What is Total Consecration?
by Fr. Patrick Greenough, ofm conv.
Consecration means to set oneself aside for service to God. In truth, all consecration is by God and to God. God is the one who inspires us to totally give ourselves to Him and all consecration is ultimately to God alone. God however does not do anything in us or to us without our consent, our free will.
Therefore it is necessary that we choose to give ourselves to God and that we ask to be consecrated. The ultimate and most important consecration is Baptism whereby we are set apart for God, by God. All other consecrations should help us to grow in our baptismal consecration. And this is precisely what Marian consecration does. At our Baptism we promised to turn away from sin and live the Gospel life. Unfortunately, as Fulbert of Chartres (d.1028) stated, We have not always observed what we have promised at our Baptism. Nevertheless, we have been handed over to Our Lady and committed to her care by the Lord to help us.
Consecration to the Virgin Mary
Consecration to the Virgin Mary began at the foot of the Cross, whereby Our Lord entrusted John and, symbolically through him, all Christians to the Virgin Mary. From the foot of the Cross to the earliest known prayer to Mary, the Sub Tuum Praesidium (c.300), to St. John Damascene (d.750) to St. Louis de Monfort (d.1716), devotion to Mary and consecration to her has been part of the Christian tradition and faith. Marian consecration therefore is not an "old fashioned" devotion, but an historical, theological, and spiritual act whereby one grows in the holiness of one's Baptism and becomes a more perfect disciple of Christ. Consecration to the Virgin Mary therefore should not be undertaken
lightly, for it is a life changing, faith building act.
Why Consecrate Myself to the Immaculate Virgin?
Traditional definitions of consecration to Mary consist in offering oneself entirely to Mary in order, through her, to belong totally to Jesus. All consecrations therefore are ultimately through/with Mary to Jesus. This is in imitation of the Son of God who offered Himself entirely to Mary not only in her womb but as a Son to a Mother so as to come to earth and become one with all humanity. The Son of God's giving of Himself to Mary therefore did not end at His birth but continues forever as the bond between a Mother and a Son is eternal.
Following the entrustment of John to the Virgin Mary at the foot of the Cross, Pope John Paul II teaches that by entrusting oneself to Mary, each Christian, like John the Apostle, welcomes the Mother of Christ into his own home and heart. He continues by saying, As Mary gave birth to Christ, the Head of the Mystical Body, she also had to have given birth to all of the members of that same body.
What Happens at Consecration?
By consecrating ourselves to Mary we become like her. We too become filled with grace. We are overshadowed by the Holy Spirit. We become the ark of the covenant and the dwelling place of God. We give birth to Christ in the world. We become the spouse of the Holy Spirit. We become perfect disciples of Christ. We become intercessors as she did at Cana. Our hearts are pierced by
a sword. We are at enmity with the devil and we share in the sufferings of Christ and stand at the foot of His Cross. Is this not what every true disciple of Christ longs for and desires to be? Once again, however, consecration cannot be taken lightly. The mission that Our Lady accepted required great faith and entailed tremendous suffering as well.
St. Maximilian Kolbe and Consecration
St. Maximilian Kolbe, ofm conv., founded the Militia of the Immaculata movement to consecrate the entire world to the Immaculate Virgin so as to lead every person to Jesus Christ as quickly as possible. He stated that the ideal of every member of the MI is to be the servant and child of the Immaculata, and this out of love.
St. Maximilian's consecration to Mary centers around her Immaculate Conception and her relationship with Jesus as His Mother and the Holy Spirit as His Spouse. St. Maximilian taught that the will of the Immaculata is totally united to the Will of the Holy Spirit. That is why in consecrating ourselves to the Immaculate Virgin and doing her will, we also give ourselves to Jesus to do His Will. Her will does not differ from the Will of God. Calling upon her will, without reserve, we manifest a love for the Will of God, for her will is so perfectly united with the Will of God that in nothing does it differ from God's. We imitate good, virtuous people but none of these is without imperfection, only she, immaculate from the first moment of her existence knows no imperfection, not the slightest fault.
It is for us to imitate her, to come near her, to become like her, to become her own!