A Selfless Gift…

Total Consecration to Mary is the most beautiful thing I have come across in my spiritual journey. When you consecrate yourself to the Blessed Mother you give her every part of yourself even the merits of your good deeds. One of the most radical things about this to me is that you don’t build up a store of wonderful things you have done to show God on your judgment day anymore because you have given every bit of it away to Mary. She will be your advocate in that moment and what human would God listen to that he would love and honor more than the Mother of His only Son. She knows better than we do who might need that prayer or sacrifice. Another really cool thing about this is that when people ask you to pray for them Mary remembers for you and you just give your little deeds to her and she will see that everyone is taken care of. She is the best mother any of us can have and it is truly wonderful that Jesus invited us into His family so we could share in their love. One of the things I was taught in religion class as a little girl was that if you found a beautiful apple in the dirt and gave it to your father it would be perfect to him because you are giving it to him out of love. If you gave that apple to your mother first she would wash and shine it, she would put that apple on the prettiest plate and make it more pleasing and acceptable to your father. This is what happens when we give Mary our prayers, she takes our imperfect sacrifice and makes it more beautiful and pleasing to our eternal Father in heaven than we could ever hope to on our own.

Now that all sounds great but how do you give yourself to Mary? There are many different publications and programs you can follow and you’ll have to find one that works for you and your life. There is a 33 day preparation period in which you will meditate and learn to die to yourself. Well that sounds a little harsh and more than you’d like to do. Understand dying to self is merely learning to put the needs of others first and teaching you to give more of yourself to Jesus through Mary. The act of consecration after the 33 days does not however mean you’ve made it, dying to self is a continual lifelong process that you need to work on every single day. We are casting off the spirit of the world and all the ties to worldly desires that bind us and make it harder to attain our eternal goal and prize which is heaven. During this period you will learn more about Mary’s role in Jesus’ life and now our lives. We through this endeavor grow in holiness and increase our faith, hope, and love.

I used two different books for my preparation the first was 33 Days to Morning Glory by Michael Gaitley, MIC, The second which was more rigorous and appealing to me was the Manual for Total Consecration published by Saint Benedict Center’s Mancipia Press.

33 Days to Morning Glory introduces you to three holy men and one holy woman. Saint Louis de Montfort is the first week’s topic followed by Saint Maximilian Kolbe, Saint Pope John Paul II, Blessed Mother Theresa, and a review week. The book explains the profound devotion to Jesus through Mary that each of them had so that we may learn by their example.

The Manual for Total Consecration starts the day off with litanies and Marian hymns followed by a scripture reading (which I also used for Lectio Divina) and then mediations from Imitation of Christ or Saint Louis Marie de Montfort’s writings. It is rigorous yet understandable and it helped me grow in my faith.

I made my first Consecration this year on the feast of the Queenship of Mary, Mary Mediatrix of All Grace, and the Visitation of Mary to Saint Elizabeth. It was a beautifully packed feast day and I was also visiting Holy Angels Convent. I look forward to renewing my consecration every year.

SMC sent me pictures of the prayer her community uses every year on the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary to renew their consecration.

Mary, Virgin most powerful and Mother of mercy, Queen of heaven and Refuge of sinners, we consecrate ourselves to your Immaculate Heart. We consecrate to you our very being and our whole life; all that we have, all that we love, all that we are. To you we give our bodies, our hearts, our homes, our families, our country. We desire that all that is in us and around us may belong to you, and may share in the benefits of your motherly blessing.

That this act of consecration may be truly fruitful and lasting, we renew this day at your feet the promises of our baptism and our First Holy Communion.

We pledge ourselves to profess courageously and at all times the truths of our holy Faith, and to live as befits Catholics who are submissive to all the directions of the Pope and the Bishops in communion with him. We pledge ourselves to keep the commandments of God and His Church, in particular to keep holy the Lord’s day. We likewise pledge ourselves to make consoling practices of the Christian religion, and above all Holy Communion as important part of our lives, in so far as we shall be able to do so.

Finally, we promise you, O glorious mother of God and loving mother of men, to devote ourselves wholeheartedly to the spreading of devotion to your Immaculate Heart, In order to hasten and assure, through the queenly rule of your Immaculate Heart the coming of the kingdom of the Sacred Heart of your adorable Son, in our own hearts and in those of all in our country and in all the world, as in heaven so on earth. Amen

When you begin the process of the 33 days you should pick a feast day of the Blessed Mother Mary and begin 34 days before that so when you end your preparation you will consecrate yourself to Mary on her day. Both of the books I used had a cheat sheet that told you when to being based on which feast day you chose. I hope you have or plan on consecrating yourself to Mary, it has helped me more than I can say!

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