The Grace of Contrition and
The Reign of Mary
Marian Horvat, Ph.D.
In the 17th century, Our Lady of Good Success appeared to a Conceptionist sister in Quito, Ecuador and asked her to make reparation for the great religious crisis in the 20th century, which would affect every Sacrament. It is significant that as a symbol of this crisis, the tabernacle light in the Church went out. She promised her intercession. “At the very moment when the evil will appear triumphant and when the authority abuses my power,” she said, “this will mark the arrival of my hour when I, in a marvelous way, will dethrone the proud and accursed Satan, trampling him under my feet and fettering him in the infernal abyss.”
In the 18th century, St. Louis de Montfort, the prophet of the Reign of Mary, foresaw the age of men and women to come who will not be great because of their own merit, but because they are molded by Mary “for the purpose of extending His empire over that of the impious, the idolaters and the Muslims.” (1) In his passionate and moving Fiery Plea for Marian Apostles, he cries out
“Fire! Fire! Fire! Help! Help! Help! Fire in the house of God! Fire in souls! Fire even within the Sanctuary!” He speaks at length about “a congregation, an assembly, a choice, a selection of predestined souls, by whose works the face of the earth may be renewed and the Church reformed.” (2)
In the 19th century, St. Catherine Labouré predicted an era of peace in which Christ would reign as King on earth and in which Mary would play a special role.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Our Lady appeared at Fatima, Portugal and told three shepherd children that the errors of communism would spread as a punishment for humanity and declared a universal chastisement if man did not convert. But, after this succession of events would take place, she foretold her triumph and a time of peace.
Now, the promises of Our Lady are irreversible and perfect. And since I don’t think anyone can say that we have seen this triumph, we have every reason to hope for it. We need to confide in this triumph, which would be most perfect and most complete. For, as St. Louis de Montfort says in his first line of True Devotion to Mary, it was through the most holy Virgin Mary that Jesus Christ came into the world and it is also through her that He has to reign in the world.
The Reign of Mary
What will be the Reign of Mary? The Reign of Mary will be the ensemble of people, nations, institutions, customs, laws, which will be completely conformed to and act according to the law of God. Our Lady will be Queen only where God is King.
Thus the Reign of Mary will be the re-establishment of the Kingship of Christ on earth in the spiritual and temporal spheres. It will be the triumph of Christ in Mary, or the triumph of Mary in Christ, as St. Louis says. It will be the restoration of Christendom.
These ideas are beautiful, but only have meaning in the definition of a future era of light and glory, in which the great majority of men will live in the state of Grace, fulfilling the law of God. Thus, the Reign of Mary will have two essential elements. One is internal and personal, by which individual souls will love God, Our Lady, and the Church and follow the laws of God. The other is a result of this: peoples and nations will be organized and live according to the law of God. That is, families, social groups, societies, and nations will be ordered and live according to the laws of God and the Church. It is this Reign of Mary for which we should strive and live.
A problem of disproportion
Here enters a very key problem. When we consider the present state of the world and of the Church, as well as the present state of our own souls and our meager capacities, we realize that there is a large chasm to be crossed from here to the Reign of Mary. We look at this ensemble, and it can be discouraging to face the extremity of evil around us. It can even appear at times that the Revolution has conquered everything.
And then we look at ourselves – unfaithful and weak, irresolute and uncertain, mere shadows of what we should be and need to be for so great a task as a Restoration of Christendom. It is obvious that our virtue is not proportionate to the problem we are facing.
Thus, it seems that we must be near a time when Our Lady will give a very great grace to mankind to make us what we should be, what we desire to be, but which still we are not. This is the solution that can resolve such a disproportion.
The Reign of Mary will be the restoration of the Kingship of Christ in the spiritual and temporal spheres
We can only conjecture here how such a grace would be. Will it be like a second coming of the Holy Ghost, when a joyous courage pervaded the assembly in the Cenacle, so much so that the Apostles asked themselves afterward: “What were we? What are we now?” Or will it be something subtler, a grand return of innocence, a kind of grace that gilds us like gold to make us capable of the grand restoration?
What seems essential, however it will be, is that we should be asking now for a certain grace of contrition to prepare us. The erroneous attitude would be one of presumption: “Ah, now I go to the Latin Mass and have studied this treatise or that catechism. What a superior Catholic I have become. See how worthy I am.” Or this: “In our home there is no TV, we dress modestly, we say the whole Rosary and three novenas every day. Certainly we are much better than so-and-so, etc.” If we take such attitudes, we imitate the presumption of St. Peter, who boasted to Our Lord, “Perhaps the others, but not I, O Lord, will deny you.”
It seems to me that the grace of contrition will transform us, will draw us into ourselves to see ourselves objectively as we truly are. For none of has been what we should be. None of us at heart wants to see the profundity of the evil, the reality of the transgressions against the Immaculate Heart of Mary. We need the grace of contrition to transform us, just as the gaze of Christ transformed Peter in the courtyard of Caiphas.
This grace of contrition is necessary for us to be part of the Reign of Mary. For in a world that takes Our Lord Jesus Christ as the model of perfection, His Cross must be present; nothing will have value without this essential element. The norm of life for the modern man is that we should be happy without the Cross. Everything around us insinuates that we should avoid all suffering; no one should have to suffer, none of us deserves to suffer. This tendency to avoid all suffering is so deeply engrained in our mentality that it can seem a part of our very person — like another nose, or arm, or leg. However, it seems to me that we can hope that with the grace of contrition, the remnants of this attitude in our souls will dissipate. With the grace of contrition enters a willingness to carry the cross, and even a desire to make reparation for our sins. Such a grace would not only prepare us to accept a great chastisement, but to embrace it.
There are moments for all of us when the way to the Reign of Mary can seem hopelessly distant or impossible. Then we need to remember that the way of Providence is that God gives his great victories after the moment when everything seems lost. And he does it through small instruments — like David with his slingshot and Moses with his staff — to prove that it was he and only he that gave the victory.
There is, further, the great tool God reserved to fashion this future era. It is the secret of Mary, who will form the great saints of the latter times. We have to consider that we are living at a period that is at the end of a historical era, in a situation in which the evil has reached such an extremity that it is aiming to destroy the Holy Church from within, and from the highest cupola.
Given the extremity of the evil we are witnessing, it seems proper that we confide that Our Lady will manifest the extremity of her goodness in a way as never before. Therefore, we have to confide in Her mercy and trust completely in it. We will make our resistance with courage and conviction and confidence. And it is certain that Her goodness and mercy will open for us the doors of the Reign of Mary and the restoration of Christian Civilization in an unexpected and marvelous way.
1. True Devotion to Mary, n. 58.
2. See The Fiery Prayer by St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort
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