In previous posts, we covered a few of the many documented miracles attributed to a devotion to Our Lady and related to sites of her appearances, or apparitions, (and there have been numerous approved instances of Our Lady’ apparitions). There are many, many more accounts of miracles and apparitions that have not been vetted or officially approved. These facts alone are strong evidence of the salutary effects of a devotion to Our Lady. But, as the infomercials say, “Wait! There’s more!”
St. Louis-Marie Grignon de Montfort really nailed down the whole concept of devotion to Our Lady and to Our Lord Jesus through Our Lady in his classic work, True Devotion to Mary. This book stayed virtually undiscovered until after his death and the end of the French Revolution. Since its discovery in 1842, it has been recognized as the greatest book on Our Lady. It has been recommended and practiced by eight Popes. In fact, Pope St. John Paul II said that this book,
“…was a decisive turning point in my life. I say ‘turning point,’ but in fact it was a long inner journey… [it] is indispensable to anyone who means to give himself without reserve to Christ…It is from Montfort that I have taken my motto, ‘Totus Tuus’ (I am all thine).”
Here’s the bottom line according to St. Louis de Montfort: The greatest thing we can strive for is to be conformed to, and united totally with, Christ. That being the case, then any devotion that will help us the most to conform ourselves to and unite us with Jesus would be the ideal form of devotion to follow. That makes sense, right? Well then, St. Louis says, who was more conformed to and united with Christ in their lifetime than the Blessed Virgin Mary? From the moment she gave her Fiat at the annunciation, to the time she received Jesus’ body from the cross, Our Lady was totally united with, consecrated to, and an instrument of God’s will.
Is that powerful, or what? Think about it—who is a better role model for following God’s will and being united to Him than Our Blessed Mother? St. Louis de Montfort provides a method of consecrating ourselves to Our Lady and to Our Lord through Our Lady over a period of 33 days. It’s all laid out in his book. But don’t let the 33 days of preparation frighten you away from it. The regimen over the month or so of time simply involves daily prayers and reflections—something we probably already are doing in one form or another anyway.
In the last few years, another approach to Marian consecration has been developed and explained in his book, 33 Days to Morning Glory, by Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC. In his book, Fr. Gaitley draws upon St. Louis de Montfort’s approach to consecration, as well as the lives and Marian devotional practices two other saints, St. Maximillian Kolbe and Pope St. John Paul II, together with those of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, to formulate his method of consecration. Fr. Gaitley, whose order, the Marians of the Immaculate Conception have a great love and zeal for Mary Immaculate, believes that this formula of consecration can help anyone jump start or rekindle a strong devotion to Our Lady, and to Jesus through her. Fr. Gaitley’s approach, written in the current time for Catholics of our day, although spanning 33 days like St. Louis’ uses what some might perceive to be a less demanding daily schedule of prayers and reflections.
We first read and used Fr. Gaitley’s approach for our consecration to Our Lady. It was a great experience, and I’d commend it to anyone who wants to ramp up their prayer life and devotion to Our Lord and Our Lady. Absolutely anyone can take a little time each day to prayerfully work through this method of consecration, and it will yield great spiritual benefits. In the interest of full disclosure, I will also tell you that I subsequently did a re-consecration using St. Louis de Montfort’s True Devotion to Mary and it was incredibly rewarding as well. So which one is best for you? Consider getting a copy of each and scan through them, then pick the one you’d like to use. You can get a Kindle version of each for about $3 - $7 or used paperbacks from about $5 + $3.99 shipping, so it shouldn’t break the bank if you want to take a look at both of them.
You can get much deeper into the scriptural basis for all of this by actually reading True Devotion to Mary, and/or 33Days to Morning Glory. As well, for inquiring minds who want to delve more deeply into the scriptural basis for Mary as Mother of God and related issues, Patrick Madrid’s book, Where Is That in the Bible has an easy-to-read chapter on the topic, and Fr. Mitch Pacwa has written a great little book on the subject, Mary—Virgin,Mother and Queen. (You can never have too many devotional books, although I am attempting to maintain a personal book-buying moratorium right now, just to prove to myself that I can stop buying books. J )
And please keep in mind that Our Lady, Our Blessed Mother, is watching over us and wants to help us. We should not only pray to Jesus, Our Heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit, but we should also ask Our Blessed Mother for her intercession. As the Queen Mother, she will perfect our requests and present them to Jesus, advocating our causes for us, (and who can resist a mother’s insistent request, right?)
Our Blessed Mother loves us and won’t let us down:
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.
To be continued...