Okay. You’ve been through St. Louis de Monfort’s classic Preparation for Total Consecration, or Father Michael Gaitley’s wonderful contemporary take on consecration, 33 Days to Morning Glory. Now what? What does it mean to live a life of Marian consecration?
This is where a lot of our non-Catholic brothers and sisters can get a little confused. Consecrated to Mary? Isn’t that crossing the line between veneration and worship?
Part of understanding how to live out a Marian consecration is to remember the complete concept: consecration to Jesus through Mary. Marian consecration is the act of putting ourselves in Mary’s care and trusting her to lead us closer and closer to her Son. Consecration has nothing to do with worship. It’s about sacred dedication to an idea or goal—in this case, the goal of achieving Mary-like devotion to the Son of God.
As you can see in the Gospels, Mary’s life wasn’t complicated (at least on the practical level)—it was demanding and exceptionally painful prior to the Resurrection, but what God called her to was pretty much straightforward.
The same goes for those of us who weren’t immaculately conceived. Consecration of our lives doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are a few ideas to show you what we mean:
1) Say, “Good Morning” to Mary.
When you consecrated yourself to Jesus through Mary, you asked her to be your daily guide toward Jesus. A simple, unhurried morning offering that includes asking Mary to take you by the hand during the day and guide you on a path that’s pleasing to her Son is a wonderful way to renew your consecration every day.
2) Read the Gospels with Mary.
This is especially true of the Gospel According to Luke, which speaks of all the things Mary kept in her heart. Try reading the gospels through Mary’s eyes. Also, when praying the rosary, keep in mind that with each Hail Mary you’re joining the Archangel Gabriel, Saint Elizabeth and the leaping baby in her womb in their biblical proclamation the Incarnation—the ultimate act of surrender to God’s will and the sort of surrender we’re all called to imitate.
3) Be Mary’s slave.
Yep. You read that right. The “slave” terminology use by St. Louis de Montfort can be unsettling, especially to contemporary Americans, so it deserves a closer look. It doesn’t speak to the slavery of shackles, fear and domination. It speaks to a willing slavery of liberty, trust and devotion. The same sense of “slavery” found in the motto of Pope St. John Paul II, “Totus Tuus”—“Totally Yours”—a desire to do whatever Mary asks of us because we trust her to ask only those things she knows are pleasing to her Son.
4) Get to know Mary’s friends
Many of our most beloved saints have relied on Mary with childlike confidence in her motherhood. Seeking out their writings and learning from them about their relationships with Our Lady is a great way to strengthen your own Marian consecration. For instance, take a look at this list of quotations.
5) Wear Mary as your shield.
This one is as uncomplicated as it gets. Whether it’s a Miraculous Medal, a scapular, a picture of Mary in your wallet, or a jpeg of her as the primary image on your smartphone screen, keep Our Lady near in a way that allows you to be reminded of your consecration and her motherly help throughout the day.
Those are just five ways of actively living a Marian consecration. A few minutes on the web will surely yield many more. Perhaps you’ll do us the favor of sharing your own ideas in the com box.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners.