Solemn Act of Consecration
O Immaculate, 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, an unworthy 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 pleases You. If it pleases You, use all that I am and have without reserve, wholly to accomplish what has been 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 most 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 sanctification, since it is through Your hands that all graces come to us from the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
V. Allow me to praise You, O most holy Virgin. R. Give me strength against Your enemies.
Commentary by St. Maximilian Kolbe
This act of consecration consists of three parts:
A petition that she deign us to accept us as property,
An entreaty that she may want to use us in order to win other souls over to herself.
1 – An Invocation
In the invocation, we say first of all:
We address her with this title, because she herself in Lourdes chose to state her name thus: “Immaculate Conception.” God and each of the three divine Persons are immaculate, yet God is not conceived. The angels are immaculate, but even in them there is not conception. Our first parents were immaculate before their sin, yet even they were not conceived. Jesus was immaculate and conceived, but He was not a conception, because, being God, He existed before time, and the words that revealed to Moses the name of God referred to Him: “I am Who am” [Ex 3:14], that is, the One who always exists and has no beginning. All other people are a conception; yet, a conception stained by sin. Only she is not merely conceived, but Conception, and, what is more, Immaculate Conception. That name contains many other mysteries that will be revealed in time. For it marks the fact that Immaculate Conception belongs in some way to the very essence of the Immaculate. That name must be dear to her, for it indicates the first grace she received in the first instant of her existence, and the first gift is always the most welcome. This name, then, was fulfilled throughout her life, because she was always without sin. So she was also full of grace and God was with her (cf. Lk 1:28) always and with her to the point that she became the Mother of the Son of God.
Queen of Heaven and earth.
In a family, the parents who love their children strive, to the best of their ability, to fulfill the wishes of their children, as long as such desires are not to their detriment. All the more so God, the Creator and Prototype of earthly parents, wants to fulfill the will of His creatures, as long as that does not cause them harm; that is, provided that this will is in accordance with His Will.
Never and in anything did the Immaculate move away from God’s will. In everything she loved God’s Will, she loved God, so she is aptly named “Suppliant Omnipotence”; she exerts her influence on God Himself, on the whole universe: she is the Queen of Heaven and earth. In Heaven, all recognize the sovereignty of her love. Instead, that part of the first angels who would not recognize her queenship, lost their place in Heaven. She is also the Queen of the earth, for the fact that she is the Mother of God. Yet she desires—and is entitled to such desire—to be recognized spontaneously by every heart, to be loved as Queen of all hearts, so that such heart may be purified ever more through her, become immaculate, like her Heart and ever more worthy of union with God, with the love of God, with the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Refuge of sinners.
God is merciful, infinitely merciful, but He is also just, infinitely just, so that He cannot tolerate even the smallest sin and must demand its complete reparation. The Dispenser of the most precious Blood of Jesus, which has infinite value and that washes away such sins, is God’s mercy embodied in the Immaculate. With good reason, therefore, we invoke her as “Refuge of sinners,” of all sinners; even if their sins were most serious and most numerous, even if those sinners had the impression they no longer deserved any mercy. Indeed, any purification of the soul is for her a new confirmation of her title of “Immaculate Conception,” and the more a soul is plunged in sin, the more the power of her immaculateness, which makes a soul as pure as snow, is made manifest.
Our most loving Mother.
The Immaculate is the Mother of all our supernatural life, for she is the Mediatrix of all graces, indeed the Mother of divine grace, so she is our Mother in the sphere of grace, in the supernatural sphere. Also, she is a most loving Mother, for there is no such loving, such affectionate, such God-filled Mother as the Immaculate, who is all divine.
God has willed to entrust the entire order of mercy to you.
At times, in a family, the father rejoices when the mother, by her own intervention, holds his hand, which would punish the child, because in that case justice is met and mercy manifested. It is not without reason, in fact, that justice is suspended. In the same way God, not to punish us, gives us a spiritual mother, to whose intercession He is never opposed. That is why the saints have said that Jesus reserved the order of justice to himself, entrusting the entire order of mercy to the Immaculate.
2 – A Petition
In the second part of the act of consecration, we say:
I, an unworthy sinner.
At that point, we recognize that we are not immaculate as she is, but sinners. Especially since none of us could possibly claim to have lived up to the present day without committing a sin, but feels guilty of many infidelities. We also say “unworthy” because, in truth, between an unsullied Being and one disfigured by sin there is, in a certain way, an unfathomable difference. Therefore, in all truth we recognize ourselves unworthy to turn to her, to appeal to her, to fall at her feet and entreat her not to let us become similar to proud Lucifer. For that reason, we also say:
I 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.
With these words we pray, implore the Immaculate that she deign to welcome us, and we give ourselves up to her completely and in all respects as her children, her slaves of love, her servants, her instruments, in every respect, under any name that any person at any time could possibly still devise. And all that as a possession and property at her full disposal, that she may make use of us and exploit us until we are fully consumed.
Please make of me, of all my powers of soul and of my body, of my whole life, death and eternity, whatever most pleases you.
With these words, we surrender to her our whole being, all the faculties of the soul, namely the intellect, memory and will, all the faculties of the body, all the senses, and each individually, our strengths, health or infirmity. We give to her our entire life with all its features, be they pleasant, sad, or indifferent. To her we offer our death, at any time, in any place, and in any way it shall befall us. We even surrender to her all of our eternity. Indeed, we have the firm hope that only in Heaven shall we belong to her in an incomparably more perfect fashion. Thus, we voice the wish and prayer that she grant that we will become more and more perfectly hers in every aspect.
