Here is the latest Coffee & Pearls:
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I genuinely believe that everyone should go through Marian Consecration. To go through Marian Consecration, you make a 33-day retreat that ends on a Marian feast day. You give your whole self over to Mary and I’ll talk about what that means a little bit later. If every Catholic did this, we would start seeing the world change very quickly. I consider it part of my personal mission to get as many people to go through Marian Consecration. As such, here are the things I wish people knew about this amazing Catholic tool:
- Marian Consecration is NOT about worshipping Mary.
It’s actually called Consecration to Jesus through Mary. Who knew Jesus better than Mary? No one. She is the best possible person to lead us to her son. She spent 33 years with Him and now is Queen of Heaven alongside Jesus. She has His ear, if you will, and she makes all our requests more important to Him. If you were a peasant and all you had to offer a king was fruits and vegetables from your garden, He would accept them graciously. But, if you gave those same offerings to the queen and she put them on a solid gold platter, it would amplify your offer. That is what Mary does. She takes our meager offerings and requests and amps them up. This is a much more complex concept but that is a very simplified version of what Marian Consecration can do for your faith life.
- There are two popular books out that help you go through Marian Consecration.
You can go through a 33-day retreat using one of two books. The first is 33 Days to Morning Glory by Fr. Michael Gaitley. This is an extremely popular, and recently published book, that is perfect for, I want to say “newbie Catholics.” This is the book I used the first time I went through this retreat and it was exactly what I needed at the time. It was simple to understand and modern enough to feel relevant to me. Fr. Gaitly leads you to Mary by using four saints (Mother Teresa, St. John Paul II, Maximillan Kolbe, and St. Louis de Montfort.
The second book is actually by St. Louis de Montfort himself and is called True Devotion. Note: there are much nicer versions of this book but this one is only .99 on Kindle! I eventually tried this book out and loved it. It’s deep, rich, and more theologically meaty. It’s a tougher read but well worth it. I fell in love with it instantly and I will use this book from now on. I don’t think it’s “better” per say, I think they both are wonderful but they reach different audiences. This one has much more of a tough love feel to it, which is usually what I need because I’m… well, lazy and easily distracted!
- You should not go through Marian Consecration until you’re absolutely ready.
Marian Consecration is not for wussies. It will absolutely make your life harder. It also takes away your freedom to use choose how you offer up your suffering and your good works. You give that right over to Mary. We have this amazing gift that Jesus has given us. He allows us to offer up our suffering, add it to the cross, and to participate in redemptive suffering. Let’s say you have a migraine, you can offer it up for the salvation of your brother who is a fallen away Catholic. When you go through Marian Consecration, you acknowledge that Mary knows who needs that grace the most so you allow her to distribute all your good works and sufferings. This is actually a big deal and why I don’t think you should consecrate yourself until you’re ready. You’re basically saying you’re going to be a slave to whatever Mary wants and while I think that’s the best way to live, it’s also a huge adjustment.
- I don’t think that children should go through Marian Consecration.
I have seen some materials that are geared toward children going through Marian Consecration, but as I just said, it’s such a serious undertaking, I don’t think children can fully understand the vow that they are taking. We don’t let seven-year-olds become nuns and I won’t let my children make this retreat until they are old enough to understand what it means. To be honest, I’m not sure what age I think that is. I’m hoping as they get older and we talk more about this concept, that I will be able to see, or they will be able to discern when they are ready.
I still think it’s great to talk to children about emulating Mary and her great yes to Christ and her endless humility in service to Him. Here are two books that I use to help my children understand these concepts but I don’t lead them to consecrate themselves.
- I believe it’s a good idea to make your 33 Day Retreat every year.
Once you have gone through Marian Consecration, you say a consecration prayer every day. I think it’s also important to make the whole retreat every year. Each year I find some way I’m falling short of my promise, and some beautiful truth to give me hope. I make my retreat at the same time every year but you can do it whenever you want. Here are the start dates as you always want to finish on a Marian feast day. Maybe you’re in a struggling season and you need to feel close to Mary so you do your retreat at a different time each year. I think that’s a beautiful response to this calling.
Clearly, I think a great deal about Marian Consecration. As I said, it’s my mission to get as many people to do this as possible because I really do believe it’s one of the best ways we can battle the darkness in our world right now. I’ll be starting my retreat on October 19th and finishing on November 21st. You are welcome to join me and email me with any questions or comments that you have! Expect spiritual dryness and spiritual attacks. That I can promise you. But I can also promise you that there is a great lightness at the end, a warmth that wraps you up like only the love of a mother can.