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The following article is an excerpt from a chapter in the recently published Marian anthology, Mariology: A Guide for Priests, Deacons, Seminarians, and Consecrated Persons, Seat of Wisdom Books, A Division of Queenship, 2008. Fifteen international Mariology experts contributed to the text. The book features a foreword by Archbishop Raymond L. Burke and has 17 chapters divided into four parts: 1. Mary in Scripture and the Early Church; 2. Marian Dogma; 3. Marian Doctrine; and 4. Marian Liturgy and Devotion. The book is now available from Queenship Publications. Visit our store to order a copy. To view the book in its entirety, simply click here. Asst. Ed.

Some – perhaps many – Catholics, if they give any thought to it at all, may think that the practice of consecrating oneself to Our Lady or placing one’s life entirely in her hands is a rather recent phenomenon in the life of the Church. Indeed, even if they are rather well informed, they may be of the conviction that this custom dates from the time of St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort (+1716), the author of the famous treatises, True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin and The Secret of Mary. Surely without hesitation, St. Louis de Montfort (whom I hope will soon be named a Doctor of the Church) and St. Maximilian-Maria Kolbe (+1941) should be acknowledged as two of the principal proponents of Marian consecration in modern times. Yet the fact remains that this devotional practice dates from the earliest days of the Church and is really rooted in the Scriptures themselves, especially the words of Jesus from the Cross spoken to his Mother and to the beloved disciple (cf. Jn. 19:25-27).

Arguably the greatest proponent of Marian consecration in our own time was the Servant of God Pope John Paul II (+2005). His motto as bishop and pope was Totus Tuus (all yours), an abbreviated form of one of St. Louis de Montfort’s formulas, Totus tuus ego sum et omnia mea tua sunt (I am all yours [O Mary] and everything I have is yours).1 More than any other teacher of Marian consecration before him, this pope rooted his teaching and practice in the entrusting of John to Mary and Mary to John on Calvary. Here is a very important text from his Encyclical Redemptoris Mater of March 25, 1987, in which he expounded this doctrine in an authoritative manner:

The Redeemer entrusts Mary to John because he entrusts John to Mary. At the foot of the Cross there begins that special entrusting of humanity to the Mother of Christ, which in the history of the Church has been practiced and expressed in different ways. The same apostle and evangelist, after reporting the words addressed by Jesus on the Cross to his Mother and to himself, adds: “And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home” (Jn. 19:27). This statement certainly means that the role of son was attributed to the disciple and that he assumed responsibility for the Mother of his beloved Master. And since Mary was given as a mother to him personally, the statement indicates, even though indirectly, everything expressed by the intimate relationship of a child with its mother. 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.

The Marian dimension of the life of a disciple of Christ is expressed in a special way precisely through this filial entrusting to the Mother of Christ, which began with the testament of the Redeemer on Golgotha. Entrusting himself to Mary in a filial manner, the Christian, like the Apostle John, “welcomes” the Mother of Christ “into his own home” and brings her into everything that makes up his inner life, that is to say into his human and Christian “I”: he “took her to his own home” (Redemptoris Mater 45).

Explaining the intimate relationship which Jesus wishes us to have with his Mother, the Pope pointed out that, while it is truly a personal relationship with Mary, it is ultimately oriented to Jesus himself:

This filial relationship, this self-entrusting of a child to its mother, not only has its beginning in Christ but can also be said to be definitively directed towards him. Mary can be said to continue to say to each individual the words which she spoke at Cana in Galilee: “Do whatever he tells you.” … Precisely with her faith as Spouse and Mother she wishes to act upon all those who entrust themselves to her as her children. And it is well known that the more her children persevere and progress in this attitude, the nearer Mary leads them to the “unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph. 3:8) (Redemptoris Mater 46).

Historical Forms

The more one studies, the more one discovers Mary’s maternal presence in the itinerary of the Church’s life as well as the desire on the part of the faithful to entrust themselves to her. Here we can only indicate some of the major landmarks on this journey.2

Patristic Period

It does not seem presumptuous to see the first adumbrations of the tradition which would come to be known as Marian consecration in the Church in the most ancient recorded prayer to the Mother of God, dating from the third or fourth century, the Sub tuum praesidium.3 It is the filial prayer of Christians who know Mary’s motherly mercy (eusplangchnía in the Greek text) and therefore do not hesitate to have recourse to her protection (praesidium in the Latin text). If it does not speak of belonging to Mary, it is surely not far removed from this concept.

The late redoubtable Marian encyclopedist, Father Michael O’Carroll, C.S.Sp., renders this third- or, at the latest, fourth-century prayer according to the reconstruction of Father Gabriele Giamberardini, O.F.M.: “Under your mercy, we take refuge, Mother of God, do not reject our supplications in necessity. But deliver us from danger. [You] alone chaste, alone blessed.”4 This Marian troparion used in almost all the rites of the Church and cited in Lumen Gentium 66 is ordinarily rendered into English after the Latin version: “We fly to thy patronage, O holy Mother of God, despise not our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us from all danger, O ever glorious and Blessed Virgin.”5 Mother Maria Francesca Perillo, F.I., on the basis of her recent study on the philology and doctrinal contents of the prayer, translates: “We take refuge in your womb, Holy Mother of God; do not refuse our pleas in our need, but save us from danger, O incomparable Virgin, divinely pure and blessed.”6

This ancient Marian invocation is of capital importance from many perspectives. First, it constitutes a remarkable witness to the fact that prayer was already explicitly addressed to Mary as Theotókos, or “Mother of God,” long before the Council of Ephesus which vindicated the use of this title in 431. Secondly, it may well reflect a tradition even older than the third century, the era from which many scholars believe the Egyptian papyrus dates, going all the way back to the apostolic period. Thirdly, while this antiphon (called a “troparion” according to Byzantine liturgical usage) does not explicitly call Mary “our Mother,” it does so in equivalent and very expressive terms.

About this justly famous and most ancient of Marian prayers Father Quéméneur makes this careful observation:

Here we do not yet have a consecration properly so called, but we already discern the fundamental elements that characterize Marian consecrations. The Sub tuum recognizes the patronage of the Mother of God; it is a spontaneous gesture of recourse to Mary. Originating in Egypt, the Sub tuum, with slight variations, will soon be taken up by the other churches; starting with the sixth century, it is inserted into the Byzantine, Ambrosian, and Roman liturgies. We can say that it is the root from which the formulas of other Marian prayers will arise.7

Significantly, and very conscious that he was standing in the most ancient stream of the Church’s Tradition, John Paul II framed the first part of his great acts of consecration and entrustment of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1982 and 1984 with the words of this antiphon: “We have recourse to your protection, holy Mother of God.”8 There are numerous other instances of his quotation of this most ancient Marian prayer.9

Father O’Carroll informs us that his confrère, the late Father Henri Barré, C.S.Sp., found evidence for the title servus Mariae in African sermons from the fifth and sixth centuries which indicate a personal attitude of belonging to Mary.10 Father Stefano De Fiores, S.M.M., also points to the use of this term in St. Ephrem the Syrian (+373) and Pope John VII (+707), but indicates that these instances cannot compare with the consistent usage and fervor of St. Ildephonsus of Toledo (+667).11 Ildephonsus is usually considered the first major representative of the spirituality of “Marian slavery”12 which eventually develops into what is now known as Marian consecration.13 400. In the case of Pope John VII one might profitably consult the testimony presented by Gabriele M. Roschini, O.S.M.,

Pope John Paul II himself, in his homily in Saragossa on November 6, 1982, immediately prior to the Entrustment of Spain to Our Lady, reviewed what is for us the most relevant information about this Benedictine Abbot who became the archbishop of Toledo:

St. Ildephonsus of Toledo, the most ancient witness of that form of devotion which we call slavery to Mary, justifies our attitude of being slaves of Mary because of the singular relation she has with respect to Christ. “For this reason I am your slave, because your Son is my Lord. Therefore you are my Lady because you are the slave of my Lord. Therefore, I am the slave of the slave of my Lord, because you have been made the Mother of my Lord. Therefore I have been made a slave because you have been made the Mother of my Maker” [De virginitate perpetua Sanctæ Mariæ, 12: PL 96, 108].

As is obvious, because of these real and existing relationships between Christ and Mary, Marian devotion has Christ as its ultimate object. The same St. Ildephonsus saw it with full clarity: “So in this way one refers to the Lord that which serves his slave. So, what is delivered up to the Mother redounds to the Son; thus passes to the King the honor that is rendered in the service of the Queen” [c. 12: PL 96, 108]. Then one understands the double employment of the desire expressed in the same blessed formula, speaking with the most Holy Virgin: “Grant that I may surrender myself to God and to you, to be the slave of your Son and of you, to serve your Lord and you” [c. 12: PL 96, 105].14

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The next major witness to the development of the tradition is the great Doctor of the Church St. John of Damascus (+c.750). The last of the great Eastern Fathers of the Church interprets the name of Mary, according to Syriac etymology, to mean “lady” or “mistress.” In his Exposition of the Orthodox Faith he says of Mary: “Truly she has become the Lady ruler of every creature since she is the Mother of the Creator.”1 In his first homily on the Dormition of the Mother of God he consequently prays:

We are present before you, O Lady [Despoina], Lady I say and again Lady, binding our souls to our hope in you, and as to a most secure and firm anchor [cf. Heb. 6:9], to you we consecrate [anathémenoi] our minds, our souls, our bodies [cf. 1 Thess 5:23], in a word, our very selves, honoring you with psalms, hymns and spiritual canticles [cf. Eph. 5:19], 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.

Turn your gaze on us, noble Lady, Mother of the good Master, rule over and direct at your discretion all that concerns us; restrain the impulses of our shameful passions; guide us to the tranquil harbor of the divine will; make us worthy of future blessedness, of the beatific vision in the presence of the Word of God who was made flesh in you.2

One notes how in language which is redolent with scriptural overtones St. John makes the total gift of himself and those who are joined with him, of all that they have and are, to Our Lady. He deliberately used the Greek term anathémenoi in order to indicate that “consecration” means “setting aside for sacred use.” What is literally signified, according to the use of this word in Leviticus 27:28 and in other places in the Old Testament, is that this “giving of oneself to Mary” is so exclusive, absolute and permanent that one who would revoke the gift would be “cut off” (i.e. anathema) from God and his people. In analyzing this text, Father José María Canal, C.M.F., makes three major points: 1) Damascene’s deliberate use of the term “consecration” which pertains to setting aside for sacred use; 2) the comprehensiveness of this act which excludes nothing; and 3) its basis in Mary’s unique relationship to her divine Son by virtue of the divine maternity.3

Medieval Period

In the feudal setting of the early Middle Ages we find the custom of “patronage” (patrocinium) becoming widespread. In order to protect their lives and possessions, freemen would vow themselves to the service of their overlords; in exchange for the assurance of protection and the necessities of life, the client would place himself completely at the disposal of his protector. Here is a description of a traditional ceremony by which a vassal would put himself under the patronage and at the service of a suzerain, by the well-known liturgical scholar, Josef Jungmann, S.J.:

He put his hands in the enfolding hands of the master, just as is done today by the newly ordained priest when he promises honor and obedience to his bishop at the end of the ordination Mass. The act is also called commendation: se commendare, se tradere, in manus or manibus se commendare (tradere), and also patricinio se commendare (tradere). From the side of the overlord there was the corresponding suscipere, recipere, manus suscipere and the like.4

Not surprisingly, in those ages of faith this relationship of vassalage would provide a way of describing one’s relationship to Mary. If Jesus is one’s Lord, as we have already seen St. John of Damascus reason, then it is only logical that Mary becomes one’s Lady. Fulbert of Chartres (+1028) provides us with a beautiful prayer in which he underscores that his consecration to Christ in baptism also makes of him another “beloved disciple” (cf. Jn 19:26-27) “committed” to Mary:

Remember, O Lady, that in baptism I was consecrated to the Lord and professed the Christian name with my lips. Unfortunately I have not observed what I have promised. Nevertheless I have been handed over [traditus] to you and committed to your care [commendatus] by the Lord, the living and true God. Watch over the one who has been handed over to you [traditum]; keep safe the one who has been committed to your protection [commendatum].5

Likewise, a freeman who was in debt or otherwise not prospering in his affairs might present himself to an overlord “a rope around his neck, a sign that [he] was to become a serf, engaging his person, his family and his goods.”6 This, too, could be transferred into the spiritual realm and appropriated to one’s relationship to Our Lady as we see in the case of St. Odilo, abbot of Cluny (+1049) who as a young man consecrated himself to Our Lady by going to a church dedicated to her and presenting himself at her altar with a rope around his neck and praying:

O most loving Virgin and Mother of the Savior of all ages, from this day and hereafter take me into your service and in all my affairs be ever at my side as a most merciful advocate. For after God I place nothing in any way before you and I give myself over to you forever as your own slave and bondsman [tanquam proprium servum, tuo mancipatui trado].7

Another beautiful image of the patrocinium of the Virgin is that of her “protective mantle,” or Schutzmantel as it became known in German. In the Christian East the same image of the Virgin’s “protective mantle” is manifested in a slightly different iconographical style in the feast and image of the Pokrov.8 Here is Jungmann’s description of the Marian iconography which would become classical in the medieval West:

The emblem of Citeaux was the image of the Mother of God with the abbots and abbesses of the order kneeling under her mantle. Caesarius of Heisterbach (+1240) also knew this motif as he shows in his description of a Cistercian monk in heaven, looking about in vain for his brothers until Mary opens out her wide mantle and discloses a countless number of brothers and nuns. In the later Middle Ages especially, the motif of the protective mantle is widespread, commonly as an expression of protection being sought or hoped for, chiefly in connection with the image of the Mother of God.9

Arnold Bostius (+1499), a Flemish Carmelite, wrote explicitly about Mary’s patronage and protection of his order in his major Marian work, De Patronatu et Patrocinio Beatissimae Virginis Mariae in Dicatum sibi Carmeli Ordinem. Although he did not use the word “consecration” to describe the Carmelite’s relationship to Mary because that meaning had not yet been appropriated to the word, he used all the equivalent Latin expressions such as dicare, dedicare, devovere, sub qua vivere, etc.,10 and he maintained, as Pope Pius XII would in his letter, Neminem Profecto of February 11, 1950,11 that the wearing of the Carmelite scapular was an explicit sign of the acceptance of Mary’s patronage and protection, of the Carmelite’s belonging to her.12 In continuity with his predecessor, Pope John Paul II took up the same theme in his message to the prior general of Carmelites of the Ancient Observance and the superior general of the Discalced Carmelites on the 750th anniversary of the scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, stating that “the most genuine form of devotion to the Blessed Virgin, expressed by the humble sign of the scapular, is consecration to her Immaculate Heart.”13

Modern Period

This heritage of the patrocinium of Mary would find expression in the Marian Congregations (sodalities) established by the Belgian Jesuit Jean Leunis in 1563 for the students of the Collegio Romano.14 The admission to the congregation, which had as its aim the formation of militant Christians after the ideals of St. Ignatius Loyola and which was placed under the patronage of Our Lady, soon became an act of oblation to the Virgin. The text of one of these early admission ceremonies by Father Franz Coster (+1619) was published in the Libellus sodalitatis in 1586 and is most likely the very formula which he first used to receive students into the congregation which he had founded at Cologne, Germany, in 1576. In it the sodalist chooses Mary as “Lady, Patroness and Advocate” and begs her to receive him as her servum perpetuum.15 Father Quéméneur underscores the fact that the Marian Congregations introduce yet another perspective into the question of Marian consecration which is inherited from the late Middle Ages: the corporate dimension.16

In 1622, the Marian Congregation admission formulae of the Italian Jesuit Pietro Antonio Spinelli as well as that of Father Coster were published in the book Hortulus Marianus of Father La Croix. The two formulae are described respectively as modus consecrandi and modus vovendi to the Blessed Virgin. Jungmann comments that this is the first appearance of the word consecrare (to consecrate) with the meaning of putting oneself under the patrocinium of Mary and it is taken as being synonymous with the word devovere which in classical Latin meant to devote oneself to a deity.17 In effect, the understanding from the beginning of this usage has been that by the act of consecration to Our Lady the sodalist places himself at the service of Christ the King through her mediation and under her patronage.18 The use of the term “consecration,” with the meaning of giving oneself completely to Mary in order to belong more perfectly to Christ, enters into the common Catholic lexicon from this period and has continued to be used in this sense by the popes of the past hundred years.

