I’m one of those über-Catholics who digs Mary.
She’s my go-to in times of need, my light in the midst of darkness, and my guide along the journey toward getting right with the Lord.
As St Louis de Montfort once said of his relationship with Mary, “Thou art all mine by mercy, and I am all thine by justice.”
Just about 5 years ago, I embarked on a 33-day mission to consecrate myself to Jesus through the Blessed Virgin Mary. Using the tools and prayers provided by St. Louis, I marked each and every day as a step closer toward connecting myself to Jesus through Our Lady in a radical and complete way.
Every year since, I have retraced those steps, renewing my consecration in a like manner.
And yet, I ponder daily if this consecration actually “took.”
Have I changed my life because of my newfound connection to Jesus through Mary? Have I moved an inch toward embracing her virtues in place of my failures?
Have I really and truly connected myself to her?
The honest answer to those questions is no.
I have gone on living the same life, walking along as if nothing has changed. It’s easy to do, given the many comforts in my life. I was trying to consecrate myself to someone I really had no understanding of and who I, quite honestly, felt had no understanding of me.
Sure, I knew Mary, in the sense that I knew things about her. I could easily spout off all the Church’s official (and unofficial) teachings about her. I could wax intellectual on the Ark of the Covenant and its connection to Mary as the new Ark, I could go on and on about her being the new Eve, etc.
But I did not really know her, and this prevented me from forming this truly radical bond I was seeking.
That all changed when my wife and I received the news of our pre-born baby’s fatal diagnosis of renal agenesis a few months back. While he continues to grow in the womb as if everything is going to be fine, the reality is so very far from that outward appearance. His lack of kidneys has led to a lack of fluid, which will lead to underdeveloped lungs that won’t be strong enough to draw more than a shallow first breath.
After his birth, my wife and I will baptize him, kiss his sweet head, and hold our beautiful baby in our arms as he dies.
There aren’t many people who can understand this pain, this agony that has ripped away nearly every piece of joy I had in my heart.
Through this suffering, though, my consecration can finally take place.
Mary knows this pain. Mary understands what it is like to hold a dying son in her arms. Mary gets the struggle of giving herself over to the will of God despite wishing it could happen any other way.
Mary gets me.
When St. Louis de Montfort sat down and wrote out his plan for the Consecration to Jesus through Mary, he didn’t intend it to be some shallow devotion where the faithful became pals with Mary. He didn’t intend it to be just another prayer that people had recourse to when they needed something. Rather, he intended it to be an opportunity for the faithful to enter into the profound life of Mary, and to experience the unconditional yes that she offered to God no matter how difficult and painful that yes might be.
“Let thy soul be in me to magnify the Lord; let thy spirit be in me to rejoice in God. Set thyself, O faithful Virgin, as a seal upon my heart, that in thee and through thee I may be faithful to God.”
Copyright 2016 Tommy Tighe