Total Consecration to the Virgin Mary

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Introduction
When we think of Jesus Christ, what do we think of first? Do we think of an ideal of unselfishness: “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31)? Do we think of an institution divinely inspired: “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18)? Or do we perhaps think of individual people we have known, who have given witness in their own lives of the Good News—the Gospel—that Jesus Christ brought to the world, and who, through their kerygma, have inspired us to live that ideal of unselfishness and belong to that institution?

As noble and important as any one of these thoughts may be, they are insufficient, because first and foremost, Jesus Christ is a Person. To know Christ Jesus, it is not sufficient to be a monotheist. To love Christ Jesus, it is not sufficient to be an altruist. To serve Christ Jesus, it is not sufficient to belong to an NGO…

Jesus Christ—true God and true man—is the One Who, in His very Person, is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). He is the One Who was in the Beginning with God; the One Who is God; the Word Who was made Flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:1-14). He is the One Who, as we proclaim in the Apostle’s Creed, with our heads bowed, was born of the Virgin Mary. To know Who Jesus Is, we must encounter Him personally… as Mary did. Once we know Jesus personally, we will have no choice but to love Him… as Mary did. When we love Jesus, we will desire nothing more than to serve Him… as Mary did.

In this season of Advent, as we begin a new liturgical year, we commemorate, in a special way, the time that Jesus spent in the womb of Mary, transforming her—by His Divine Presence—into Heaven itself. In the words of St. Peter Damian:

Happy this childbearing woman, from Eve’s law set free; she conceived without a man, and she gave birth without a cry. Mary’s rich womb gave birth to the price of the world’s ransom, and we, the redeemed, rejoice, set free from the yoke of our debt. The Son of the Father fills her; the Holy Spirit overshadows her; the all-chaste womb of the holy Maid becomes heaven.


To Know Christ Jesus… through Mary

In order to have a true understanding of Who Jesus Is, in both His humanity and His divinity, it is necessary to understand the place that is shared by Him, and His Mother, in God’s eternal plan. In this way, just as Mary’s title of Theotokos, or Mother of God, has protected the Catholic Church from the errors of Nestorius since the Council of Ephesus, a deeper understanding and knowledge of Mary—who, in the words of Vatican II, is highest after Christ, and also closest to us—will always result in a deeper understanding and knowledge of Jesus. In the words of Blessed Pope Pius IX:

From the very beginning, and before time began, the eternal Father chose and prepared for his only-begotten Son a Mother in whom the Son of God would become incarnate and from whom, in the blessed fullness of time, he would be born into this world… And hence, the very words with which the Sacred Scriptures speak of Uncreated Wisdom, and set forth his eternal origin, the Church, both in its ecclesiastical offices, and in its liturgy, has been wont to apply likewise to the origin of the Blessed Virgin, inasmuch as God, by one and the same decree, had established the origin of Mary and the Incarnation of Divine Wisdom.

To Love Christ Jesus… in Mary
Can we ever love Jesus Christ as He truly deserves? This would seem impossible, since we are only finite creatures… However, St. Maximilian Kolbe teaches us that the perfect love of the Trinity meets an adequate response in the perfect love of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, on account of her union with the Holy Spirit, Who overshadowed her with His Power (Luke 1:35). Because of this union, St. Francis of Assisi called Mary the “Spouse of the Holy Spirit.” Though finite creatures, we can, in fact, love Jesus as much as He deserves, but only provided that we immerse our love in the love of Mary, who contains within herself all the love of creation, and who will make our poor love perfect by uniting it with hers to all the love of the Most Holy Trinity, Who is the Holy Spirit, her Spouse. In the words of St. Maximilian Kolbe:

In the union of the Holy Spirit with her, not only does love bind these two beings, but the first of them [the Holy Spirit] is all the love of the Most Holy Trinity, while the second [the Blessed Virgin Mary] is all the love of creation, and thus, in that union, heaven is joined to earth, the whole heaven with the whole earth, the whole of Uncreated Love with the whole of created love: this is the vertex of love.


To Serve Christ Jesus… with Mary

If we wish to love Jesus Christ effectively as well as affectively, then we must direct all our actions toward Him, so that we may serve Him with our whole heart, with our whole soul, with our whole mind, and with our whole strength (Mark 12:30). Effective love means action (James 2:14-26). For our effective love to be adequate, we must perform all our actions with Mary, so that our love may be joined with hers. St. Thomas Aquinas teaches us that love is in the will, and so to join our love with Mary’s, we must surrender our will to her. In this way, we are protected from error, and our actions will have the greatest effect, because the will with which we perform our actions will be perfectly united to the will of God! In the words of St. Maximilian Kolbe:

The Immaculate, the Full of grace, was always united to the will of God. From all eternity, She was in the thought of God, who had willed her so holy and perfect, to correspond with His will in a manner so complete. Hence, we can say that to do the will of God means to do the will of the Immaculate, and to do the will of the Immaculate means to do the will of God, because she is always united to God: the Lord is with thee; because she is always docile to the call of God: be it done to me; because she is always solicitous for the glory of God, always adoring, praising and thanking: my soul magnifies the Lord.

