Jesus, after entering Jerusalem, speaking in the temple to the crowd that had gone to the Passover feast, said: Truly, truly, I tell you, if the grain of wheat does not fall to the ground and die, it will remain. only; but if he dies, he will bear much fruit, Jn 12:24, and four days later in his conversation with his apostles after dinner on Thursday, before his passion, he said to them: If the world hates you, know that it hated me first than you, Jn 15,18.
Both phrases can be applied without any doubt to Father Montfort, since his life was a constant dying to the world for God and a great failure, if he looks at himself with human eyes. In 1713, three years before his death, she wrote the following letter to his sister Luisa Grignion, who had professed in the Congregation of the Benedictines of the Blessed Sacrament:
Long live Jesus! Long live his cross!
If you knew my crosses and my humiliations in retail, I doubt very much that you would so ardently want to see me, because wherever I go, I give a piece of my cross to my best friends, most of the time in spite of him and in spite of me. ; Anyone who defends me or dares to declare in my favor participates in it and from time to time falls under the fury of hell, whom I fight; of the world, whom I contradict; of the meat, that I chase. A veritable swarm of sins and sinners against whom I wage war leaves neither me nor any of mine the least rest: always alert, always on thorns, always on sharp pebbles. I am like a ball put into play: as soon as it has been thrown from one side, it is pushed towards the other, hit roughly; it is the fate of this poor sinner; This is how I find myself, without respite and without quiet, since the day I left San Sulpicio, thirteen years ago.
However, my dear sister, bless the Lord for me, because I am satisfied and happy in the midst of my sufferings and I do not believe there is anything sweeter for me in the world than the most bitter cross when it is bathed in the blood of Jesus Christ. and in the milk of his divine Mother; but, in addition to this internal joy, great benefit is achieved by carrying the crosses.
I wish you knew mine! I have never achieved a greater number of conversions than after the cruelest and most unjust interdictions. Courage then, my dear sister; let us carry our cross at both ends of the kingdom. For your part, carry it with effort; I, for mine, will try to carry it too, with the help of divine grace, without complaining, without murmuring, without seeking excuses, without excusing ourselves and without crying like children shedding tears and complaining because they are ordered to carry a hundred pounds of gold, or how the farmer would despair who had been covered in the field of louis d'or to make him richer.
Montfort's life is founded on two solid foundations, the Cross and the Rosary. They were the pillars on which his apostolic and missionary life rested. The conversion of the souls of sinners was his constant struggle throughout his entire life. While at the Jesuit college in Rennes, he already welcomed his companions and helped them in their needs, works of mercy, both corporal and spiritual, during his studies at the Saint Sulpice seminary, he was also distinguished by his companionship, but since his departure from Saint Sulpice his life was constantly dedicated to popular missions to achieve the conversion of sinners, because his desire to bring souls to God through Mary burned his heart.
As seen in the letter, his love for the Cross was the basis for being merciful to sinners. He wanted to suffer, like Christ, for the sins of the people who attended his mission and achieve his conversion. His struggle against the world, the devil and the flesh made him an unpleasant person in some regions of France where Calvinism and Jansenism dominated.
Throughout his apostolic life, dedicated to the simplest people in the towns and villages of the Brittany and La Vendèe regions, Montfort had a constant, persecution. In those years, apart from the widespread Calvinism in the Rochelle region, there were in France, within the Catholic Church, the errors of Gallicanism and Jansenism. The influence of these errors was so great that in those years in the whole country there were only four bishops faithful to Rome, those of La Rochelle, Luçon, Oloron and Abbe Fenelon, Bishop of Cambrai. Jansenism was the great persecutor of Montfort, since this heresy rejected God's mercy, claiming that men were not prepared to receive it and had to work harder in a life of sacrifice to obtain it and the sacraments could only be received after a long life. of penance, which was to separate people from the sacramental frequency. For this Montfort was expelled from many dioceses of France, as the Jansenist bishops could not bear the mercy that Montfort had with all the sinners who approached him and that led them to confession to forgive their sins and brought them closer to receiving the Eucharist.
