Today (April 28th) we begin our 33 Day Preparation for Marian Consecration, which will be made on Pentecost Sunday (May 31st). We will use these initial days (April 28, 29, 30) to gain a deeper understanding of how our Heavenly Mother leads us to her Son. This will help us to take full advantage of the daily meditations, which will begin on Friday May 1st.
In his Treatise on True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, St. Louis Marie’s explains how to prepare for Marian Consecration: “Those who desire to take up this special devotion, should spend at least twelve days in emptying themselves of the spirit of the world, which is opposed to the spirit of Jesus Christ. Then, there are three weeks dedicated to filling one’s soul with the spirit of Jesus Christ by way of the Blessed Virgin Mary (227). Every year at least, on the same date, they should renew the consecration following the same exercises for three weeks (233).”
Theme for the First Day—The Need for Devotion to Our Lady
History attests that St. Alphonsus Marie Liguori would not preach a popular mission without dedicating a sermon to Our Lady. Why? Because Marian devotion is not only convenient but also necessary. “This devotion—affirms the Holy Doctor—is considered necessary for eternal salvation; therefore it is ill-predicted when someone habitually lives outside such devotion.”
If, according to St. Alphonsus, lack of devotion to Mary is a sign of “a bad prognosis” regarding one’s salvation, then for those who are truly devout, Marian devotion is a “good prediction.” The holy Doctors of the Church are unanimous in affirming that the true devotee of Mary Most Holy cannot be damned. Properly understood, devotion to Our Lady is a sign of predestination. Saint John Berchmans exclaimed: “O Most Holy Mary, blessed are those who love you!” Simply loving her makes us blessed on this earth and, even more, it will make us participate in the Eternal Beatitude in Paradise. Mary cannot abandon those who have sincerely sought her in this life. Saint Bernard exclaims ironically: “Stop exalting your Mercy, O Blessed Virgin Mary, whoever having invoked you in his needs, remembered that you did not assist him.” Mary, is, as the Constitution Lumen Gentium of the Second Vatican Council (n. 61), affirms, “Our Mother in the order of grace.” It is in her that we are made for Heaven.
Therefore, with great joy and confidence in her intercession (of which we have an even greater need in these difficult times!) we will offer this preparation, with the lively hope that Mary will reign in the hearts of all. In this way, we echo the same hope with which the great missionary of France, St. Louis Marie Grignion of Montfort, wrote the Treatise of True Devotion to Mary. Our purpose with this form of preparation is precisely to spread his Treatise which covers the most profound truth about Mary Most Holy and our loving relationship with her. In it Saint Louis Marie wants to reveal a “secret” but to reach the highest Christian perfection.
“In the spiritual life there are secrets which enable us to perform works rapidly, smoothly and with facility. Such works are, for example, emptying ourselves of self-love, filling ourselves with God, and attaining perfection. The devotion that I propose to explain is one of these secrets of grace, for it is unknown to most Christians. Only a few devout people know of it and it is practiced and appreciated by fewer still.” (True Devotion, 82)
Religious Family of the Incarnate Word
Province of the Immaculate Conception, USA