Monday, March 25, 2013

Totus Tuus Maria: My Marian Consecration Story


Happy Feast of the Annunciation!  Today is, hands down, my favorite feast day in the Church, partly because Our Lady is the patroness of my alma mater (I love that in this sense, the "loving mother" meaning of alma mater means her love!) and I have such fond memories of singing my school's re-written version of "Immaculate Mary."  I'm somehow both proud and ashamed to say that I only know the words we used, not the real ones!

For me, today also marks six years since I consecrated myself to Mary.  During my freshman year, I joined a prayer group called Militia Immaculata, a Marian devotion group founded by St. Maximilian Kolbe (boss).  Once a week, we'd pray the rosary together for each others' intentions and do a short spiritual reading, lectio divina, and discussion.  We also spent hours playing volleyball and sometimes eating together before our meetings, played so many games of Mafia afterwards, and went on three amazing pilgrimage trips to Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and St. Mary's City.  Over those four years, the seminarians who led the group became wonderful spiritual brothers and friends to us college students, and it was amazing to see them progress all the way to their ordinations and celebrate their first Masses as priests!  I carry those days in my heart.

Anyway, the best thing I took away from MI wasn't the trips or the games, but the process of completely giving myself to Mary.  If you've never heard of Marian consecration, it's basically a period of spiritual preparation through reading and prayer that culminates in a promise to Our Lady that everything you are is hers, usually on a Marian feast day.  If you have Catholic friends who wear a chain around their wrist or ankles, they're probably consecrated (St. Louis Marie de Montfort used the image of being "Our Lady's slave," and the chain is a visual reminder).  There are a few different consecration devotionals, most notably by de Montfort and Maximlian Kolbe, that use slightly different language, but they each have the same end result, that you belong to her and that through you, she dispenses so many graces to the world and the people in your life.

If I'm being honest, I was terrified before I made my consecration.  The book I was reading to prepare wasn't sensationalized, but several testimonies stated that people's lives had been completely changed and that nothing was the same for them.  That scared me so much--I was happy enough with my life and didn't feel like I wanted or needed anything in particular to change.  Was some huge test of faith about to happen?  Also, I wondered if I was being selfish and wasn't good enough for this: I'd heard that through consecration, any graces you merit for yourself, through indulgences, the sacraments, and the like, belong to Mary, not to you, for her to dispense as she sees fit.  I wanted to keep my own graces, thank you very much.  I can remember praying in an empty chapel a few days before my consecration, though, looking up in tears at a statue of Our Lady, and suddenly being overcome with peace.  I imagined her wrapping me in her mantle and holding me close.  Even though I still had practically no idea what I was signing up for, I got the sense that this was good and that everything would be fine.

All these years later, I'm happy to report that everything is more than fine.  It's only in hindsight that I can see the fruits of my consecration, not necessarily in only major ways, but I'm able to see how Mary's hand has guided so many of my decisions, and I have the sense that even my continued devotion to her and her major influence on my spirituality are graces in themselves, and are such a gift.  Now that I understand it better, I think it's beautiful, not scary, that none of my graces or good works belong to me--she is so much smarter, so much more merciful, and so much more closely united to the Father's will than I'll ever be, so who better to entrust them to?  St. Maximilian's consecration prayer that I still say every day contains the line, "I humbly implore you to take me, with all that I am and have, without reserve, wholly to yourself as your possession and property," and I've come to love not just belonging to myself.

Her possession.  So happy to be hers.  If you find this stirring your heart, I can say that I've never regretted my consecration, and it really has changed and shaped my entire life.  Go for it. Check back on Wednesday for an amazing consecration preparation!




22 comments:

  1. beautiful, thank you for sharing that piece of your heart!

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  2. Beautiful! My husband and I first met exactly 2 years ago on this feast day - although at the time I had NO idea that we would ever date, let alone be married with a baby on the way in under 2 years. God works in mysterious ways! Consecrating ourselves to Mary is something he and I have often discussed, so thank you for this reminder that I would like to delve deeper into discerning this for real.

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    1. What a special day for you guys to meet; the Lord really is amazing! Let me know if you ever want to talk about this more!

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  3. This was beautiful! I need to renew my Marian consecration, but regardless, I too can see where she has had her hand. You should share this up on our Marian Monday link up today!

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  4. I love Our Lady of the Annunciation and I love Marian consecration.

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  5. Thank you so much for this post! I've always been interested in Marian consecration, as I've always felt a special bond with Mama Mary. However, I've never actually gone through with the consecration, for reasons very similar to yours. This has really given me something to think about. Again, thank you! :) Wishing you a blessed Holy Week.

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    1. I'm glad this helped you, Marisa! If you decide to make a consecration, I am so sure it will bear fruit for you and get rid of all of those fears!

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  6. My family will make our six year renewal today.
    Ad Jesum per Mariam!!!

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    1. Oh, well we have the same consecrate-aversary, then! That's beautiful that your whole family did it together!

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  7. I loved this post! One little thing, tho, the Feast of the Annunciation will be celebrated on April 8 this year because of Holy Week.

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    1. Someone else was nice enough to tell me this, too! Oops! Thanks so much, Karee =)

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  8. Love consecration to Mary! I did it with my family when I was little, and my husband and I did it when we were dating...always need more help and guidance from our heavenly Mommy :)

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  9. What a wonderful story - thank you for posting about your consecration experience.

    Btw, now "Immaculate Mary" is in my head! Original lyrics, though! Haha!

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    1. One day I'll learn the words...thanks for reading!

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  10. Thanks for linking up with us! It's so wonderful to hear personal stories about how Our Lady has worked in folks' lives!

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    1. I love reading the linkup entries! Thanks!

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  11. What a beautiful story of Faith. Our Blessed Mother is incredible, and always takes perfect care! Following you now:)

    Rachel ~ Topaz n Pearls
    yettobedetermined86.blogspot.com

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    1. Amen, she totally does! Off to go check out your blog, Rachel =)

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