The Wisdom of Don Dolindo and St. Louis de Montfort
The feast of the Epiphany celebrates the revelation of Christ to the Gentiles in the persons of the Magi. In their pilgrimage to find the newborn King, the Magi encounter Jesus together with his mother Mary. As Don Dolindo noted in his commentary on Matthew, “Mary is always inseparable from Jesus. She is like the star that guides us to Him, and she makes Him known to us and gives Him to us.”
Don Dolindo saw in the example of the Magi a spiritual truth that we would do well to meditate on. By giving gifts to Jesus through the hands of Mary, the Magi teach us that the path to Christ is through His mother. As St. Louis de Montfort wrote, “It is by the most holy Virgin Mary that Jesus has come into the world, and it is also by her that He has to reign in the world. (True Devotion #1). The most holy Virgin Mary, who brought Him into the world the first time, will make His second advent full of splendor. (True Devotion #13).
This is the heart of Marian consecration as taught by de Montfort – to give ourselves entirely to Jesus through Mary. De Montfort prescribes an initial period of emptying ourselves through prayer and penance to detach from worldly things. Then we strive to acquire knowledge of ourselves, Mary, and Jesus before making a formal act of consecration, giving all that we are to Jesus through Mary. This total gift of self is not a one-time event, but a way of life animated by the spirit of continual offering.
Don Dolindo similarly emphasized giving everything to Mary as a way of drawing closer to Jesus: “The gifts that the Magi offered to Jesus, they entrusted to Mary, for the little Infant could not receive them, thus teaching us to pass everything we give to the Son through the Immaculate hands of the Mother.” Like de Montfort, Don Dolindo saw Mary as the Mediatrix through whom all graces flow, writing that “if we receive the Redeemer from Her, we also receive every grace from Her.”
Consecration to Jesus through Mary is not an abstract theological concept but a lived spirituality. De Montfort prescribed concrete practices to keep the spirit of consecration alive, like wearing a chain as a reminder and reciting short prayers of offering throughout the day. Don Dolindo, reflecting on the gifts of the Magi, wrote that we too can offer gifts to Jesus through Mary: “charity, prayer, and mortification” for those in the world, and “voluntary poverty, the offering of obedience, and the sacrifices of fasting, mortification, and chastity” for those in religious life.
At its core, Marian consecration is about recognizing our poverty before God and seeking to be filled by God’s graces through humble recourse to Mary. It is about giving more than receiving, loving more than being loved. Mary’s role is to teach us how to be little, how to receive the kingdom of God as a child. As de Montfort wrote, that by giving ourselves to Mary without reserve, “we give more glory to Jesus in a month than in many years of a more demanding devotion” (True Devotion #222). This is the secret of sanctity revealed by the Holy Spirit to the Saints who walked this way before us.
May we, like the Magi, prostrate ourselves before Jesus and honor his Mother, offering our gifts to Him through her immaculate hands. What greater gift could we give than the gift of ourselves? Let us pray, with Don Dolindo and de Montfort, that by giving all to Mary we may receive the “all” that is Jesus Himself. “O Jesus Living in Mary, come and live in thy servants in the spirit of thy holiness, in the fullness of thy power, in the perfection of thy ways, in the truth of thy virtues, in the communion of thy mysteries. Have dominion over every adverse power in thy own Spirit to the glory of God the Father. Amen.” (By St. Louis de Montfort.)