During virtually the same period of time that the Jesuit Marian Congregations were developing, confraternities of the Holy Slavery of Mary were germinating in the soil of Spain. In fact, the earliest of these, founded under the inspiration of Sister Agnes of St. Paul at the convent of the Franciscan Conceptionists at Alcalá de Henares, dates from August 2, 1595,19 and thus antedates the foundation of the sodality movement. The first theologian of this “Marian slavery” as it was practiced in Alcalá was the Franciscan Melchor de Cetina “who composed in 1618 what may be called the first ‘Handbook of Spirituality’ for the members of the confraternity.”20

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As the seventeenth century progressed, the confraternities multiplied and papal approval followed. One of the great promoters and proponents of this spirituality was the Trinitarian, St. Simon de Rojas (+1624),1 who was canonized by Pope John Paul II on July 3, 1988. The Augustinian Bartolomé de los Rios (+1652)2 extended the work of his friend de Rojas into the Low Countries and propagated it by means of his writings, which were known and cited by St. Louis de Montfort.3

Perhaps the single most important figure to emerge thus far in our brief consideration of the forms of Marian consecration in the spiritual journey of the Church is Cardinal Pierre de Bérulle (+1629). Founder of the Oratory of Jesus and promoter of the Teresian reform of Carmel in France, his greatest glory in terms of the history of spirituality is probably one of which he was never conscious, that of being the “founder of the French School” of spirituality. His spiritual paternity would enrich the Church through St. John Eudes and the Ven. Jean-Jacques Olier, Sts. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort and Jean-Baptiste de la Salle. His disciples of even the second and third generations would continue to develop his doctrine with their own refinements and emphases. The depth of thought and the ponderousness of his style rendered him somewhat inaccessible so that often his immediate followers such as Olier and Eudes presented the fruits of his contemplation in ways which were much more appealing,4 but there can be no doubt that he was “le chef d’école.”

Of specific interest to us is that while visiting Spain in 1604 Bérulle, who had been a member of the Marian Congregation in his days in the Jesuit College of Clermont, came into contact with the confraternities of the Slaves of the Virgin and in particular with that of Alcalá de Henares, where he went to see the general of the Carmelites.5 This exposure would seem to have had a notable influence on the development of his own spirituality, for he would eventually formulate a “vow of servitude” to the Virgin Mary because of his conviction that in the divine design God wished to include in the vocation and predestination of Jesus Christ his divine filiation as well as the divine maternity.6 Hence Mary, the first to have made the vow of servitude to Jesus, “pure capacity for Jesus filled with Jesus,”7 relates one perfectly to him. Here are his words:

To the perpetual honor of the Mother and the Son, I wish to be in the state and quality of servitude with regard to her who has the state and quality of the Mother of my God. … I give myself to her in the quality of a slave in honor of the gift which the eternal Word made of himself to her in the quality of Son.8

We have already indicated a number of Bérulle’s illustrious disciples, but surely the greatest of them all was St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort, described as “the last of the great Bérullians.”9 According to François-Marie Léthel, O.C.D.:

All of his teaching is marked by the powerful Christocentrism of the French School, with the same insistence on the mystery of the Incarnation and on the place of Mary in this mystery. But in receiving this precious talent, he makes it fruitful in a way that is personal and original. Above all, he renders accessible to all, especially the poorest and the smallest, the doctrine which Bérulle had formulated in a very theological manner, but in difficult language.10

While Bérulle had already indicated the link between baptism and his “vow of servitude to Jesus,” de Montfort would associate Mary with one’s baptismal commitment as well. What he proposes in his classic work, True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, is a renewal of one’s baptismal promises “through the hands of Mary”:

In holy baptism we do not give ourselves to Jesus explicitly through Mary, nor do we give him the value of our good actions. After baptism we remain entirely free either to apply that value to anyone we wish or keep it for ourselves. But by this consecration we give ourselves explicitly to Jesus through Mary’s hands and we include in our consecration the value of all our actions.11

If Louis-Marie had written a special formula of consecration in conjunction with his treatise, True Devotion, it has not thus far come to light. This is because the first and last pages of the manuscript, only discovered in 1842, have never been found. The formula which he has left us in his earlier work, The Love of Eternal Wisdom, clearly highlights the fact that Jesus is the goal of the act of consecration which he proposes while Mary is its intermediary:

Eternal and incarnate Wisdom, most lovable and adorable Jesus, true God and true man, only Son of the eternal Father and of Mary always Virgin, … I dare no longer approach the holiness of your majesty on my own. That is why I turn to the intercession and the mercy of your holy Mother, whom you yourself have given me to mediate with you. Through her I hope to obtain from you contrition and pardon for my sins, and that Wisdom whom I desire to dwell in me always. … O admirable Mother, present me to your dear Son as his slave now and for always, so that he who redeemed me through you, will now receive me through you.12

Thus, while de Montfort readily and very frequently speaks of “consecrating oneself to Mary,” this must always be understood as a shorthand form of “consecrating oneself to Jesus through the hands of Mary.”13 It is precisely in these terms that Pope John Paul II presented him as a proponent of authentic Marian spirituality in Redemptoris Mater.14

Further, that same Pope defended the whole tradition of Marian slavery of which de Montfort is a major exponent-and, as we have seen, is deeply embedded in the whole tradition-in a discourse to his brother Polish bishops on December 17, 1987:

On May 3 of the year of the Millennium of the Baptism of Poland [1966] we were witnesses to the participants in the Act of Consecration proclaimed by Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński at Jasna Góra. The title of the act stimulated reflection, and at the same time it gave rise to certain objections, even protests. Can one speak of giving oneself “as a slave,” even if it is only a question of a “maternal slavery” and the act in question concerns the Mother of God and Queen of Poland?

One could say that the Act of Jasna Góra is itself rooted in the history of that “great paradox” whose first setting is the Gospel itself. Here it is a question not only of verbal paradoxes, but of ontological ones as well. The most profound paradox is perhaps that of life and death, expressed, among other places, in the parable of the seed which must die in order to produce new life. This paradox is definitively confirmed by the Paschal Mystery.

The tradition of a “holy slavery”-that is of a “maternal slavery” which is a “slavery of love”-has grown up on the same soil, and has been passed on by certain figures in the history of Christian spirituality. Suffice it to mention St. Louis de Montfort and our own St. Maximilian. Of course, the primate of the millennium inherited this tradition of Marian spirituality in part from his predecessor in the primatial see as well. It is known that Cardinal Hlond died with these words on his lips: “Victory, if it comes, will be victory through Mary.”

Thus it is that “maternal slavery” must reveal itself as the path towards victory, the price of freedom. For that matter, it is difficult to imagine any being less inclined to “enslave” than a mother, than the Mother of God. And if what we are speaking of is an “enslaving” through love, then from that perspective “slavery” constitutes precisely the revelation of the fullness of freedom. In fact, freedom attains its true meaning, that is, its own fullness, through a true good. Love is synonymous with that attainment. …

If we are speaking of the act of consecration itself “in maternal slavery” to the Mother of God, it is certainly, like every expression of her authentic cult, profoundly Christocentric. It introduces us into the whole mystery of Christ. Furthermore, we have a solid basis for affirming that the experiences of our country (which in a certain sense culminate in the Act of Consecration proclaimed at Jasna Góra) are also very close to the Mariology which found expression in Lumen Gentium: The Mother of God “present in the mystery of Christ and of the Church.”

Although there continue to be those who call into question and criticize the terminology of “maternal slavery,”16 as John Paul II acknowledged, it remains one of those Gospel paradoxes which reflects the fact that the Son of God himself took on the “form of a slave” (Phil. 2:7) and that his followers glory in being “slaves of Christ” (cf. 1 Cor. 7:22; Col. 1:7, 4:7). In recent years Fathers François-Marie Léthel, O.C.D., and Étienne Richer of the Community of the Beatitudes have offered extended reflections on its perennial validity.17

While it is only right to recognize de Montfort’s teaching as the highpoint of the Marian consecration championed by the “French School,” it would be unfair to consider the subsequent history of this phenomenon in the life of the Church simply in terms of denouement. The unfolding of this process continued even in that difficult period after the French Revolution with holy founders such as Bl. William Joseph Chaminade (+1850), who incorporated total consecration to Mary into the Society of Mary which he founded as the object of a special perpetual religious vow.18 The specific influence of de Montfort has been experienced, deepened according to the particular gifts of each and spread directly or indirectly by many other holy persons in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Among these are the Ven. Mother Mary Potter (+1913), the Servant of God Frank Duff (+1980), Bl. Edouard Poppe (+1924), Bl. Dina Bélanger (+1929) and the Servant of God Marthe Robin (+1981).

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I believe, however, that in terms of the extent of the influence of de Montfort on his life and teaching and his subsequent diffusion of that teaching in his own unique way no twentieth-century figure can equal the Servant of God Pope John Paul II. He testified to that influence on his formation on many occasions.1 I am convinced that his Marian Magisterium is his greatest single legacy to the Church and that he has not only consolidated the teaching of his predecessors on Marian consecration, but has raised it to a new level by making it such a fundamental feature of his Ordinary Magisterium. (Rome: Edizioni Monfortane, 2005) 798-816; André Frossard,

It should also be noted that there are other approaches to Marian consecration which have come into existence in modern times which are not a direct result of the influence of great saint of Montfort-la-Cane. These are surely not in conflict with de Montfort’s; they simply have had their genesis under different circumstances and are a beautiful example of how the Holy Spirit draws unity out of diversity. It seems that St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe discovered de Montfort’s True Devotion only after he had been led to the necessity of Marian consecration through his immersion in the great Franciscan Marian tradition.2 Maximilian, who was familiar with de Montfort and saw the movement which he founded as a means of fulfilling his prophecy on the latter times,3 was also conscious of standing in the great tradition of Marian slavery. Although he did not employ the word with the frequency of de Montfort, he leaves no doubt about its implications in the following text:

You belong to her as her own property. Let her do with you what she wishes. Do not let her feel herself bound by any restrictions following from the obligations a mother has towards her own son. Be hers, her property; let her make free use of you and dispose of you without any limits, for whatever purpose she wishes.

Let her be your owner, your Lady and absolute Queen. A servant sells his labor; you, on the contrary, offer yours as a gift: your fatigue, your suffering, all that is yours. Beg her not to pay attention to your free will, but to act towards you always and in full liberty as she desires.

Be her son, her servant, her slave of love, in every way and under whatever formulation yet devised or which can be devised now or in the future. In a word, be all hers.

Be her soldier so that others may become ever more perfectly hers, like you yourself, and even more than you; so that all those who live and will live all over the world may work together with her in her struggle against the infernal serpent.

Belong to the Immaculate so that your conscience, becoming ever purer, may be purified still more, become immaculate as she is for Jesus, so that you too may become a mother and conqueror of hearts for her.4

Standing in the great tradition which we have been sketching, Maximilian brings a note of urgency about the battle, Mary’s “struggle against the infernal serpent” (cf. Gen. 3:15) and, hence, the all-consuming goal of his life was to mobilize an army, a militia completely at her disposal. This is clearly illustrated in the official Act of Consecration for the Militia Immaculatae:

O Immaculata, Queen of heaven and earth, refuge of sinners and our most loving Mother, God has willed to entrust the entire order of mercy to you. I, N … a repentant sinner, cast myself at your feet humbly imploring you to take me with all that I am and have, wholly to yourself as your possession and property. Please make of me, of all my powers of soul and body, of my whole life, death and eternity, whatever most pleases you.

