THE PONTIFICAL SHRINE OF OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL

On the Consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary

What is the Consecration to Mary?

 

It is the path to Jesus through Mary.  To Jesus through Mary is the original cry of St Louis Marie de Montfort.  That is the aim of the Consecration.

This path must go through Mary because through Mary all Grace flows in the Church, as ordained by God the Father, who has designed it thus from time immemorial.  To know more about it, read St Louis de Montfort.

This truth is related to the secret of Mary:  “Woman, behold Thy son.  Behold Thy Mother.”  And, “Woman, what is this between you and me.”  For from these scriptural statements of Our Lord we can discern at the very least the existence of deep wisdom and of secret thoughts of Mary, Mother of our Savior, Jesus.

The Consecration explores these truths, and perhaps may teach a person to say in the fullness of truth:  “Behold the Handmaid of the Lord!”

Who can make this Consecration?  Why anyone!  Even you and I.  Although in my case just a dumb sheep (canonically speaking), I take pen to paper to jot down some of my impressions on the subject of the total consecration to Mary.

First, I will discuss its thirty-three day preparation for the Consecration according to specific prayers set forth by St Louis.  Second, I will touch on aspects of the Consecration itself, and the manifold graces that flow from this devotion, equal to the Rosary itself, perhaps more so in some ways.  And third, I will briefly note some details from the history of the Consecration and the Saint to whom it was revealed.

The thirty-three day preparation consists of several prayers each day.  There is work involved here, and a time commitment is necessary to properly prepare for the Consecration.  Those prayers include some from the meditations of St Louis Marie de Montfort, and others are from the classic treasury of Holy Mother Church, like the Ave Stella Maris and the Veni Creator Spiritus.

I highly recommend you should chant (sing) these two last beautiful prayers, for it will greatly enhance your praying of the rest of the Consecration preparatory prayers.  They are simple, and all Catholics–even children–can easily learn how to sing Gregorian chant.  (I can provide a copy of the Latin words and music to you on this website, and also a link to find it on the internet.)

The Consecration although brief and simple is an extremely moving ritual, I can attest having undertaken this devotion last year with my wife.  Our names are now inscribed on a little writing within the Miraculous Madonna of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, thanks to the graciousness of our pastor Fr. Marian Wierzchowski, S. A. C.  This is possible for you too, child of Mary!

This is due to Fr. Marian’s inspiration during the renovation last year of the Statue.  Faced with the apparent coincidence of running out of material Fr. Marian seized the moment to create a little hidden door within the Statue under the folds of her beautiful new garment!  Coincidence, or providence?  On that question, I heartily commend to you Fr. George Rutler’s entertaining book, Coincidentally!st-louis-marie-grignion-de-montfort

The Consecration is a most beautiful prayer and ritual.  I can only liken it to my First Holy Communion, lo, these many years ago (well-nigh half a century) for spiritual effect and torrential flood of graces.  It is a restorative prayer full of graces.

I most heartily recommend it to strengthen you in the trials and sorrows of life that sometimes, nay inevitably, arise, as well as enriching and enhancing the moments of joy that life also brings, most surely and most often through Holy Mother Church.

The Consecration may bring you into union with Jesus through union with Mary.  It can bring you into living the Magnificat, by making the Blessed Virgin’s words–Behold the Handmaid of the Lord–your own.  It presents an opportunity for transformation of life and character.

This is what the Consecration offers.  But it is a mystery, and a secret to be unfolded.  Your prayerful efforts alone can bring this about.

A brief word on the history of this beautiful prayer and its origins.  The Consecration is contained in The Secret of Mary, one of several spiritual masterpieces that St Louis somehow found time to write amidst his profound prayer, mystical experiences a la Padre Pio, and all his labors for the salvation of souls.

The Consecration is treated in depth in True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.  I heartily commend having that on hand during the preparation, perhaps for your spiritual reading.  St Louis also wrote several other classics, including The Secret of the Rosary.

Who was St Louis Marie de Montfort?  Born in Brittany, France on January 31, 1673, he died on the 28th of April, A. D. 1716.  He was an itinerant preacher, invested by Pope Clement as Apostolic Missioner throughout France, especially to the poor country folk from whom we are all descended (or most of us any way.  Pace, Pere Rutler).  His labors were nothing short of heroic, and at times miraculous, and he died very young at age 43, plumb tuckered out from all his work and even poisoning attempts upon his life made by servants of the Devil, who hated him almost as much as he and his ilk hate the Blessed Mother.  In fact the Devil caused his Consecration and True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary to be lost and hidden from mankind for more than a hundred years after St Louis’s death, as he himself predicted would happen.

What an ideal time today is to reflect on this sacred reality, as we have just now in 2016 entered into the 300th Anniversary Year of St Louis de Montfort’s death.

