In his Treatise on True Devotion to Mary, Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort included a chapter on Mary’s role in the last days which stressed the necessity of appealing to Her intercession in order to combat the forces of Satan. He wrote the work in 1712, four years before his death at 43. Curiously, it remained hidden away until 1842 when it was discovered by accident in a home for priests of the “Company of Mary” in France.
Montfort explains that in the days leading to the Antichrist, a powerful group will emerge from among the clergy which, through their devotion to Mary, will be granted special powers to fight Satan:
“But what will they be like, these servants, these slaves, these children of Mary? They will be ministers of the Lord who, like a flaming fire, will enkindle everywhere the fires of divine love. They will become, in Mary’s powerful hands, like sharp arrows, with which she will transfix her enemies” (56).
“They will be true apostles of the latter times to whom the Lord of Hosts will give eloquence and strength to work wonders and carry off glorious spoils from his enemies” (58).
“…[T]hey will be true disciples of Jesus Christ, imitating his poverty, his humility, his contempt of the world and his love. They will point out the narrow way to God in pure truth according to the holy Gospel, and not according to the maxims of the world” (59).
It is through these men that there will be major conversions to the faith:
“Such are the great men who are to come. By the will of God, Mary is to prepare them to extend His rule over the impious and unbelievers. But when and how will this come about? Only God knows” (59).
“In these latter times Mary must shine forth more than ever in mercy, power and grace; in mercy, to bring back and welcome lovingly the poor sinners and wanderers who are to be converted and return to the Catholic Church…” (51).
At the same time, he believes that the latter days will be marked by steadily increasing periods of persecution of Christians that will not end until the time of the Antichrist and explains Genesis 3:15 in light of these persecutions:
“It is chiefly in reference to these last wicked persecutions of the devil, daily increasing until the advent of the reign of anti- Christ, that we should understand that first and well-known prophecy and curse of God uttered against the serpent in the garden of paradise. It is opportune to explain it here for the glory of the Blessed Virgin, the salvation of her children and the confusion of the devil. ‘I will place enmities between you and the woman, between your race and her race; she will crush your head and you will lie in wait for her heel'” (Gen. 3:15) (51).
The key, he reveals, will be the recognition and appreciation of the distinction between the power of the intercessions of the saints and that of Mary:
“Satan fears her not only more than angels and men but in a certain sense more than God himself. This does not mean that the anger, hatred and power of God are not infinitely greater than the Blessed Virgin’s, since her attributes are limited. It simply means that Satan, being so proud, suffers infinitely more in being vanquished and punished by a lowly and humble servant of God. …God has given Mary such great power over the evil spirits that, as they have often been forced unwillingly to admit through the lips of possessed persons, they fear one of her pleadings for a soul more than the prayers of all the saints, and one of her threats more than all their other torments” (52).
Montfort may have wanted the book to remain hidden until a later time. He had many enemies and his views on Mary had already been challenged once by Church authorities. Despite having a severe learning disability which forced him to spend many years in the seminary, with regard to his Mariology, Montfort was far ahead of his time. His canonization in 1947 by Pope Pius XII testifies to the Church’s acceptance of his Marian writings.