I was never one of those Catholic women who had a great understanding of Mary.
In high school, I prayed a daily rosary because I read about all the ways Mary could help me get to heaven. But I didn’t really have a personal desire to meet Jesus through Mary. I didn’t even understand that I could. To me, she felt far-off. She was sinless, and I was struggling with what seemed like a thousand different sins.
My thoughts on Mary began gradually to change when I began university.
Often when God is speaking to me, I find certain phrases or images recurring in my life—they seem to show up everywhere I go. That started happening with Mary. The priest mentioned her in his homily. Blogs about her showed up on my social media feed. I saw her in prayer reflections, sacramentals, and Scripture.
Not long after, an opportunity presented itself to join a group that was practicing Marian Consecration over Advent and the Christmas octave. Impulsively, I decided to join. Little did I know how much that decision would change my spiritual life.
Mary and the Father
As we prayed through the daily reflections leading up to consecration day—January 1, 2017—I began to learn a lot about Mary. I started to understand all the things that we say about her: “Queen of Heaven,” “Virgin and Mother,” “Immaculate Conception.”
I also began to realize the special relationship that Mary has to God the Father. I always thought God’s choice of Mary was a “given.”Obviously, she was the only option because she was sinless. But I realized that God chose to make Mary sinless because He chose her to bring His Son into the world.
Doesn’t He choose us the same way?Unlike Mary, we are all marked by the stain of original sin. But like Mary, God will give us every grace needed to complete the tasks He gives to us. Like Mary, all He needs is our “fiat”: “Let it be done to me according to Your Word.” The process of preparing for Marian Consecration inspired me to strive for Mary’s courage, her radical abandonment to the Father. It also taught me that He has already chosen me for His plans, and He will provide me with everything I might need to complete them.
Preparing for Marian Consecration inspired me to strive for Mary’s courage, her radical abandonment to the Father. It also taught me that He has already chosen me for His plans, and He will provide me with everything I might need to complete them.
Mary and the Son
I always had the greatest understanding of Mary’s relationship with the Son. I knew that Jesus loved Mary totally, and I knew that she had the great gift of directing everything towards Him: our prayers, our gifts, our good and bad actions. In the words of Maximilian Kolbe, “You should not be afraid of loving Mary too much. You can never love her as much as Jesus loves her.”
In consecration, I learned that Mary doesn’t only offer what we give her to Jesus. She also teaches us to be like Him. In consecration, we offer Mary “the value of all our good actions.” When I first heard this, I was extremely put off. I was so concerned about “getting to Heaven” and “earning” Christ’s love, I was afraid to give up the value of my good actions.
Consecration taught me that real humility is knowing everything belongs to us only because Jesus has given it to us—including our graces, our virtues, our good deeds. By surrendering these things to Mary, who is perfectly humble, I learned how to be more humble. I also found it easier to give the value of my good actions to Mary, who then brought them to Jesus.
Mary and the Holy Spirit
The most powerful part of Marian Consecration was how Mary taught me to have an intimate, radical relationship with the Holy Spirit. Mary’s own relationship to the Holy Spirit is literally amazing. In Scripture, Mary perfectly abandons herself to the will of the Spirit. He “overshadows” her, allowing her to carry Jesus Christ into the world.
But if the miracle of Mary’s fiat isn’t enough, according to St. Francis Assisi, Mary is the Spouse of the Holy Spirit. He is in perfect union with her, from the moment of her Immaculate Conception. Maximilian Kolbe explains that while Mary is the Created Immaculate Conception, the Holy Spirit is the Uncreated Immaculate Conception, of the perfect love of the Father for the Son. By seeing her relationship with the Spirit, Mary can help us understand this often elusive person of the Trinity.
She gave me the courage and grace I needed to abandon myself to the Holy Spirit.
By allowing Mary into my life through total consecration, she gave me the courage and grace I needed to abandon myself to the Holy Spirit. After consecration, I was faced with some tough choices I could only make through His help and grace. I was able to respond to His promptings, hearing His voice in a new way through the intercession and example of Mary.
Many Catholics know about Mary, without fully knowing her, or knowing the special and beautiful relationship we can have with her.On the Cross, Jesus gave Mary to us: “Behold, your mother.” Rather than replacing God in our prayers, she can lead us intimately close to every person of the Trinity, both through her intercession, her example, and simply who she is. By knowing her, I found myself able to draw close to God in new ways, revitalizing my faith and understanding of the spiritual life.