If it pleases you, use all that I am and have without reserve, wholly to accomplish what was said of you: “She will crush your head,” and, “You alone have destroyed all heresies in the whole world.” Let me be a fit instrument in your immaculate and merciful hands for introducing and increasing your glory to the maximum in all the many strayed and indifferent souls, and thus help extend as far as possible the blessed kingdom of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus. For wherever you enter you obtain the grace of conversion and growth in holiness, since it is through your hands that all graces come to us from the most Sacred Heart of Jesus.5

Another twentieth century figure who developed an apostolic Marian movement based on total consecration to Our Lady was the Servant of God Joseph Kentenich (+1968). In the process of nurturing what eventually became the Schönstatt family, Father Kentenich formulated a beautiful approach to Marian consecration in richly biblical imagery as a “covenant of love”:

Through a solemn consecration, that is, through a perfect mutual covenant of love, we want to give ourselves to her [Mary] entirely and unreservedly for time and eternity, so that as a perfect covenant partner we may always stand in her presence and grow in holy two-in-oneness with her, and in her with the Triune God. …

The covenant of love not only gives us the right, but even makes it our duty to make proper use of our right to make claims of love on our covenant partner, and to use the power of petition which has been given to us. In other words, just as Our Lady makes claims on and expresses wishes to us, we in turn should do the same with her.6

The Papal Magisterium

If, as we have just seen, Pope John Paul II is the heir of the great ecclesial tradition of Marian consecration, manifested in various ways in the course of the Church’s almost two millennia of history, he might be said to be even more explicitly the inheritor of the legacy of papal consecration to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary.7 While space does not permit us to enter into this fascinating history here,8 we wish to indicate the most important high points. On October 31, 1942, the Servant of God, Pope Pius XII, gave a radio broadcast to pilgrims at Fatima celebrating the Silver Jubilee of the last of the 1917 apparitions. Concluding the broadcast, he prayed:

To you and to your Immaculate Heart, we, the common father of the vast Christian family, we, the vicar of him to whom was given “all power in heaven and on earth,” and from whom we have received the care of so many souls redeemed by his blood; to you and to your Immaculate Heart in this tragic hour of human history, we commit, we entrust, we consecrate [confiamos, entregamos, consagramos], not only the Holy Church, the mystical body of your Jesus, which suffers and bleeds in so many places and is afflicted in so many ways, but also the entire world torn by violent discord, scorched in a fire of hate, victim of its own iniquities. … Finally, just as the Church and the entire human race were consecrated to the Heart of your Jesus, because by placing in him every hope, it may be for them a token and pledge of victory and salvation; so, henceforth, may they be perpetually consecrated to you, to your Immaculate Heart [assim desde hoje Vos sejam perpetuamente consagrados também a Vós e ao vosso Coração Imaculado], O our Mother and Queen of the world, in order that your love and protection may hasten the triumph of the Kingdom of God.9

The act of consecration, originally made in Portuguese, was renewed in Italian in St. Peter’s Basilica on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, 1942. This was been referred to many times by Pope John Paul II, especially in his own major consecrations to the Immaculate Heart of Mary of May 13, 1982, and March 25, 1984.10 Here it should be pointed out that, even though this first consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary was carried out in conjunction with celebrations in Fatima, the fundamental impetus for this came not from Sister Lúcia (who had a particular mission calling for the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary), but from Bl. Alexandrina da Costa (whose mission was to implore the consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary).11

Another important pronouncement of Pius XII may be found in his address to the Jesuit Marian Congregations or Sodalities on January 21, 1945:

Consecration to the Mother of God in the Marian Congregation is total gift of oneself, for life and for eternity; it is not just a mere matter of form nor a gift of mere sentiment, but it is an effective gift, fulfilled in an intensity of Christian and Marian life, in the apostolic life, making the member of the congregation a minister of Mary and, as it were, her hands visible on earth through the spontaneous flow of a superabundant interior life which overflows in all the exterior works of deep devotion, of worship, of charity, of zeal.12

On November 21, 1964, at the end of the third session of the Second Vatican Council, when he solemnly declared Mary Mother of the Church, the Servant of God Pope Paul VI wished to commemorate the consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary by Pius XII and prayed in these words:

We commit [committimus] the human race, its difficulties and anxieties, its just aspirations and ardent hopes, to the protection of our heavenly Mother.

O Virgin Mother of God, most august Mother of the Church, we commend [commendamus] the whole Church and the Ecumenical Council to you. … We commend [commendamus] the whole human race to your Immaculate Heart, O Virgin Mother of God.13

(Page 5)

A frequently overlooked reference to entrusting oneself to Our Lady is found in the Second Vatican Council’s Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity: “Everyone should have a genuine devotion to her [Mary] and entrust his life to her motherly care” [Hanc devotissime colant omnes suamque vitam atque apostolatum eius maternæ curæ commendent].1

On May 13, 1967, Pope Paul VI issued his Apostolic Exhortation Signum Magnum to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the first apparition of Mary to the children of Fatima and his own pilgrimage to that shrine. Recalling the great act of consecration of Pius XII in 1942 and his own reaffirmation of it in 1964, he went on to make this appeal.

So now we urge all members of the Church to consecrate [consecrent] themselves once again to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to translate this pious act into concrete action in their daily lives. In this way they will comply ever more closely with God’s will and as imitators of their heavenly Queen, they will truly be recognized as her offspring.2

Bringing with him to the papacy the great heritage of Polish Marian piety and the collective consecrations of Poland to Our Lady (in 1920, 1946, 1956, 1966, 1971, and 1976)3 and his total appropriation of the spirituality of St. Louis-Marie de Montfort, the Servant of God Pope John Paul II promoted Marian consecration and entrustment as no other successor of St. Peter has ever done. Here I can only present a few highlights. His first solemn entrustment of the Church to Our Lady took place at the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome on December 8, 1978.4

The prototype of great acts of consecration/entrustment was that pronounced by previous recording for Pentecost Sunday, June 7, 1981,5 in conjunction with the celebration of the 1600th anniversary of the First Council of Constantinople and the 1550th anniversary of the Council of Ephesus. The event itself had been planned well in advance by the Pope. The double observance had been the object of a Pontifical Letter, A Concilio Constantinopolitano I, addressed to the bishops of the world,6 in which he spoke of Mary’s divine maternity as establishing a “permanent link with the Church” (perpetuum vinculum maternum cum Ecclesia).7 His more active participation in the festivities marking the observance of these two great councils and culminating on Pentecost Sunday, however, was precluded by an assassin’s bullet. The circumstances of this act of entrustment to Mary which addresses her as “entrusted to the Holy Spirit more than any other human being” and “linked in a profound and maternal way to the Church”8 are particularly poignant, then, and may also be reckoned as the plea of a stricken father on behalf of his family. The very same act was renewed again on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in 1981 before the icon of the Salus Populi Romani in St. Mary Major’s.9

The above cited act of entrustment became the archetype of two subsequent acts, closely modeled upon it, which gained considerably more public notice. The first of these was made on May 13, 1982, the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, in that humble village in Portugal where Our Lady had first appeared 65 years earlier.10 It was also the first anniversary of the near fatal attempt on his life. The second of the acts deriving from that of Pentecost Sunday, 1981, was given more advance publication and correspondingly more emphasis was placed on the collegial nature of the act. It was announced in a pontifical letter to all the bishops of the world dated from the Vatican on December 8, 1983, but only published on February 17, 1984.11 It was intended to be one of the crowning acts of the Holy Year of the Redemption which began on March 25, 1983, and concluded on Easter Day, April 22, 1984. John Paul presented the rationale to his brother bishops in this way:

In the context of the Holy Year of the Redemption, I desire to profess this [infinite salvific] power [of the redemption] together with you and with the whole Church. I desire to profess it through the Immaculate Heart of the Mother of God, who in a most particular degree experienced this salvific power. The words of the act of consecration and entrusting which I enclose, correspond, with a few small changes, to those which I pronounced at Fatima on May 13, 1982. I am profoundly convinced that the repetition of this act in the course of the Jubilee Year of the Redemption corresponds to the expectations of many human hearts, which wish to renew to the Virgin Mary the testimony of their devotion and to entrust to her their sorrows at the many different ills of the present time, their fears of the menaces that brood over the future, their preoccupations for peace and justice in the individual nations and in the whole world.

The most fitting date for this common witness seems to be the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord during Lent 1984. I would be grateful if on that day (March 24, on which the Marian Solemnity is liturgically anticipated, or on March 25, the Third Sunday of Lent) you would renew this act together with me, choosing the way which each of you considers most appropriate.12

The act itself was carried out by the Pope on Sunday March 25, 1984, in St. Peter’s Square before the statue of Our Lady of Fatima which ordinarily occupies the site of Mary’s appearances at the Cova da Iria in Fatima, Portugal, and which was especially flown to the Vatican for this occasion. The act of entrustment13 was recited by the Pope after the Mass commemorating the Jubilee Day of Families. Already the Holy Father has referred to his program of entrustment in his address to the Roman Curia on the Vigil of the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul in 1982:

This year, in a special way, after the attempt on my life which by coincidence occurred on the anniversary of the apparition of the Virgin at Fatima, my conversation with Mary has been, I should like to say, uninterrupted. I have repeatedly entrusted to her the destiny of all peoples: beginning with the act of consecration of December 8, (1981), Feast of the Immaculate Conception, to the consecration to the Virgin of the countries visited: of Nigeria at Kaduna, of Equatorial Guinea at Bata, of Gabon at Libreville, of Argentina at the Sanctuary of Lujan. I remember the visits to the Italian sanctuaries of Our Lady of Montenero in Livorno, and of Our Lady of St. Luke in Bologna; culminating in the pilgrimage to Fatima in Portugal, “Land of St. Mary,” which was a personal act of gratitude to Our Lady, almost the fulfillment of a tacit vow for the protection granted me through the Virgin, and a solemn act of consecration of the whole human race to the Mother of God, in union with the Church through my humble service.14

There was never any veering from the path of this “program of entrustment” from the beginning of the pontificate to its very conclusion.15 Pope Benedict XVI has continued to follow in the footsteps of his venerated predecessor, most frequently using the term entrust. Here is one of his strongest exhortations to date. It occurred in his homily at the canonization of Frei Antônio de Sant’Ana Galvão at Campo de Marte, São Paulo, Brazil on May 11, 2007:

In fact, the saint that we are celebrating gave himself irrevocably to the Mother of Jesus from his youth, desiring to belong to her forever and he chose the Virgin Mary to be the Mother and Protector of his spiritual daughters.

My dearest friends, what a fine example Frei Galvão has left for us to follow! There is a phrase included in the formula of his consecration which sounds remarkably contemporary to us, who live in an age so full of hedonism: “Take away my life before I offend your blessed Son, my Lord!” They are strong words, the words of an impassioned soul, words that should be part of the normal life of every Christian, whether consecrated or not, and they enkindle a desire for fidelity to God in married couples as well as in the unmarried. The world needs transparent lives, clear souls, pure minds that refuse to be perceived as mere objects of pleasure. It is necessary to oppose those elements of the media that ridicule the sanctity of marriage and virginity before marriage.

In our day, Our Lady has been given to us as the best defense against the evils that afflict modern life; Marian devotion is the sure guarantee of her maternal protection and safeguard in the hour of temptation. And what an unfailing support is this mysterious presence of the Virgin Most Pure, when we invoke the protection and the help of the Senhora Aparecida! Let us place in her most holy hands the lives of priests and consecrated laypersons, seminarians and all who are called to religious life.16

A Question of Terminology?

In recent years not a few Mariologists have taken the position that not only the terminology of Marian slavery-as we have seen above-but also the concept of Marian consecration itself is no longer acceptable.17 The argument is that consecration pertains to God alone and depends on his sovereign initiative and that our part can only be one of response.18 Further some argue that in a larger passive sense one cannot be consecrated to anyone but God.19 These authors argue that Pope John Paul II fully accepted their perspective and so decided to use the words entrust and entrustment to describe our relationship with Mary, effectively avoiding the “defective and discredited formulas of the past.”

In contrast, Father George Kosicki, C.S.B., has considered at some length the meaning of the Polish word most frequently used by John Paul II, translated into Italian as “affidare” and into English as “entrust.” The word is zawierzać, the same word employed in Cardinal Wyszyński’s various consecrations of Poland.20 Let us allow Father Kosicki to share some of his discoveries about this word:

I continued to wonder about the word “entrust” until I met a priest from Poland, a colleague of the present Pope while at the University of Lublin where Karol Wojtyła taught as bishop of Krakow. I asked him about the word “entrust” and its Polish meaning, mentioning that I was disappointed that he didn’t use the word “consecrate” to Mary in his Letter to All Priests [of April 8, 1979].21 His response was very clear and reassuring. He pointed out that the Polish word “zawierzać” (translated as “entrust”) is a strong word and is used for what we call in English “consecration” to Mary. He went on to say that the Polish word which is the equivalent root word to the English “consecration” (viz. “konsekracia“) is usually reserved for the consecration at Mass. He went further to point out that the word “entrust” was a special word for John Paul II because of the way he has used it in his Polish writings. He added that the motto of John Paul, “Totus Tuus,” (I am) all yours (Mary), means, “I consecrate myself to you, Mary” and is what Pope John Paul has in mind when he uses “zawierzać” (translated into English as “entrust”). In short the Polish “to entrust” means “to consecrate.”22

I have studied the question of consecration to Our Lady vis-à-vis entrustment to her, both in terms of contemporary theological discussion23 as well as John Paul II’s use of the term entrustment,24 and am convinced that he frequently used the words interchangeably along with other words such as dedicate, offer, commend, place in the hands of, etc.25 At the same time I have chosen as the title for this chapter the binomial “consecration and entrustment” because I believe that each word can be justified and offers shades of meaning not conveyed by the other.

(Page 6)

 The Theological Foundations of Consecration/Entrustment

A classical presentation on personal consecration provides us an important approach to the theological questions underlying our presentation:

Strictly speaking, one can consecrate himself only to God, for only God has the right to man’s total dedication and service. Consecration to Christ, to the Sacred Heart, is legitimate because of the hypostatic union. But “consecration” to the Blessed Virgin, or even to St. Joseph or to other saints, is not unknown to Christian piety. In the case of St. Joseph or the other saints, this is to be understood as consecration in a broad sense of the term, and it signifies no more than an act of special homage to one’s heavenly protector. The case of the Blessed Virgin, however, is not the same. The importance of her role in Christian spirituality is such that formulas of dedication to her appear to have more profound meaning. Her position in the economy of salvation is inseparable from that of her Son. Her desires and wants are his, and she is in a unique position to unite Christians fully, quickly, and effectively to Christ, so that dedication to her is in fact dedication to Christ. French spirituality has made much of consecration to Mary. Cardinal Bérulle encouraged the vow of servitude to Jesus and Mary. St. John Eudes propagated the devotion of consecration not only to the Sacred Heart, but to the Heart of Mary as well. But the practice achieved its strongest expression in the Traité de la vraie dévotion à la Sainte Vierge of St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort. The act of personal consecration according to Montfort, is an act of complete and total consecration. It consists in giving oneself entirely to Mary in order to belong wholly to Jesus through her.1

In effect the author of this article points to a resolution of this problem along two complementary lines. First and, admittedly, only very implicitly he evokes the principle of analogy. Secondly and quite explicitly he points to the unique role of Mary in the mystery of Christ and the economy of our salvation, particularly her mediation.

The Principle of Analogy

In the perspective of the philosophia perennis (perennial philosophy), analogy means a “likeness in difference.” Here are two excerpts from his article on consecration in the Nuovo Dizionario di Mariologia:

The only way to be able to apply a term to God and to a creature is to have recourse to analogy which is based precisely on the likeness in the difference. The analogical use of consecration referred to Mary maintains a sense of “total and perpetual gift” which is required in order to bring this usage in line with the light of revelation and theology. … The gift to her is analogous to that which is made to God since it maintains the significance of the total and perpetual gift, but on the different level proper to a creature.2

Consequently, when one speaks of “consecration to God” and “consecration to Mary” one is effectively speaking in the first place of what the disciples of St. Thomas call the “analogy of attribution.” Gardeil says that

In the analogy of attribution there is always a primary (or principal) analogate (or analogue), in which alone the idea, the formality, signified by the analogous term is intrinsically realized. The other (secondary) analogates have this formality predicated of them by mere extrinsic denomination.3

Following this paradigm, then, “consecration to God” is the primary analogate whereas “consecration to Mary” is a secondary analogate. In other words, the term “consecration” signifies something which is common to both analogates, the recognition of our dependence on them, but since God is our Creator and Mary is a creature that dependence cannot be exactly the same.4

But it can be held as well that such usage of the term “consecration to Mary” is also an instance of the “analogy of proportionality” which Gardeil explains in this way:

It will be remembered that in the analogy of attribution the (secondary) analogates are unified by being referred to a single term, the primary analogue. This marks a basic contrast with the analogy now under consideration, that of proportionality; for here the analogates are unified on a different basis, namely by reason of the proportion they have to each other. Example: in the order of knowledge we say there is an analogy between seeing (bodily vision) and understanding (intellectual vision) because seeing is to the eye as understanding is to the soul.5

Theologians have long recognized that there exists an analogy, a certain “likeness in difference,” between Jesus and Mary, a certain symmetry and complementarity, though not identity, between them.6

Admittedly, today this classical Catholic principle is more and more being called into question, and yet it is a fundamental building block of Catholic theology. Indeed, without it the discipline of theology is impossible and without it there is no understanding of Marian consecration. Even authors whom I have cited, like De Fiores, today distance themselves from it.7 In this regard Father Joaquín Ferrer Arellano has done us a great favor in recent years exposing the weakness of so much modern theology and Mariology8 and clearly indicating the Lutheran/Barthian animus against the principle of analogy.9 Let us have a few examples of how the great masters employ this concept. Here are some very important instances from St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort:

As all perfection consists in our being conformed, united and consecrated to Jesus it naturally follows that the most perfect of all devotions is that which conforms, unites, and consecrates us most completely to Jesus. Now of all God’s creatures Mary is the most conformed to Jesus. It therefore follows that, of all devotions, devotion to her makes for the most effective consecration and conformity to him. The more one is consecrated to Mary, the more one is consecrated to Jesus. That is why perfect consecration to Jesus is but a perfect and complete consecration of oneself to the Blessed Virgin, which is the devotion I teach; or in other words, it is the perfect renewal of the vows and promises of holy baptism.10

This devotion consists in giving oneself entirely to Mary in order to belong entirely to Jesus through her.11

It follows that we consecrate ourselves at one and the same time to Mary and to Jesus. We give ourselves to Mary because Jesus chose her as the perfect means to unite himself to us and unite us to him. We give ourselves to Jesus because he is our last end.12

(Page 7)

The Principle of Marian Mediation

The astute reader will recognize that de Montfort’s texts cited above are a marvelous fusion of the principle of analogy and that of Marian mediation. He was, indeed, an extraordinary teacher who knew how to present sound theology to the poor and little ones. It was one of the great achievements of the late Pope John Paul II to re-launch discussion on Mary’s maternal mediation in the third part of his great Marian encyclical, Redemptoris Mater (38-47), at a time when such discourse had been out of favor in most theological and Mariological circles since the time of the Second Vatican Council.1 Perhaps even less noticed are his profound statements about Our Lady in his first encyclical, which speaks about Mary’s mediation without using the word. In Redemptor Hominis 22, he wrote:

For if we feel a special need, in this difficult and responsible phase of the history of the Church and of mankind, to turn to Christ, who is Lord of the Church and Lord of man’s history on account of the mystery of the redemption, we believe that nobody else can bring us as Mary can into the divine and human dimension of this mystery. Nobody has been brought into it by God himself as Mary has. It is in this that the exceptional character of the grace of the divine motherhood consists. Not only is the dignity of this motherhood unique and unrepeatable in the history of the human race, but Mary’s participation, due to this maternity, in God’s plan for man’s salvation through the mystery of the redemption is also unique in profundity and range of action. … The Father’s eternal love, which has been manifested in the history of mankind through the Son whom the Father gave, “that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life,” comes close to each of us through this Mother and thus takes on tokens that are of more easy understanding and access by each person. Consequently, Mary must be on all the ways for the Church’s daily life. Through her maternal presence the Church acquires certainty that she is truly living the life of her Master and Lord and that she is living the mystery of the redemption in all its life-giving profundity and fullness.2

In his own unique style he was already reaffirming the Church’s teaching about Mary’s mediation of all graces.3

The teaching about the analogy between Jesus and Mary, between his Heart and her Heart, and her unique role as Mediatrix, he would draw out in many different ways in the course of his pontificate of over 26 years, precisely in his presentation of Marian consecration and entrustment. Here a few examples must suffice. In his homily at Fatima on May 13, 1982, before making his solemn Act of Consecration and Entrustment to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, he stated:

On the Cross Christ said: “Woman, behold your son!” With these words he opened in a new way his Mother’s Heart. A little later, the Roman soldier’s spear pierced the side of the Crucified One. That pierced Heart became a sign of the redemption achieved through the death of the Lamb of God.

The Immaculate Heart of Mary opened with the words “Woman, behold, your son!” is spiritually united with the Heart of her Son opened by the soldier’s spear. Mary’s Heart was opened by the same love for man and for the world with which Christ loved man and the world, offering himself for them on the Cross, until the soldier’s spear struck that blow.

Consecrating the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary means drawing near, through the Mother’s intercession, to the very Fountain of life that sprang from Golgotha. This Fountain pours forth unceasingly redemption and grace. In it reparation is made continually for the sins of the world. It is a ceaseless source of new life and holiness.

Consecrating the world to the Immaculate Heart of the Mother means returning beneath the Cross of the Son. It means consecrating this world to the pierced Heart of the Savior, bringing it back to the very source of its redemption. Redemption is always greater than man’s sin and the “sin of the world.” The power of the redemption is infinitely superior to the whole range of evil in man and the world.

The Heart of the Mother is aware of this, more than any other heart in the whole universe, visible and invisible.

And so she calls us.

She not only calls us to be converted: she calls us to accept her motherly help to return to the source of redemption.

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 opened 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. God’s holiness showed itself in the redemption of man, of the world, of the whole of mankind, and of the nations: a redemption brought about through the sacrifice of the Cross. “For their sake I consecrate myself,” Jesus had said (Jn 17:19).

By the power of the redemption the world and man have been consecrated. They have been consecrated to him who is infinitely holy. They have been offered and entrusted to Love itself, merciful Love.

The Mother of Christ calls us, invites us to join with the Church of the living God in the consecration of the world, in this act of confiding by which the world, mankind as a whole, the nations, and each individual person are presented to the Eternal Father with the power of the redemption won by Christ. They are offered in the Heart of the Redeemer which was pierced on the Cross.4

He sounded very similar notes when he spoke on the last day of 1984 in the Church of the Gesù in Rome, commenting on his Act of Consecration and Entrustment to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on March 25 of that same year:

Closely united with the Jubilee Year was the Act of Entrustment to the Immaculate Heart of Mary which I carried out in union with all the bishops of the world.

I had already made such an act of entrustment and consecration on May 13, 1982, during my pilgrimage to Fatima, thus linking myself with the two acts carried out by Pius XII in 1942 and 1952. On March 25 of this year the same act of entrustment and consecration had a collegial character, because it was made simultaneously by all the bishops of the Church: it was carried out in Rome and at the same time all over the world.

This Act of Consecration was a drawing nearer of the world, through the Mother of Christ and our Mother, to the source of life, poured out on Golgotha: It was a bringing back of the world to the same fount of redemption, and at the same time, to have the Madonna’s help to offer men and peoples to him who is infinitely holy (cf. Homily at Fatima, n. 8).

Before the venerated statue of Our Lady of Fatima, brought to Rome for the occasion, I offered the hopes and anxieties of the Church and the world, invoking the aid of Mary in the struggle against evil and in preparation for the third millennium. Now is the hour when every person must make an effort to live faithfully this Act of Consecration to Mary.5

Again on September 22, 1986, the late Holy Father offered yet another synthesis of his great acts of consecration and entrustment:

We see symbolized in the Heart of Mary her maternal love, her singular sanctity and her central role in the redemptive mission of her Son. It is with regard to her special role in her Son’s mission that devotion to Mary’s Heart has prime importance, for through love of her Son and of all humanity she exercises a unique instrumentality in bringing us to him. The act of entrusting to the Immaculate Heart of Mary that I solemnly performed at Fatima on May 13, 1982, and once again on March 25, 1984, at the conclusion of the Extraordinary Holy Year of the Redemption, is based upon this truth about Mary’s maternal love and particular intercessory role. If we turn to Mary’s Immaculate Heart she will surely “help us to conquer the menace of evil, which so easily takes root in the hearts of the people of today, and whose immeasurable effects already weigh down upon our modern world and seem to block the paths towards the future”

Our act of consecration refers ultimately to the Heart of her Son, for as the Mother of Christ she is wholly united to his redemptive mission. As at the marriage feast of Cana, when she said “Do whatever he tells you,” Mary directs all things to her Son, who answers our prayers and forgives our sins. Thus by dedicating ourselves to the Heart of Mary we discover a sure way to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, symbol of the merciful love of our Savior.

The act of entrusting ourselves to the Heart of Our Lady establishes a relationship of love with her in which we dedicate to her all that we have and are. This consecration is practiced essentially by a life of grace, of purity, of prayer, of penance that is joined to the fulfillment of all the duties of a Christian, and of reparation for our sins and the sins of the world.6

He would draw out the implications of consecration/entrustment to Mary for both individuals and peoples in countless ways in the course of his long pontificate. Perhaps one of his last and greatest gifts to the Church was his teaching in his last encyclical, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 57:

“Do this in remembrance of me” (Lk. 22:19). In the “memorial” of Calvary all that Christ accomplished by his Passion and his death is present. Consequently all that Christ did with regard to his Mother for our sake is also present. To her he gave the beloved disciple and, in him, each of us: “Behold, your son!” To each of us he also says: “Behold your mother!” (cf. Jn 19: 26-27).

Experiencing the memorial of Christ’s death in the Eucharist also means continually receiving this gift. It means accepting-like John-the one who is given to us anew as our Mother. It also means taking on a commitment to be conformed to Christ, putting ourselves at the school of his Mother and allowing her to accompany us. Mary is present, with the Church and as the Mother of the Church, at each of our celebrations of the Eucharist.7

While an enormous number of further texts could be adduced, it is my sincere hope that those already presented will be an encouragement to take up the exhortation which John Paul II made on December 31, 1984: “Now is the hour when every person must make an effort to live faithfully this act of consecration to Mary.”8

 

Footnotes, Page 1

1. Cf. True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin [= TD] 179, 216, 266 in God Alone: The Collected Writings of St. Louis Marie de Montfort (Bay Shore, NY: Montfort Publications, 1988). In each of these passages the phrase appears with slightly different variations. The Latin formula quoted in TD 216 comes from a work attributed to St. Bonaventure (1221-1274), the Psalterium Majus, Opera Omnia (Vives Ed.), Vol. 14, 221a and 221b.
2. Cf. Arthur Burton Calkins, Totus Tuus: John Paul II’s Program of Marian Consecration and Entrustment (New Bedford: Academy of the Immaculate, “Studies and Texts,” No. 1, 1992) [= Totus Tuus] 41-74. I hope that within a year a second enlarged and revised edition of this work will appear. On the historical evolution of Marian consecration, cf. also P. Alessandro M. Apollonio, F.I., “La consacrazione a Maria,” Immaculata Mediatrix I: 3 (2001) [Apollonio, Cons] 72-91.
3. Discovered in 1917, a papyrus now kept in the John Rylands Library in Manchester, England, contains the text of this Marian prayer which makes it the oldest invocation of the Mother of God which has thus far been found. Cf. Gerard S. Sloyan, “Marian Prayers” in Juniper B. Carol, O.F.M. (ed.) Mariology Vol. 3 (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Co., 1961) 64-68; I. Calabuig, O.S.M., “Liturgia” in Stefano De Fiores and Salvatore Meo (eds.) Nuovo Dizionario di Mariologia (Cinisello Balsamo: Edizioni Paoline, 1985) [= NDM] 778-779; Théodore Koehler, S.M., “Maternité Spirituelle, Maternité Mystique,” in Hubert du Manoir (ed.), Maria: Études sur la Sainte Vierge Vol. VI (Paris: Beauchesne et Ses Files, 1961) [= Maria]; Gabriele Giamberardini, O.F.M., Il culto mariano in Egitto, Vol. I: Secoli I-VI (Jerusalem: Franciscan Printing Press, 1975) 69-97; Achille M. Triacca, “Sub tuum praesidium: nella lex orandi un’anticipata presenza della lex credendi. La teotocologia precede la mariologia?” in La mariologia nella catechesi dei Padri (età prenicena), ed. Sergio Felici (Rome: Libreria Ateneo Salesiano “Biblioteca di Scienza Religiosa” no. 88, 1989) 183-205; R. Iacoangeli, “Sub tuum praesidium. La più antica preghiera mariana: filologia e fede,” ibid. 207-40; Mother M. Francesca Perillo, F.I., “Sub Tuum Praesidium: Incomparable Marian Praeconium” in Mary at the Foot of the Cross – IV: Acts of the Fourth International Symposium on Marian Coredemption (New Bedford, MA: Academy of the Immaculate, 2004) [= Perillo] 138-169.
4. Michael O’Carroll, C.S.Sp., Theotokos: A Theological Encyclopedia of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Wilmington, DE: Michael Glazier; Dublin: Dominican Publications, 1982) [= Theotokos] 336.
5. Theotokos 336.
6. Perillo 168.
7. M. Quéméneur, S.M.M., “Towards a History of Marian Consecration,” trans. Bro. William Fackovec, S.M., Marian Library Studies 122 (March 1966) 4. (This excellent article originally appeared as “La consécration de soi à la Vierge à travers l’histoire,” Cahiers Marials no. 14 [1959] 119-128.
8. Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II [= Inseg] V/2 (1982) 1586, 1587 [L'Osservatore Romano, weekly edition in English (= ORE). First number = cumulative edition number; second number = page] 735:5, 12; Inseg ORE 828:9, 10].
9. Cf. Totus Tuus 44-45.
10. Theotokos 107.
11. Stefano de Fiores, “Consacrazione” in NDMMaria Santissima nella Storia della Salvezza Vol. IV (Isola del Liri: Tipografia Editrice M. Pisani, 1969) 97-98.
12. Cf. the excellent study by Théodore Koehler, S.M., in Dictionnaire de Spiritualité Ascétique et Mystique [= DSp] 14:730-745.
13. Cf. Patrick J. Gaffney, S.M.M., “The Holy Slavery of Love,” in Juniper B. Carol, O.F.M. (ed.), Mariology 3:143-146; Roschini, Maria Santissima nella Storia della Salvezza IV:85-86.
14. Inseg V/3 (1982) 1179-1180 [trans. by Debra Duncan].

Footnotes, Page 2

1. Cited in Valentine Albert Mitchell, S.M., The Mariology of Saint John Damascene (Kirkwood, MO: Maryhurst Normal Press, 1930) 76; cf. also 214.
2. Patroligia Graeca 96, 720C-D, 721A-B; Sources Chrétiennes 80, 118 (my trans. made with reference to Theotokos 199 and Georges Gharib et al (ed.), Testi Mariani del Primo Millennio Vol. 2: Padri e altri autori bizantini (Rome: Città Nuova Editrice, 1989) 519-520); my emphasis.
3. P. José María Canal, C.M.F., “La Consagración a la Virgen y a Su Corazon Inmaculado,” Virgo Immaculata Acta Congressus Mariologici-Mariani Romae anno MCMLIV (Rome: Pontificia Academia Mariana Internationalis, 1956) XII:234-235.
4. J.A. Jungmann, S.J., Pastoral Liturgy (NY: Herder and Herder, 1962) 298.
5. Henri Barré, C.S.Sp., Prières Anciennes de l’Occident à la Mère du Sauveur: Des origines à saint Anselme (Paris: Lethielleux,, 1963) 159 (my trans.).
6. Quéméneur 6.
7. Barré, Prières Anciennes, 147 (my trans).
8. Cf. S. Salaville, A.A., “Marie dans la Liturgie Byzantine ou Gréco-Slave,” in Maria I:280; cf. also Quéméneur 4 and Redemptoris Mater 33.
9. Jungmann 300; cf. also Theotokos 93-94.
10. I. Bengoechea, O.C.D., “Un precursor de la consagración a María en el siglo XV: Arnoldo Bostio (1445-1499),” Estudios Marianos 51 (1986) 218; cf. also Redemptus M. Valabek, O.Carm., Mary, Mother of Carmel: Our Lady and the Saints of Carmel, Vol. I (Rome: Institutum Carmelitanum, 1987) 74.
11. Acta Apostolicæ Sedis [= AAS] 42 (1950) 390-391; Our Lady: Papal Teachings (Boston: St. Paul Editions, 1961) [= OL] 452-454.
12. Bengoechea 224-225; Valabek 76.
13. Inseg XXIV/1 (2001) 600 [ORE 1687:5].
14. Cf. E. Villaret, S.J., “Marie et la Compagnie de Jésus” in Maria 2:962-968.
15. Jungmann 303.
16. Quéméneur 8.
17. Jungmann 304.
18. Villaret 968.
19. Gaffney 146; Canal 250 and especially J. Ordoñez Marquez, “La Cofradía de la Esclavitud en las Concepcionistas de Alcalá,” Estudios Marianos 51 (1986) 231-248.
20. Gaffney 146; Canal 252-53; Gaspar Calvo Moralejo, O.F.M., “Fray Melchor de Cetina, O.F.M., el primer teólogo de la ‘Esclavitud Mariana’ (1618),” Estudios Marianos 51 (1986) 249-271; Juan de los Angeles – Melchior de Cetina, Esortazione alla devozione della Vergine Madre di Dio: Alle origini della “schiavitù mariana” Introduzione, traduzione e note di Stefano Cecchin, O.F.M., (Vatican City: Pontificia Academia Mariana Internationalis, 2003).

Footnotes, Page 3

1. Cf. Juan Pujana, “Simón de Rojas,” DSp 14:877-884; Gaffney 147; Canal 253-254.
2. Cf. Quirino Fernandez, “Los Rios y Alarcón (Bartolomé de)” DSp 9:1013-1018.
3. TD 160; Gaffney 255-259.
4. Raymond Deville, P.S.S., L’école française de spiritualité, n. 11 de la “Bibliothèque d’Histoire du Christianisme (Paris: Desclée, 1987) 29.
5. A. Molien, “Bérulle,” DSp 1:1547.
6. Opuscule de piété, 93, 1103 quoted in Paul Cochois, Bérulle et l’École française, n. 31 de “Maîtres Spirituels” (Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1963) 105. Cf. also William M. Thompson (ed.), Bérulle and the French School: Selected Writings (NY: Paulist Press, 1989) 14-16; 41-50; Théodore Koehler, S.M., “Servitude (saint esclavage),” DSp 14:738-741.
7. Quoted in Cochois 105.
8. Theotokos 80.
9. Henri Brémond, Histoire littéraire du sentiment religieux en France, IX, (Paris: Librairie Bloud et Gay, 1932) 272. This appellation is also cited in Deville 139.
10. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort, L’Amour de Jésus en Marie: Le Traité de la vraie dévotion, Le Secret de Marie, Nouvelle édition établie et présentée par François-Marie Léthel, O.C.D., I: Présentation Générale (Geneva: Ad Solem, 2000) 23-24 (my trans.). Cf. also Ibid., “La Maternité de Marie dans le mystère de l’Incarnation et de notre divinisation selon saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort et le Cardinal de Bérulle” in François-Marie Léthel, O.C.D, Théologie de l’Amour de Jésus: Écrits sur la théologie des saints (Venasque: Éditions du Carmel, 1996) 105-138.
11. TD 126 (in God Alone 329).
12. Love of Eternal Wisdom 223, 226 (in God Alone 112, 113). Léthel points out in L’Amour de Jésus en Marie, II: Textes, pp. 198-201, that in 66-69 of the Secret of Mary [= SM] three prayers addressed to Jesus, to the Holy Spirit and to Mary effectively constitute a renewal of this consecration.
13. Cf. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P., The Mother of the Saviour and Our Interior Life trans. by Bernard J. Kelley, C.S.Sp., (St. Louis: B. Herder Book, Co., 1957) 256, note 19.
14. Redemptoris Mater 48.
15. Inseg ORE 1022:11.
16. Here, for example, is the critique of E. Schillebeeckx, O.P.: “Let us take one example of antiquated terminology in this context, the phrase ‘slave of Mary.’ It is quite obvious, both from the cultural and from the religious point of view, that this term cannot hope to make a favorable impact or produce the right effect nowadays. In the past this phrase may well have concealed a deep religious reality. Today it is absolutely unacceptable, and its use can only lead to total misunderstanding. The reader should not impute pride to this condemnation-the very opposite is true. It is simply that the present-day Christian is incapable of embodying in his life the idea of total loving surrender if this is presented to him in the form of ‘loving slavery.’ The greatest tribute which could be paid to St. Louis Grignion de Montfort would be to free his profound vision from its now out-of-date terminology, which today hinders rather than promotes devotion to the Blessed Virgin.” Mary Mother of the Redemption trans. by N.D. Smith (NY: Sheed and Ward, 1964) 139.
17. Cf. François-Marie Léthel, O.C.D., “La Maternité de Marie dans le mystère de l’Incarnation et de notre divinisation selon saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort et le Cardinal de Bérulle” in François-Marie Léthel, O.C.D, Théologie de l’Amour de Jésus: Écrits sur la théologie des saints (Venasque: Éditions du Carmel, 1996) 127-133; Ibid., L’Amour de Jésus en Marie, I: Présentation Générale I:81-119; Étienne Richer, La pédagogie de sainteté de saint Louis-Marie de Montfort (Paris: Pierre Téqui, éditeur, 2003) 179-188; Ibid., Suivre Jésus avec Marie: Un secret de sainteté de Grignion de Montfort à Jean-Paul II (Nouan-le-Fuzelier: Éditions des Béatitudes, 2006) 267-281.
18. Cf. Henri Lebon, S.M., “Chaminade (Guillaume-Joseph),” DSp 2:454-59; Peter A. Resch, S.M., “Filial Piety” in Mariology 3:162-167.

Footnotes, Page 4

1. Cf. Alberto Rum, S.M.M., “Montfort e Giovanni Paolo II: Due Testimoni e Maestri di Spiritualità Mariana,” Fragmenta Monfortana 3 (Rome: Edizioni Monfortane, 1999) 107-142; Ibid., “Giovanni Paolo II” in Dizionario di Spiritualità Monfortana”Be Not Afraid!” trans. by J.R. Foster (NY: St. Martin’s Press, 1984) 125-127; Pope John Paul II, Crossing the Threshold of Hope edited by Vittorio Messori and trans. by Jenny and Martha McPhee (London: Jonathan Cape, 1994) 212-215; Ibid., Gift and Mystery: On the 50th Anniversary of My Priestly Ordination (Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1996) 41-43.
2. Cf. Alessandro Maria Apollonio, F.I., Mariologia Francescana: Da san Francesco d’Assisi ai Francescani dell’Immacolata. Dissertationes ad Lauream in Pontificia Facultate Theologica «Marianum» 71, Estratto (Rome, 1997) [= Apollonio, MF].
3. Cf. TD 35, 46-59; Scritti di Massimiliano Kolbe (Rome: Editrice Nazionale Milizia dell’Immacolata, 1997) 1129 [Anselm W. Romb, O.F.M. Conv., The Kolbe Reader (Libertyville, IL: Franciscan Marytown Press, 1987) 36-39].
4. Scritti 1334 [Romb 194].
5. Scritti 37, 1331 [English version from Marytown, Libertyville, IL]. On the consecration proposed by St. Maximilian cf. Apollonio, MF 192-195; Peter Damian Fehlner, F.I., St. Maximilian M. Kolbe, Martyr of Charity, Pneumatologist: His Theology of the Holy Spirit (New Bedford, MA: Academy of the Immaculate, 2004) 143-145.
6. Joseph Kentenich, Schoenstatt’s Covenant Spirituality ed. and trans. Jonathan Niehaus (Waukesha, WI: Schoenstatt Fathers) 28, 57.
7. Cf. Arthur Burton Calkins, “The Cultus of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary in the Papal Magisterium from Pius IX to Pius XII” in Acta Congressus Mariologici-Mariani Internationalis in Sanctuario Mariano Kevelaer (Germania) Anno 1987 Celebrati II: De Cultu Mariano Saeculis XIX et XX usque ad Concilium Vaticanum II Studia Indolis Generalioris (Rome: Pontificia Academia Mariana Internationalis, 1991) 355-392; Ibid., “The Hearts of Jesus and Mary in the Magisterium of Pope John Paul II” Acta Congressus Mariologici-Mariani Internationalis in Civitate Onubensi (Huelva – Hispania) Anno 1992 Celebrati IV: De Cultu Mariano Saeculo XX a Concilio Vaticano II usque ad Nostros Dies (Vatican City: Pontificia Academia Mariana Internationalis, 1999) 147-167.
8. Cf. Totus Tuus 75-98.
9. AAS 34 (1942) 318-19, 324-25; Our Lady: Papal Teachings (Boston: St. Paul Editions, 1961] [= OL] 374, 380 [alt.]. Cf. AAS 34 (1942) 313‑25 for the text of the radio message and the Act of Consecration in both Portuguese and Italian. For a commentary on this act, cf. Totus Tuus 99-102.
10. December 8, 1981, Inseg IV/2 (1981) 869, 873 [ORE 714:2, 12]; May 13, 1982, Inseg V/2 (1982) 1574-75, 1586 [ORE 735:5]; May 19, 1982, Inseg V/2 (1982) 1759 [Portugal: Message of Fatima (Boston: St. Paul Editions, 1983) 200]; March 25, 1984, Inseg VII/1 (1984) 775 [ORE 828:9]; December 31, 1984, Inseg VII/2 (1984) 1684 [ORE 869:4]; September 22, 1986, Inseg IX/2 (1986) 699; October 16, 1988, Inseg XI/3 (1988) 1240 [ORE 161:1].
11. Cf. Totus Tuus 96-98; Umberto M. Pasquale, S.D.B., Messaggera di Gesù per la Consacrazione del Mondo al Cuore Immacolato (Rome: Postulazione Casa Generalizia Salesiana, n.d.).
12. Discorsi e radiomessaggi di sua Santità Pio XII, Vol. VI (Vatican City: Tipografia Poliglotta Vaticana, 1951) 281 [OL 389].
13. AAS 56 (1964) 1017‑18 [The Pope Speaks (= TPS) Vol. 10:140‑141]. Cf. Totus Tuus 106-108.

