What is Consecration to Mary?Consecrate comes from the Latin word consecrare: "to dedicate, to set aside for a holy purpose." Consecration to Mary is a threefold spiritual reality in the service of the real Triune God. Consecration to Mary is an internal dedication, an external service, and an eternal reorientation of life. By the first, there is a reordering of heart and mind and spirit; by the second a reordering of word and deed and body; the by third a reordering of intention and destiny.
Consecration to Mary is primarily an internal dedication of the soul based on true, interior devotion. St. Louis Marie de Montfort numbers the interior acts of devotion to Mary:
Consecration to Mary is secondly an external service, based on true exterior devotion. St. Louis numbers some of the external acts of devotion, where he says: "True devotion to Our Lady also has several exterior practices, of which the following are the principle ones:
- "to honor Her as the worthy Mother of God, with the worship of hyperdulia; that is to say, to esteem Her and honor Her above all the other saints, as The Masterpiece of grace, and the first after Jesus Christ, true God and true Man;
- "to meditate on Her virtues, Her privileges and Her actions;
- "to contemplate Her granduers;
- "to makes acts of love, of praise, of gratitude to Her;
- "to invoke Her cordially;
- "to offer ourselves to Her and unite ourselves with Her;
- "to do all our actions with the view of pleasing Her;
- "to begin, to continue and to finish all our actions by Her, with Her and for Her, in order that we may do them by Jesus Christ, in Jesus Christ, with Jesus Christ and for Jesus Christ our Last End." (True Devotion, n. 113)
Consecration to Mary is thirdly an eternal reorientation of life, and in this it consists in that perfect devotion which St. Louis identifies as "Total Consecration", in which an individual freely and for the honor and glory of God through Mary takes Her as His Mother, Advocate and Queen; choosing by this means to dedicate his entire life and existence to Her and Her service; aligning himself with Her supernatural mission in the Church for the salvation and sanctification of souls.
- to enroll ourselves in Her confraternities and enter Her congregations;
- to join the religious order instituted in Her honor;
- to proclaim Her praises;
- to give alms, fast and to undergo outward and inward mortifications in Her honor;
- to wear Her liveries, such as the Rosary, the Scapular or the little chain;
- to recite with attention, devotion and modesty the Holy Rosary, composed of fifteen decades ... or of five decades...;
- to sing, or have sung, spiritual canticles in Her honor;
- to make a number of genuflections or reverences" in her honor while offering Her prayers and praises;
- "to take care of Her confraternities, to adorn Her altars, to crown and ornament Her images;
- to take carry Her images, or to have them carried, in procession, and to carry a picture or image of Her about on our own person, as a mighty arm against the evil spirit;
- to have copies of Her name or picture made and placed in churches, or in houses, or on the gates and entrances into cities, churches and houses;
- to consecrate ourselves to Her in a special and solemn manner." (True Devotion, n. 113)
What are The 3 Degrees of Consecration to Mary?There are three degrees of consecration to Mary. These correspond to the intensity of charity with which one lives one's consecration to Her. The first is that which is necessary: the observance of the moral law. Pope St. Pius X, a member of the Third Order of St. Francis, says about this degree:
"For to be right and good, worship of the Mother of God ought to spring from the heart; acts of the body have here neither utility nor value if the
acts of the soul have no part in them. Now these latter can only have one object, which is that we should fully carry out what the divine Son of
Mary commands. For if true love alone has the power to unite the wills of men, it is of the first necessity that we should have one will with Mary to
serve Jesus our Lord. What this most prudent Virgin said to the servants at the marriage feast of Cana she addresses also to us: "Whatsoever he shall
say to you, do ye" (John ii., 5). Now here is the word of Jesus Christ: "If you would enter into life, keep the commandments" (Mt. xix., 17). Let
them each one fully convince himself of this, that if his piety towards the Blessed Virgin does not hinder him from sinning, or does not move his
will to amend an evil life, it is a piety deceptive and lying, wanting as it is in proper effect and its natural fruit." (Ad diem illum laetissimum, Feb 2,
1904: para. 17)
The second degree of consecration to Mary is that which is eminently fitting: the pursuit of the life of perfection. This requires the practice of virtue and the pursuit of the every better practice of virtue. This can be done by intention or vow; either in the world or, more securely still, in religious life.
The third degree of consecration to Mary is that which is supremely eminent: the attainment of perfect virtue. This is the triumph of the Saints and the vocation of every Christians, as Our Lord Himself taught, "Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect."
What are The 3 Levels of Consecration to Mary?There are three levels of Consecration to Mary: Total Consecration, Unlimited Consecration, and Perfect Consecration. St. Louis Marie Montfort taught Total Consecration in his book True Devotion to Mary. Total Consecration, which itself is the perfection of devotion to Mary, consists in offering everything you have, body and soul, interiorly and exteriorly, spiritual and temporal to Mary and Her service, as a slave to his Queen. St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe, OFM. Conv., taught Unlimited Consecration through the MILITIA OF THE IMMACULATE. Unlimited consecration consists in making this same offering in an unlimited manner, that is, by explicitly excluding any limit to which one would offer himself and his life to Her, as a piece of property to Her who is proprietress. Perfect Consecration is that which Our Lord Jesus Christ taught from the Cross, when he said to St. John, "Behold your Mother." Perfect consecration consists in actually taking the historical request of Our Lady as recorded by the Holy Spirit in the Gospel as one's rule of life, as a son to his Mother. This historical and divinely revealed request of Our Lady, took place at Cana. There She said, "Do whatever He tells you." While this evangelical counsel of Mary can be observed in an allegorical manner by each of the preceding degrees and levels of consecration to Mary, it is however observed truly and properly and literally by the undertaking of that form of the Apostolic Life which Christ Himself lived and taught to the Apostles.
This Perfect Consecration to Mary is the religious life: the undertaking of the life of perfection by a vow to observe poverty, chastity and obedience. And as such this highest level of consecration to Mary has varying degrees, in accord with the extent of the renunciation of self made in religious consecration.
The most perfect renunciation that can be made in undertaking religious life is that which St. Francis of Assisi undertook. For the Rule of St. Francis requires the observance of obedience not only in what is in accord with positive law, but in all things not contrary to the moral law; of chastity not only in not marrying and in observing virginity of mind, heart, and body, but even by avoiding familiarity of women; of poverty not only in renouncing personal property; but even communal property, and not only that, but also the use of money and all financial instruments.
This document has been released to the public domain by is author.