The Nature of the MI
From an article by St. Maximilian Kolbe
The first page of the enrollment card bears the image of the Immaculata crushing under her feet the head of the serpent who holds the world captive in its coils.
From her hands, rays of graces issue forth toward the earth. This image includes the whole essence of the Militia of the Immaculata. MI members consecrate themselves to the Immaculata with no restrictions, that she may make full use of them as instruments for the work she herself undertakes, namely, to fight Satan and help souls in their sanctification.
Two texts are used as mottos. The first is from the book of Genesis (3:15) where God, condemning the serpent, foretells: “She will crush your head”; while the second comes from the Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in which the Holy Church sings to the Mother of God: “You alone have destroyed all heresies in the whole world.” The Immaculata, therefore, crushes the head of the serpent and destroys its enormous body, made by all the various heresies from many times and places. It is not written, however, that the Immaculata destroys heretics, for she loves all the souls and for their sake she destroys the “heresies” in order to free the souls from heretical contagion. It is written “all,” so with no exception. “You alone,” therefore she suffices. “Have destroyed,” so not only has she reduced them, she has mastered them; she is so powerful and her action is so effective that her enemies can entertain no hope of victory. “In the whole world,” so not only across a more or less wide region, but all over the earth.
Our program of action consists of three parts: aim, conditions and means.
The aim is to engage in the work of conversion of sinners, heretics, schismatics, Jews, etc., but most of all of Freemasons, and in the work of sanctification of all, under the protection and through the mediation of the Immaculata.
In this way, therefore, the purpose of the MI is the commitment to the work of converting all together and each individually those who have need of such conversion, and in the work of sanctification of every soul who currently lives and will live in the future without exception. The specific feature that sets the MI apart from many other associations working for the salvation and sanctification of souls, is that the MI develops its activity under the protection and through the mediation of the Immaculata.
The extent to which, then, it should all take place through the Immaculata, is indicated by the conditions in the second part, namely: The first essential condition for belonging to the MI and for operating in it consists in this: “To give oneself up completely to the Immaculata as instruments in her immaculate hands.” So that is not us, but she herself who, according to the spirit of the MI, must operate in us and through us, as instruments. But to make that possible, the soul that enrolls in the MI must give itself totally to the Immaculata, without any reservation and irrevocably.
The second condition, an outer mark of one’s inner consecration, is the Miraculous Medal that the Immaculate Virgin herself showed and urged us to wear.
The appropriate means in the work of conversion and sanctification of souls may only be the grace of God, which one must implore with prayer. In fact, among the means first we have the ejaculatory prayer taught by the Immaculata during the manifestation of the miraculous medal: “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.” MI members also add: “And for all those who do not have recourse to thee,” thus embracing, with prayer, all together and each individually the
souls who live in the entire world; “but especially for the Freemasons,” since those wretches, albeit covertly, are the brains of most wide-ranging demonstrations against God, the Church, the salvation and sanctification of souls. Finally, MI members add: “and for those who have been recommended to thee,” to entrust to the Immaculata the work of salvation and sanctification of souls for whom one is working at any given time.
And that by any means, “as long as they are lawful” obviously, as one’s state in life and circumstances permit; the choice of these means is left to the zeal and prudence of each. However, given that the Immaculata herself urged the propagation of the Miraculous Medal, in the hands of the Knights of the Immaculata that medal acts like a bullet, with which souls, wounded with love for the Immaculata, surrender to her more easily. Zeal may take different forms: some limit themselves to one or another means, others undertake not to neglect any of them. Some work alone, while others, binding themselves to one another together by various statutes, direct their
action in concerted efforts….
The “note” states that the means are not a strictly mandatory features, but are simply recommended, so that if one does not use such means, provided that one does not revoke one’s consecration to the Immaculata, one still belongs to the MI. The note continues by stating that nothing is binding, even minimally, under the pain of sin; our only stimulus is love for the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, with the intention to unite to Him as closely as possible, through the Immaculata, the greatest possible number of
souls. The love of God, then, is the ultimate aim of all the activities of the MI.
