If then we are establishing sound devotion to our Blessed Lady, it is only in order to establish devotion to our Lord more perfectly, by providing a smooth but certain way of reaching Jesus Christ. If devotion to our Lady distracted us from our Lord, we would have to reject it as an illusion of the devil. But this is far from being the case. As I have already shown and will show again later on, this devotion is necessary, simply and solely because it is a way of reaching Jesus perfectly, loving him tenderly, and serving him faithfully.— Saint Louis de Montfort, True Devotion to Mary, no. 11.
Teaching for Parents
Today, you begin your preparation, which, according to Saint Louis de Montfort, is the beginning of emptying yourself of the spirit of the world. Saint Louis prescribed reading the Beatitudes and reading about salt and light and about the law and the prophets. Take time to read and ponder.
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matt. 5:1–11)
Salt and Light
You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.
You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. (Matt. 5:13–16)
The Law and the Prophets
Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matt. 5:17–20)
Teaching for Children
Read the Scripture verses above to your children. Choose a few (or all) of the Beatitudes and explain them to the children. But first, ask them a couple of questions.
- Who are the pure in heart?
- How do we become pure?
Then explain why the pure in heart will see God. Do this with at least two or three beatitudes and build upon that with your teaching. Listen carefully to your children’s responses and encourage them to share from their hearts. You can ask them why the Beatitudes sound contradictory. In other words, they are not like the teachings of the world. You can impress upon them that when Jesus taught the Beatitudes, He was sharing about the life of a true Christian — someone who is selfless, loving, and merciful. Encourage your children to strive to be more like Jesus — selfless and full of love and mercy.
Talk about “Salt and Light.” Ask a few questions:
- Why are we called to be salt and light?
- Why shouldn’t we hide our light?
- In what ways might we hide our light?
- What are three good ways to let our lights shine? Discuss: “The Law and the Prophets.” Ask your children:
- Why did God make rules for us to follow?
- Is He strict?
- Or, is it because He loves us?
- Should we always follow God’s commandments?
- What is one way that you follow God’s laws?
Throughout this day, try your best today to carry out at least one interior practice of devotion to the Blessed Mother and one exterior practice. For suggestions, see the appendix “Interior and Exterior Practices” in this book. Help your children to decide what they should do. As well, ask them to try their best to be more like Jesus today. Keep in mind that Saint Louis de Montfort preached that devotion to Our Lady is “a means of finding Jesus Christ perfectly, of loving Him tenderly, of serving Him faithfully.”
As evening falls, take a few moments to ponder the events of your day. Ask forgiveness for your shortcomings and for grace to do a better job tomorrow. Call upon the saints and holy angels to be with you and your family this evening. Remember that you are earnestly preparing your hearts for your consecration and desiring to empty yourself of the spirit of the world. Strive to focus on holiness and spend less time on secular activities.
Be sure to instill a healthy dose of peace and happiness in your family’s hearts at bedtime. Get into the habit of blessing the family with holy water before going to bed. End the evening with inspiring and uplifting words or stories, lots of warm hugs, and good-night kisses. Let everyone know that they are loved!