As Catholics, we have an incredibly rich spiritual buffet presented to us. Holy Mother Church offers prayers, devotions, liturgies, and traditions that speak to every personality and life stage of her children. One such tradition that has been practiced throughout the centuries is Marian consecration. Consecrating oneself to Our Lady is a profoundly spiritual and impactful path to sanctity.
What is Marian Consecration?
One of the definitions for the word “consecrate” is to “dedicate formally to a religious or divine purpose” (source).
Marian consecration is the act of entrusting one’s body, soul, possessions, works, and entire life to the protection, guidance, and intercession of Our Lady.
The act of entrusting oneself to Mary’s care and intercession is nothing new. Jesus Himself entrusted His beloved disciple, John, to Mary while He was on the Cross (John 19:26-27). The early Christians and Church fathers recognized Mary’s holiness and her significance as the Mother of God. We’ve been asking for Mary’s intercession and intervention in our lives since the beginning of the Church. She is, after all, our mother, too.
A more formal method of consecration to Mary was developed by Saint Louis de Montfort in the 1600s. His 33-day prayer consists of short instructions on why one would even consecrate themselves to Mary in the first place (more on that below) and praying the Rosary and other various prayers to Mary and God. This period of prayer culminates in a beautiful prayer of consecration that one makes in conjunction with the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the reception of Holy Communion, ideally on a Marian feast day.
Why Should I Consecrate Myself to Mary?
What’s the point of consecration to Mary, anyway? What if I already have a devotion to Mary, pray the Rosary, and ask for her intercession?
Consecration to Mary is simply a furthering and deepening of our devotion to and relationship with Jesus through Our Lady. If you already have an affection for Mary and talk to her often, consecration is a natural next step. But even you don’t really know Our Lady yet and aren’t convinced of the hype, Marian consecration can be that bridge that unites you to her more deeply.
When we consecrate ourselves to Mary, we give her our entire lives and selves as well as the merits of all our prayers and works in order to belong more fully to Our Lord. We give Mary everything we are and do to present to the Lord and use at her disposal.
Why give Mary everything? Because she’s a good mom. She only wants what’s best for us and for all her children. Mary wants us to know, love, and serve Jesus more. She wants us to get to Heaven even more than we do. She’s invested in our happiness, both temporal and eternal. Mary takes all the good we are and do, adds her grace, and presents us to her Son. The best part? When she presents us to Jesus, in all our littleness and with all our feeble efforts, He does not refuse her, because she never refuses Him.
Can’t I Just Consecrate Myself to God?
Yes! And ultimately, that’s exactly what Marian Consecration accomplishes. When we consecrate our selves to Mary, really we are consecrating ourselves to Jesus through Mary. They are so intimately united that truly giving ourselves to Mary can lead to nothing but total surrender to God.
By consecrating ourselves to Mary, we leap with faith and joy into the arms of our mom, knowing that she advocates for us, loves us, and wants to see us become saints. We cannot go wrong with Marian Consecration.
Want to learn more about Our Lady, check out these books about her!
What Do I Need to Start My Marian Consecration?
To complete a Marian consecration, you really just need a willing heart. Just begin with a desire to know Jesus more deeply through His Mother.
You’ll probably also want a guide. St. Louis de Montfort’s Preparation for Total Consecration is timeless and has been used for decades.
St. Maximilian Kolbe’s 9-day formal consecration to Mary is also beloved by many.
In more recent years, Fr. Michael Gaitley wrote 33 Days to Morning Glory, which focuses on the Marian spiritualities of four Saints.
I suggest taking a look at each one and praying about which best suits your soul at this time. Again, you can’t go wrong here, so don’t stress too much about which form of consecration you select.
It is customary to renew one’s consecration to Our Lady every year by repeating the 33-day process and ending on the same Marian feast day. You can always select various methods of consecration throughout the years, too!
The Ultimate Goal of Marian Consecration
We are all called to holiness. God created us to be saints. We are made to know the Lord, to love Him, and to serve Him. Consecrating ourselves to Mary is one way that we grow in that knowledge, love, and service. We allow Mary to take us by the hand and lead us to her Son. She knows, loves, and serves Him best. We have so much to learn from her life, and so much to gain by placing ourselves in her hands.
Mary, Mother of God, Mother of the Church, and Our Mother, pray for us!
Have you consecrated yourself to Our Lady? Is your heart stirred to it for the first time?
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