In God’s infinite wisdom, He decided to come into the world to save all of humanity in His Incarnation, but also through the generous “Yes” and collaboration of Mary. Mary is the Mother of God, the Mother of the Church, and she is our Mother in the order of grace!
The saints, the true friends of God and our models and patterns to imitate, unanimously agree on the indispensable role that God has chosen in choosing Our Lady, Mary most holy, as a most sure means and instrument for our eternal salvation. Why not follow in the footsteps of the saints and skyrocket in holiness? By giving ourselves to Jesus through the hands and Immaculate Heart of Mary we will be travelling speedily on the highway to holiness which ends up in heaven—our eternal resting place!
Let us meditate upon what five of the saints have said in their effusive love for Mary and Jesus the Son of Mary; then we will present five concrete ways that we can live our consecration to Jesus through Mary, God’s masterpiece of creation! Behold the saints and their love and confidence in Mary!
- “We must look upon Mary as an accomplished model of every virtue and perfection that the Holy Spirit has fashioned in any simple creature. We will then be able to imitate her in the way suitable to each of us.” (St. Louis Grignion de Montfort) Author of the Marian classic of consecration: True Devotion to Mary.
- “When Mary became the Mother of God, true God and true Man, she also became our Mother. In his great mercy, Jesus wished to call us His brothers and sisters, and by this name He constituted us adopted children of Mary.” (St. John Bosco—founder of the Salesians and great lover of Our Lady Help of Christians.)
- “In danger, anguish or doubt think of Mary and call upon her. Following her, you will never lose your way. Praying to her, you will never sink into despair. Contemplating her, you will never go wrong.” (St. Bernard, saint, poet, writer, Doctor of the church and author of the famous Marian poem “Stella Maris”—Our Lady Star of the Sea.
- “Blessed are those who abandon themselves into our Lady’s hands. Their names are written in the Book of Life.” (St. Bonaventure—Franciscan, Doctor of the Church)
- “In His eagerness to show you mercy, God has given His Son as your Advocate. And then to make your confidence even stronger, He has given you another Advocate, who obtains through her prayers whatever she asks. Go to Mary, and you will see salvation.” (St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori—founder of the Redemptorist, prolific writer, author of one of the most famous Marian masterpieces—Glories of Mary, and Doctor of the Church.)
Overflowing with immense love for Jesus and Mary, the saints cannot contain their sentiments of love, admiration and confidence in Mary’s presence and intercession. Devotion and love for Mary leads us directly into the Heart of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The last recorded words of Our Lady in Sacred Scripture were at the Wedding Feast of Cana: “Do whatever He tells you.” (Jn. 2:5) Indeed, truly the best advice in the world!!!
Following we will offer five concrete ways that we can live out all the more fully our consecration to Jesus through the loving but extremely powerful presence of Mary, who is our life, our sweetness and our hope. (Prayer—the Hail Holy Queen).
1. Morning Consecration.
Upon rising from sleep the first gesture of our day should be to consecrate our whole person and being to the glory and honor of God through the intercession of Mary. Then a very important gesture is to always be wearing the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and to reverently kiss the Scapular. This “kiss” given to the Scapular clearly expresses our great love for Mary, the Mother of God. This will fill Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart of with immense joy! By kissing reverently the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel the Church grants a special indulgence—how important it is for the children to love Mother Mary.
Get into the habit of praying the beautiful Marian prayer, the Angelus. The past three Popes—St. Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, and the present reigning Pontiff, Pope Francis, when they were not travelling, have the beautiful custom of praying the Angelus publically in the St. Peter’s Plaza at 12:00 noon on Sundays. The Angelus is a beautiful Marian and Christocentric prayer that summarizes the key moments in salvation history—the Incarnation of Jesus, as well as His Passion, Death and Resurrection (The Paschal Mystery) as well as Our Lady’s key role in these key and pivotal moments leading to our salvation!
A suggestion: try to memorize the Angelus. Then, if possible, get into the habit of praying the Angelus three times a day—morning( 9:00 a.m.) to sanctify the morning hours; noon (12:00 p.m.) to sanctify the afternoon; (6:00 p.m.) to sanctify the evening hours. By sanctifying these three pivotal hours by this key Marian and Christological prayer you will be living more and more in the presence of God’s loving embrace and grow in holiness of life. Try it!
3. Imitate Mary.
Indeed if we love a person we want to get to know the person better, love the person more ardently and finally to follow in this person’s footsteps and imitate his life. If we love Mary then we should make a concerted effort to imitate her most sublime virtues. In the classic Marian text, True Devotion to Mary, St. Louis de Montfort there is a number where the saint lists the ten most important virtues that Mary practiced. Here they are: her deep humility, lively faith, blind obedience, unceasing prayer, constant self-denial, surpassing purity, ardent love, heroic patience, angelic kindness, and heavenly wisdom.(True Devotion to Mary # 108) Knowledge generates love; love generates following; following generates imitation; imitation of Mary generates sanctification!
4. Maria cogita, Maria invoca.
One of the key Marian mottos of the Congregation the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, a Congregation dedicated to giving the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, as well as spreading solid and authentic Marian devotion is the Latin “Maria cogita, maria invoca”—meaning, think about Mary and invoke Mary. We should strive to have both Jesus and Mary in our mind, thoughts, feelings, heart as well as our actions. However, when we are going through serious trials, tribulations, desolations, as well as severe temptations that indeed is a key time that we should lift up our minds, hearts and souls to Mary and trust that through her powerful prayers she will help us to sail through those tempestuous and tumultuous storms to the harbor of salvation! We pray in the Memorare to Mary: “Never was it known that anyone who fled to her intercession was left unaided…”
5. The Hail Mary and the Rosary.
If we truly want to manifest our love and devotion to both Jesus and Mary then we should form the habit of praying the most Holy Rosary on a daily basis. St. Pope John XXIII prayed three Rosaries ad day. He called the Rosary “a compendium of the whole Gospel.” Pope Leo XIII wrote many Encyclicals on the Rosary, always in the month of October which is the month of the Holy Rosary. Saint Pope John Paul II stated at the very beginning of his pontificate that the Rosary was his favorite prayer. The same Pope wrote a document “The Blessed Virgin Mary and the Rosary” in which he instituted the new series, the luminous mysteries.
John Paul, in this document on the Rosary, insisted on families praying the Rosary and for two specific intentions: for world peace and for the salvation of the family. The famous Rosary priest, Father Patrick Peyton expressed it succinctly in these two immortal sayings: “The family that prays together stays together.” And “A world at prayer is a world at peace.” Therefore if we want to attain peace in this war-engulfed society—let us pray the Rosary. Then if we want to save our children, our youth and our families, we must find time to pray the Rosary. At Fatima in 1917, Our Lady appeared six times the Shepherd children, Jacinta, Francisco, and Lucia. Every time she appeared she said clearly: “Pray the Rosary!” Finally at Fatima she revealed her identity: “I am the Lady of the Rosary.” In sum, let us undertake these five concrete practices to live out our consecration to Jesus through Mary. If done, we are on the highway to happiness, holiness and heaven!