I am very grateful for the Marianist Fathers because it is from the Marians of the Immaculate Conception that I first heard of the MI. I read a book that they put out called 33 Days to Morning Glory. The book has a whole chapter on the life of St. Maximilian Kolbe.
The Marians of the Immaculate Conception provide a wonderful free Mary iPhone/droid application and I encourage all to download it.
Here is a excerpt from the Mary app:
According to St. Louis de Montfort, total consecration to Jesus through Mary (Marian consecration) is “the surest, easiest, shortest and the most perfect means” to becoming a saint. To get the full story on Marian consecration, one should read de Montfort’s classic work, True Devotion to Mary. But for those who don’t have time to read it anytime soon, here’s a summary of Marian consecration.
To properly understand the essence of total consecration to Jesus through Mary, we’ll first need to reflect on an important point: Jesus wants to include all of us in his work of salvation. In other words, he doesn’t just redeem us and then expect us to kick back and relax. On the contrary, he puts us to work. He wants all of us to labor in his Father’s vineyard in one way or another. Why he didn’t just snap his fingers and make it so that everyone in the world would individually hear and understand the Gospel by some private, mystical revelation, we don’t know. We do know that Jesus relies on others to spread his Gospel and that he commissions his disciples to preach the Gospel to all (see Mt 28:19-20). He basically says to them and to us, “Let’s get to work!” Of course, that God wants to include us in his work of salvation is a great gift and glorious privilege. Truly, there’s no more important work to be done.
While everyone is called to lend a hand in the great work of salvation, not everyone has the same task. For example, St. Paul says, “There are varieties of service and … there are varieties of working” (1 Cor 12:5-6). He goes on to say that God has appointed to the work of salvation “first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, then healers, helpers, administrators” (v. 28). Whoever we are, God has appointed us to a special task in his great work.
Among the various roles God has given to his children, there’s one that’s radically more important than all the others: the task he gave to Mary. We all know that God uniquely blessed Mary by choosing her to conceive, bear, and nurture Jesus Christ, our Savior. But do we also realize that her blessed work didn’t end once Jesus left home and began his public ministry? After the three years of Mary’s hidden life during Jesus’ public ministry, Jesus brought her back into the picture of his work of salvation at its most crucial time, the “hour” of his Passion. At that hour, we might say he fully revealed Mary’s special role — the same role she had begun some 33 years before and that she still continues.
Jesus fully revealed Mary’s special role shortly before his death. It happened when he looked down from the Cross and said to Mary as she stood with the Apostle John, “Woman, behold your son,” and to John, “Behold your mother” (Jn 19:26-27). At that moment, Jesus gave us one of his greatest gifts: his mother as our mother. Of course, Mary isn’t our natural mother. She’s our spiritual mother. In other words, just as it was once her task some 2,000 years ago to give birth to Christ, to feed and nurture him, and to help him grow and develop into a man, so also, from the time she first said yes to being the mother of Jesus until the end of time, Mary’s task is to give spiritual birth to Christians, to feed and nurture them with grace, and to help them grow to full stature in Christ. In short, Mary’s job is to help us grow in holiness. It’s her mission to form us into saints.
“Now, wait just a minute,” someone might say, “isn’t it the job of the Holy Spirit to make us holy?” Indeed, it is. The Holy Spirit is the Sanctifier. It is he who transforms us at our baptism from being mere creatures into members of the Body of Christ and who helps us in our ongoing transformation into Christ through continued conversion. Great. So how does Mary come into all of this?
Mary is the spouse of the Holy Spirit. At the Annunciation, the angel Gabriel declared to Mary that she would conceive and bear a son and that the Holy Spirit would overshadow her (see Lk 1:31-35). When Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38), we can see most clearly that she’s the spouse of the Holy Spirit, for at that moment she gave the Holy Spirit permission to conceive Christ in her womb. Thus, at that moment, the already unfathomably deep bond between Mary and the Holy Spirit that had begun (in time) at the first moment of her Immaculate Conception was revealed as nothing less than a two-become-one marital union (see Gen 2:24). As a result of that union, the Holy Spirit is pleased to work and act through his spouse, Mary, for the sanctification of the human race. Of course, he didn’t have to be so united to Mary. It was his free choice (and that of the Father and the Son), and in that choice he takes delight.
So, it’s Mary’s great God-given task, in union with and by the power of the Holy Spirit, to form every human being into “another Christ,” that is, to unite everyone to the Body of Christ and form each person into a fully mature member of this body. Therefore, every human being is invited to rest in the womb of Mary and be transformed there, by the power of the Holy Spirit, more perfectly into Christ’s own image. Yes, if we want to become more fully Christ, then we need to belong more fully to Mary. By going to her and remaining with her, we allow her to accomplish her mission in us. We allow her to form us into other Christs, into great saints. But how do we do this? How do we belong more fully to Mary and allow her to fulfill her mission in us? Simple. We say yes, just like her.
Mary has a deep respect for human freedom. She knows from her own experience in Nazareth what a free yes to God can do (see Lk 1:38), and so she doesn’t pressure us into giving her our yes. Of course, she always cares for her children, but she won’t force us to enter into a deeper relationship with her. She surely invites us to such a relationship and patiently waits for us to accept her invitation, but she remains respectful. Still, if we could see how much longing hides behind her silence, we’d say yes to her if only to give her relief. In fact, saying yes to her gives her more than relief. It gives her joy. Great joy. And the more fully we say yes to Mary, the more joyful she becomes. For our yes gives her the freedom to complete her work in us, the freedom to form us into great saints. This brings us to the essence of what Marian consecration is all about.
Marian consecration basically means giving Mary our full permission (or as much permission as we can) to complete her motherly task in us, which is to form us into other Christs. Thus, by consecrating ourselves to Mary, each of us is saying to her:
Mary, I want to be a saint. I know that you also want me to be a saint and that it’s your God-given mission to form me into one. So, Mary, at this moment, on this day, I freely choose to give you my full permission to do your work in me, with your Spouse, the Holy Spirit.
As soon as Mary hears us make such a decision, she flies to us and begins working a masterpiece of grace within our souls. She continues this work for as long as we don’t deliberately choose to change our choice from a yes to a no, as long as we don’t take back our permission and leave her. That being said, it’s always a good idea for us to strive to deepen our yes to Mary. For the deeper our yes becomes, the more marvelously she can perform her works of grace in our souls.
One of the greatest aspects of being consecrated to Mary is that she’s such a gentle mother. She makes the lessons of the Cross into something sweet, and she pours her motherly love and solace into our every wound. Going to her and giving her permission to do her job truly is the “surest, easiest, shortest and the most perfect means” to becoming a saint. What joy it is to be consecrated to Jesus through Mary!
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