In this post you will learn
Did you know about all the connections between Rebecca and her son Jacob and the Virgin Mary and her Son Jesus? Rebecca is a type for the Virgin Mary. She prefigures Mary. St. Louis de Montfort wrote extensively on this in his True Devotion to the Virgin Mary.
St. Louis de Montfort’s True Devotion to the Virgin Mary is an treasury of riches. One such treasure is St. Louis de Montfort’s Consecration to Jesus through Mary — the “Marian Consecration.” The Marian Consecration is just a tiny part of True Devotion. An excerpt!
I have been writing about the Virgin Mary and researching Mariology for some time now. I have never seen such a lengthy and rich discussion of Rebecca and the Blessed Mother.
If you would like to read more about the Biblical connections to Mary, I have created an entire e-course and book on this! It’s called What You Need to Know About Mary But Were Never Taught. Click below to enroll:
Here is the excerpt from Chapter 5 of St. Louis de Montfort’s book, True Devotion to the Virgin Mary. I hope you find it as rich as I did. This book is a treasure trove of insights.
True Devotion to the Virgin Mary, Chapter Five, Par. 183-212
Biblical Figure of This Perfect Devotion: Rebecca and Jacob
183. The Holy Spirit gives us in Sacred Scripture, a striking
allegorical figure of all the truths I have been explaining
concerning the Blessed Virgin and her children and servants. It is
the story of Jacob who received the blessing of his father Isaac
through the care and ingenuity of his mother Rebecca.
Here is the story as the Holy Spirit tells it. I shall expound it
further later on.
The Story of Jacob
184. Several years after Esau had sold his birthright to Jacob,
Rebecca, their mother, who loved Jacob tenderly, secured this
blessing for him by a holy stratagem full of mystery for us.
|Brugghen, Hendrick, Esau Selling His Birthright, c. 1627
Isaac, realizing that he was getting old, wished to bless his
children before he died. He summoned Esau, who was his
favorite son, and told him to go hunting and bring him
something to eat, in order that he might then give him his
blessing. Rebecca immediately told Jacob what was happening
and sent him to fetch two small goats from the flock. When
Jacob gave them to his mother, she cooked them in the way
Isaac liked them. Then she dressed Jacob in Esau’s clothes which
she had in her keeping, and covered his hands and neck with the
goat-skin. The father, who was blind, although hearing the voice
of Jacob, would think that it was Esau when he touched the skin
on his hands.
Isaac was of course surprised at the voice which he thought was
Jacob’s and told him to come closer. Isaac felt the hair on the
skin covering Jacob’s hands and said that the voice was really
like Jacob’s but the hands were Esau’s. After he had eaten, Isaac
kissed Jacob and smelt the fragrance of his scented clothes. He
blessed him and called down on him the dew of heaven and the
fruitfulness of earth. He made him master of all his brothers and
concluded his blessing with these words, “Cursed be those who
curse you and blessed be those who bless you.”
Isaac had scarcely finished speaking when Esau came in,
bringing what he had caught while out hunting. He wanted his father to bless him after he had eaten. The holy patriarch was
shocked when he realized what had happened. But far from
retracting what he had done, he confirmed it because he clearly
saw the finger of God in it all. Then, as Holy Scripture relates,
Esau began to protest loudly against the treachery of his
brother. He then asked his father if he had only one blessing to
give. In so doing, as the early Fathers point out, Esau was the
symbol of those who are too ready to imagine that there is an
alliance between God and the world, because they themselves
are eager to enjoy, at one and the same time, the blessings of
heaven and the blessings of the earth. Isaac was touched by
Esau’s cries and finally blessed him only with a blessing of the
earth, and he subjected him to his brother. Because of this, Esau
conceived such a venomous hatred for Jacob that he could
hardly wait for his father’s death to kill him. And Jacob would not
have escaped death if his dear mother Rebecca had not saved
him by her ingenuity and her good advice.
Interpretation of the Story of Rebecca & Jacob
185. Before explaining this beautiful story, let me remind you
that, according to the early Fathers and the interpreters of Holy
Scripture, Jacob is the type of our Lord and of souls who are
saved, and Esau is the type of souls who are condemned. We
have only to examine the actions and conduct of both in order to
judge each one.