Transformation in Mary’s Womb
To make an adequate response to the Love of God the Father, we must be effectively transformed in Mary, who, in the words of St. Louis de Montfort, is the form and mold of God. We can only do this by entering again into the womb of our Mother—Mary—as Jesus Himself said to Nicodemus (John 3:1-21), so that we may be born again in the form and mold of Jesus, her Firstborn. In the words of St. Louis de Montfort:

Since Mary has formed Jesus Christ, the Head of the elect, it is also her office to form the members of that Head, that is to say, all true Christians; for a mother does not form the head without the members, nor the members without the head… As the Holy Spirit has espoused Mary and has produced in her, by her and from her, His masterpiece, Jesus Christ, the Word Incarnate, and has never repudiated His spouse, so He now continues to produce the elect, in her and by her, in a mysterious but real manner.

Total Consecration to the Virgin Mary
Total consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God and our Mother (John 19:27), is the complete effective transformation of ourselves into Mary, and through Mary into Christ. Is total consecration to Mary merely a “pretty” or “poetic” ideal? Indeed no, because total consecration becomes the concrete means by which we know, love, and serve Jesus Christ in our every-day lives! According to the spirituality of St. Maximilian Kolbe, total consecration to the Immaculate Virgin Mary both demands, and effectively produces, the following three dispositions in our souls and bodies:
Fixed thought on the Immaculate, thereby causing us to fix our thought on Jesus, the Son of Mary, with a correct understanding of Who He Is—not (merely) an ideal, nor an institution, nor a collection of individuals, but a true Person, true God and true man, with a true Personality, which is known to no one better than His Mother.

Faithful love for the Immaculate, thereby causing us to love God more, because our love for God will be immersed in our love for Mary, who contains within herself all the love of creation. Moreover, our love will be united to all the love of the Most Holy Trinity, through the ineffable union of Mary with the Holy Spirit, her Spouse, and thus our love will become an adequate response to the Love of Jesus.

Fruitful action on behalf of the Immaculate, thereby causing us to act at all times with our will, completely united to the will of Mary, who will both protect us from error, and make our good works overwhelmingly fruitful, because Mary’s will is perfectly conformed to the will of God. In all things, and at all times, in suffering, and in joy, Mary’s one response is “Fiat” (Luke 1:38), and her one instruction to us is “Do whatever He [Jesus] tells you” (John 2:5).

Witness of the Saints
Countless saints have understood this “Marian key” for knowing, loving, and serving Jesus effectively. In her poem, “Why I Love You, O Mary,” St. Therese of Lisieux wrote: “You make me feel that it’s not impossible to follow in your footsteps, O Queen of the elect… Near you, Mary, I like to stay little.” In her diary, St. Faustina Kowalska wrote, “O sweet Mother of God, I model my life on You… Midst storms, it is You who teach me to love the Lord.” Mother Teresa of Calcutta told her Missionaries of Charity, “Stay very close to Our Lady. If you do this, you can do great things for God, and the good of people.” If we desire to be as effective and affective in our love as these great saints (and countless others), we have only to follow in their footsteps, and become Mary’s little children—living icons of Mary and her Son Jesus—in the world.

Conclusion
Without knowing Jesus Christ as a Person—Son of God and Son of Mary—and without having a personal encounter with Him, we can never understand Who He Is (Mark 8:27-29). To know Jesus as Mary knew Him, to love Jesus as Mary loved Him, to serve Jesus as Mary served Him, and to be transformed into His very Image and Likeness, we must be born again of Mary and the Holy Spirit (John 3:1-21): we must allow ourselves to be transformed in Mary’s womb, in her, and into her, and by her into Christ. This is the meaning of total consecration to Mary, and through Mary, to Jesus Christ, Who Is the Alpha and the Omega.

Daily Prayer of Total Consecration to the Immaculate, by St. Maximilian Kolbe:
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, [your name], 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 [Satan’s] head,” and “You [Mary] 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.

Jonathan Fleischmann About Jonathan Fleischmann

Jonathan Fleischmann is currently an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI, USA. Dr. Fleischmann has written peer-reviewed articles on a wide range of subjects, including engineering mechanics, mathematical logic, and Mariology. He is the author of the book Marian Maximalism, with a foreword by His Eminence Cardinal Burke, published by the Academy of the Immaculate (in 2016), and he has contributed over twenty articles on Marian devotion to the Missio Immaculatae International magazine, in addition to his articles published in the Homiletic and Pastoral Review. His academic webpage is at jonathanfleischmann.wordpress.com.

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