The third Centenary of this great saint follows the rich year just past, which saw simultaneous centennials of St Don Bosco (200th anniversary of his birth on August 16, 1815); St Philip Neri (500th of his birth); St Teresa of Avila (also the 500th of her birth); and St Henry of Treviso, also known as San Rigo (700th anniversary of his death).

And in 2014 the Church celebrated the 400th anniversary of St Camillus de Lellis, another great missionary saint like St Louis, blooming where he was planted: in the fields of the city and the country, in this case Rome and Italy.  St Camillus is not only a brother in Christ to St Louis despite the gap of centuries (mere time), but a saint also dear to my heart for his flamboyant conversion, his character and his charity.

Illustrious company, and several fine years like good harvests or vintages here.  A company to which you are invited.

The great St Louis Marie de Montfort died–at age 43 worn out with hard labor for God and for saving souls–on April 28, 1716, on which day Holy Mother Church sets his feast day, which John Paul made universal, because it is his birthday into Heaven.

“Great,” I assert and defend, because to me St Louis ranks with that first tier of most valorous Saints of modern times, in terms both of personal qualities like heroic virtue, courage and self-sacrifice, and in their effect on their fellow Christians in their day and upon posterity.  St Louis Marie de Montfort stands in the company of such giants among men as St John Bosco and St Vincent Pallotti; St Philip Neri, Apostle to Rome; St Francis de Sales, Apostle of Charity and to the Protestants of the Alps; and going back a little farther into history, St Francis Xavier, Apostle par excellence who baptized well over one million souls in the Far East, from India to Japan and China, and was accordingly rewarded by Our Lord (see, for example, the miraculous Novena of Grace and history thereof), like Saint Therese of Liseaux and Padre Pio, doing more good from heaven than when on earth.

Like these men, St Louis Marie de Montfort is an Apostle…an Apostle of Mary.  Beside many miracles in his lifetime, he bequeathed to us faithful sons of the Church several precious gems in the form of his writings on the Blessed Virgin Mary.

His field of labor thus extends from Brittany and the Vendee and all France down the contours of history to the very halls of the Vatican today–even Pope Saint John Paul took his motto Totus Tuus directly from St Louis, which means I am All Thine, Blessed Mary.  St John Paul also once confided that his reading of the book True Devotion to Mary “was a decisive turning-point in [his] life.”  He told the Montfortists that he would someday reveal how often he had had to read St Louis’s spiritual masterpiece in order to understand it.

Another saintly pope of blessed memory, Blessed Pio Nono (Pius IX) , longest-reigning pontiff with Saint Peter himself, declared that St Louis’s was among if not the best and most acceptable form of devotion to Our Lady in all the Church.

If Jesus is our King and brother, as He most surely is although we seldom think about it that way, then surely His Mother must be our Mother too.. But she is also our sister in virtue of her daughtership to God the Father, and of course and our Queen in virtue of her espousal to God the Holy Spirit.  Truly thanks to her and Our Lord we are in good company.

The notion of being the Handmaid of the Lord is at the root of the Consecration.  If it was good enough to be the Slave of Our Lord in this sense, it is surely good enough for this dumb sheep.  It also will shed light upon other mysteries we are living amidst.  The role of the Consecration in the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, for instance, and the Fatima revelations and Secrets (the third of which as we know has not been revealed in its entirety, but remains in the hands of some person or persons in the Vatican).

After the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, I daresay the Rosary and the Consecration to Mary are two of our most powerful weapons of Christ’s Grace against the Evil One.

The antipathy of Satan toward the Blessed Virgin Mary is legendary, and in fact Biblical from Genesis–for she will strike at his head, and he shall lay in wait to strike her heel–to the Apocalypse of the beloved disciple St John.  And she will crush the serpent’s head!  “With twelve stars above her head,” clear reference to Our Lady of Guadalupe.

To conclude, I would like to thank Fr. Marian for suggesting this devotion to my wife Liliana and me, and for shepherding us through it.

I would also suggest, gentle reader, that you do the preparation each day; do not skipped here and there to the (mild) chagrin of my wife.  Fr. Marian also suggests, as did St Louis de Montfort, repeating the consecration from year to year.  You too can be inscribed within the Madonna; but we must do something for her!  As the great Hernando Cortez said in his decisive striking down the statues of the devil gods in Aztec Mexico in 1519 A. D.:  “We must risk something for God!”

For in the end, Grace is Everywhere!  (Georges Bernanos.)  Christ and the Immaculate Heart of His Mother will surely triumph.

All praise be Jesus Christ!  All honor be his Most Blessed Mother, Mary, Queen of Wisdom and of Revelation!  And special praise be unto her under her title as our Patroness here at . . . Our Lady of Mount Carmel!  Viva, Cristo Rey!  Viva!

–Christopher P. Benischek

On the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, 11th February,

in the Year of Our Lord 2016, the three-Hundredth Anniversary Year of the Birth into Heaven of the Great St Louis De Montfort