- Esau, the elder brother, was strong and robust, clever, and
skillful with the bow and very successful at hunting.
- He seldom stayed at home and, relying only on his own
strength and skill, worked out of doors.
- He never went out of his way to please his mother Rebecca,
and did little or nothing for her.
- He was such a glutton and so fond of eating that he sold his
birthright for a dish of lentils.
- Like Cain, he was extremely jealous of his brother and
persecuted him relentlessly.
Compare Esau’s Conduct (1)-(5) with the Usual Conduct of Sinners:
186. (1) They rely upon their own strength and skill in temporal
affairs. They are very energetic, clever and well-informed about
things of this world but very dull and ignorant about things of
187. (2) And they are never or very seldom at home, in their
own house, that is, in their own interior, the inner, essential
abode that God has given to every man to dwell in, after his own
example, for God always abides within himself. Sinners have no
liking for solitude or the spiritual life or interior devotion. They
consider those who live an interior life, secluded from the world,
and who work more interiorly than exteriorly, as narrow-minded,
bigoted and uncivilized.
188. (3) Sinners care little or nothing about devotion to Mary,
the Mother of the elect. It is true that they do not really hate
her. Indeed they even speak well of her sometimes. They say
they love her and they practice some devotion in her honor.
Nevertheless, they cannot bear to see anyone love her tenderly,
for they do not have for her any of the affection of Jacob; they
find fault with the honor which her good children and servants
faithfully pay her to win her affection. They think this kind of
devotion is not necessary for salvation, and as long as they do
not go as far as hating her or openly ridiculing devotion to her
they believe they have done all they need to win her good
graces. Because they recite or mumble a few prayers to her
without any affection and without even thinking of amending
their lives, they consider they are our Lady’s servants.
189. (4) Sinners sell their birthright, that is, the joys of paradise,
for a dish of lentils, that is, the pleasures of this world. They
laugh, they drink, they eat, they have a good time, they gamble,
they dance and so forth, without taking any more trouble than
Esau to make themselves worthy of their heavenly Father’s
blessing. Briefly, they think only of this world, love only the
world, speak and act only for the world and its pleasures. For a
passing moment of pleasure, for a fleeting wisp of honor, for a
piece of hard earth, yellow or white, they barter away their
baptismal grace, their robe of innocence and their heavenly
openly and secretly. The elect are a burden to them. They
despise them, criticize them, ridicule them, insult them, rob
them, deceive them, impoverish them, hunt them down and
trample them into the dust; while they themselves are making
fortunes, enjoying themselves, getting good positions for
themselves, enriching themselves, rising to power and living in
Compare (1)-(5) with Jacob’s Treatment of His Mother
191. (1) Jacob, the younger son, was of a frail constitution,
gentle and peaceable and usually stayed at home to please his
mother, whom he loved so much. If he did go out it was not
through any personal desire of his, nor from any confidence in
his own ability, but simply out of obedience to his mother.
192. (2) He loved and honored his mother. That is why he
remained at home close to her. He was never happier than when
he was in her presence. He avoided everything that might
displease her, and did everything he thought would please her.
This made Rebecca love him all the more.
obeyed her entirely in everything, promptly without delay and
lovingly without complaint. At the least indication of her will,
young Jacob hastened to comply with it. He accepted whatever
she told him without questioning. For instance, when she told
him to get two small goats and bring them to her so that she
might prepare something for his father Isaac to eat, Jacob did
not reply that one would be enough for one man, but without
arguing he did exactly what she told him to do.
194. (4) He had the utmost confidence in his mother. He did not
rely on his own ability; he relied solely on his mother’s care and
protection. He went to her in all his needs and consulted her in
all his doubts. For instance, when he asked her if his father,
instead of blessing him, would curse him, he believed her and
trusted her when she said she would take the curse upon herself.
195. (5) Finally, he adopted, as much as he could, the virtues he
saw in his mother. It seems that one of the reasons why he
spent so much time at home was to imitate his dear mother,
who was so virtuous, and to keep away from evil
companions–who might lead him into sin. In this way, he made
himself worthy to receive the double blessing of his beloved
It is in a similar manner that God’s chosen ones usually act.
esteem for quietness, love the interior life, and are assiduous in
prayer. They always remain in the company of the Blessed
Virgin, their Mother and Model, whose glory is wholly interior and
who during her whole life dearly loved seclusion and prayer. It is
true, at times they do venture out into the world, but only to
fulfill the duties of their state of life, in obedience to the will of
God and the will of their Mother.
