|As Jesus wanted to go through Mary to come to us, we must go through Mary to come to Jesus. — Saint Louis Marie de Montfort
On Good Friday, when Jesus was crucified, His Mother, the Virgin Mary and St. John, the beloved disciple, stood at the foot of the Cross. Moments before dying, Jesus said to his mother: “Woman, behold your son.” Then he said to the disciple: “Behold your Mother. ” (John 19:27.) Since that time, all Christians are children of Mary, who desires nothing but to lead us all to her Son Jesus. The last chapter of the Constitution Lumen Gentium on the Church, from the Second Vatican Council, is devoted to Mary’s special role of intercession.
To consecrate oneself to Mary is to choose, after the example of many saints of the Church, to belong to her in a special way to follow Jesus with her and through her. We need only to think of the recent examples of Pope John Paul II and our current Pope Francis. This approach is certainly not essential to salvation, since Christ crucified is our only Redeemer. However, this approach, which is recommended by the Church, is “an easy way to obtain from God the grace to become a saint,” as stated by St. Louis Marie Grignon de Montfort, in his Treatise on True Devotion to Mary.
It is God’s Will that all Christians consecrate themselves to Mary. In her Apparitions at Fatima in Portugal in 1917, the Virgin Mary said to the three young seers, “You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart.”
The word “consecrate” means “to sanctify oneself with.” So to consecrate oneself to Jesus through Mary, is to sanctify oneself with Mary. In a conference, Most Rev. Jean Ntagwarara , Bishop of Bubanza, Burundi, explained the meaning of the consecration to Mary:
“What does consecration mean? To be consecrated is to be set apart for God, and God alone. It means to give oneself freely for his glory.
“Jesus is the first consecrated person: he consecrated himself to his Father by coming into the world: “Behold, I come to do your will.” ( Hebrews 10:9.) His consecration is animated by divine love, perfect love. And because it is perfect, it is the only act definitively approved by God.
“All other acts of consecration refer to Jesus: ‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’ (John 14:6.) “And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth.” (John 17:19.) The baptized Christian is consecrated to God the Father, through Jesus Christ, in the Holy Spirit.
“The baptismal consecration is the foundation of all our other consecrations: The Profession of Faith, the consecration in an association of lay faithful, the prayer of consecration according to Saint Louis Marie de Montfort, etc., all this is not an addition but simply a deepening, a development, an explanation of the baptismal consecration.
“You can consecrate yourself through someone on two conditions: first, that it is a consecration to God, and secondly, that the intermediary is already consecrated to God totally and permanently. This person is a model and an aid.
“Consecration to Mary can have no other purpose than being united with Jesus. We can therefore consecrate ourselves to God through Mary, since Mary is consecrated to God: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38.) To consecrate oneself to God through Mary is also to recognize the mission that Mary received at Calvary, when Jesus said to his mother: ‘Woman, behold your son’. Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold your mother.’ (Jn 19:26-27.)
“To consecrate oneself to God through Mary is also to imitate Jesus who came and gave himself to Mary in the Incarnation. Jesus is the first one who consecrated himself to Mary. What can we do better than imitate Jesus!”
The text that best explains why we should consecrate ourselves to Mary is the Treatise on True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, written in 1712 by St. Louis Marie Grignon de Montfort (1673-1716), a great Marian apostle of Brittany, France, declared a saint by Pope Pius XII in 1947. According to Montfort, it is in the interest of every Christian to completely surrender to the love of the Mother of God, who constantly intercedes with Jesus and the Father on behalf of all men, and as She is immaculate, conceived without sin, God can only accept the requests that come from Mary. The heart of the consecration to Mary according to Louis -Marie de Montfort’s formula is summarized in these words:
“This day, with the whole court of heaven as witness, I choose you, Mary, as my Mother and Queen. I surrender and consecrate myself to you, body and soul, with all that I possess, both spiritual and material, even including the spiritual value of all my actions, past, present, and to come. I give you the full right to dispose of me and all that belongs to me, without any reservations, in whatever way you please, for the greater glory of God in time and throughout eternity.”
One can read, in paragraphs 120 and 123 of Montfort’s book:
As all perfection consists in our being conformed, united and consecrated to Jesus, it naturally follows that the most perfect of all devotions is that which conforms, unites, and consecrates us most completely to Jesus. Now of all God’s creatures Mary is the most conformed to Jesus. It therefore follows that, of all devotions, devotion to her makes for the most effective consecration and conformity to him. The more one is consecrated to Mary, the more one is consecrated to Jesus. That is why perfect consecration to Jesus is but a perfect and complete consecration of oneself to the Blessed Virgin, which is the devotion I teach; or in other words, it is the perfect renewal of the vows and promises of holy Baptism. This devotion consists in giving oneself entirely to Mary in order to belong entirely to Jesus through her.
It follows then that by this devotion we give to Jesus all we can possibly give him, and in the most perfect manner, that is, through Mary’s hands...
The Immaculate Heart of Mary
|Bl. Jacinta Marto
Jacinta Marto, one of the three children who received messages from the Virgin Mary at Fatima, Portugal, in 1917, died at the age of 9 on February 20, 1920, and was declared blessed by St. John Paul II in Fatima on May 13, 2000. Not long before her death, she said the following to her cousin Lucia, who was also present during the Apparitions of Mary:
“Soon I shall go to Heaven. You are to stay here to reveal that the Lord wants to establish throughout the world the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. When you start to reveal this, don’t hesitate. Tell everyone that Our Lord grants us all graces through the Immaculate Heart of Mary; that all must make their petitions to Her; that the Sacred Heart of Jesus desires that the Immaculate Heart of Mary be venerated at the same time. Tell them that they should all ask for peace from the Immaculate Heart of Mary, as God has placed it in Her hands. Oh, if I could only put in the heart of everyone in the world the fire that is burning in me and makes me love so much the Heart of Mary!”
Saint Maximilian Kolbe, the Franciscan Polish priest who died as a martyr and was a great devotee to Mary, wrote:
“Modern times are dominated by Satan and will be more so in the future. The conflict with Hell cannot be engaged by men, even the most clever. The Immaculata alone has from God the promise of victory over Satan.
“However, assumed into Heaven, the Mother of God now requires our cooperation. She seeks souls who will consecrate themselves entirely to her, who will become in her hands effective instruments for the defeat of Satan and the spreading of God’s kingdom upon earth.”