TOTAL CONSECRATION TO JESUS THROUGH MARY
A BASIC ORIENTATION
An excerpt from the revised handbook for preparation for the Total Consecration.
WHAT IS THE BASIS FOR THIS TOTAL CONSECRATION?
St. Louis de Montfort recognized that at its very foundation Christian life is nothing less than a participation in the life of Jesus Christ. Through baptism we belong completely to Christ and holiness, therefore, is the common vocation of all Christians.
The spirituality of total consecration that Montfort proposes bases itself in this reality which is the central mystery of Christianity – by means of his Incarnation and Cross, Jesus Christ has saved us and has made us true children of God the Father, filled with his Holy
Spirit. This is to say, Jesus, the Son of God the Father has shared in our human condition in every way so that we may be given a sharing in his Divine life. This sharing of Jesus is not a partial sharing, but a complete sharing. He has given himself to us even to the point of sharing our dying so that we may share in everything with him.
This sharing includes his relation with Mary because he who is truly the Son of the Almighty Father is also the son of Mary. Furthermore, because Jesus has given himself completely to us through Mary, those who wish to give themselves completely to Christ must do the same. Through Mary salvation came into our world and through Mary we can experience the fullness of this same salvation which is nothing less than a total sharing, a profound participation, in the life of Jesus Christ. In the words of Louis de Montfort, no one can truly be a child of God the Father without also being a child of Mary.
DOES GIVING SO MUCH IMPORTANCE TO MARY TAKE AWAY
FROM THE IMPORTANCE OF JESUS?
Montfort writes, “If we seek to establish a true and solid devotion to the most holy Virgin, it is only in order to more perfectly establish devotion to Jesus Christ and to offer a secure and easy means of coming to him. This devotion is necessary for us to perfectly reach
Jesus Christ, to love him with tenderness and to serve him with fidelity.” This is because “The strongest tendency of Mary is to unite us to Jesus Christ, her Son, and the greatest desire of her Son is that we come to him by means of his most holy Mother.” Recognizing
this, Montfort insisted that “The one who desires to posses fruit that is ripe and beautifully formed must have access to the tree that produces it. Whoever desires the fruit of life – Jesus Christ – must possess the tree of life which is Mary. Whoever desires that the Holy
Spirit move powerfully within him must have his inseparable spouse, Mary most holy.” And, in even stronger terms, “I personally believe that no one can arrive at a truly intimate union with our Lord and a perfect fidelity to the Holy Spirit without a very profound union with the most holy Virgin and a true dependence upon her support.”
HOW DO I PREPARE TO MAKE THIS TOTAL CONSECRATION TO JESUS THROUGH MARY?
At base, the process of preparation consists in two movements:
- Emptying oneself of the spirit of the world.
- Filling oneself with the spirit of Jesus Christ.
These are the two basic movements of Montfort spirituality.
In order to make the first movement one sets aside at least twelve days to learn to recognize the spirit of the world and its effect upon our lives. One struggles against this spirit and its false wisdom by means of prayer and mortification in order to perceive more clearly the light of the Gospel. After renouncing the spirit of the world one cannot remain empty, and, therefore, one must become filled with the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
This second movement unfolds by means of three related steps:
- One week dedicated to coming to a more profound knowledge of oneself during which we wish to become truly aware of our tendencies to sin and to acquire a spirit of genuine humility.
- One week dedicated to coming to a more profound knowledge of the Virgin Mary during which we wish to more fully open our lives to her presence.
- One week dedicated to coming to a more profound knowledge of Jesus Christ in which we seek to permit the light of our knowledge of ourselves and our knowledge of Mary to illuminate our relationship to Jesus so that we may participate more fully in his life and mission.
The process of preparation lasts for thirty-three days. At the conclusion of these thirty-three days, one makes a personal Act of Total Consecration in private and should then join with the other members of the group in bringing the process to a grace-filled conclusion by means of a celebrating the communal Act of Total Consecration during the celebration of the Eucharist. One should celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation prior to making the Act of Total Consecration.