Sunday, February 19, 2012

Consecrate this Lent to Jesus through Mary, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity


St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort recommended a particular method of consecrating oneself wholly and entirely to the Most Blessed Virgin Mary and, through Mary, to Jesus our Savior. This method includes thirty-three days of preparation, followed by the act of consecration itself. St. Louis de Montfort most especially recommends that this consecration be made on the feast of the Annunciation, though other days are also acceptable.
This Lent provides us with a most rare opportunity to consecrate ourselves to Mary according to de Montfort’s method. Due to highly exceptional circumstances, one could begin the preparation this year on Ash Wednesday (February 22) and complete the consecration on the feast of the Annunciation (this year, March 26). What a wonderful way to make this our best Lent ever! (to consider why Lent is a perfect time to make the total consecration, please see our short article [here])

The 33 days of preparation
St. Louis-Marie de Montfort recommends that we spend thirty-three days in preparing for the act of total consecration to Jesus through Mary. This includes a twelve day preliminary period in which we renounce the spirit of the world, followed by three weeks dedicated to knowledge of self, of Mary, and of Jesus (respectively). After these thirty-three days of preparation, the act of consecration is made on the following day (the thirty-fourth) -- an article on how to make the prayers during these days is [here].
There are numerous days which de Montfort recommends (and which are traditionally chosen) for the act of total consecration, including: The Assumption, the Nativity of Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows, the Presentation of Mary, and the Immaculate Conception. And there are other feasts besides. Moreover, the total consecration does not even need to be made on a specific feast day – though it is highly recommended.
But, above all the others, St. Louis-Marie de Montfort most especially recommends the feast of the Annunciation as the day to make the total consecration, since this is the principal feast of the devotion. As it was on this day that our Savior took flesh and subjected himself in all humility to the Blessed Virgin, coming to us through her; so on this day it is most fitting that we subject ourselves by a holy slavery to Mary and return to our Lord through her by whom he came to us.
Here is a table including some of the feasts on which one could make the total consecration, including also the day on which the preparation would start.
Start of
33-day Plan
Marian Feast You've Chosen
Feast /
Consecration
Day
9 Jan
Apparition of the Immaculate
Virgin Mary at Lourdes
11 Feb
20 Feb *
The Annunciation
25 Mar
13 Jun
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel
16 Jul
13 Jul
The Assumption
15 Aug
6 Aug
Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
8 Sep
13 Aug
Our Lady of Sorrows
15 Sep
19 Oct
Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
21 Nov
5 Nov
Immaculate Conception
8 Dec
9 Nov
Our Lady of Guadalupe
12 Dec

* N.B. When there is a leap year, the preparation for total consecration on the feast of the Annunciation begins on February 21st.
Why this Lent is special
Three circumstances have come together this year to provide the opportunity to begin the preparation for the total consecration on February 22nd (Ash Wednesday) and conclude on March 26th (Feast of the Annunciation). This is highly unusual.
1) Ordinarily, the Annunciation is celebrated on March 25th. However, on account of the Fifth Sunday of Lent (March 25th, 2012), the feast has been moved this year to March 26th.
2) Generally, in order to complete the thirty-three day preparation for the feast of the Annunciation, one would begin on February 20th. However, because this year is a leap year, we gain an extra day of preparation and can start later than usual.
3) This year, Easter falls on April 8th, which would usually make Ash Wednesday fall on February 21st. However, because this is a leap year, Ash Wednesday is February 22nd.
All three of these factors combine to allow the thirty-three day preparation to begin on February 22nd which is also Ash Wednesday, and to conclude on March 25th which is the Fifth Sunday of Lent. Then, as de Montfort asks, the consecration is made on the following day, March 26th which, this year, is the feast of the Annunciation.
This hardly ever happens
St. Louis-Marie died on April 28th, 1716. Since that time, there has only been three years in which the preparation for the total consecration could begin on February 22nd (Ash Wednesday) and conclude with the act of consecration on the feast of the Annunciation (being moved to March 26th): 1792, 1860, and 1928.
The next occurrence of such circumstances will not be until 2164 – and then, not again until after 2200. This is very clearly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make this Lent special.