No matter how great their accomplishments may appear to
others, they attach far more importance to what they do within
themselves in their interior life, in the company of the Blessed
Virgin. For there they work at the great task of perfection,
compared to which all other work is mere child’s play. At times
their brothers and sisters are working outside with great energy,
skill and success, and win the praise and approbation of the
world. But they know by the light of the Holy Spirit that there is
far more good, more glory and more joy in remaining hidden and
recollected with our Lord, in complete and perfect submission to
Mary than there is in performing by themselves marvelous
works of nature and grace in the world, like so many Esau’s and
sinners. Glory for God and riches for men are in her house.
Lord Jesus, how lovely is your dwelling-place! The sparrow has
found a house to dwell in, and the turtle-dove a nest for her little
ones! How happy is the man who dwells in the house of Mary,
where you were the first to dwell! Here in this home of the elect,
he draws from you alone the help he needs to climb the stairway
of virtue he has built in his heart to the highest possible points of
perfection while in this vale of tears.
|Vale of Tears by Gustave Dore
197. (2) The elect have a great love for our Lady and honor her
truly as their Mother and Queen. They love her not merely in
word but in deed. They honor her not just outwardly, but from
the depths of their heart. Like Jacob, they avoid the least thing
that might displease her, and eagerly do whatever they think
might win her favor. Jacob brought Rebecca two young goats.
They bring Mary their body and their soul, with all their faculties,
- So that she may accept them as her own;
- That she may make them die to sin and self by divesting
them of self-love, in order to please Jesus her Son, who
wishes to have as friends and disciples only those who are
dead to sin and self;
- That she may clothe them according to their heavenly
Father’s taste and for his greater glory, which she knows
better than any other creature;
- That through her care and intercession, this body and soul of
theirs, thoroughly cleansed from every stain, thoroughly
dead to self, thoroughly stripped and well-prepared, may be
pleasing to the heavenly Father and deserving of his
Is this not what those chosen souls do who, to prove to Jesus
and Mary how effective and courageous is their love, live and
esteem the perfect consecration to Jesus through Mary which we
are now teaching them?
Sinners may say that they love Jesus, that they love and honor
Mary, but they do not do so with their whole heart and soul.
Unlike the elect, they do not love Jesus and Mary enough to
consecrate them their body with its senses and their soul with its
198. (3) They are subject and obedient to our Lady, their good
Mother, and here they are simply following the example set by
our Lord himself, who spent thirty of the thirty-three years he
lived on earth glorifying God his Father in perfect and entire
submission to his holy Mother. They obey her, following her
advice to the letter, just as Jacob followed that of Rebecca, when
she said to him, “My son, follow my advice”; or like the stewards
at the wedding in Cana, to whom our Lady said, “Do whatever he
Through obedience to his mother, Jacob received the blessing
almost by a miracle, because in the natural course of events he
should not have received it. As a reward for following the advice
of our Lady, the stewards at the wedding in Cana were honored
with the first of our Lord’s miracles when, at her request he
changed water into wine. In the same way, until the end of time,
all who are to receive the blessing of our heavenly Father and
who are to be honored with his wondrous graces will receive
them only as a result of their perfect obedience to Mary. On the
other hand, the “Esau’s” will lose their blessing because of their
lack of submission to the Blessed Virgin.
>> Read more about what’s happening at the Wedding at Cana! Here are some articles I have written on the Wedding at Cana, one of my favorite subjects 🙂
the Blessed Virgin, their dear Mother, and incessantly implore
her help. They take her for their pole-star to lead them safely
into harbor. They open their hearts to her and tell her their
troubles and their needs. They rely on her mercy and kindness to
obtain forgiveness for their sins through her intercession and to
experience her motherly comfort in their troubles and anxieties.
They even cast themselves into her virginal bosom, hide and lose
themselves there in a wonderful manner. There they are filled
with pure love, they are purified from the least stain of sin, and
they find Jesus in all his fullness. For he reigns in Mary as if on
the most glorious of thrones. What incomparable happiness!
