“But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19)
It is unlikely that anyone reading this would disagree that the age of Mary is upon us. Long have we been waiting for the privileged time when Christ will once again reveal himself through the “Fiat!” of his most holy Mother. As I was preparing this newsletter I happened upon this quote from one of Fr. Robert Altier’s homliies:
“Saint Louis de Montfort says that the kingdom of Mary must be established firmly on earth before the kingdom of Christ will come, and that as Our Lady came before Jesus two thousand years ago so it will happen again. The first time, for both Our Lady and Our Lord, it was very much hidden; this time, for neither will it be hidden. Our Lady is going to come to establish justice on the earth and that is going to be followed by a lengthy period of peace.”
Certainly this falls in line with the messages of approved apparitions such as Fatima, Lourdes, and Akita, and indeed with many of the messages from apparitions that have not yet been either approved or condemned by the Church. So we are filled with joyful hope, even though the messages often come with warnings of chastisement if the world does not repent. When we see the depths of sin into which the world has fallen without having given any credence to the Mother of God, there is little else to do but pray that God will soon put an end to the reign evil through the Triumph of her most Immaculate Heart. We look forward to the Sabbath rest that has been foretold to follow the time of correction that is coming to the world.
It is good for us to ponder Our Lady’s messages on any feast day of Mary, but most especially at the beginning of a new year. She has given us an example to follow, she who pondered invites us also to internalize all that Jesus presents to us through her.
This is especially true for penitents. Mary herself was a silent penitent throughout her life, most notably when she had to endure so many years on earth without Jesus after his ascension. Imagine the loss that must have been for her! Her Heart was in heaven, while her body remained on earth. What agony! What she desired more than life itself, she set aside in deference to the holy, unfathomable will of God. What we owe to those years of suffering we will not know fully until it is revealed to us in heaven. What we do know is that in every moment of her life, Mary freely chose to die to self rather than live outside the will of God. Penitents and all souls would do well to ponder on and imitate the heroic virtue of our Mother.
In his “Treatise on True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin,” St. Louis-Marie de Montfort explains how we need Mary in order to die to ourselves:
“…In order to empty ourselves of self, we must die daily to ourselves. This involves our renouncing what the powers of the soul and the senses of the body incline us to do. We must see as if we did not see, hear as if we did not hear and use the things of this world as if we did not use them. This is what St. Paul calls “dying daily”. Unless the grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single grain and does not bear any good fruit. If we do not die to self and if our holiest devotions do not lead us to this necessary and fruitful death, we shall not bear fruit of any worth and our devotions will cease to be profitable. All our good works will be tainted by self-love and self-will so that our greatest sacrifices and our best actions will be unacceptable to God. Consequently when we come to die we shall find ourselves devoid of virtue and merit and discover that we do not possess even one spark of that pure love which God shares only with those who have died to themselves and whose life is hidden with Jesus Christ in him.” (St. Louis-Marie de Montfort, True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, No. 81)
The devotion to which St. Louis-Marie de Montfort refers is “total consecration” to the Blessed Virgin in the aspect of holy slavery. He says, “we must choose among all the devotions to the Blessed Virgin the one which will lead us more surely to this dying to self. This devotion will be the best and the most sanctifying for us.” He explains that while all approved Marian devotions are bound to bear good fruit, total consecration is a short-cut to holiness and the most expedient route to the Heart of Jesus.
The Montfortian 33 day consecration is meant to end on a feast day of Our Lady. If you would like to order a free booklet please visit this website: http://www.myconsecration.org/. Otherwise the booklet in its entirety is available on various Catholic websites including this one: http://www.fisheaters.com/totalconsecrationmontfort.html.
There is also the simpler, but very beautiful consecration book 33 Days to Morning Glory by Fr. Michael Gaitley also available for a minimal cost through http://www.myconsecration.org/.
There is another consecration that is a bit more in-depth, but wow! so beautiful and beneficial. That is “The Virgin Mary in the Kingdom of the Divine Will” available as a pdf download.
So, make or renew your consecration. Once you make it you should renew it every year, but I think it is ok to change the version you use from time to time. The Montfortian consecration was credited by Blessed Pope John Paul II to having been the reason he devoted his papacy to Our Lady. Once we have made our consecration we too can take as our own the motto he chose for his papal crest: “Totus Tuus”. Mary, most holy Mother of God, we are totally yours! Amen.