UPDATE: I should mention that, whenever Easter falls on April 7th (whether a leap year or not), the preparation for the total consecration would then begin on Ash Wednesday - February 20th, or the 21st in a leap year. This has occurred nine times since St. Louis de Montfort's death, but will not occur again until 2075. Hence, this year is a very rare opportunity to unite the consecration with the season of Lent.
A plan for this Lent
February 22nd, Ash Wednesday: Begin the preparation for total consecration with the twelve preliminary days, renouncing the spirit of the world. This period concludes on Sunday, March 4th, the Second Sunday of Lent.
March 5th, Monday of the Second Week of Lent: Begin the first week of the preparation, knowledge of self. This concludes on Sunday, March 11th, the Third Sunday of Lent.
March 12th, Monday of the Third Week of Lent: Begin the second week of preparation, knowledge of Mary. This period concludes on Sunday, March 18th, the Forth Sunday of Lent also called Laetare.
March 19th, Monday, Solemnity of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Virgin Mary: Begin the third and final week of preparation, knowledge of Jesus. This concludes on Sunday, March 25th, the Fifth Sunday of Lent.
March 26th, Monday, Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord: Make the act of total consecration to Jesus through Mary.
Preliminary remarks
Throughout the season of Lent, we will be posting little articles on the total consecration and the true devotion. It is our hope that these will be helpful to those who are making the total consecration this year on the feast of the Annunciation.
There are several on-line resources which could be helpful to those who desire to make the total consecration according to the method of St. Louis-Marie de Montfort.
1) Fisheaters.com has a good introduction to the total consecration together with the daily readings and prayers which are commonly used in the preparation. I would highly recommend making use of this resource. See the website [here].
2) St. Louis’ primary theological work on the total consecration, “True Devotion to Mary” can be read on-line through the EWTN website. While the format is simple and somewhat “plain-Jane”, I think it makes the text much easier to read than what I have seen on other sites. See this website [here].
3) I believe that another work by de Montfort, “The Secret of Mary”, would be even more helpful to most than the “True Devotion”. “The Secret of Mary” is much shorter (only about sixty pages, compared to nearly six hundred), and is also far more direct and pastoral. This work really is a must-read for any who are planning on making the total consecration. EWTN has put the whole work on-line. You can read it [here].
Finally, it would be well worth the money to purchase hard-copies of all these works. You can find them through your local Catholic book store, or on-line through TAN books and other sellers – the preparatory readings and prayers [here], True Devotion [here], and Secret of Mary [here].


You can spread the word about the Total Consecration through Facebook. 
Check it out [here]. "Join" it, "share" it, "like" it, and "invite" others!

20 comments:

Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

Please, if you have Facebook, go to this page -- http://www.facebook.com/events/243972679021662/ -- it is an "event", but really just a way to join together in promoting the Total Consecration.

Please "join" the event and "share" it on your profile-page, also "invite" others and spread the word.
This is such a unique opportunity (once-in-a-lifetime) to make this our best and most prayerful Lent ever!

[if you have a blog, please consider spreading the word through that medium as well]

Also, if anyone has ideas of how to spread the word more effectively, please let me know through a comment here. Thanks, and blessings! +

Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

Also, I do recognize that Lent and the preparation can also line up when Ash Wednesday is on Feb 20 when it's not a leap year, or when it is on Feb 21 in a leap year.
Still, even this rarely happens.

Further, the way that it all fits together this year is quite special ... it won't happen again in our lifetime!

Mark of the Vineyard said...

Dear Father,

Some time ago, while spending time with the FFI, I acquired two books: "True Devotion to Mary" (from TAN), and "Preparaion for Total Consecration according to St. Louis Marie de Monfort" (from Monfort Publications). Which would you suggest (the latter seems to be an abreviated form of St. Monfort's book, with a prayer plan for each day).

Also, as I am soon to be married, is this something I should discuss first with my future spouse?

servusmariaen said...

Father,
Thank you for this posting. I made the total consecration of de Montfort a few years back and I renew my consecration yearly on the feast of the Annunciation. I cannot think of anything better to do for Lent.

in Jesus and Mary,

Marshall

Fr. Jason Worthley said...

Thank you, Father, for this post. I have found the Montforian Consecration to Our Lady to be very powerful and helpful.

I have felt that it's best to read "True Devotion to Mary" before even starting the 33-day preparation. Actually, in one parish, I met dozens of people who had made the consecration without ever reading "True Devotion." When I gave a teaching on the book itself, they were amazed at what St. Louis teaches. I think Blessed John Paul II read the book several times before he made his consecration, so I always tell people to do that.

Again, thanks for your post and for spreading this consecration to many people. May God and His holy Mother reward you!!

Ikedi said...

I've never understood this consecration method to Mary. I pray the Holy Rosary everyday and devoutly wear a brown scapular with a blessed miraculous medal attached. It has never come to my intuition that I further need to follow some formula.

Petrus Augustinus said...

Salve Pater,

Thank you very much for this. As I was baptised last Easter Sunday as an adult, this will be my first full Lent as a Catholic. I hope I can give as much devotion to Mary this year as possible.

Lynne said...