Abbot Guerric says, “Do not imagine there is more joy in
dwelling in Abraham’s bosom than in Mary’s, for it is in her that
our Lord placed his throne.”
Sinners, on the other hand, put all their confidence in
themselves. Like the prodigal son, they eat with the swine. Like
toads they feed on earth. Like all worldlings, they love only
visible and external things. They do not know the sweetness of
Mary’s bosom. They do not have that reliance and confidence
which the elect have for the Blessed Virgin, their Mother.
Deplorably they choose to satisfy their hunger elsewhere, as St.
Gregory says, because they do not want to taste the sweetness
already prepared within themselves and within Jesus and Mary.
200. (5) Finally, chosen souls keep to the ways of the Blessed
Virgin, their loving Mother – that is, they imitate her and so are
sincerely happy and devout and bear the infallible sign of God’s
chosen ones. This loving Mother says to them “Happy are those
who keep my ways”, which means, happy are those who practice
my virtues and who, with the help of God’s grace, follow the
path of my life. They are happy in this world because of the
abundance of grace and sweetness I impart to them out of my
fullness, and which they receive more abundantly than others
who do not imitate me so closely. They are happy at the hour of
death, which is sweet and peaceful for I am usually there myself
to lead them home to everlasting joy. Finally, they will be happy
for all eternity, because no servant of mine who imitated my
virtues during life has ever been lost.
On the other hand, sinners are unhappy during their life, at their
death, and throughout eternity, because they do not imitate the
virtues of our Lady. They are satisfied with going no further than
joining her confraternities, reciting a few prayers in her honor,
or performing other exterior devotional exercises.
O Blessed Virgin, my dear Mother, how happy are those who
faithfully keep your ways, your counsels and your commands;
who never allow themselves to be led astray by a false devotion
to you! But how unhappy and accursed are those who abuse
devotion to you by not keeping the commandments of your Son!
“They are accursed who stray from your commandments.”
The Five Promises of the Virgin Mary Based on Rebecca
Services of our Lady to her faithful servants
201. Here now are the services which the Virgin Mary, as the
best of all mothers, lovingly renders to those loyal servants who
have given themselves entirely to her in the manner I have
described and following the figurative meaning of the story of
Jacob and Rebecca.
Promise #1: She loves them
“I love those who love me.” She loves them:
- Because she is truly their Mother. What mother does not
love her child, the fruit of her womb?
- She loves them in gratitude for the active love they show to
her, their beloved Mother.
- She loves them because they are loved by God and destined
for heaven. “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
- She loves them because they have consecrated themselves
entirely to her and belong to her portion, her inheritance.
“In Israel receive your inheritance.”
202. She loves them tenderly, more tenderly than all the
mothers in the world together. Take the maternal love of all the
mothers of the world for their children. Pour all that love into the
heart of one mother for an only child. That mother’s love would
certainly be immense. Yet Mary’s love for each of her children
has more tenderness than the love of that mother for her child.
She loves them not only affectively but effectively, that is, her
love is active and productive of good like Rebecca’s love for
Jacob -and even more so, for Rebecca was, after all, only a
symbolic figure of Mary. Here is what this loving Mother does for
her children to obtain for them the blessings of their heavenly
203. (1) Like Rebecca she looks out for favorable opportunities
to promote their interests, to ennoble and enrich them. She sees
clearly in God all that is good and all that is evil; fortunate and
unfortunate events; the blessings and condemnations of God.
She arranges things in advance so as to divert evils from her
servants and put them in the way of abundant blessings. If there
is any special benefit to be gained in God’s sight by the faithful
discharge of an important work, Mary will certainly obtain this
opportunity for a beloved child and servant and at the same
time, give him the grace to persevere in it to the end. “She
personally manages our affairs,” says a saintly man.
204. (2) She gives them excellent advice, as Rebecca did to
Jacob. “My son, follow my counsels.” Among other things, she
persuades them to bring her the two young goats, that is, their
body and soul, and to confide them to her so that she can
prepare them as a dish pleasing to God. She inspires them to
observe whatever Jesus Christ, her Son, has taught by word and
example. When she does not give these counsels herself in
person, she gives them through the ministry of angels who are
always pleased and honored to go at her request to assist one
of her faithful servants on earth.
