I wonder if St Louis de Montfort has yet been appreciated at his true worth.  Of course, many people have made use of his ‘True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary’, but his reputation seems to be that of a simple devotional writer.  Yet his writing in fact is always admirably clear and precise, and theologically solid.

Many people would probably be surprised to hear his recommendation of ‘Marian consecration’ or ‘Marian slavery/service’ described as patristic.  It is however anticipated in both Greek and Latin Fathers.  Here is St Ildephonsus, who was born about 607 and became Archbishop of Toledo:

In order that I may be shown to serve God, I wish to have the dominion of His Mother over me in proof of it.  In order to be the devout slave of the Son, I wish to become the slave of the mother (‘servus fieri appeto genitricis’).  For when the handmaid is served, this is understood as done for the Lord; what is given to the mother redounds to the Son […] The honour passes to the king, which is paid in the service of the queen (‘On the perpetual virginity of St Mary’, PL 96:108A).

From the East, here is St John of Damascus, preaching on the Assumption:

We, too, approach thee today, O Queen; and again, I say, O queen, O virgin Mother of God, supporting our souls with our trust in thee, as with a strong anchor. Consecrating* to thee understanding, soul,  body and the whole of ourselves, rejoicing in psalms and hymns and spiritual canticles we reach through thee One who is beyond our reach on account of His Majesty (‘1st Homily on the Dormition’, PG 96:720 C-D).


* ‘anathemenoi’.  One translation renders this as ‘lifting up’. Lampe’s ‘Patristic Greek Lexicon’ gives as the meanings of the verb ‘refer, attribute, assign; set up [objects of worship]; set up as votive gift, dedicate; set apart, devote’