Are we living in the End Times? Many people think the Second Coming imminent, finding signs of the Apocalypse everywhere. One of those signs, according to St. Louis de Montfort will be a great number of souls who have been consecrated to Mary. In True Devotion to Mary St Louis de Montfort says:
“that this will happen especially towards the end of the world, and indeed soon, because Almighty God and his holy Mother are to raise up great saints who will surpass in holiness most other saints as much as the cedars of Lebanon tower above little shrubs…These great souls filled with grace and zeal will be chosen to oppose the enemies of God who are raging on all sides. They will be exceptionally devoted to the Blessed Virgin. Illumined by her light, strengthened by her food, guided by her spirit, supported by her arm, sheltered under her protection, they will fight with one hand and build with the other. With one hand they will give battle, overthrowing and crushing heretics and their heresies, schismatics and their schisms, idolaters and their idolatries, sinners and their wickedness. With the other hand they will build the temple of the true Solomon and the mystical city of God, namely, the Blessed Virgin, who is called by the Fathers of the Church the Temple of Solomon and the City of God. By word and example they will draw all men to a true devotion to her and though this will make many enemies, it will also bring about many victories and much glory to God alone.”
If the great Marian saint is correct, then we should expect to see more and more people giving themselves to Jesus through Mary in consecration. For many of us though, Marian consecration remains a mystery. With that in mind, we will examine exactly what Marian consecration consists in.
The term consecration can lead to some initial confusion. In the proper sense, to be consecrated means to be set aside and made holy. Only God can make someone holy. As a lover though God does not force anything upon us. Instead He freely offers Himself to us and awaits our response. This response is usually called Devotion. It involves a decision to dedicate yourself to God and to allow this decision to give direction to all of your thoughts and actions. This back and forth exchange between God and ourselves is usually described using the term Consecration.
Admittedly, the idea of consecration to anyone other than God, even to Mary seems antithetical to the Gospel. We would be no better than the Israelites and their Golden Calf in that regard if our consecration were to anything other than God. So to be clear, when we speak of Marian Consecration, we mean “giving ourselves entirely to the Blessed Virgin, in order to belong entirely to Jesus through her” (St. Louis Marie Grignon de Montfort, True Devotion to Mary, No. 121). In other words, Marian Consecration is more about how this consecration to God can best be accomplished.
God consecrates us through Baptism. By being baptized into Christ, we become partakers of the divine life. He became humanly divine so that we might become divinely human. As Scripture and the Church testify, the only means of consecrating ourselves to God is by giving ourselves to Jesus so that all facets of His life might be reproduced in us. We must do as He said and do as He did. We must become not just hearers of His word, but doers. But nearly all the saints have testified that the surest commandment He gave was to “Behold your Mother.”
What Our Lord was doing was not merely making a plan so His Mother would be taken care of but setting up a relationship between His disciples and His Mother. John, like the rest of her offspring has been entrusted to the Woman (Rev 12:17).
This relationship is a true relationship of mother and child and not merely a metaphorical one. St. John Paul II, emphasizing how true motherhood always involves the child entrusting himself to the mother said:
“Of the essence of motherhood is the fact that it concerns the person. Motherhood always establishes a unique and unrepeatable relationship between two people: between mother and child and between child and mother. Even when the same woman is the mother of many children, her personal relationship with each one of them is of the very essence of motherhood…It can be said that motherhood ‘in the order of grace’ preserves the analogy with what ‘in the order of nature’ characterizes the union between mother and child. In the light of this fact it becomes easier to understand why in Christ’s testament on Golgotha his Mother’s new motherhood is expressed in the singular, in reference to one man: ‘Behold your son.’ It can also be said that these same words fully show the reason for the Marian dimension of the life of Christ’s disciples. This is true not only of John, who at that hour stood at the foot of the Cross together with his Master’s Mother, but it is also true of every disciple of Christ, of every Christian. The Redeemer entrusts his mother to the disciple, and at the same time he gives her to him as his mother. Mary’s motherhood, which becomes man’s inheritance, is a gift: a gift which Christ himself makes personally to every individual. The Redeemer entrusts Mary to John because he entrusts John to Mary…And all of this can be included in the word ‘entrusting.’ Such entrusting is the response to a person’s love, and in particular to the love of a mother” (Redemptoris Mater, 45).
So, while the method of consecration may be humanly instituted, Marian Consecration itself is divinely instituted. The Marian Pope’s emphasis on the word “entrusts.” This sets up a special kind of relationship that is entirely personal. Like all personal relationships, it requires a personal response, namely, “taking her into his own home.”
Summarizing, Pope St. John Paul II said that, “Consecrating ourselves to Mary means accepting her help to offer ourselves and the whole of mankind to Him who is holy, infinitely holy; it means accepting her help – by having recourse to her motherly heart which, beneath the Cross was open to love for every human being, for the whole world – in order to offer the world, the individual human being, mankind as a whole, and all the nations to Him who is infinitely holy” (Homily at Fatima May 13, 1982).
Practically speaking, how does one do this? It starts with reading St. Louis de Montfort’s True Devotion to Mary. Many saints (including John Paul II) read this book because it lays out the reasons why Marian consecration is vital to the Christian life, especially in the more troubling times. After reading that, you pick a Marian feast day on which you wish to perform the act of consecration. Then you should pick one of three methods of preparation. You can use St. Louis de Montfort’s 33-day plan detailed with all the daily prayers in this link (see Step 3). Fr. Michael Gaitley has simplified the 33-day preparation plan in a book called 33 Days to Morning Glory. There is also a 9-day plan laid out by St. Maximilian Kolbe. The main difference between the two sets of plans is that St. Maximillian’s is more apostolic and corporate in nature since it involves enrolling in the Militia Immaculata confraternity.
We close with one of the earliest consecration prayers—St. John Damascene’s Prayer of Consecration from 720 AD:
“We are present before you, O Lady, Lady I say and again Lady, binding our souls to our hope in you, and as to a most secure and firm anchor, to you we consecrate our minds, our souls, our bodies, in a word, our very selves, honoring you with psalms, hymns and spiritual canticles, insofar as we are able-even though it is impossible to do so worthily. If truly, as the sacred word has taught us, the honor paid to our fellow servants testifies to our good will towards our common Master, how could we neglect honoring you who have brought forth your Master? In this way we can better show our attachment to our Master.” (St John Damascene, First Sermon on the Dormition)