205. (3) What does this good Mother do when we have presented
and consecrated to her our soul and body and all that pertains to
them without excepting anything? Just what Rebecca of old did
to the little goats Jacob brought her.
- (a) She kills them, that is,
makes them die to the life of the old Adam.
- (b) She strips them
of their skin, that is, of their natural inclinations, their self-love
and self-will and their every attachment to creatures.
- (c) She
cleanses them from all stain, impurity and sin.
- (d) She prepares
them to God’s taste and to his greater glory. As she alone knows
perfectly what the divine taste is and where the greatest glory of
God is to be found, she alone without any fear of mistake can
prepare and garnish our body and soul to satisfy that infinitely
refined taste and promote that infinitely hidden glory.
206. (4) Once this good Mother has received our complete
offering with our merits and satisfactions through the devotion I
have been speaking about, and has stripped us of our own
garments, she cleanses us and makes us worthy to appear
without shame before our heavenly Father.
She clothes us in the clean, new, precious and fragrant garments
of Esau, the first born, namely, her Son Jesus Christ. She keeps
these garments in her house, that is to say, she has them at her
disposal. For she is the treasurer and universal dispenser of the
merits and virtues of Jesus her Son. She gives and distributes
them to whom she pleases, when she pleases, as she pleases,
and as much as she pleases, as we have said above.
She covers the neck and hands of her servants with the skins of
the goats that have been killed and flayed, that is, she adorns
them with the merits and worth of their own good actions. In
truth, she destroys and nullifies all that is impure and imperfect
in them. She preserves and enhances this good so that it adorns
and strengthens their neck and hands, that is, she gives them
the strength to carry the yoke of the Lord and the skill to do
great things for the glory of God and the salvation of their poor
She imparts new perfume and fresh grace to those garments and
adornments by adding to them the garments of her own
wardrobe of merits and virtues. She bequeathed these to them
before her departure for heaven, as was revealed by a holy nun
of the last century, who died a holy death. Thus all her
domestics, that is, all her servants and slaves, are clothed with
double garments, her own and those of her Son. Now they have
nothing to fear from that cold which sinners, naked and stripped
as they are of the merits of Jesus and Mary, will be unable to
207. (5) Finally, Mary obtains for them the heavenly Father’s
blessing. As they are the youngest born and adopted, they are
not really entitled to it. Clad in new, precious, and sweet-smelling garments, with body and soul well-prepared and
dressed, they confidently approach their heavenly Father. He
hears their voice and recognizes it as the voice of a sinner. He
feels their hands covered with skins, inhales the aroma of their
garments. He partakes with joy of what Mary, their Mother, has
prepared for him, recognizing in it the merits and good odor of
his Son and his Blessed Mother.
- (a) He gives them a twofold blessing, the blessing of the dew of
heaven, namely, divine grace, which is the seed of glory.
“God has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing,”
and also the blessing of the fertility of the earth, for as a
provident Father, he gives them their daily bread and an
ample supply of the goods of the earth.
- (b) He makes them masters of their other brothers, the
reprobate sinners. This domination does not always show in
this fleeting world, where sinners often have the upper
hand. “How long shall the wicked glory, mouthing insolent
reproaches?” “I have seen the wicked triumphant and lifted
up like the cedars of Lebanon.” But the supremacy of the
just is real and will be seen clearly for all eternity in the next
world, where the just, as the Holy Spirit tells us, will
dominate and command all peoples.
- (c) The God of all majesty is not satisfied with blessing them in
their persons and their possessions, he blesses all who bless
them and curses all who curse and persecute them.
Promise #2: She provides for all their needs
208. Our Lady’s charity towards her faithful servants goes
further. She provides them with everything they need for body
and soul. We have just seen that she gives them double
garments. She also nourishes them with the most delicious food
from the banquet table of God. She gives them the Son she has
borne, the Bread of Life, to be their food. “Dear children,” she
says in the words of divine Wisdom, “take your fill of my fruit,
that is to say, of the Fruit of Life, Jesus, whom I brought into the
world for you.” “Come,” she repeats in another passage, “eat the
bread which is Jesus. Drink the wine of his love which I have
mixed for you.”