3 – An Entreaty
In the third part of the act of consecration, we beseech her:
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” (Gen 3:15), and, “You alone have destroyed all heresies in the whole world” (Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary).
In statues and paintings of the Immaculate, we always see at her feet a serpent that wraps the globe between its coils and whose head she, with her foot, is about to crush. He, Satan, stained with sin, strives to sully all the souls on earth with it. He hates her, who has always been unsullied. He lies in wait for her children at her heel, but in the fight with her, she always crushes his head in every soul that has recourse to her. We implore her to deign to use us, if she wills, as an instrument to crush the proud head of the serpent inside unhappy souls.
Continuing the verse already cited, the Scriptures add: “And thou shalt lie in wait for her heel,” and in fact the spirit of evil undermines in a special way those who are consecrated to the Immaculate, because he wants to offend her at least through them. However, his attempts against souls faithfully consecrated always end up in even more ignominious defeat. Therefore, his impotent rage becomes even more violent.
The words “You alone have destroyed all heresies in the whole world” are taken from the divine Office which the Church requires priests to recite with regard to her. The Church speaks of “heresies,” not “heretics,” because she, Mary, loves them and on account of this love wants to free them from the error of heresy. It also reads: “all,” without exception. “You alone,” because she suffices. God, in fact, belongs to her, with all the treasures of grace, graces of conversion, and of sanctification of souls. “In the whole world”: no corner of the earth here is excluded. In this section of the act of consecration, we implore her to make use of us to destroy the whole body of the serpent, that is to say the most diverse heresies that hold the world captive.
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.
On earth, we see so many unhappy, misguided souls who do not even know the purpose of their life, who love many short-lived goods instead of the only good, God. Many of them are even indifferent to the most sublime love. We want to introduce and increase to the maximum the glory of the Immaculate in these souls and we beseech her to make us useful tools in her immaculate and merciful hands, not to let us hamper her; to drive us even by force in case we were to refuse to obey her.
Extend as far as possible the blessed kingdom of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus is the love of God toward mankind. His Kingdom is the domain of this love in the hearts of men, the love that Jesus manifested in the manger, throughout His life, on the Cross, in the Eucharist, and in giving us His own Mother as our Mother; and He wants to kindle this love in the hearts of men. To infuse and to enhance the glory of the Immaculate, to conquer souls over to her, means to win souls over to the Mother of Jesus, who introduces the Kingdom of Jesus into them.
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.
The Immaculate is “Suppliant Omnipotence.” Each conversion and each sanctification is the work of grace, and she is the Mediatrix of all graces. So she alone is enough to beseech and to distribute all the graces, whatever grace. During the manifestation of the Miraculous Medal, Blessed Catherine Labouré saw the rays that shone forth from the precious rings that the Immaculate wore on her fingers. Such rays symbolize the graces that the Immaculate generously bestows upon all those who want them. Even Ratisbonne, in the vision he had, speaks of the rays of graces.
Allow me to praise you, O Sacred Virgin. Give me strength against your enemies.
Tradition has it that the Franciscan Duns Scotus, while on his way to the debate during which he was expected to defend, at the University of the Sorbonne, in Paris, the privilege of the Immaculate Conception, passed a statue of the Blessed Mother and addressed to her the aforementioned invocation. The Most Holy Mother bowed her head in approval.
In the first part of that prayer, Duns Scotus addresses the Mother of God humbly and asks for the grace to be able to praise her, for he acknowledges that he is greatly unworthy of so noble a task as the glorification of the Most Holy Mother. He also recognizes that such grace depends on her and that she needs just to grant it to him for his efforts to be successful.
The second part is strong, resolute and courageous. He asks the strength to defeat the serpent, to be an instrument in her hands. But who is her enemy? All that is sullied by sin, which does not lead to God, which is not love; it is all that comes from the infernal serpent, who is a lie, and from him alone: all our faults, then, all our sins. We beseech her to give us strength against them. In fact, all devotions exist only for that; that is why there is prayer; for that there are the holy Sacraments: namely, to obtain the strength to overcome all obstacles in our path to God, in ever more ardent love, in becoming like God, uniting with God Himself.
Just as we came from God through creation, so too we return to God; all nature speaks to us of that, and wherever we turn our gaze, we see that an action has an equal and opposite reaction, as an echo of God’s activity, even of His activity in creation. On this return path of reaction, a creature endowed with free will runs into difficulties and adversities, which God allows in order to increase even more the impetus with which such creature tends toward Him. To obtain sufficient strength to achieve that goal, however, this creature must pray, implore such strength from the One who is the source of all energy and who looks to the efforts of His own creatures lovingly, wishing that they sincerely want to come to Him, sparing no assistance toward them. And even if such creatures, such dear children of His, happened to stumble along the way, to fall, to be sullied, to become dirty, this loving Father cannot possibly sit back before their misfortune. He sends His only begotten Son, who with His life and His teaching shows them a clear and safe way. With His Most Holy Blood, which has infinite value, He washes away the dirt and heals the wounds. And lest the soul lose hope because of fear, for violating divine justice, God sends the One who is the personification of His love, the Bride of the Spirit of motherly love, the Immaculate, all beautiful, without stain (even though she is the daughter of a human being), sister of human beings, and appoints her to distribute generously his mercy toward souls. He appoints her Mediatrix of the grace merited by His Son, Mother of grace, Mother of the souls that are reborn through grace, that are regenerated and unceasingly regenerate themselves in ever more perfect divinization.
— Writings of St. Maximilian, 1331