At the end of the seventeenth century, Jansenism had also become a Christianity of wise and reforming elites and the popular Christian religion was seen as inferior and deviant, so that being this the main apostolic mission of Montfort was a second reason for persecution. Such was the hatred that Jansenism had for him that he became poisoned, leaving the rest of his life in poor health.
Also the public powers, including King Louis XIV, moved by Calvinists and Jansenists, opposed Montfort alleging causes of security for the French nation, when his work was exclusively apostolic.
Also the devotion to the Stma. Virgin, who in principle was well received in Jansenism, as time progressed and Jansenism became more elitist, they began to speak of excesses in the popular Marian devotion of the simple people. Montfort, who in the school of Berulle and Olier, the seminary of Saint Sulpice, had been perfectly steeped in devotion to Mary, throughout his life extended in his missions the supplicating omnipotence of the Mother of God until the total consecration to Mary to get to Jesus. In the Treatise of True Devotion he made a profound criticism of devotions to Mary that the Jansenists considered exaggerated.
Montfort's work throughout his life, as can be seen from the letter presented, was humanly a failure due to the constant persecutions that he suffered, since in 1716, the year of his death, he hardly had any apostles to follow his path for the popular missions, only four brothers who were dedicated to running the parochial schools that he founded. As his biographer Blain, a friend of his from the Jesuit college of Rennes and the seminary of Saint Sulpice, says, whom he asked to follow him, it was enough to look at the life he led and how poorly he dressed, and it was not easy to follow him in his vocation. apostle. His life was too given and sacrificed and when he died on April 28 of that year, only the Rev. Mulot, a priest who helped him for several years and finished the mission in Saint Laurent that the saint had already started, already ill and with little hope of life, followed him a year after Montfort's death. In other words, Saint Louis Mª died alone, without missionaries in the Company of Mary that he had founded, but the grain had to die in order for it to bear fruit. This also happened with part of his writings, with the Love of Eternal Wisdom and, especially with the Treaty of True Devotion, which was buried with his things at the time of his death, while he was doing the mission in Saint Laurent sur Sèvres .
In the towns and cities of the region where Montfort had been on mission, the memory of his passing had left a deep mark, recognized by the parish priests of those towns, and the neighboring towns insisted on the need for the presence of missionaries from the Company of Mary. Rev. Mulot, his only successor, encouraged by the healing that the saint had promised him if he followed him, sought out priests, who had also collaborated with Montfort, especially Rev. Valet, who also helped him in the mission of Saint Laurent and continued the missions in the towns of the region with much fruit. They were the first missionaries of the Company of Mary who followed Montfort after his death and in a few years this missionary order grew.
Eighty years after the death of Saint Louis Mª, the Revolution invaded France, bringing the ruin of religion throughout the country and consequently hatred among the French. Vendée and Brittany, regions evangelized by him, were so deeply immunized against the virus of the Revolution that they were the only ones who rose up against it in defense of God. It was the Chouannerie. The songs that Montfort used during his missions with pious lyrics were the same ones that the Vendeans and Bretons later sang when they were preparing to fight against the Revolution.
For the defense of God, these peoples, following Montfort's teachings, gave their lives. Three hundred years after Montfort's death, if you visit these regions, you can see that the songs that the missionary of Mary composed for his evangelization still resound in his villages.
Montfort's influence on the cult of the Stma. Virgin is currently fundamental in the Church, he was one of the first who enlightened us with devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which two hundred years later transcended in the apparitions of the Virgin in Fatima.
As he said the last times will be the times in which the devotion to the Blessed. Virgin will be fundamental in the Church. Because as the saint says: Mary must shine more than ever in mercy, in power and in grace in these last times; in mercy, to reduce and lovingly welcome sinners and lost ones; in power, she against the enemies of God and she must shine in grace to encourage and sustain the valiant soldiers and faithful servants of Jesus Christ. (TVD n.50). In the same way that through her the salvation of the world began, through her the Kingdom of Christ will come.
The grain of wheat really died….