Footnotes, Page 5

1. Apostolicam Actuositatem 4. Cf. Totus Tuus 73, 108.
2. AAS 59 (1967) 475 [TPS 12:286].
3. Cf. Totus Tuus 113-137.
4. Inseg I (1978) 313-314 [Talks of John Paul II (Boston: St. Paul Editions, 1979) 423-424].
5. Inseg IV/1 (1981) 1241-1247 [ORE 688:7, 10].
6. Inseg IV/1 (1981) 815-828 [ORE 678:6-8].
7. Inseg IV/1 (1981) 824 [ORE 678:7].
8. Inseg IV/1 (1981) 1245 [ORE 688:10].
9. Inseg IV/2 (1981) 876-879 [ORE 714:12].
10. Inseg V/2 (1982) 1586-1590 [ORE 735:5, 12].
11. Inseg VII/1 (1984) 416-418 [ORE 823:2].
12. Inseg VII/1 (1984) 417-418 [ORE 823:2].
13. Inseg VII/1 (1984) 774-77; ORE 828:9-10. The text is exactly the same as that earlier transmitted to all the bishops of the Church in Inseg VII/1 (1984) 418-21 [ORE 823:2, 12], with the exception that the Pope inserted between the two sentences of the last paragraph of number 2 these additional words when he recited it in St. Peter’s Square: Illumina specialmente i popoli di cui tu aspetti la nostra consacrazione e il nostro affidamento “Enlighten especially the peoples whose consecration and entrustment by us you are awaiting.” Inseg ORE 828:10].
14. Inseg V/1 (1982) 2442-2443 [ORE 744:6].
15. My book Totus Tuus takes up the major documentation on this matter until 1991. I hope to conclude the documentation in the second enlarged edition.
16. L’Osservatore Romano [= OR] 24 maggio 2007, pp. VI-VII [ORE 1994:14].
17. Thus René Laurentin wrote: “Our votive formulas of consecration to God need to recognize more clearly the place God has accorded to Mary. We need to ensure that our vocabularies and terminologies in this regard always rise above some of the ambiguous and discredited formulas of the past; these defective formulas have sometimes served to discredit the great modern spiritual movement of consecrations through Mary.” René Laurentin, The Meaning of Consecration Today: A Marian Model for a Secularized Age trans. by Kenneth D. Whitehead (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1992) 165. Cf. my review of this book in Divinitas XXXVII (1993, fasc. III) 304-308.
18. Cf. Stefano De Fiores, S.M.M., Maria: Nuovissimo Dizionario, Vol. 1 (Bologna: Centro editoriale dehoniano, 2006) 8.
19. Cf. Laurentin, The Meaning of Consecration Today 98-99.
20. George W. Kosicki, C.S.B., Born of Mary: Testimonies, Teachings, Tensions (Stockbridge, MA: Marian Press, 1985) 64.
21. Inseg II/1 (1979) 860-861 [ORE 577:9].
22. Kosicki 66-67.
23. Cf. Totus Tuus 143-151.
24. Cf. Totus Tuus 171-178.
25. Cf. Totus Tuus 143-144; Apollonio, Cons 87.

Footnotes, Page 6

1. N. Lohkamp, “Consecration, Personal” in New Catholic Encyclopedia 4 (NY: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1967) 209; cf. also Joseph de Finance, S.J., “Consécration” in DSp 2:1579-1582.
2. NDM 409, 412 (my trans.).
3. H.D. Gardeil, O.P., Introduction to the Philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas IV: Metaphysics trans. by John A. Otto (St. Louis: B. Herder Book Co., 1967) 53.
4. Cf. J. Bittremieux, “Consecratio Mundi Immaculato Cordi B. Mariae Virginis,” Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses 20 (1943) 102.
5. Gardeil 54.
6. On the principle of analogy as it pertains to Mariology, cf. José M. Bover, S.J., “El Principio Mariologico de Analogia,” Alma Socia Christi: Acta Congressus Mariologici-Mariani Romæ Anno Sancto MCML Celebrati (Rome: Pontificia Academia Mariana Internationalis, 1953) I:1-13; Gabriele M. Roschini, O.S.M., Dizionario di Mariologia (Roma: Editrice Studium, 1961) 30-31; Roschini, Maria Santissima nella Storia della Salvezza I: Introduzione Generale (Isola del Liri: Tipografia Editrice M. Pisani, 1969) 171-77; Brunero Gherardini, La Madre: Maria in una sintesi storico-teologica (Frigento: Casa Mariana Editrice, 2006) 309-10; Emile Neubert, S.M., Mary in Doctrine (Milwaukee: Bruce Publishing Co., 1954) 5-8.
7. Maria: Nuovissimo Dizionario I:383-386. A fundamental premise of Laurentin’s The Meaning of Consecration Today is the unacceptablity of the use of the concept of analogy and thus of the term “consecration to Mary.” His revision of the entire history of Marian consecration is most unfortunate and is outside the Tradition.
8. Cf. Totus Tuus 162-178.
9. Joaquín Ferrer Arellano, “Marian Coredemption in the Light of Christian Philosophy” in Mary at the Foot of the Cross II (New Bedford, MA: Academy of the Immaculate, 2002) 122-124, 135-139; Ibid., “La mediación materna de María a la luz de la Filosofía Cristiana. Perspectivas ecuménicas” in Maria: “Unica Cooperatrice alla Redenzione” (New Bedford, MA: Academy of the Immaculate, 2005) 485-491.
10. TD 120.
11. TD 121.
12. TD 125.

Footnotes, Page 7

1. Cf. Theotokos 242-245, 351-356; Ibid., “Still Mediatress of All Graces?”, Miles Immaculatæ 24 (1988) 122-125.
2. Inseg II/1 (1979) 607-608 [U.S.C.C. Edition 97, 98].
3. Cf. Father Alessandro Apollonio’s treatment of this topic in this book. Cf. also my article “Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces, in the Papal Magisterium of Pope John Paul II” to appear in Mary at the Foot of the Cross, VII.
4. Inseg V/2 (1982) 1573-1574; Portugal: Message of Fatima (Boston: St. Paul Editions, 1983) 79-81. Emphasis my own.
5. Inseg VII/2 (1984) 1683‑84 [ORE 869:4]. Emphasis my own.
6. Inseg IX/2 (1986) 699-700; ORE 959:12‑13.
7. Inseg XXVI/1 (2003) 508 [ORE 1790:IX-X]. The teaching about accepting/welcoming Mary into our lives is another aspect of Marian entrustment which the Pope developed over the course of the years. Cf. Totus Tuus 240-248.
8. Inseg VII/2 (1984) 1683‑84 [ORE 869:4].

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If the Virgin Mary was created by God and “fashioned as a new creature” by the Holy Spirit, it was… so that she might become the mother of God. Henceforth she lives with the very life of the Holy Spirit, and together with him is sent on a mission: to complete within us the efficacious Redemption brought about by our sole Mediator, Jesus. In a certain sense the definitive glory that Mary enjoys, “carried up to Heaven in body and soul,” manifests how perfect was the Redemption Jesus effected in her. When Christ presents Mary to the Father he hands over to him for eternity the masterpiece of creation, of human redemption. In Mary who is glorified the Church is made perfect. When Christ returns at the end of ages there will not be a more perfect Church. But, joined to their Immaculate Mother in the deepest recesses of her maternal bosom, the countless members of Christ who have been formed in her by the Holy Spirit will share with her, each individually and all together, her Son’s eternal glory.

Thus to share Mary’s glory in heaven, every member of the Church must on earth share her special grace; without this universal mediation of Mary the Immaculata it is impossible for anyone to attain divine life in close intimacy with God, the One in Three.

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Pope Paul VI placed St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe “among the great Saints and enlightened spirits who have understood, venerated and sung the mystery of Mary,” (1) and Pope John Paul II placed in relief the prophetic vision and great value of St. Maximilian’s life and Mariology for the Church today. (2) Consequently, St. Maximilian’s Mariological doctrine has already been the subject of studies at the highest level of systematic research and scholarship. (3) With regards to his doctrine on Marian Coredemption, there is a detailed study by L. Iammorrone. (4)

St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe († 1941)

The coredemptive thought of St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe is of great value for several reasons. He was our contemporary, and more importantly, was a great mystic and Marian theologian, besides being such an extraordinary apostle and missionary of the Immaculate as to be called the “Fool of the Immaculate,” (5) and to be defined by the Ven. Fr. Gabriel Allegra, his contemporary, as an “Apostle of the end times,” (6) recalling the thought of St. Louis Mary Grignon de Montfort. (7)

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This selection concludes our series from “The Death Camp Proved Him Real” by Maria Winowska – Asst. Ed.   

In his final article Father Maximilian wrote: “No one in the world can alter the truth. All that we can do is to seek it, find it, and live it.”
Here he touched the crucial point. Does not the conflict that lacerates the modern world reduce itself to a crisis of truth? All reformers would like to change the truth; but the question is simply to recognize it as it is, serve it, and love it. “No one in the world can alter the truth …” These words sum up the testament of Father Maximilian. They ought to be written in flaming letters above the chapter of history which God is in process of writing straight and up­right over the crooked lines of our treasons. Is not Satan’s name the Father of Lies?

 

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The following is the sixth in a series of excerpts from The Death Camp Proved Him Real – The Life of Father Maximilian Kolbe, written in 1952 by Maria Winowska. – Asst. Ed.

Chapter 13, Preparing for the Trial of Blood
THE PRICE OF DEATH IS A LIFETIME
After Father Maximilian’s return to Poland a new note was struck in his conferences and writings: the premonition of approaching catastrophe and of his own death.

Read more: The Death Camp Proved Him Real – Part VI

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The following is the sixth in a series of excerpts from “The Death Camp Proved Him Real – The Life of Father Maximilian Kolbe,” written in 1952 by Maria Winowska. – Asst. Ed.

Chapter 13, Preparing for the Trial of Blood
THE PRICE OF DEATH IS A LIFETIME
After Father Maximilian’s return to Poland a new note was struck in his conferences and writings: the premonition of approaching catastrophe and of his own death.



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The following is the fifth in a series of excerpts from The Death Camp Proved Him Real – The Life of Father Maximilian Kolbe, written in 1952 by Maria Winowska. Asst. Ed.

Chapter 10, The Master Painter and Her Broom

The Founding of Niepokalanow

Above all, we should not look upon Father Maximilian as a sort of superman disdainfully beyond the reach of ordinary human suffering. Saints suffer as we do, even more than we, for they are gifted with such keen sensibilities that a mere trifle can affect them. The essence of suffering is its apparent absurdity, its element of “What is the use?” Like death, which it anticipates, it is a negation of the integrity of nature. The Cross will not cease to be a “scandal” until the end of time.

The saints do not escape suffering, do not dominate it; they simply embrace it in full darkness, in the paradoxical ignorance of faith. The seed that dies knows nothing of the future harvests; otherwise, where would be the cost? The grain that dies remains buried in the earth. It is the sun that brings it forth, but the grain knows nothing of this. Then come the day when it makes its dazzling discovery.



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The following is the fourth in a series of excerpts from The Death Camp Proved Him Real – The Life of Father Maximilian Kolbe, written in 1952 by Maria Winowska. – Asst. Ed.

Chapter 8, Implementing the M.I.’s War Plan

Seven had engaged themselves under the banner of the Immaculata on that memorable eve of October 17, 1917. Two had meanwhile died the death of the elect. The others?

I dare say that only Father Maximilian, the leader of the group, interpreted his consecration to the letter, totally, absolutely and irrevocably. Certainly this is not an unkind criticism of the others, for we can safely affirm that there were holy men among them. But they had not the ample, ardent inspiration and-let us say the word-the genius of the young Polish friar.

[...]

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The following is the third in a series of excerpts from The Death Camp Proved Him Real – The Life of Father Maximilian Kolbe, written in 1952 by Maria Winowska. – Asst. Ed.

Chapter 6, How to Win the Modern World for Christ

How could he work so much with his continual headaches and his broken health? Not only did he pass all his examinations, but he did so brilliantly, summa cum laude. In 1915, he was already a doctor of philosophy, although only twenty-one years of age. And he prepared with zeal for examinations toward his doctorate in sacred theology, which he passed four years later with the same success. I think that this is one of the reasons why his superiors did not surmise the gravity of his illness. A sick man does not succeed in all his examinations with such ease, nor does he pass them as if playing a game.

All his professors and all his fellow students agree in crediting him with extraordinary abilities, even scientific genius. Remarkable in everything, he excelled in mathematics and continued to disconcert his most eminent professors. “This boy,” said Father Bondini, Rector of the College, “asks me questions I cannot answer.”

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The following is the second in a series of excerpts from The Death Camp Proved Him Real – The Life of Father Maximilian Kolbe, written in 1952 by Maria Winowska. – Asst. Ed.

Chapter 4, The Message of Rome

SAINTS ARE NOT MADE IN A DAY , THE ROLE OF THE IMMACULATA
Rome was a decisive and formidable experience. At the crossroads of time and eternity, Rome sees from aloft, sees afar. Whoever approaches her honestly sees himself gradually reduced to his true proportions, like a tree trimmed by wise and patient pruning. Rome goes straight to the heart of human beings and things, scoffs at excess, aims only at the essential. Has it not received as inheritance the golden reed, the standard of truth, mentioned in the Apocalypse? To face Rome, you must consent to “be what you are,” according to the famous words of Pindar brought to our attention by the unforgettable Charles Du Bos.
The chattering group of young Polish friars, recently disembarked, did not read openly the mute interrogation on these walls addressed to each one of them. They did not know how to penetrate the invitation to greatness proposed to them by the Palatine which stood solemnly attentive before their windows. They lived at the International College of the Order on the street of San Teodoro, which skirts the venerable hill. No briefing had preceded their arrival. They knew only one thing: the Pope is in Rome, at the heart of Christendom. Was this not the important thing? Rome, the patient educator, would do all the rest.



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The following is the first in a series of excerpts from The Death Camp Proved Him Real – The Life of Father Maximilian Kolbe, written in 1952 by Maria Winowska.Asst. Ed.

Prologue: Can Christian Love Survive a Death Camp?
I start with a confession. Where did I get the idea to write this book? Why have I written it?
Father Maximilian Kolbe has haunted me ever since a day toward the end of the war when I was lodged at the Abbey of Montserrat in Spain. Like so many others in flight from the secret police, I had been forced to cross the Pyrenees. I found a brief notice of his death in my mail forwarded from Jerusalem. I knew from experience what the concentration camp is-the forced labor, the hunger. I also knew how certain unaccepted sufferings degrade. Death does not improvise itself. Death is the last note of a life’s whole theme. So I asked myself the question: “What was the profound life of this religious man that he chose to die in that way?”
I had got little more than a glimpse of him. Frail, his head slightly bent, his looks were not impressive. People had introduced him to me as a powerful man of action, enthusiastic, enterprising. I was struck by the penetrating and limpid expression of his eyes. I knew vaguely of Niepokalanow, “the City of the Immaculata,” which he had built hi the wilderness. I confess it: he mystified me; but my academic work could scarcely place me in contact with his publications.
War came. Hunted by the Germans, I was obliged to leave Poland secretly. Here again Father Maximilian was following me into Spain by way of Jerusalem. I began by writing an article in Spanish, published in Cristiandad at Barcelona. In France I wrote a brief biographical essay in La Vie Spirituelle. Then I thought that Father Maximilian and I would part company. But no! The saint would not relax his grip easily. He kept haunting me-I mean as a subject for a book.



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Mrs. Janie Garza is a visionary located in Austin, Texas. For over twenty years, she has received messages and visions from Our Lady under the title, “Mother of Compassion and Love”, with special emphasis on the restoration of family life through the model of the Holy Family, as well as messages from St. Joseph, St. Philomena, the Three Archangels, and several other saints. She has also received numerous messages and suffered extensively as a victim soul for the proclamation of the Dogma of Mary, Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix of all graces and Advocate. Mrs. Garza has received permission from her local bishop to spread her messages and relay her experiences, not only locally, but also internationally, as communicated to her spiritual director, Fr. Henry Bordeaux, ocd.

