It’s almost Lent. You have to do something. And whatever you do, it should get you closer to Jesus, right?
Maybe this Lent, then, you should take the plunge and consecrate yourself to Jesus through Mary.
For what it’s worth, St. Louis De Montfort said that consecrating yourself to Jesus through Mary – or Marian consecration, as it’s called – “is the safest, easiest, shortest and most perfect way of approaching Jesus.” That’s right: he didn’t use the Oxford comma.
I want that! Well, then, what is it? How do you get consecrated and what does it mean?
To consecrate yourself to Jesus through Mary is, at its core, to say to Mary: totus tuus, “all yours, Mary.” All that is mine is yours and all that is yours is mine. Consecration is to give our whole selves to Jesus through Mary, and in return, to receive him through her.
That’s it. It’s so easy, so short, so safe, so perfect. However, like the “I do” of two married people, this gift of self requires understanding, preparation, a special day, reminders, and renewals. Let’s go through each of these.
To get a better understanding of what it means to consecrate yourself to Jesus through Mary and to get to know Mary better and her role for us, I suggest you read St. Louis De Montfort’s True Devotion to Mary. Pope St. John Paul II himself said “The reading of this book was a decisive turning-point in my life.” True Devotion to Mary was the start of a spiritual journey for him, and it continued right up into his papacy and through it. His papal motto? Totus Tuus. “All yours, Mary.”
To prepare, you will want a guide. Many people use a little booklet called (*deep breath*) Preparation for Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary according to St. Louis De Montfort. This booklet gives short readings and set prayers for you to follow for thirty-three days of preparation prior to making an “act of consecration.” This can be read online, too!
Another great option for preparation is 33 Days To Morning Glory by Fr. Michael Gaitley. This is based off the classic guide to preparation, but it focuses less on long prayers and more on learning more about Jesus and Mary and consecration through the eyes of St. John Paul II, St. Maximilian Kolbe, St. Teresa of Calcutta, and St. Louis De Montfort. This is great if you haven’t read True Devotion but would love to know more about what it is you’re getting yourself into.
The preparation leads up to a special day, the day on which you make an act of consecration. It’s recommended that you go to Mass that day and Confession, that you set aside special time for prayer, and that you even sign a written act of consecration from the back of the preparation booklet. I told you it’s like marriage!
It’s also strongly recommended you have the special day fall on a Marian feast day. One of the most popular is December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. However, if you want to make your consecration this Lent, you should look at March 25, the Solemnity of the Annunciation. If you choose this day, you will want to start Tuesday, February 20 with a 33-day preparation. That’s (*check watch*) next week! Let’s go!
Once you’re consecrated, your whole life is Mary’s and hers is yours. What that means, practically, you will figure out for yourself in your daily life, but a lot of people use a reminder to help keep their consecration forefront in their minds. As a wedding ring symbolizes you are bound to another person forever, many people wear a small chain around their wrist to symbolize their connection to Mary and their service of Jesus through her.
Likewise, just as a wedding anniversary needs celebration and even renewal of vows, it is encouraged that you make again a renewal of consecration on the anniversary (so, the same feast day) or another day. You also can make this renewal every time you say again those simple words, totus tuus. “Mary, I am thine, and all I have is thine. Make of me what you will.”
Many speak of their lives “pre-conversion,” and others speak of “pre-consecration,” it is that huge for many of them. Do you want that? Do you need it?
I know for me, I need to renew my own consecration, and I plan to do that this Lent, starting February 20 and ending March 25 on the Annunciation. It’s a Solemnity, too, so I can have my cake and eat it!
So that’s a primer on consecration to Jesus through Mary! I would love to hear your stories, your questions, what it’s meant for you, and how you live it out, so leave a note in the comments! God bless you, stay close to Jesus through Mary.