His Spirituality

Many people thought that they understood Pope John Paul II. However, he told his biographer, George Weigel, “They try to understand me from outside. But I can only be understood from inside.” What people saw on his outside was a fruit of his inside. The holy fruits of his active life were the result of his inside spirituality of Total Consecration to Jesus Christ through the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Saint John Paul II said, “The more my inner life has been centered on the mystery of the redemption, the more surrender to Mary, in the spirit of St. Louis de Montfort, has seemed to me the best means of participating fruitfully and effectively in this reality, in order to draw from it and share with others its inexpressible riches.”

The Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is a sign of our total consecration. Our Lady gave this scapular to St. Simon Stock in 1251 and promised, “Whosoever dies clothed in this shall never suffer eternal fire.” Saint John Paul II always wore the Brown Scapular. This was his true devotion to Mary.

The Second Vatican Council stated, “… true devotion consists neither in fruitless and passing emotion, nor in certain vain credulity. Rather, it proceeds from true faith by which we are led to know the excellence of the Mother of God, and are moved to a filial love toward our Mother and to the imitation of her virtues.” (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church 67). Pope John Paul II practiced this true devotion as taught by St. Louis de Montfort.

St. Louis de Montfort

St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort wrote the book, True Devotion to Mary. He was a priest born In Montfort-La-Canne, France on January 31, 1673. He dropped his full name and became known simply as St. Louis de Montfort, after his hometown.

He was a simple but wise priest who was much opposed, misunderstood and maligned as he preached missions from diocese to diocese. He once walked 1000 miles all the way to Rome and back to receive confirmation from Pope Clement XI that he was following God’s will. The Pope appointed him as a Missionary Apostolic for all of France, yet he was still banned from six dioceses because of opposition to his preaching.

Father William Faber translated True Devotion to Mary into English and wrote that St. Louis “comes forward like another St. Vincent Ferrer, as if on the days bordering on the Last Judgment, and proclaims that he brings an authentic message from God about the greater honor and wider knowledge and more prominent love of His Blessed Mother, and her connection with the second advent of her Son.” (True Devotion to Mary, Tan Books, p. xx).

St. Louis prophesied concerning his own book that “raging beasts shall come in fury to tear with their diabolical teeth this little writing and him whom the Holy Ghost has made use of to write it-– or least to smother it in the darkness and silence of a coffer, that it may not appear. They shall even attack and persecute those who shall read it and carried out in practice.” (True Devotion to Mary, p. 114).

This prophecy was fulfilled and the manuscript for the book was not found until 1842, in a chest of old books. St. Louis died, exhausted from his many labors, at the age of 43 on April 28, 1716. He was canonized as a saint in 1947.

An Apostle of the Latter Times

St. Louis prophesied that God with His holy Mother would form great souls as apostles of the latter times. He wrote:

These great souls, full of grace and zeal, shall be chosen to match themselves against the enemies of God, who shall rage on all sides; and they shall be singularly devout to our Blessed Lady, illuminated by her light, strengthened with her nourishment, led by her spirit, supported by her arm and sheltered under her protection, so that they shall fight with one hand and build with the other… .

They will know the grandeurs of that Queen, and will consecrate themselves entirely to her service as subjects and slaves of love… .

They shall be the true apostles of the latter times… .

They shall have in their mouths the two-edged sword of the Word of God. They shall carry on their shoulders the bloody standard of the Cross, the Crucifix in their right hand and the Rosary in their left, the sacred Names Jesus and Mary in their hearts, and the modesty and mortification of Jesus Christ in their own behavior. (True Devotion to Mary, pp. 48, 55, 56, 58, 59.)

Pope John Paul II was one of “the true apostles of the latter times” prophesied by St. Louis de Montfort. As St. Louis prophesied, he was one of those who consecrated “themselves entirely to [the Blessed Virgin Mary’s] service as subjects and slaves of love.” He made and lived St. Louis’ Total Consecration. He took from St. Louis as his papal motto “Totus Tuus”, meaning “Totally Yours.” He endorsed St. Louis’ Total Consecration as the best means of participating fruitfully and effectively in the mystery of the redemption. (Be Not Afraid, Andre Frossard , St. Martin’s Press, pp. 125-126).

His principal point of reference was to St. Louis’ True Devotion in which he taught Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary as a means of renewing our Baptismal promises. By this Total Consecration we renounce Satan, his pomps and works and permanently dedicate ourselves to Jesus through Mary, giving her our bodies and souls, our goods and even the merits of our good works for her disposition according to her will. This was the consecration personally made and lived by Pope John Paul II and recommended by him to us.