The act of consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary is strongly imbued with
the spirit of the MI. It is divided into two parts. In the first the soul consecrates itself to the Immaculata without restrictions, and turning to her it says: “O Immaculata, Queen of Heaven and earth, refuge of sinners and our most loving Mother, God has willed to entrust the entire order of mercy to you. I, a repentant sinner, cast myself at your feet humbly imploring you to take me with all that I am and have, wholly to yourself as your possession and property. Please make of me, of all my powers of soul
and body, of my whole life, death and eternity, whatever most pleases you.” That is the essential trait of the MI: unlimited oblation of oneself to the Immaculata, in order to become hers, increasingly, ever more perfectly hers, hers in every way and forever, for all eternity, irrevocably hers.
The soul that has given itself to her in this way, even unwittingly affects the
environment that surrounds it, diffuses light around itself and drives others to emulation; however, that is not enough. It desires to do everything it can for the sake of the Immaculata and so, continuing its act of consecration, it entreats: “If it pleases you, use all that I am and have without reserve, wholly to accomplish what was said of you: ‘She will crush your head’ [Gn 3:15], and ‘You alone have destroyed all heresies in the whole world’ [Office of the B.V. Mary]. Let me be a fit instrument in your immaculate and merciful hands for introducing and increasing your glory to the maximum in all the many strayed and indifferent souls, and thus help extend as far
as possible the blessed kingdom of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. For wherever you enter you obtain the grace of conversion and growth in holiness, since it is through your hands that all graces come to us from the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.” And finally it adds a humble invocation: “Allow me to praise you, O Sacred Virgin. Give me strength against your enemies.” This act of consecration contains the whole substance of the spirit of the MI, of which the enrollment card presents the form.
From The Writings of St. Maximilian M. Kolbe (KW 1330)
I shall sincerely affirm that it is not easy to understand our ideal and it is even more difficult to examine it in depth; or, rather, we can always delve deeper into it and know it in a way that is ever more explicit, but we shall not be able to get to the bottom of its sublime depth. For what reason? Because in this case it has to do with the Mother of God. We know well enough the meaning of the word “mother,” but the notion of “God” contains the infinite within it, while our intelligence is limited and will never be capable therefore of completely understanding the concept of “Mother of God.”
As a result, he who is not capable of kneeling down and imploring from her
in humble prayer the grace of knowing who she really is cannot hope to learn something more about her.
From the Divine Maternity flow all the graces bestowed upon the Most Holy
Virgin Mary, and the first of these graces is the Immaculate Conception. This privilege must be particularly dear to her if, at Lourdes, this is how she herself wanted to be called: “I am the Immaculate Conception.” We too desire to call her with this name which is so dear to the heart.
The Immaculata: here is our ideal.
To approach her, become like her, permit her to take possession of our heart and all our self, that she may live and act in and through us, that she may love God with our heart, that we may belong to her without any restriction: this is our ideal.
To radiate in the surroundings, conquer souls for her in a way that, before her, the hearts of our neighbors may be opened so that she may extend her dominion in the hearts of all those who live in any corner of the earth, without regard for racial, national, linguistic differences, and similarly in the hearts of all those who will live in any moment of history till the end of the world: this is our ideal.
Besides, may her life be ever more rooted in us from day to day, from one hour to another, from one moment to another, and this without any limitation: this is our ideal.
Again, may her life develop in the same way in every soul that exists and will exist in any time: this is our cherished ideal.
One day, while speaking about the possibility of understanding the greatness of the life of virginity, Jesus affirmed, “Whoever can accept this ought to accept it” [Mt 19:12]. To conclude these few lines, I also desire only to add the same thing, “Whoever can accept this ought to accept it.”
Unfortunately, even among those who have received Holy Baptism and perhaps also deepened their religious knowledge, there is a significant number of people who can only with difficulty manage to access the Heart of the Immaculata, the Mother of God, the Mother of Jesus our Brother, the Mother of our supernatural life, the Mediatrix of all graces, our Queen, our Sovereign, our Leader and the Vanquisher of Satan.
From The Writings of St. Maximilian M. Kolbe (KW 1210)