Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC, creator of the “33 Days to Morning Glory” Marian consecration retreat and book, says that “the act of consecrating oneself to Jesus through Mary marks the beginning of a gloriously new day, a new dawn, a brand new morning in one’s spiritual journey. It’s a fresh start, and it changes everything.”
I consecrated myself last Sunday, the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes, and while I can’t truthfully say that I feel like “everything” has changed yet, I do feel like I have started “a brand new morning” in my spiritual journey. Every morning, I renew my consecration, saying, at the very least, “totus tuus” – “totally yours.” This phrase was St. Pope John Paul II’s motto, which he used to describe his consecration to Mary.
“Totus tuus” sounds scary at first – giving your life, your will, to Mary to do with as God wills. And it was a little scary at first. But as a person with anxiety, it’s now strangely comforting. All those things about my life that I can’t control, that used to scare me because I couldn’t control them? Totus tuus, Mary. I trust that what God has planned for me is what will happen. I trust that Mary’s spouse, the Holy Spirit (yep, her spouse! how cool is that?), will guide me when I don’t know which path to take. I just pray that as time passes, I remain as committed to my consecration and as trusting in that relationship as I am now.
Of course, consecration goes beyond myself, and that’s why I was particularly inspired by Fr. Gaitley’s discussion of St. Mother Teresa and her consecration. (Mother Teresa was all one of my childhood heroes and now one of my favorite saints.) As one of the people at the foot of the cross who heard Jesus say, “I thirst,” Mother Teresa said that our Mother “knows how real, how deep is His longing for you and for the poor,” and her role, then, “is to bring you face to face … with the love in the Heart of Jesus crucified.”
They say there’s no earthly love greater than the love of a mother for her child, so imagine how much greater Mary’s love must be for her child, who is the Son of God! And, as Mother Teresa said, Mary knows how much it hurts Christ to see His children suffering, to see them sinning, to not have them always close to Him. And so by consecrating myself to Mary, I am reminded of my childhood admiration of Mother Teresa’s total dedication to the poor, and I am committing myself to evangelization and to loving everyone on God’s earth who needs it. Through prayer and service, I must be one of Mary’s servants who helps to quench the thirst of her Son.
On Consecration Day, our group met for dinner and fellowship. My boyfriend, ever supportive and also happy to share our friend’s excellent cooking, came with me. We talked, we prayed, we laughed, and we consecrated ourselves to God through Mary. We received blessed brown scapulars and miraculous medals, and we ate great food (hey, you have to nourish your body as well as your soul, right?).
During the car ride afterward, my boyfriend told me how happy he was that he came with me that evening and that our group went through this process (he pointed out that it was worth it just to have brought me back to Reconciliation, and I agree). When he dropped me off at home, I walked into my apartment with a huge smile on my face, grateful for the group of friends I had celebrated with that evening, the boyfriend who was so supportive of my spiritual journey, and the Mother who is always working to bring her children closer to God.