The following is excerpted from Fr. Peter Damian Fehlner’s St. Maximilian M. Kolbe, Martyr of Charity: Pneumatologist, His Theology of the Holy Spirit (New Bedford, MA: Academy of the Immaculate, 2004).
Transubstantiation into the Immaculate
This usage, to many curious, of a term from Eucharistic dogma and doctrine by St. Maximilian, once in a letter and once in a conference, far from being the dangerous formula some see in it, is an original, yet deeply traditional insight of St. Maximilian. It describes very exactly the Marian mode of Eucharistic communion, or better the Eucharistic dimension of Marian mediation in the soul, precisely because it is the mediation of the Immaculate.
The first known instance of the saint’s use of this phrase occurs in a letter to Fr. Vivoda (1) where he is discussing total consecration to the Immaculate in a context clearly Trinitarian, where total consecration makes us property of the Immaculate, just as being Immaculate, Spouse of the Holy Spirit, makes her property of the Father (viz., Daughter and Handmaid) and Mother of the Father’s Son. In some ineffable way by becoming her property we share in the Trinitarian life and in the missions of the Son and Holy Spirit. Being her property he defines as our being annihilated in Her, changed into Her, transubstantiated into Her, so as it were to be Her. We are her possessions as She is God s and as She comes to give birth to the Son of God, so transubstantiated into Her we come to give birth to the same Son in the hearts of belong to or will belong to the Immaculate. Divinizatio hominis usque ad Deum-hominem per Dei-hominis Matrem. A few years later in a radio address on the twentieth anniversary of the M.I. he summarized the same notion of total consecration as “transubstantiation” into the Immaculate thus: The Militia of the Immaculate is a global vision of Catholic life under a new form, consisting of our bond with the Immaculate, our universal Mediatrix with Jesus (2).
By this “transubstantiation” into the Immaculate St. Maximilian means expressly a personal or spousal union of love with the Immaculate on the part of those totally consecrated to her, a spousal union whose exemplar is the spousal union of the Immaculate with the Holy Spirit, which in a conference of 1938 (3) he describes as her transubstantiation into the Holy Spirit, whose name is later declared Immaculate Conception. It is this merging of personality and name which constitutes the “new form” for the life of grace and mission.
The choice of terminology is interesting, seemingly inspired from on high. For it pinpoints the Marian mode of our incorporation into the Body of Christ and of our communion with Him, above all in the Eucharist. The miracle of consecration of bread and wine via their total conversion or transubstantiation into the Body and Blood of Christ at Mass is the basis for our total transformation or analogically “transubstantiation” into Christ, a “conversion” which remains imperfect until it is fully activated in a Marian way, viz., analogically via transubstantiation into the Immaculate, so that the Church might be “immaculate”: sine macula, sine ruga. The personality of the Church as distinct from that of Christ her head is precisely the personality of the Immaculate. And so it must also be for each member, actual and potential. Whence we may speak not only of a kind of presence of the Holy Spirit in the Body of Christ, but also of a Marian presence, whereby every aspect of the Church, including the hierarchical and Petrine is animated. Pope John Paul II often spoke of this presence (4).
To promote this Marian presence in the Church is to “incorporate” the mystery of the Immaculate into the Church and into the whole of creation (5). To come under the influence of that presence is to be “transubstantiated” into the Immaculate, as by her Immaculate Conception she was “transubstantiated” into the Holy Spirit, becoming as it were one “personality” with that divine Person, so in relation to the Father enjoying the privilege of being Mother of God, with the Son Handmaid and Coredemptrix, Instrument of the Father for the redemption of the world, effected in the Church by the sanctificatory mission of the Holy Spirit-Immaculate Conception. Thus the mystery of the Immaculate is at the heart both of a Christian cosmology, but above all a Christian angelology and anthropology. Another word to describe this promotion of the cause of the Immaculate is marianization, or the Fiat, which with that of the Creator effects the re-creation or new creation. In this context Mary Immaculate qua Immaculate is the new creature, the measure of every new creation made “in the sanctity and justice of truth” (