Q: What is the origin of the expression "To Jesus through Mary"?
A: The origin of "To Jesus through Mary" is generally attributed to Louis Grignion de Montfort in his True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin. That is to say that he used the expression most explicitly, and presented devotion to Mary as the most effective means of consecration to Jesus. Therefore, according to Grignion, we ought to entrust ourselves to Mary in imitation of Christ (True Devotion 121, 123, 124). According to Montfort, true devotion "consists in giving oneself entirely to the Blessed Virgin, in order to belong entirely to Jesus Christ through her." (True Devotion, 121) However, the idea of going through Mary to Jesus is much older, and was promoted by such authors as Ildephonse of Toledo (+667), Germanus of Constantinople (+773), John of Damascus (+750), Ambrose Autpert (+781), Fulbert of Chartres (+1028), Odilo of Cluny (+1049), Peter Damian (+1072), Anselm of Lucca (+1086), and Anselm of Canterbury (+1109). Geoffrey of Vend˘me (+1132) would say, for example, "...let us hasten to his mother, and through her to the Son Himself." (PL 157, 266A) And Bernard of Clairvaux insists: "...be careful to commit to Mary the little thou desirest to offer, that the Lord may receive it through her hands...." ("De Nat"., in: Bernard's sermons on the Blessed Virgin Mary. Augustine Publ.: Devon, 1987, 101-103). In Odo of Canterbury (+1200) we find a passage which is even closer to the consecrated expression attributed to Montfort. Odo uses these words: "In fact, one goes to Christ through Mary, one goes to the Son through the Mother. By means of the Mother of Mercy one reaches mercy itself." (Testi Mariani, ed. L. Gambero, vol. 3, 490)