One month ago, I took part in one of the most fulfilling and challenging prayer journeys of my life. With a group of friends at college, I spent 33 days partaking in St. Louis de Montfort’s Total Consecration to Jesus through Our Lady.
This is a guided prayer that takes you through four different stages: knowledge of the world, knowledge of self, knowledge of the Blessed Virgin and knowledge of Jesus Christ. It is recommended to end the consecration on a Marian feast day, such as the Feast of the Assumption or the Immaculate Conception. My friends and I began in February, so we ended our prayer on March 25 – the Annunciation.
I have always been enamored with Mary and her role in Jesus’ life. Her gentle way inspires me. Her constant prayer guides me. Her humility leaves me in awe. During the second week of the consecration, St. Louis lists the 10 principal virtues of the Blessed Virgin Mary: her profound humility, her lively faith, her blind obedience, her continual mental prayer, her mortification in all things, her surpassing purity, her ardent love, her heroic patience, her angelic sweetness and her divine wisdom.
Breaking down her virtues
I have been trying to reflect on a different virtue each day, so I can try to love ardently or have heroic patience (my brother would recommend I reflect a little more on this one). The virtue that I cannot get out of my mind, however, is her blind obedience. Every time I think of Mary’s complete surrender to God, I am challenged, humbled, awestruck. Mary’s fiat – her “yes” that we celebrate on the feast of the Annunciation – is what allowed Love Incarnate to touch the earth.
When I reflect on Mary’s fiat, I try to think of the different ways I have followed God blindly. And I don’t mean the times that I’ve followed God because it was easy or his plan seemed to line up perfectly with what I desired. I try to think of the moments that I completely surrendered all to God, closed my eyes and said, just as Mary did, “Let it be done to me according to Thy word.” Want to know something? It’s kind of sad, but there are not many times that I have given God a complete and total surrender of myself to his loving will. Knowing this fault of mine, I hope to become a more obedient child. But how?
I think that Mary was so willing and ready to follow God obediently for three reasons: she’s awesome, she’s wise and she’s trusting.
Mary is awesome. It’s undeniable. Because of grace, she was born without sin, is Christ’s most faithful disciple and loves us with her fervent love. She’s that perfect woman everyone strives to imitate – with good reason.
Mary is wise. She knows that God is omniscient. The knowledge that Mary has of God, because of his grace, leads her to make choices that glorify God and follow his plan.
Mary is trusting – trusting of God, trusting of his plan and trusting of his love for her. Trust in God’s love is vital for our own personal fiat. God’s love for us is greater than any love we can experience on earth. It’s even greater than the love a mother has for her child.
As children, we trust our mothers to make decisions regarding our health and happiness. We trust them because we have experienced and witnessed their unconditional love for us. Once we understand and trust in God’s all-encompassing love for us, we will be able to say yes to him and follow with blind obedience. Trusting in a love of this magnitude, however, takes wisdom, faith, humility, prayer. It takes being awesome and
knowing Christ as Mary did.
And one great step to knowing Christ as Mary did is to consecrate yourself to him through her most sacred heart, using St. Louis de Montfort’s 33-day spiritual journey. In fact, the feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel is coming up this summer. If you’re interested, visit www.fisheaters.com or any Catholic book store to get a copy of St. Louis de Montfort’s “True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary” to experience for yourself the beauty of Christ through Mary.
Lindsey Frechou can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.