From July 13, 1999 to August 15, 1999, Mrs. Garza received the following set of 33 messages from St. Louis Marie de Montfort regarding the power and efficacy of Marian consecration. On the eve of his feast permission has been granted to publicly promulgate these messages for the first time.

Click this link if you wish to see the many possible Marian feast days for which the 33 day preparation can begin. May the distribution of these messages lead to a greater understanding and participation of individuals consecrating ourselves to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the crowning of Marian devotion, which always leads to a more committed and joy-filled living of our baptismal promises to Jesus Christ. -Ed.

 

DAY 1    July 13, 1999

Little daughter of Mary, today thou begins thy walk with thy heavenly Mother. The heavens are rejoicing at thy decision to truly take Mary as thy Mother. This sweet and good Mother is the Mother of All Creation, and she loves and accepts her role as a Mother with such love and charity. She, however, is not loved or acknowledged by many as their heavenly Mother. Oh, if only these poor wretched souls would give themselves to Mary, they would give themselves to her Son! Thou, little daughter of Mary, has begun thy journey into the love and sweetness of thy heavenly Mother. She will carry thee in the womb of her Immaculate Heart as thou prepares for this total consecration. She will assist thee with thy prayers to abandon the ways of the world and to give thyself more perfectly to her Son. She will assist thee to pray for light from her Spouse the Holy Ghost, to assist thee to see thy sins and to have true contrition for all that thou hast done to offend God. She will teach thee how to pray well. She will assist thee in stripping thyself of thy old garments, and she will clothe thee with her own garments of grace and of humility. Give thyself totally to thy heavenly Mother and be nourished by her sweet and maternal love. Spend thy day in quiet prayer so that the Spouse of thy heavenly Mother will give thee light in everything.



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The following interview with Monsignor Calkins was provided byTotus Tuus, Maria.” - Asst. Ed.

Last September 2009, prominent theologian Reverend Monsignor Arthur B. Calkins went halfway across the world, traveling from the U.S. to the Philippines, to speak on Mary as Coredemptrix.

Monsignor is a well-known theologian, and works with the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. He is a native of Pennsylvania, U.S.A. He has a master’s degree in theology from the Catholic University of America, a licentiate in sacred theology with specialization in Mariology from the International Marian Research Institute in Dayton and a doctorate for which he earned summa cum laude in the same field from the Pontifical Theological Faculty of St. Bonaventure in Rome.

Below are excerpts his interview with Totus Tuus, Maria:

Totus Tuus, Maria (TTM): You’ve traveled halfway across the world to be here. How important is this trip for you and what do you wish to accomplish?

MSGR. CALKINS: I’m always happy to testify to Mary as Coredemptrix – to the reality of Our Lady’s active participation in the work of our redemption because, unfortunately, it is not always well known even by the religious.

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Introduction

Initially it may seem far-fetched to suggest that the Blessed Virgin Mary has been granted the honor and the title of Mediatrix of all Grace, given that explicit mention of any such role is apparently absent from the texts of Scripture. Nonetheless, building upon the Church’s tradition, numerous scholars have discerned within the Scriptures subtle and not-so-subtle allusions and appropriations of mediatory types which seem to cast Mary as their anti-type. However, prior to the past century, there has not been an overwhelming amount of attention devoted to presenting a systematic treatment of this topic per se. Historically, scholars have either assumed the role of Mary’s Mediation or noted its Scriptural evidence in passing, while pursuing other theological or exegetical goals. Accordingly, the intention of this essay is to build on the work of these scholars by gathering together and presenting systematically the evidence for Mary’s role as Mediatrix of all Grace, especially insofar as it relates to Marian consecration, from an historical, theological and biblical perspective.


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The following is the Prayer of Consecration with which Pope John Paul II consecrated the world, inclusive of Russia, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on March 25, 1984, in fulfillment of the Fatima request. – Ed.

“We have recourse to your protection, holy Mother of God.”

As we utter the words of this antiphon with which the Church of Christ has prayed for centuries, we find ourselves today before you, Mother, in the Jubilee Year of the Redemption.

We find ourselves united with all the pastors of the Church in a particular bond whereby we constitute a body and a college, just as by Christ’s wish the Apostles constituted a body and college with Peter.

In the bond of this union, we utter the words of the present Act, in which we wish to include, once more, the Church’s hopes and anxieties for the modern world.

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Mother of the Redeemer, Part I: Mary in the Mystery of Christ from Mother of All Peoples on Vimeo.

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O Eternal and incarnate Wisdom! O sweetest and most adorable Jesus! True God and true man, only Son of the Eternal Father, and of Mary, always virgin! I adore You profoundly in the bosom and splendors of Your Father during eternity; and I adore You also in the virginal bosom of Mary, Your most worthy Mother, in the time of Your incarnation.

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My dear brother, be sure that if you are faithful to the interior and exterior practices of this devotion which I will point out (1), the following effects will take place in your soul.

First Effect: Knowledge and Contempt of Self

By the light which the Holy Spirit will give you through His dear spouse, Mary, you will understand your own evil, your corruption and your incapacity for anything good. In consequence of this knowledge, you will despise yourself. You will think of yourself only with horror. You will regard yourself as a snail that spoils everything with its slime; or a toad that poisons everything with its venom; or as a spiteful serpent seeking only to deceive. In other words, the humble Mary will communicate to you a portion of her profound humility, which will make you despise yourself—despise nobody else, but love to be despised yourself.

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Besides the external practices of the devotion which we have been describing so far, and which we must not omit through negligence or contempt, so far as the state and condition of each one will allow him to observe them, there are some very sanctifying interior practices for those whom the Holy Spirit calls to high perfection.

These may be expressed in four words: to do all our actions by Mary, with Mary, in Mary, and for Mary; so that we may do them all the more perfectly by Jesus, with Jesus, in Jesus and for Jesus.

All by Mary

258. We must do all our actions by Mary; that is to say, we must obey her in all things, and in all things conduct ourselves by her spirit, which is the Holy Spirit of God. “Those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.” (Rom 8:14). Those who are led by the spirit of Mary are the children of Mary, and consequently the children of God, as we have shown (1); and among so many clients of the Blessed Virgin, none are true or faithful but those who are led by her spirit. I have said that the spirit of Mary was the Spirit of God, because she was never led by her own spirit, but always by the Spirit of God, who has rendered Himself so completely master of her that He has become her own spirit.

It is on this account that St. Ambrose says: “Let the soul of Mary be in each of us to magnify the Lord, and the spirit of Mary be in each of us to rejoice in God” (2). A soul is happy indeed when, like the good Jesuit lay-brother, Alphonse Rodriguez, who died in the odor of sanctity (3), it is all possessed and overruled by the spirit of Mary, a spirit meek and strong, zealous and prudent, humble and courageous, pure and fruitful.

259. In order that the soul may let itself be led by Mary’s spirit, it must first of all renounce its own spirit and its own lights and wills before it does anything. For example: It should do so before prayers, before saying or hearing Mass and before communicating; because the darkness of our own spirit, and the malice of our own will and operation, if we follow them, however good they may appear to us, will be an obstacle to the spirit of Mary. Secondly, we must deliver ourselves to the spirit of Mary to be moved and influenced by it in the manner she chooses. We must put ourselves and leave ourselves in her virginal hands, like a tool in the grasp of a workman, like a lute in the hands of a skillful player. We must lose ourselves and abandon ourselves to her, like a stone one throws into the sea. This can be done simply, and in an instant, by one glance of the mind, by one little movement of the will, or even verbally, in saying, for example, “I renounce myself, I give myself to thee, my dear Mother.” We may not, perhaps, feel any sensible sweetness in this act of union, but it is not on that account the less real. It is just as if we were to say with equal sincerity, though without any sensible change in ourselves, what—may it please God—we never shall say: “I give myself to the devil”; we should not the less truly belong to the devil because we did not feel we belonged to him. Thirdly, we must, from time to time, both during and after the action, renew the same act of offering and of union. The more often we do so, the sooner we shall be sanctified, and attain to union with Jesus Christ, which always follows necessarily on our union with Mary, because the spirit of Mary is the spirit of Jesus. [...]

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Although what is essential in this devotion consists in the interior (1), we must not fail to unite to the inward practice certain external observances. “We must do the one, yet not leave the other undone” (Matt. 23:23); because the outward practices, well performed, aid the inward ones; and because they remind man, who is always guided by his senses, of what he has done or ought to do; and also because they are suitable for edifying our neighbor, who sees them; these are things which inward practices cannot do. Let no worldling, then, or critic, intrude here to say that because true devotion is in the heart, we must avoid external devotion; or that devotion ought to be hidden, and that there may be vanity in showing it. I answer, with my Master, that men should see our good works, that they may glorify our Father who is in Heaven (Matt. 5:16); not, as St. Gregory says (2), that we ought to perform our actions and exterior devotions to please men and get praise—that would be vanity; but that we should sometimes do them before men with the view of pleasing God, and glorifying Him thereby, without caring either for the contempt or the praise of men.

I will allude only briefly to some exterior practices, which I call “exterior” not because we do not perform them interiorly, but because they have something outward about them to distinguish them from those which are purely inward. [...]

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St. Maximilian Kolbe’s use of three titles—Complement of the Trinity, Spouse of the Holy Spirit, and Created Immaculate Conception—are both Marian and pneumatological. This is the heart of his important contribution to the theological treatise on the Holy Spirit, and indeed may well be the heart both of pneumatology as well as mariology.

The titles only appear in the writings of St. Maximilian after 1932. Whether the order of their appearance is also their chronological order in the mind of St. Maximilian cannot be determined, as least as regards Complement and Spouse. It would seem that Created and Uncreated Immaculate Conception are terms which only entered his conscious reflection just before his arrest. How much before the dictation (Feb. 17, 1941) of his last material for the book on the Immaculate Conception, never completed, is not certain. Nonetheless the insight is not unconnected with the many years of reflection on Our Lady’s autodefinition at Lourdes: I am the Immaculate Conception and that of God on Mount Sinai: I am who am (1). [...]

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This devotion consists then in 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.

These words by St. Louis de Montfort, the great promulgator of Marian consecration, well sum up the means and the goal of consecration to Jesus through Mary. Far from being simply an added or isolated Marian piety, consecration to Jesus through Mary represents a crowning of Marian devotion, a new and dynamic Marian dimension of the Christian life that has been enthusiastically encouraged by the Church through both invitation and example.

What Is Marian Consecration?

Marian consecration is fundamentally a promise of love and a gift of self that gives all that the Christian is and does completely and directly to the Mother of the Lord, which thereby allows her to unite us to her Divine Son in ways simply not possible without her powerful maternal intercession. Consecration to Jesus through Mary is to give oneself entirely to Mary in a self-donation of love that enables the Mediatrix of all graces to use her full intercessory power to keep a person faithful to his or her baptismal promises to Jesus Christ. [...]

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Shortly before his Ascension Our Lord appeared to his Holy Mother to bid her farewell and tell her of his love for her. This is the message he gave to her, and the message he gives to all of us concerning she whom he calls his “living Heaven.” The Poem of the Man-God remains a legitimate mystical/spiritual source within the Church for Christian meditation regarding the life of Jesus as recorded by the Italian mystic, Maria Valtorta (see article below, In Defense of the Poem of the Man-God, and In Response to Various Questions Regarding “The Poem of the Man-God” in the Marian Private Revelation section). – Ed.

I see the room where Mary lives. The signs of the Passion have disappeared.

The Virgin is sitting and reading. They must be holy books, because She certainly does not read anything else in the scroll She is holding in Her hands. She is no longer tortured. Her face is more grave than before the Passion, more mature. But it is no longer that tragical face. It is stately but serene.

It seems to be morning, because the sun is already shining brightly and through the open window it illuminates the quiet room, but one can see that the garden, surrounded by high walls and on to which the window opens, is still all fresh with dew.

Jesus goes in. He is still wearing the wonderful garment of the morning of the Resurrection. His face sheds brightness and His wounds are like small suns. [...]

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This practice of devotion gives to those who make use of it faithfully a great interior liberty, which is the liberty of the children of God (Rom. 8:21). Since, by this devotion, we make ourselves slaves of Jesus Christ and consecrate ourselves entirely to Him in this capacity, our good Master, in recompense for the loving captivity in which we put ourselves, 1. takes from the soul all scruple and servile fear, which are capable only of cramping, imprisoning or confusing it; 2. He enlarges the heart with firm confidence in God, making it look upon Him as a Father; and 3. He inspires us with a tender and filial love.

170. Without stopping to prove these truths with arguments, I shall be content to relate here what I have read in the life of Mother Agnes of Jesus, a Dominican nun of the convent of Langeac, in Auvergne, who died there in the odor of sanctity in the year 1634. When she was only seven years old, and was suffering from great spiritual anguish, she heard a voice which told her that if she wished to be delivered from her anguish, and to be protected against all her enemies, she was as quickly as possible to make herself the slave of Jesus and His most holy Mother. She had no sooner returned to the house than she gave herself up entirely to Jesus and His Mother in this capacity, although up to that time she did not so much as know what the devotion meant. Taking an iron chain, she put it around her body and wore it until her death. After this, all her anguish and scruples ceased, and she experienced great peace and dilation of heart. This is what brought her to teach the devotion to many persons who made great progress in it—among others, Father Olier, the founder of St. Sulpice, as well as many priests and ecclesiastics of the same seminary. One day Our Lady appeared to her and put around her neck a chain of gold, to show her the joy she had at Mother Agnes’ having made herself her Son’s slave and her own; and St. Cecilia, who accompanied Our Lady in that apparition, said to the religious: “Happy are the faithful slaves of the Queen of Heaven: for they shall enjoy true liberty.” “To serve thee is liberty.” [...]

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What Is Devotion to Mary?

Published on November 24, 2006 by in Marian Apologetics

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“…Let us carry on and imitate Mary, a deeply Eucharistic soul, and all our lives will become a Magnificat.”

– Pope Benedict XVI
Closing of Lourdes Grotto Ceremony in the Vatican, May 2005.

We begin our inquiry into the person and role of Mary, Mother of Jesus, by addressing a most fundamental question: What is devotion to Mary?

To answer this question we must first make a basic theological distinction. As St. Thomas Aquinas explains, adoration, which is known as latria in classical theology, is the worship and homage that is rightly offered to God alone. It is the manifestation of submission, and acknowledgement of dependence, appropriately shown towards the excellence of an uncreated divine person and to his absolute Lordship. (1) It is the worship of the Creator that God alone deserves. Although we see in English a broader usage of the word “adoration” which may not refer to a form of worship exclusive to God—for example, when a husband says that he “adores his wife”—in general it can be maintained that adoration is the best English denotation for the worship of latria. [...]

