A painting of Our Lady of Walsingham, the Catholic national shrine dedicated to Mary in Norfolk, England. CNS photo/courtesy Behold 2020

Speaking Out: Mary devotion leads to Christ

By  Elizabeth Gay, Youth Speak News
  • November 25, 2020

One can never have enough good guidance in this tumultuous world. Intercession through the Mother of God is never in vain.

St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort (1673-1716) wrote in his seminal book True Devotion to Mary that total consecration to the Blessed Virgin can be a great aid to the pilgrims of this world. Montfort was a famous preacher and confessor who challenged the heretical Jansenists (deniers of free will in Roman Catholic doctrine) with his intense reverence to the Heavenly Queen. 

Church leaders have heralded True Devotion to Mary throughout generations and cities and regions have been consecrated to Mary dating back at least to the ninth century. France’s Louis XIII consecrated France to the Virgin Mary in the 17th century, and nations like Portugal soon followed.

Numerous popes have consecrated the world to Mary as well, St. John Paul II having twice done so, in May 1982 and again in March 1984. In 2003 he entrusted Europe to our Lady.

Montfort’s True Devotion to Mary is intended to be read in conjunction with his other work, Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary. The latter publication is a 33-day litany of prayers, readings and meditations that urge soulful reflection, turning from the world and devoting entirely to the Mother of God. 

Totus Tuus ego sum,” one of Montfort’s most celebrated poems, illustrates his devotion as this phrase translates to “I am all yours” in English. This prayer describes how the soul entrusted itself to its spiritual mother who perfectly redirects all glory and devotion to God.

He also expressed this sentiment in A Treatise on the True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin. He wrote: “All our perfection consists in being conformed, united and consecrated to Jesus Christ; and therefore, the most perfect of all devotions is, without any doubt, that which most perfectly conforms, unites and consecrates us to Jesus Christ. Now, Mary being the most conformed of all creatures to Jesus Christ, it follows that, of all devotions, that which most consecrates and conforms the soul to our Lord is devotion to His holy Mother, and that the more a soul is consecrated to Mary, the more it is consecrated to Jesus.”

The consecration to Mary can be observed today. The journey often begins 33 days before a Marian feast. There is a 12-day preparatory period to ensure the participants are not entering the practice lightly. 

The consecration itself opens with three weeks of prayer and meditation. The first week allows the soul to reflect on its own sinfulness but without despairing. The meditations and prayers here help the soul obtain knowledge of itself. 

Week two reflects and meditates in the hope of gaining knowledge of the Blessed Virgin. The prayers are predominantly acts of love which inspire affection and devotion.

The third week studies Christ in His external ministry and the mysteries of His interior life. It looks at His particular relation to His Mother. On Day 27 of the consecration, the meditation reads: “If then we are establishing sound devotion to our Blessed Lady, it is only in order to establish devotion to our Lord more perfectly.” 

Finally, the participants make a final act of consecration to the Blessed Virgin. This act is intended to be renewed daily, monthly or annually.

The total consecration to Mary brings great gifts of grace and peace to the soul which rests in its Mother. However, one should not undertake such a commitment lightly. Mary, come to our aid and lead us to Christ.

(Gay, 20, is a third-year student at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College in Barry’s Bay, Ont.)

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