. This continual effort to be always — as far as human frailty permits — very close to God, unites us in a special way with the Blessed Virgin Mary, whom we are accustomed to call the Mother in particular of all Carthusians. Carthusian Statutes, chapter 34 External link.

“Christ is the supreme Teacher, the revealer and the one revealed. It is not just a question of learning what he taught but of “learning him”. In this regard could we have any better teacher than Mary? From the divine standpoint, the Spirit is the interior teacher who leads us to the full truth of Christ (cf. Jn 14:26; 15:26; 16:13). But among creatures no one knows Christ better than Mary; no one can introduce us to a profound knowledge of his mystery better than his Mother.” Rosarium Virginis Mariae by JPII, section 14 External link

She is the safest, easiest, shortest and most perfect way of approaching Jesus and (they) will surrender themselves to her, body and soul, without reserve in order to belong entirely to Jesus.  Treatise on true devotion to the Blessed Virgin, Saint Louis de Montfort no 55 External link

We make more progress in a brief period of submission to and dependence on Mary than in whole years of following our own will and relying upon ourselves. Saint Louis de Montfort in Treatise on true devotion to the Blessed Virgin External link

When you want to offer something to God, to be welcomed by him be sure to offer it through the worthy Mother of God.
St. Bernard, quoted by  Saint Louis de Montfort in Treatise on true devotion to the Blessed Virgin External link

“To be devout to thee O Blessed virgin, is an arm of salvation that God gives to those whom He wishes to save” (St John Damascene, True Devotion, 41)

Venerating the Mother of Jesus in the Church, then, means to learn from her to be a community that prays, that is one of the essential characteristics of the first description of the Christian community outlined in the Acts of the Apostles (cf. 2:42). Prayer is often dictated by difficult situations, personal problems that lead us to turn to the Lord for light, comfort and help. Mary invites us to open the dimensions of our prayer, to turn to God not only in need and not just for ourselves but in a unanimous, persevering, faithful way with a " of one heart and mind" (cf. Acts 4.32 ). Pope: Praying with Mary, mother and Church Benedict XVI External link

Our Total Consecration to Mary

Saint Louis-Marie De Montfort's own blessed path of tribulations, gifted us of the Total Consecration to Marypdf, in view of cleaving ever deeper to God. Our own personal Total Consecration to Mary could be a fruit of listening with the heart to the 11 guidelines, wishing to surrender ourselves more and more to a life of continual conversion through notably regular sacramental confession (Step 1), into living in a permanent "spirit of confession" (Adrienne Von Speyr Confession external_link), by our True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, Mother of the Carthusians, and without which we who would wish to follow Saint Bruno, would be certainly lost, because "Our sanctity depends on the degree of our nearness to Mary. She is the nearest to God, and if we are the nearest to her then we therefore will be nearest, through her, to God Himself" Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe.

Questions for reflection and further development
  • How does one who has made total consecration to Mary situate approved Marian apparitions, such as Fatima, and their messages within devotion to the spirituality of De Montfort ?
    • Perfect Devotion to Jesus through Mary, the spirituality of De Montfort is entirely based on Sacred Scripture. 
    • In Public Revelations such as Fatima, if, when and what is approved: the Church's discernment is entirely based on Sacred Scripture.
      • For example the messages of Fatima speak of "penance", which is also Scriptural.
  • How does one account for the absence of reference to devotion to Mary in the sayings of the Desert Fathers ?
    • In response to the lack of space paid to the Mother of God in the sayings of the Desert Fathers: it is true that the Theotokos receives far less space in these writings than in other texts of the Church, but this is largely explained by reference to the pragmatic character of the sayings -- they are principally aimed at delivering practical advice on living the ascetic life of virtue and devotion, and in general do not deal with 'theological' or exegetical teachings on the Faith or persons within it. Discussions on the precise attributes of the holy Mother of God lie outside this general purview, and so they receive little time.
    • But there is a notable and important exception. We find in saying 144 of Abba Poemen the Shepherd: "Abba Joseph related that Abba Isaac said, 'I was sitting with Abba Poemen one day and I saw him in ecstasy and as I was on terms of great freedom of speech with him, I prostrated myself before him and begged him, saying, "Tell me where you were." He was forced to answer and he said, "My thought was with St Mary, the Mother of God, as she wept by the cross of the Saviour. I wish I could always weep like that."'
    •  It is especially noteworthy that Abba Poemen uses the title 'Mother of God' for the holy Mary, demonstrating that what would later be conciliarly and doctrinally 'approved' as an appropriate theological title was already in popular use among the simple and holy folk of the Egyptian desert.
    • It is also interesting to note that Mary is already being called 'Saint', even at this early date. Source External link
  • How might one best integrate the Eastern iconography tradition of the Theotokos, within consecration to Mary ?
    • Icons are customary in all Eastern Orthodox Churches, and are often called “windows to heaven,” because they offer us a glimpse of what awaits us in eternity with Christ. An icon can be defined as an image created for religious veneration that provides a space for the mystical encounter between the person before it and God. Icons usually represent Christ, the Virgin Mary, the saints, and angels. Since the sixth century, they have been considered to be a means to assist the worshiper in making his prayers heard by the holy figure represented in the icon.Eastern Iconography tradition considers Icon's a prayer, window into an almost Real Moral Presence into Heaven. In Eastern iconography tradition, Saints, Mary (the Theotokos) and Jesus, are represented "in Heaven"; shrouded in a halo. As links between Heaven and earth, icons continue to evoke for Christians the invisible presence of the Kingdom of Heaven.
    • Perfect Devotion to Jesus through Mary, the spirituality of De Montfort; is based on Jesus's Divine Word; His Creative, Redemptive and Sanctifying Divine Will :  "Here is your mother." John 19:27.
    • Marian Devotions External link
    • Consecration and entrustment to Mary External