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— First Motive —

It Devotes Us Entirely to the Service of God

The first motive, which shows us the excellence of this consecration of ourselves to Jesus Christ by the hands of Mary.

If we can conceive on earth no employment more lofty than the service of God—if the least servant of God is richer, more powerful and more noble than all the kings and emperors of this earth, unless they also are the servants of God—what must be the riches, the power and the dignity of the faithful and perfect servant of God, who is devoted to His service entirely and without reserve, to the utmost extent possible? Such is the faithful and loving slave of Jesus in Mary who has given himself up entirely to the service of that King of Kings, by the hands of His holy Mother, and has reserved nothing for himself. Not all the gold of earth nor all the beauties of the heavens can repay him.

136. The other congregations, associations and confraternities erected in honor of Our Lord and His holy Mother, which do such immense good in Christendom, do not make us give everything without reserve. They prescribe to their members only certain practices and actions to satisfy their obligations. They leave them free for all other actions and moments and occupations. But this devotion makes us give to Jesus and Mary, without reserve, all our thoughts, words, actions and sufferings, every moment of our life, in such wise that whether we wake or sleep, whether we eat or drink, whether we do great actions or very little ones, it is always true to say that whatever we do, even without thinking of it, is, by virtue of our offering—at least if it has not been intentionally retracted—done for Jesus and Mary. What a consolation this is! [...]

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When one speaks of St. Maximilian one spontaneously thinks of his martyrdom in Auschwitz and his unlimited love for the Immaculate. However, it must be underscored that his martyrdom and Marian devotion were lived out in the context of a priestly vocation. “St. Maximilian, Priest”—this is the official title given him by Holy Mother Church. Popes Paul VI and John Paul II proclaimed Fr. Kolbe to be a luminous “example” and “glory” to the priesthood, a ministerial priest to be numbered among the great priest-saints such as Saints Ignatius of Loyola, Alphonsus M. de Liguori, Louis M. Grignon de Montfort, Vincent de Paul, John M. Vianney, and John Bosco.

St. Maximilian reflected a great deal on the revelatory statement of God to Moses on Mount Horeb: “I am who am,” and that of the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Bernadette at Lourdes: “I am the Immaculate Conception.” It is deeply significant, then, that the last words recorded from Maximilian’s lips were those pronounced to the question posed by the Nazi Commandant Fritsch: “Who are you?” His answer too was a self-revelation: “I am a Catholic priest.” He identified himself as a priest of Jesus Christ and offered himself as a victim of love. [...]

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On December 8, 2003, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Pope John Paul II signed his important Letter to the Men and Women Religious of the Montfort Families. (1) This relatively lengthy text presents essential elements of the doctrine of Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort (1673-1716) as it is synthesized in his masterpiece: The Treatise on True Devotion to Mary, and summarized in the short Secret of Mary. (2) The Letter is addressed to those who, in the Church and for the whole Church, are in a particular way the depositaries of this doctrine because they are the sons and daughters of Saint Louis Marie.

The Pope had often spoken about this saint who had so profoundly marked his life; but, for the first time, with this Letter, he offers us a synthetic exposé of his doctrine. In fact, in this new text, as well as in the Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae (no. 15), the content of the Treatise is principally qualified by the term “doctrine.” [...]

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St. Louis Marie de Grignion was born 31 January 1673 in the small town of Montfort-sur-Meu, just west of Rennes in Brittany, France. He was the eldest surviving child of the large family of Jean-Baptiste Grignion and his wife Jeanne Robert.

Louis Marie passed most of his infancy and early childhood in Iffendic, a few miles from Montfort, where his father had bought a farm known as “Le Bois Marquer.” According to those who knew him at this early stage, he showed signs even then of a spiritual maturity uncommon in one of his age.

At the age of 12, he entered the Jesuit College of St. Thomas Becket in Rennes, where, as well as doing well in his studies, he developed some of the enthusiasms which were to mark his later life. Listening to the stories of a local priest, the Abbé Julien Bellier, about his life as an itinerant missionary, he was fired with zeal to preach missions. And, under the guidance of some other priests he began to develop his strong devotion to the Blessed Virgin. At the same time, he began to experience the deprivations suffered by the very poor, and his love and care for them grew, not only in theory but in a practical way. [...]

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O Eternal and incarnate Wisdom! O sweetest and most adorable Jesus! True God and true man, only Son of the Eternal Father, and of Mary, always virgin! I adore You profoundly in the bosom and splendors of Your Father during eternity; and I adore You also in the virginal bosom of Mary, Your most worthy Mother, in the time of Your incarnation.

I give You thanks because You have annihilated Yourself, taking the form of a slave in order to rescue me from the cruel slavery of the devil. I praise and glorify You because you have been pleased to submit Yourself to Mary, Your holy Mother, in all things, in order to make me Your faithful slave through her. But, alas! Ungrateful and faithless as I have been, I have not kept the promises which I made so solemnly to You in my Baptism; I have not fulfilled my obligations; I do not deserve to be called Your child, nor yet Your slave; and as there is nothing in me which does not merit Your anger and Your repulse, I dare not come by myself before Your most holy and august Majesty. It is on this account that I have recourse to the intercession of Your most holy Mother, whom You have given me for a Mediatrix with You. It is through her that I hope to obtain of You contrition, the pardon of my sins, and the acquisition and preservation of wisdom.

Hail, then, O immaculate Mary, living tabernacle of the Divinity, where the Eternal Wisdom willed to be hidden and to be adored by angels and by men! Hail, O Queen of Heaven and earth, to whose empire everything is subject which is under God. Hail, O sure refuge of sinners, whose mercy fails no one. Hear the desires which I have of the Divine Wisdom; and for that end receive the vows and offerings which in my lowliness I present to you.

I, (name), a faithless sinner, renew and ratify today in your hands, O Immaculate Mother, the vows of my Baptism; I renounce forever Satan, his pomps and works; and I give myself entirely to Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Wisdom, to carry my cross after Him all the days of my life, and to be more faithful to Him than I have ever been before.

In the presence of all the heavenly court, I choose you this day for my Mother and Queen. I deliver and consecrate to you, as your slave, my body and soul, my goods, both interior and exterior, and even the value of all my good actions, past, present, and future; leaving to you the entire and full right of disposing of me, and all that belongs to me, without exception, according to your good pleasure, for the greater glory of God, in time and eternity. Amen.

Receive, O gracious Virgin, this little offering of my slavery, in honor of, and in union with, that subjection which the Eternal Wisdom deigned to have to your maternity, in homage to the power which both of you have over this poor sinner, and in thanksgiving for the privileges with which the Holy Trinity has favored you. I declare that I wish henceforth, as your true slave, to seek your honor and to obey you in all things.

O admirable Mother, present me to your dear Son as His eternal slave, so that as He has redeemed me by you, by you He may receive me! O Mother of mercy, grant me the grace to obtain the true Wisdom of God; and for that end receive me among those whom you love and teach, whom you lead, nourish and protect as your children and your slaves.

O faithful Virgin, make me in all things so perfect a disciple, imitator and slave of the Incarnate Wisdom, Jesus Christ your Son, that I may attain, by your intercession and by your example, to the fullness of His age on earth and of His glory in Heaven. Amen.

—From True Devotion to Mary, Tan, 1985.

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A work destined to become a classic of Marian spirituality was published 160 years ago. St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort wrote the Treatise on True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin at the beginning of the 1700s, but the manuscript remained practically unknown for more than a century. When, almost by chance, it was at last discovered in 1842 and published in 1843, the work was an instant success, proving extraordinarily effective in spreading the “true devotion” to the Most Holy Virgin. I myself, in the years of my youth, found reading this book a great help. “There I found the answers to my questions,” for at one point I had feared that if my devotion to Mary “became too great, it might end up compromising the supremacy of the worship owed to Christ.” (1) Under the wise guidance of St. Louis Marie, I realized that if one lives the mystery of Mary in Christ this risk does not exist. In fact, this Saint’s Mariological thought “is rooted in the mystery of the Trinity and in the truth of the Incarnation of the Word of God.” (2)

Since she came into being, and especially in her most difficult moments, the Church has contemplated with special intensity an event of the Passion of Jesus Christ that St. John mentions: “Standing by the Cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary, the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, “‘Woman, behold, your son!’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!’ And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home” (Jn 19: 25-27). Throughout its history, the People of God has experienced this gift of the crucified Jesus: the gift of his Mother. Mary Most Holy is truly our Mother who accompanies us on our pilgrimage of faith, hope and charity towards an ever more intense union with Christ, the one Savior and Mediator of salvation. (3) [...]

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All the saints were undoubtedly great servants of Mary and they all lead souls to her. Grignion de Montfort is one of those saints who worked more ardently and more efficaciously to make her loved and served.

Devotion of Father de Montfort to the Holy Cross and to Our Lady.—His Character

The greatest force behind all his apostolic ministry and his great secret for attracting and giving souls to Jesus was his devotion to Mary. All his activity depended on that devotion; in it he placed all his security: and he could not have found a more efficacious weapon for his age. To the sad austerity, the somber terror, the depressing pride of Jansenism he opposed the filial, trusting, ardent, expansive and effective love of the devout servant of Mary, towards her who is the Refuge of sinners, the Mother of Divine Grace, our life, our sweetness and our hope (1). Our Advocate, placed between God and the sinner, takes it upon herself to invoke clemency of the Judge so as to temper His justice, touch the heart of the sinner and overcome his obstinacy. Convinced by his own personal experience of Mary’s role, the missionary declared with a picturesque simplicity all his own that “never did a sinner resist him after he had touched his coat collar with the rosary.” [...]

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We are happy to dedicate this issue of Mother of All Peoples to the extraordinary Mariological insights of St. Louis Marie de Montfort as we approach his upcoming feast day (Friday, April 28). This issue will include: the full Act of Consecration according to St. Louis Marie de Montfort, a brief biography of his life, and selections from his vast Mariological contribution. We encourage an increase in preaching, teaching and devotional practice based on this great Marian saint, from whom John Paul the Great had the wisdom to take his motto Totus Tuus (Entirely Yours Mary). – Ed.

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What is devotion to Mary?

To answer this question we must first make a basic theological distinction. Adoration, which is known as latria in classical theology, is the worship and homage that is rightly offered to God alone. It is the acknowledgement of excellence and perfection of an uncreated, divine person. It is the worship of the Creator that God alone deserves.

Veneration, known as dulia in classical theology, is the honor due to the excellence of a created person. This refers to the excellence exhibited by the created being who likewise deserves recognition and honor. We see a general example of veneration in events like the awarding of academic awards for excellence in school or the awarding of the Olympic medals for excellence in sports. There is nothing contrary to the proper adoration of God when we offer the appropriate honor and recognition that created persons deserve based on achievement in excellence. (1) [...]

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Having spoken thus far of the necessity of devotion to the most holy Virgin, I must now show in what this devotion consists. This I will do, with God’s help, after I shall have first laid down some fundamental truths which shall throw light on that grand and solid devotion which I desire to disclose.

— First Truth —

Jesus Christ Is the Last End of Devotion to Mary

61. Jesus Christ our Savior, true God and true Man, ought to be the last end of all our other devotions, else they are false and delusive. Jesus Christ is the Alpha and the Omega, (1) the beginning and the end, of all things. We labor not, as the Apostle says, except to render every man perfect in Jesus Christ; because it is in Him alone that the whole plenitude of the Divinity dwells together with all the other plenitudes of graces, virtues and perfections. It is in Him alone that we have been blessed with all spiritual benediction; and He is our only Master, who has to teach us; our only Lord on whom we ought to depend; our only Head to whom we must be united; our only Model to whom we should conform ourselves; our only Physician who can heal us; our only Shepherd who can feed us; our only Way who can lead us; our only Truth whom we must believe; our only Life who can animate us; and our only All in all things who can satisfy us. There has been no other name given under Heaven, except the name of Jesus, by which we can be saved. God has laid no other foundation of our salvation, our perfection or our glory, than Jesus Christ. Every building which is not built on that firm rock is founded upon the moving sand, and sooner or latter infallibly will fall. Every one of the faithful who is not united to Him, as a branch to the stock of the vine, shall fall, shall wither, and shall be fit only to be cast into the fire. Outside of Him there exists nothing but error, falsehood, iniquity, futility, death and damnation. But if we are in Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ is in us, we have no condemnation to fear. Neither the angels of Heaven nor the men of earth nor the devils of Hell nor any other creature can injure us; because they cannot separate us from the love of God, which is in Jesus Christ. By Jesus Christ, with Jesus Christ, in Jesus Christ, we can do all things; we can render all honor and glory to the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit; (2) we can become perfect ourselves, and be to our neighbor a good odor of eternal life (2 Cor. 2:15-16). [...]

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1. It was through the most holy Virgin Mary that Jesus came into the world, and it is also through her that He has to reign in the world.

2. Mary was singularly hidden during her life. It is on this account that the Holy Ghost and the Church call her Alma Mater—”Mother secret and hidden.” (1) Her humility was so profound that she had no inclination on earth more powerful or more constant than that of hiding herself, from herself as well as from every other creature, so as to be known to God only.

3. He heard her prayers when she begged to be hidden, to be humbled and to be treated as in all respects poor and of no account. He took pleasure in hiding her from all human creatures, in her conception, in her birth, in her life, in her mysteries, and in her resurrection and Assumption. Even her parents did not know her, and the angels often asked one another: “Who is that?” (Cant. 3:6; 8:5) because the Most High either had hidden her from them, or if He did reveal anything, it was nothing compared to what He kept undisclosed. [...]

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Consecration

Published on May 7, 2005 by in Left Prayer

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MARIAN CONSECRATION

I, (name), a faithless sinner, renew and ratify today in your hands, O Immaculate Mother, the vows of my Baptism; I renounce forever Satan, his pomps and works; and I give myself entirely to Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Wisdom, to carry my cross after Him all the days of my life, and to be more faithful to Him than I have ever been before.

In the presence of all the heavenly court, I choose you this day for my Mother and Queen. I deliver and consecrate to you, as your slave, my body and soul, my goods, both interior and exterior, and even the value of all my good actions, past, present, and future; leaving to you the entire and full right of disposing of me, and all that belongs to me, without exception, according to your good pleasure, for the greater glory of God, in time and eternity. Amen.

– St. Louis Marie de Montfort

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