A year ago, I could never have imagined myself doing this. 10 years ago, I would have thought I’d lost my mind :). But never say never is a lesson I’ve learned over and over and over! What am I doing? I am consecrating myself to Mary.
At the beginning of my Catholic conversion, I did not feel a particular affection for Mary. I certainly had nothing against her, but I guess I didn’t feel I knew her very well. Other things drew my attention like the Benedictines and the Liturgy of the Hours. But in year two, the year I actually became Catholic, Mary began to draw me to her.
At first, I went from praying the rosary occasionally and sometimes once weekly to once a day. Boy, did that draw me closer to Mary! I began to read about saints who had a particular devotion to her and I desired to know more about Mary. I read Marge Fenelon‘s “Imitating Mary,” which is a great read on relating Mary to our own lives. It looks at each of the stories in the Bible about Mary and contemplates how she might have felt and how we can relate as women and mothers.
Then, I felt called to read some of the works of St. Louis de Monfort, a saint who was a true devotee to Mary. This is where I learned about Total Consecration to Mary. This is a tough concept to get your mind around, and as you read this, if this is new to you, I encourage you just to ponder it. Let it float around in your head, read more and keep contemplating before you make up your mind. It takes some study to truly understand the concept, and once you get, I promise, you’ll really get it! Remember, never say never! Here goes…
Total Consecration involves giving yourself and the merits of your works here on earth to Mary for safekeeping and for distribution. So all the sufferings and sacrifices I undergo, all the penances I place on myself and all the good works I do are given to Mary for her to dole out as grace to whomever she deems. AND, it involves offering yourself as a “slave” to Mary to let her mold you within her womb in the image of her son.
So on first read, this is a scary and revolutionary prospect. I definitely almost had jaws fall open as I read it myself. But I kept reading because I wanted to understand it. The Church has approved it, approved all of St. Louis’ writings and many popes have consecrated themselves. So it MUST be something good :).
Lots of people get stuck on “slave” and “letting Mary collect and distribute the merits of our works.” This takes humility and trust. “Slave” is a word St. Paul used many times in a good way. If we are slaves to Christ, which in this instance we are through the guidance of his mother Mary, it’s good! He will direct us and use us for good! For saving souls! He knows infinitely more than we do. Shouldn’t we trust his guidance rather than our own? Surrendering our will to his is a biggie, but reaps untold benefits not just for our souls but for all souls.
Secondly, I had the hardest time with the idea that I couldn’t direct my works toward the benefit of certain people any more. So here’s what I did. I decided that “just today” I would give to Mary the benefit of my works and see how it felt. Well, gosh darn, it felt great, so I did it again and again and again. I haven’t done Total Consecration yet (I’m going through the process with Gary Zimak to be finished October 7), but I’m still giving Mary all my works and you would not believe the miracles and amazing things that have happened to me. None of the people I pray for have suffered, and in fact, it seems, that they’ve benefited all the more. Gary Zimak says that Mary takes your merits and multiples them, so there’s more to go around. So perhaps Mary decides not only to help the family member you’ve prayed for, but is able to help another soul in purgatory or across the world, as well.
I have seen my family members healed, take 180-degree mental turns, had an opportunity to work with someone I never could have imagined, and so much more. That said, I have also been “pruned” and “molded” quite a bit too. It’s a bit painful and unpleasant, but I see what’s happening. God is taking things away from me that I don’t need and giving me infinitely better things; that’s just part of the molding. It’s truly awe-inspiring.
So I think I’m on the right path… I KNOW I’m on the right path. We may still need to get our brains to understand the concept, but let me tell you, your soul will get it!
I’ll talk more about Total Consecration in future blog posts, as there’s a lot more to it and I don’t want anyone to think it’s about worshiping Mary. It’s instead about taking advantage of Mary’s guidance, wisdom and parenting (which God chose to use to raise his only Son for THIRTY years) to bring us more quickly and more perfectly to her son. I like to think of the mystery of the finding in the temple. Mary is our guide to find Jesus and he’s always in his Father’s house.
Anyone already done Total Consecration? How did it change your life? Please send any questions you have and I’ll do my best to answer them as a Consecration Newbie :). Blessed Virgin, Pray for Us!
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