I signed up on Facebook, posted the event to my wall and shared the invitation. :-)

Tim said...

Father, a great place to receive a free book Preparation for Total Consecration according to Saint Louis Marie de Monfort can be found here

http://www.myconsecration.org/total-consecration/make-your-consecration.html

Anonymous said...

Though the topic is Lent, the 33-day preparation makes an excellent Advent devotion for consecration or renewal on January 1, the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God.

Thanks,

Totustwous

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much, Father, for this wonderful heads up about the opportunity and for the helpful links!
-T

helgothjb said...

Fr. Ryan,

Thank you for promoting this devotion. We just named our fifth child after Louis de Montfort! An amazing website that you did not mention is the Catholic Family Land website, http://www.familyholiness.com/
Few know that there is this place in Ohio that whole focus is Total Consecration according to de Montfort. The website has all the resources one would need and a great family consecration plan as well as some very powerful videos. I especially recommend the ones by Fr Hugh Gillespie (catechism on True Devotion). These are the most incredible talks I have ever heard about True Devotion. Ad Jesum per Mariam!

Anonymous said...

Ikeda, I'm with you. I came back to Catholicism by first wearing a miraculous medal and saying its prayer in sorrowed times. Re-conversion back to the faith followed. I now pray the rosary daily, joined the Militia Immaculata and did Max. Kolbe's M.I. consecration. Have read Montfort Publications 'True Devotion to Mary', took copious notes and read it twice in succession, have written my own consecration prayer and say it daily . I'm not really up for the Montfort 33 day version, I think Mary already has me under her mantle. In fact, I know I'm under Mary's mantle.
I really recommend looking up the 'Militia Immaculata'(translated Marys Army) first rather than diving headlong into the Montfort 33 day consecration. With the M.I., you'll be sent consecration material and a miraculous medal and you'll belong to Mary's Army(talked about in Montforts book) and the M.I. apostolate.

RB2

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'd like to recommend a book I used recently to renew my consecration. The title is Consecration to Mary: Complete Five-Week Prepartion. It has extensive readings to go along with each day, with the readings recommended by St. Louis, excerpts from Total Consecration, and other meditations. I agree that St. Louis de Montfort's book should be read before making the Consecration as it explains the benefits of being totally consecrated to Jesus through Mary.

helgothjb said...

Or caution I would give people, the books that lay out prayers and readings for everyday contain more reading and prayers than de Montfort recommends and and leave out some of his recommendations. They tend to make the consecration more difficult than Monfort intended and do not do a good job of focusing one on the renewal of their baptismal promises.

Veronica said...

Father Ryan, you're the tops! God reward you for this.

Veronica

P.S. I don't believe I will still be in this vale of tears in 2075. God willing, I will be with Him!

Chris said...

As the saying goes- "There's an app for that!" http://itunes.apple.com/hr/app/total-consecration/id492957228?mt=8

Michelangelo said...

Father Ryan,

Thank you, excellent post on the Total Consecration to Mary! Great to see that a high-speed, low drag Roman such as yourself promotes such effective piety. I have my "Total Consecration" out and ready to go. Happy Ash Wednesday to you, Father.

Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

@Mark of the V,
Personally, I think it is better to read de Montfort's own works -- so I would emphasize "True Devotion" ... all that is required for the Total Consecration are the daily prayers, not the other additional readings in the Preparation book.
Still, the Preparation book can be and has been very helpful to many people ... so, if it works for you, use it!

Also, may I recommend a shorter and easier book by de Montfort? "The Secret of Mary" ... a summary of "True Devotion".
Excellent.

Regarding your future spouse ... you could share it with her as something she might want to consider doing herself.
Certainly, in your heart, your marriage will be consecrated to Jesus through Mary ... and the more your wife is on-board, the more merit she will gain! +

Anonymous said...

Father, I wanted to belatedly thank you for this post, which I got via New Advent a little prior to Ash Wednesday. I did the entire consecration, whole set of readings, every single day, and only missed one day which I think was a small warning to me not to get too self-congratulatory. The book I used was "Manual for Total Consecration to Mary" according to the method of St. Louis de Montfort published by Saint Benedict Center. The bible citations in that volume are from the Douay-Rheims Bible, which is a little older, but very authentic translation.
I received a lot of grace and insight from this entire programme, and I think that the issue that stuck with me most was the need to radically cast off the spirit of this world, not merely as part of one's initial conversion (or, in my case, reversion), but as an ongoing process. Satan never sleeps, and we can never be too vigilant in guarding against his attempts to subtly infiltrate our consciousness and then to influence us.
Please, remind us to do this before Lent next year. Thank you for your holy ministry, which has been extremely helpful to me personally.
Catharine

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