Slavery to the Mother of God


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by Fray Juán de los Ángeles
& Fray Melchor de Cetina

An ancient yet unstoppable movement of Marian devotion was renewed throughout the entire world in the 19th Century after the re-discovery of St. Louis de Montfort’s True Devotion to Mary, a movement which lasted well into the 20th Century and motivated the Church to proclaim without reservation the Dogmas of our Faith concerning the Blessed Virgin.

The treasures we’ve come across, almost completely forgotten today in the Church, and even more so in the English-Speaking World: ‘Marian Slavery’ and ‘Exhortation toward Devotion to the Virgin Mother of God’, are now being published together as “Slavery to the Mother of God” – works which we hope will spark a similar renewal of that movement for the good of Souls.

The first of these, ‘Marian Slavery'(c. 1609) by Friar Juan de los Angeles is a very short but rich synthesis of the Spirituality of Consecration to Mary lived by the Franciscan Conceptionist Nuns of Alcalá, Spain.

The purpose of the work is to commend and give a brief explanation of the essence and spirit of an inspiration received by the Venerable Mother Ines de San Pablo(Ven. Mother Agnes of St. Paul) to found a Confraternity of men and women(Laity, Clerics and Religious) whose ideal is to live Consecrated Unreservedly to the Blessed Virgin Mary as Her “Slaves”.

Those familiar with the Spirituality of St. Louis de Montfort(born 98 years after the founding of this Franciscan Confraternity), may recognize some similarities between his works and the devotion being promoted by Friar Juan de los Angeles and the Franciscan Conceptionists of Alcala.

As the reader may come to realize, though not contradictory to the French School, the simplicity and radicality of the original “Marian Slavery” is very characteristically Franciscan, centered so explicitly on the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception(Our Lady’s spotless Holiness) as the Motive or Principle behind giving oneself to Mary, and the doctrine of the Hypostatic Union, predestined before all Creation, as the Model or Pattern for perfect and unreserved Consecration as such. 

In their Franciscan simplicity, these 16th Century Friars viewed the Immaculate Conception as being summarized perfectly by Our Lady’s own words: “Behold the Handmaid[Slave] of the Lord”, said in imitation and conformity to Christ’s Slavery to the Father in the Hypostatic Union, which He expressed by the words “I am thy Servant, I am thy Servant, the son of thy handmaid” (Psalm 115, Wisdom 9) and again through St. Paul: “…But[He] emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave”.

This common “Slavery” of Jesus[in His humanity] and Mary to Divinity(that is, the Hypostatic Union itself, and the Immaculate Conception), the Franciscan sees as being perfected and consummated in the words following just afterward: “…He humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross” – and this because in a Franciscan Mind, Christ and Mary were predestined from all eternity to glorify God through their mediation of Man’s Salvation, a Salvation which is not possible after the Fall of Adam without a Redemption at the cost of Blood and Tears. (Ephesians 1:4-10)

In this two-fold Model for the Spiritual Life we are given a sure roadmap to great Sanctity by the Franciscan School:

-The Immaculate Conception(in Mary) & Hypostatic Union(in Jesus)

The Imitation of which is carried out by a Christian in their absolute and unlimited donation of self to Mary, just as in Her Conception She was donated entirely to Christ as His Property – a donation required for Franciscans prior to entering their Novitiate: “If thou wilt be perfect, go sell what thou hast, and give to the poor”(Matthew 19:21), who “for the love of God…” will have then “renounced their own will” (Rule of St. Francis Chs. 2 & 10).

-Redemption on Calvary(by Jesus) & Co-Redemption(by Mary)

On the part of the Christian, full cooperation with the work of Redemption through a life of continual Sacrifice in conformity to Jesus Crucified constitutes their primary activity in the hands of their Queen and Mistress, just as She was fully in the hands of Christ as His Possession – and this for the Salvation of all souls: “If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his Cross, and follow me”(Matt.16:24, Rule of St. Francis 1221, Ch. 1).

Edited and Translated for the first time into English by Roman-Seraphic Books.

Slavery to the Mother of God

The Introductions and up to the Second Chapter

By Friar Juan de los Angles, &
Friar Melchor de Cetina

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