TOTAL CONSECRATION TO JESUS CHRIST THROUGH THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. The underlying message of the aforementioned feast is the need for the consecration or total offering or total dedication of oneself to God. We are privileged in our age to have an answer for such genuine need. It is total consecration to Jesus Christ through the hands of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
After the celebration and devotion to the Holy Mass, the Catholic Church is still blessed with numerous spiritualities and devotions to sustain the fruits and effects of Holy Mass as we engage in our daily activities. Hence, the gift of the special devotion to Mary, which is also known severally as, True Devotion to Mary, Total Consecration to Jesus Christ Wisdom Incarnate through the hands of Mary, Perfect Consecration to Jesus and perfect renewal of our Baptismal vows, and so forth. It is interesting to note that Total Consecration to Jesus is not a new devotion yet not common. It has been there right from the foundations of Christianity and “…if it is not common, that is because it is too precious to be relished and practiced by everyone.” Before now, it was practised only in the Monasteries, Friaries and Convents. Thanks to St. Louis-Marie de Montfort, who as a student Librarian discovered the manuscripts of the devotion and re-organized them into his masterpiece: True Devotion to Mary. He was burning with the love for Jesus and Mary and had the missionary zeal to lead people to embrace the intimate love that exist between Jesus and Mary.
Our entire spiritual life and the call to holiness need catalysts to fan to flames this wonderful vocation. St. Louis-Marie de Montfort discovered that Jesus had given us the secret through the mystery of Incarnation. That is where Jesus who is our God came to save us through the path or hands of Mary. Hence, we who are disciples of Jesus and those who ought to imitate him in all things have to walk in his footsteps; consequently, we walk always “To Jesus through Mary” as Jesus came to us mortal sinners through Mary.
The devotion is simply about daily conversion from sin, daily renewal of our baptismal vows since that is the benchmark of our faith. Again, it is a means of completely surrendering ourselves to Jesus. By surrendering everything, we gain everything – holiness, happiness, peace, success, freedom and love. Unfortunately, most times we act like the rich young man in the Bible. We are frightened when asked to give up everything and follow Jesus. St. Louis-Marie de Montfort leads us to Jesus through Mary and shows us how easy it is to consecrate our lives and still fulfil our daily obligations of living a life in this world. This devotion affords us the easy, short, secure and perfect ways to reach Jesus without stress. The reason is that by this devotion we ask for nothing but receives everything because we no longer do things the way we want but as it pleases Mary our proximate end who presents all our doings to Jesus on our behalf. By this devotion, Mary becomes our supplement and guide to Jesus. Moreover, the devotion is to speed up our conversion process and enable us to attain a sound Christian maturity. It is a means to help us jump up those spiritual bridges that barricade our road to spiritual progress. Interestingly, in our contemporary age, we have eminent sons and daughters of the Church that have treaded this noble path – Frank Duff the founder of the Legion of Mary have recommended, “Legionaries should undertake De Montfort’s True Devotion to Mary.” We also have Pope St. John Paul II whose conversion experience was so powerful that he spent his pontificate speaking about Marian Spirituality, culminating in his greatest legacy to Catholics – the Mysteries of Light of the Rosary. Let us also recall Mother St. Teresa of Calcutta and her great works of charity and showing the face of God to the poor of the society.
Finally the devotion is inaugurated by a solemn preparation for 33-days after which we consecrate ourselves to Jesus through Mary on a particular feast day of our Lady. The feasts are those of the Annunciation of the Lord (20th February – 25th March), Visitation (April 28th – 31st May), Assumption (13th July – 15th August), and Immaculate Conception (5th November – 8th December). At last, the consecration helps us to have a Marian orbit around Jesus and by identity, we become slaves of love. Note this form of consecration is unique and different from all other forms. A trial will convince you! Taste and see that the Lord is good.
Fr. John-Mary Atep.