Lady’s Night — Total Consecration
Ash Wednesday is just around the corner. It is, of course, the start of the liturgical season of Lent: a time to fast, pray, and give alms.
This year, Ash Wednesday is also the start of the preparation to renew my consecration to Jesus through Our Lady. It has been almost 4 years, on the Solemnity of the Annunciation, since I stood before the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the outdoor shrine at the Parish of St. Vincent Ferrer and pronounced the following 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, as your slave, with all that I posses, both spiritual and material, even including the 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."
The formula I used for the consecration as well as for the preparation stage came from St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort. Although you can consecrate yourself to Jesus through Our Lady at any time and without any specific preparation, it is greatly recommended that you choose a special feast day (like the Solemnity of the Assumption or of the Immaculate Conception) and take the 33 days beforehand to spiritually prepare yourself.
For me, I renew my consecration on every anniversary. If you haven’t already made an act of total consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary, I would like to invite all of you to join me in consecrating yourself to Our Lady, Mother, and Queen on this upcoming Solemnity of the Annunciation.
Usually, the Solemnity of the Annunciation is on March 25th, however, since that day falls on a Sunday, this solemnity is transferred to Monday, March 26th.
Why would anyone consecrate himself or herself to Jesus through Mary in the first place?
Well, it seems to me that such a consecration is a complement to my baptism. For, Our Lady helps me to live my baptismal promises, to embody the one faith in her Son, and to proclaim the Good News to the ends of the earth. Additionally, such a consecration—like all Marian devotion—has Christ as its center and its end. Thus, one is following the example of God the Father who chose to entrust the Savior of the World to the care of Our Lady. So, too, we entrust ourselves in all our entirety and without reserve to the maternal Heart of the Blessed Virgin.
Also, I find it particularly comforting to know that Bl. John Paul the Great more than likely made a total consecration himself, for he took his motto from the prayer that St. Louis-Marie de Montfort suggests that one pray before Holy Communion after making his or her consecration: TOTUS TUUS ego sum et omnia mea tua sunt. Accipio te in mea omnia. Praebe mihi cor tuum, Maria. (I belong entire to you, and all that I have is yours. I take you for my all. O Mary, give me your heart.)
How does one follow the Montfortian formula and preparation for total consecration to Jesus Christ, Wisdom incarnate, through the hands of Mary?
I recommend getting this book (which can also be found in many Catholic book stores). Or you can click this link for an online version, or you can even get the Total Consecration app on iTunes for $0.99!!!
For me, our meeting has been a deep and moving experience of your faith in Christ, and I make my own the words of St. Paul: “I have great confidence in you, I have great pride in you; I am filled with encouragement, I am overflowing with joy” (2 Cor. 7:4). These are not words of empty praise. I am confident that you have grasped the scale of the challenge that lies before you and that you will have the wisdom and courage to meet that challenge. So much depends on you…
Young pilgrims, Christ needs you to enlighten the world and to show it the “path to life” (Ps. 16:11). The challenge is to make the church’s yes to life concrete and effective. The struggle will be long, and it needs each one of you. Place your intelligence, your talents, your enthusiasm, your compassion and your fortitude at the service of life!
Have no fear. The outcome of the battle for life is already decided, even though the struggle goes on against great odds and with much suffering…At this stage of history, the liberating message of the Gospel of life has been put into your hands. And the mission of proclaiming it to the ends of the earth is now passing to your generation. Like the great apostle Paul, you too must feel the full urgency of the task: “Woe to me if I do not evangelize” (1 Cor. 9:16). Woe to you if you do not succeed in defending life. The church needs your energies, your enthusiasm, your youthful ideals, in order to make the Gospel of life penetrate the fabric of society, transforming people’s hearts and the structures of society in order to create a civilization of true justice and love. Now more than ever, in a world that is often without light and without the courage of noble ideals, people need the fresh, vital spirituality of the Gospel.
Do not be afraid to go out on the streets and into public places like the first apostles, who preached Christ and the good news of salvation in the squares of cities, towns and villages. This is no time to be ashamed of the Gospel (cf. Rom. 1: 16). It is the time to preach it from the rooftops (cf. Mt. 10:27). Do not be afraid to break out of comfortable and routine modes of living in order to take up the challenge of making Christ known in the modern “metropolis.” It is you who must “go out into the byroads” (Mt 22:9) and invite everyone you meet to the banquet which God has prepared for his people. The Gospel must not be kept hidden because of fear or indifference. It was never meant to be hidden away in private. It has to be put on a stand so that people may see its light and give praise to our heavenly Father (cf. Mt. 5:15-16)…
Christ needs laborers ready to work in his vineyard. May you, the Catholic young people of the world, not fail him. In your hands, carry the cross of Christ. On your lips, the words of life. In your hearts, the saving grace of the Lord.— Homily of Bl. John Paul the Great at the Closing Mass of World Youth Day in Denver, 1993