Want to drop a V6 engine into your Volkswagen Bug prayer life? Looking to live as one worthy to be called the Bride of Christ? Would you like to battle sin and Satan and sabotage like the mighty saints of yore? Then gird your loins, grab a red marker, and open your calendar to the first week of Lent. You’ll want to scribble this prayer on Friday, February 20th:
Come, Holy Spirit, living in Mary…
Only two days after Ash Wednesday, Friday, February 20th is not only a day for fasting and walking the Stations of the Cross. It’s also the day St. Louis de Montfort would have us begin a 33-day preparation for a Marian Consecration. It’s timed perfectly so that we can consecrate ourselves to Jesus through Mary on March 25th, the Feast of the Annunciation.
What is Marian Consecration? Only the biggest, baddest, most beautiful thing you can do this year. Only the scariest, most inspiring, most sacred thing you can start doing every year. Marian Consecration is nothing less than devoting your life exclusively to Jesus through Mary. It’s nothing less than giving all that you are and that everything you have into the gentle hands of the Mother of God.
Is it Safe?
Marian Consecration is not safe—but it’s good. It will expose sin in your life and challenge the status quo, but giving Mary permission to do the job God gave her to do is also the “surest, easiest, shortest, and the most perfect means” for bringing glory to God. Should we expect anything less? Mary is, after all, the Mother of God, the Queen of Heaven, the Mediatrix of all graces, and the Immaculate Conception. There are so many things we could explore about Marian Consecration, but I want to just zoom in on my favorite: Mary is the Immaculate Conception.
“Um, what?!” the old disenchanted modernist in you might be asking. “How can Mary be the Immaculate Conception?!” To which, I would answer: But how can she not be? What Our Lady revealed to St. Bernadette of Lourdes—that Mary is the Immaculate Conception—is no mere pagan poetry: it is a window into the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And just before his martyrdom, God helped St. Maximilian of Kolbe see into the depths of this mystery. Mary was not only immaculately conceived: she is also the Immaculate Conception because she is the spouse of the Holy Spirit.
It’s strange how Christians can talk so glibly about being the “Bride of Christ” or the “Body of Christ,” but then balk at Mary being the spouse of the Holy Spirit. The Church is the Body of Christ because she is married to Christ. The Church and Christ are “one flesh.” To be a Christian is to be God’s spouse. But where did this one flesh union begin? It all started with the Incarnation, when the Holy Spirit took Mary to be his wife.
St. Maximilian realized that Mary could be the created Immaculate Conception because from all eternity the Holy Spirit is the uncreated Immaculate Conception. God the Father begets God the Son, and the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son. When the Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary, she took the Holy Spirit’s last name. Because she is one flesh with the Holy Spirit, her last name is now “Immaculate Conception.” Her words, “I am the Lord’s handmaid; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38), are nothing less than wedding vows. The Holy Spirit overshadowed his spouse, Mary, and she conceived the God-Man in her womb (Luke 1:31-35). The incarnation was the wedding of heaven and earth.
As the spouse of the Holy Spirit and the Mother of God, is it any wonder that on the cross our Savior ordained Mary to be our spiritual Mother? The words ring out through the family of God even to you and me: “Woman, behold your son” and “Behold your mother” (John 19:26-27).
The Holy Spirit is happy to work through his spouse, Mary. As the uncreated Son of God and the created Son of Mary, Jesus is happy to leave his Church in the hands of his Mother. Her God-given job is to form all of us into “little Christs.” By consecrating ourselves to Jesus through Mary, we are simply giving the Holy Spirit permission to work in our hearts through his spouse, Mary. We are joining the family of God in bringing glory to God!
You don’t want to miss out on this. Why Lone Ranger it out in the Wild West of this fallen world when you could be worshiping God in the communion of saints? The Kingdom of God is not an island; you and Jesus are not sitting there all alone. The Kingdom of God is a Kingdom! It is crowded with angels and saints, packed with the living members of God’s family, the Church! So it’s time to get ready for your Marian Consecration.
How can we belong more fully to Christ? By belonging more fully to Mary, by giving her permission to complete the job God gave her to do. By saying “Yes!” just like she did through Marian Consecration.
It’s true—with its formidable litanies and prayers, de Montfort’s classic book, True Devotion to Mary can be overwhelming. So my wife and I are using two books to help: the first is a slingshot right into the arms of our Blessed Mother—Total Consecration by Fr. Hugh Gillespie; the second is a bright flashlight into the dark mysteries of faith—33 Days to Morning Glory by Fr. Michael E. Gaitley. These books will not only make Marian Consecration easy: they will make your hearts hymn praises to the most adorable Trinity.
Blessed Mother Teresa, St. Maximilian Kolbe, St. Louis de Montfort, St. John Paul II, and many more will tell you: offering yourself to Christ through Mary will bring suffering, but it will also bear fruit. You will lose your life, but you will also gain it—except now it will be a life brim-full and God-bursting.
So grab a red marker and circle Friday, February 20th on your calendar. Set aside 33 days to prepare yourself for God to complete the good work he has begun in you through Mary on March 25th, the Feast of the Annunciation. This Lent, prepare yourself for a Marian Consecration.
Come, Holy Spirit, living in Mary…
Editor’s note: Along with the books mentioned above, there are also free resources online to help if you’d like to participate in the Total Consecration.