As Mary is the treasurer and dispenser of the gifts and graces of
the Most High God, she reserves a choice portion, indeed the
choicest portion, to nourish and sustain her children and
servants. They grow strong on the Bread of Life; they are made
joyful with the wine that brings forth virgins. They are carried at
her breast. They bear with ease the yoke of Christ scarcely
feeling its weight because of the oil of devotion with which she
has softened its wood.
Promise #3: She leads and guides them
209. A third service which our Lady renders her faithful servants
is to lead and direct them according to the will of her Son.
Rebecca guided her little son Jacob and gave him good advice
from time to time, which helped him obtain the blessing of his
father and saved him from the hatred and persecution of his
brother Esau. Mary, Star of the sea, guides all her faithful
servants into safe harbor. She shows them the path to eternal
life and helps them avoid dangerous pitfalls. She leads them by
the hand along the path of holiness, steadies them when they
are liable to fall and helps them rise when they have fallen. She
chides them like a loving mother when they are remiss and
sometimes she even lovingly chastises them. How could a child
that follows such a mother and such an enlightened guide as
Mary take the wrong path to heaven? Follow her and you cannot
go wrong, says St. Bernard. There is no danger of a true child of
Mary being led astray by the devil and falling into heresy. Where
Mary leads, Satan with his deceptions and heretics with their
subtleties are not encountered. “When she upholds you, you will
Promise #4: She defends and protects them
210. The fourth good office our Lady performs for her children
and faithful servants is to defend and protect them against their
enemies. By her care and ingenuity Rebecca delivered Jacob
from all dangers that beset him and particularly from dying at
the hands of his brother, as he apparently would have done,
since Esau hated and envied him just as Cain hated his brother
Mary, the beloved Mother of chosen souls, shelters them under
her protecting wings as a hen does her chicks. She speaks to
them, coming down to their level and accommodating herself to
all their weaknesses. To ensure their safety from the hawk and
vulture, she becomes their escort, surrounding them as an army
in battle array. Could anyone surrounded by a well-ordered army
of say a hundred thousand men fear his enemies? No, and still
less would a faithful servant of Mary, protected on all sides by
her imperial forces, fear his enemy. This powerful Queen of
heaven would sooner dispatch millions of angels to help one of
her servants than have it said that a single faithful and trusting
servant of hers had fallen victim to the malice, number and
power of his enemies.
Promise #5: She intercedes for them
211. Finally, the fifth and greatest service which this loving
Mother renders her faithful followers is to intercede for them with
her Son. She appeases him with her prayers, brings her servants
into closer union with him and maintains that union.
Rebecca made Jacob approach the bed of his father. His father
touched him, embraced him and even joyfully kissed him after
having satisfied his hunger with the well-prepared dishes which
Jacob had brought him. Then inhaling most joyfully the exquisite
perfume of his garments, he cried: “Behold the fragrance of my
son is as the fragrance of a field of plenty which the Lord has
blessed.” The fragrance of this rich field which so captivated the
heart of the father, is none other than the fragrance of the
merits and virtues of Mary who is the plentiful field of grace in
which God the Father has sown the grain of wheat of the elect,
his only Son.
How welcome to Jesus Christ, the Father of the world to come, is
a child perfumed with the fragrance of Mary! How readily and
how intimately does he unite himself to that child! But this we
have already shown at length.
212. Furthermore, once Mary has
heaped her favors upon her children and her faithful servants
and has secured for them the blessing of the heavenly Father
and union with Jesus Christ, she keeps them in Jesus and keeps
Jesus in them. She guards them, watching over them
unceasingly, lest they lose the grace of God and fall into the
snares of their enemies. “She keeps the saints in their fullness”
(St. Bonaventure), and inspires them to persevere to the end, as
we have already said.
Such is the explanation given to this ancient allegory which
typifies the mystery of predestination and reprobation.
Want More of This? Want a Richer Reading of the Bible?
I hope you enjoyed this article. I hope you’re saying why wasn’t I ever taught this about Rebecca and the Virgin Mary? The Bible is full of rich, but overlooked typology just like this.
I published a whole book and and e-course like this on the Virgin Mary: What You Need to Know About Mary But Were Never Taught. Click below to enroll: