The secret hidden within Consecration to the Mother of God

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The secret hidden within Consecration to the Mother of God

Post by Flat on Mon Jan 29, 2018 10:30 am

What I’m going to try and explain in this letter is a secret within the devotion known as Consecration to the Mother of God (a.k.a. the De Montfort Consecration). It's a secret which I've yet to hear anyone talk about, yet one which is vital if one wishes to fully understand the devotion.  

Consecration to the Mother of God is a familiar devotion among many devout Catholics. It is also an ancient one. Although no one is really sure just how old it is, it’s been said that St. John Damascene practiced it as early as the 700’s. Granted, the particulars have already been developed by blessed Louis De Montfort in his famous book entitled True Devotion – an indispensable book for anyone hoping to understand the rudiments of this consecration. Nevertheless, I believe there is a need to put this devotion into its proper prospective. In other words, what I would like to do here is try and paint what I perceive as the “Big Picture”. The reason being, I think in order to truly appreciate this practice, it is essential to understand it in its fullest scope.  

Before getting started, I would like to recount some historical facts which serve to prove the authenticity and renown of this devotion. With this information, it should be clear that this is a practice which is not only of great antiquity, but praised by Saints and scholars alike. The following information is taken from De Montfort’s book, True Devotion:  
The first real evidence we have of the existence of this Consecration appears in the writings of the famous Abbot of Cluny, St. Odilon, who lived in the 11th century. Since then, a number of Saints have consecrated themselves to the Mother of God. Among the most famous are St. Bernard, St. Bonaventure, St. Ephrem, St. Bernardine of Sienna, and St. Francis de Sales. The devotion was carried out mostly in private, however, and didn’t become known to the public until the 16oo’s. Thereafter, it was established in Sicily and Savoy by the Theatine Fathers; Poland and Bavaria by the Jesuits; and all across France by the holy Cardinal de Berulle. Father Simon de Roias, of the Order of the Holy Trinity, spread knowledge of this Consecration throughout all of Spain and Germany. Later, he obtained rich indulgences from Pope Gregory XV for all those who practiced it. At the same time, an Augustinian monk and good friend of the same Fr. De Roias, composed a book entitled Hierarchia Mariana, in which he gives a thorough account of the antiquity of this devotion, listing the names of princes, princesses, dukes, and cardinals who practiced it.  

As one can see then, this Consecration is quite ancient, and certainly well founded. Nonetheless, it is peculiar to note that despite its antiquity, and the fact that numerous attempts have been made to spread knowledge of its existence throughout the world, it still remains scarcely known among the general populace today; and, although many so-called Catholics are aware of its existence, it is scarcely practiced. Moreover, it would seem that even among those who do practice it, it is hardly understood. It is truly a wonder that this devotion of Consecration continues in relative obscurity to this day – yes, even among the Saints. Stranger still, is the fact that notwithstanding this obscurity, it is one of the greatest devotions in the history of Christianity.  

Surely, I must be exaggerating, you say? If it’s such a great devotion, then why is it so scarcely practiced, and so little understood after so many centuries of existence? Well, I believe there are two reasons for this: First of all, because of its great importance, the devil has been trying very hard to frustrate any knowledge of this devotion. We find a classic example of this fact in the life of Blessed Louis De Montfort himself. This holy man knew better than anyone the hardships encountered by those attempting to spread this devotion. He was kicked out of every single diocese in France—with the exception of two—because he championed Consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Even in the dioceses from which he was not immediately banned, he was nonetheless prevented from preaching and dispensing the Sacraments. Mind you, these were not strongholds of the bewitched Protestants who were opposing him, but Catholic bishops and Catholic priests. These were Catholic dioceses and Catholic cities and Catholic villages he was being run out of. One can only imagine the frustration he suffered – and this went on day after day, and year after year. At length he was poisoned, and although this didn’t immediately kill him, it destroyed his health enough so that he eventually succumbed. Fortunately, he had already finished his famous book, True Devotion, in which he explains the basics of this consecration. Even so, the devil was so intent on stifling any knowledge of the book that he managed to keep it from public view by stashing it in an old box after the holy man’s death, where it lay hidden for an entire century. Interestingly enough, this action of the devil was carried out exactly as De Montfort had prophesied: “I foresee clearly that angry beasts trembling with fury, will arise to rend with their satanic teeth this little book, and him whom the Holy Ghost has used to write it; or at least they will strive to stifle it in the dumb silence of a forgotten box, so that it may be swallowed up in oblivion.” So then, this is the first reason why I believe that Consecration to the Mother of God is hardly known and practiced today – the devil has been working very hard to prevent even the knowledge of its existence.

The second reason, I believe, is because it is primarily an inheritance of the descendants of the ancient Israelites – that is, the ones who will convert to Christianity toward the end of the world. In other words, I believe it was never really intended for the “Gentile” Church to begin with – only, perhaps, as something to be roughly developed and then handed on to its rightful heirs. It’s an inheritance meant for the Children of Israel – that is, the actual physical descendants of the Hebrew nation.

The mass conversion of Israel toward the end of the world is a well-known prophecy among the Saints. In fact, St. Paul spends the entire 11th chapter of his letter to the Romans on this very point, warning the Gentiles not to become too proud on account of their own conversion, because it will come to an end: “For I will not have you ignorant, brethren, of this mystery (that you be not wise in yourselves) that blindness in part hath chanced in Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles might enter: and so all Israel might be saved…” (Romans 11:25) The conversion of the descendants of Israel, then, is a well known prophecy. Moreover, as everyone knows, the Israelites are the “Firstborn” of God. This being the case, they are entitled to a greater share of the Inheritance – a double share, if I understand the law properly. In the case of this particular Consecration, that Inheritance means a greater amount of grace on earth, and of glory in the Kingdom of Heaven. This belief in a superabundance of grace afforded the converted Israelites toward the end of the world is not a belief that I came up with myself. There are a number of Saints who have said this. Saint Vincent Ferrier and Bl. Louis De Montfort are just two such advocates of this position. In his book, De Montfort attributes this vast increase of grace to the fact that they will be wholly consecrated to Mary. In fact, he states that because of this Consecration to the Mother of God, these same Israelites “would surpass the majority of the other Saints in sanctity, as much as the cedars of Lebanon exceed in grandeur and magnificence the hyssop of the valleys.”  

In short then, I do not believe that this Consecration was ultimately intended for the Gentiles, but as a Living Inheritance for the descendants of Israel. For this reason, and because of the fact that the Devil has been fighting hard to prevent its spread, I believe this Consecration exists in relative obscurity to this day. That being said, I would now like to delve briefly into the meaning of this particular Consecration as it is explained by Bl. Louis De Montfort in his famous book True Devotion – then I will develop what I perceive as The Big Picture, or the “secret” behind this devotion.

First, a word about the Mother of God herself – quoted directly from True Devotion: “I hold with the entire Church, that, in comparison with the infinite majesty of the Most High God, Mary is no more than a mere creature formed by His hand; that, in the light of such a comparison, she is less than an atom—nay more, that she is nothing, since only He Who Is has existence as of Himself. Consequently, this great Lord, eternally independent and sufficient unto Himself, had absolutely no need—and still has no need—of the Blessed Virgin for the fulfillment of His designs and for the manifestation of His glory. He has merely to wish, and all is fulfilled.

Such are the words of Bl. Louis de Montfort. In truth, the same can be said of any of us humans – and even the angels for that matter. We are nothing in the sight of the Almighty God. Nor can anything that exists in all of creation compare to the infinite majesty and holiness of the Godhead. Even the unfathomable grandeur of Heaven itself is impure in His eyes, as we read in the book of Job. Nonetheless, among us lowly creatures, there is a vast difference between our dignity, and that of the Virgin Mother – for who can deny that the Son of God, Himself, was not only formed in her very womb, but received His actual Flesh and Blood from her? No doubt such an action on the part of God is the single greatest testimony of Mary’s integrity, holiness, and dignity – and undoubtedly the greatest tribute ever paid to a mere creature. Nor, I suspect, is it even possible to comprehend a greater tribute or privilege among us humans. No, in all of creation there is not found such an honorable state as that of the “Mother of God” – nor even the slightest resemblance. Let us keep in mind, then, the great dignity of this woman, whom all generations will call blessed.

Let us remember also that it was into her arms that Almighty God placed Himself as a helpless infant – unreservedly, unhesitatingly, and unashamed – unable so much as to feed, cloth, or even move Himself. Without fear, He placed His entire being and life into the care of her maternal heart – the most pure, most faithful, and most loving in all of creation. In like manner, this Consecration requires that we do the same. It requires that we place ourselves and our lives entirely into her care. In other words, we are to give the Mother of God dominion over our body, soul, spirit, mind, heart, and will. From now on, everything we do; everything we think; everything we say; and everything we intend to think, say, or do, is placed into her care. We yield her the absolute right to govern all of our thoughts, actions, and intentions. We evermore pray for her maternal guidance in our lives, submitting our powers of reason to her wisdom and counsel, waiting for her to enlighten our mind and govern our thoughts and plans. We pay close attention to the circumstances of our daily life – wherein is very often found her guiding hand, as well as her gentle admonitions.  

Moreover, one consecrated to the Mother of God trusts unhesitatingly in her powerful intercession, and entertains a profound gratitude for her boundless mercy and generosity; remembering always the words of the Saints: that she dispenses grace to whomever she wishes, whenever she wishes, however she wishes, and to whatever extent she wishes – for because she agreed to give the world its Savior, she in turn is granted the Divine favor of giving His graces to the world. Bl. Louis De Montfort tells us: “God the Son has communicated to His Mother all that He has gained by His life and His death, His infinite merits and His admirable virtues, and He has made her the dispenser of all that His Father has given Him as His inheritance.” It is a tremendous blessing for so loving a Mother, and one that she enjoys and cherishes with all her heart – for what mother would not enjoy giving to her own children the unfathomable gifts of Heaven?  

De Montfort continues: “To His faithful Spouse, Mary, the Holy Ghost has communicated His ineffable gifts, and He has chosen her to be the dispensatrix of all that He possesses, so that she distributes to whom she wishes, as she wishes, and when she wishes, all His gifts and graces. She was full of grace when the Archangel Gabriel saluted her, and she was given grace in superabundance when the Holy Ghost overshadowed her with His ineffable presence. This double fullness of grace, she has so augmented from day to day, and from moment to moment, that she has reached a height of immense and astounding grace, to such an extent that God has made her the unique treasurer of His riches and the sole dispensatrix of His graces, in order that she may ennoble, exalt and enrich whomever she chooses; that she may guide whomever she chooses through the straight way leading to Heaven; that she may preserve, in the midst of dangers, their steps through the narrow gate; and that she may give to whom she has chosen, the throne, the scepter and the crown of the Heavenly King.” (quoted from True Devotion)

At the same time that we revere her for her exalted role as Mother of God and dispenser of His treasury of graces, we also remember that because her Son is King of Heaven, she, as His mother, necessarily reigns as Queen – for such is the ancient tradition among the Israelites. Undoubtedly, as Mother of God and Queen of Heaven, she deserves to be honored above all creatures. And so, these are the two faces of Consecration to the Mother of God – the one, that we give her honor befitting her glorious station; and the other, that we place our entire being and life into her hands.

Our Lord Himself gives us a glowing example of this utter dependency when, as a tiny, helpless infant, He placed Himself into her motherly care. We are called to do the same in this devotion. One who desires to consecrate himself to the Immaculate Virgin Mary must truly place his life into her hands – that is, he must put his Consecration into practice. It requires a degree of submission that not many people are capable of. It demands the relinquishing of one’s own will, and the strength to deny one’s strongest passions – passions which very often get us into serious trouble if not mortified; and which continually hinder our spiritual growth. In the words of Bl. Louis de Monfort, one who consecrates himself to the Mother of God must voluntarily become her slave. He must forevermore perform all of his actions for Mary, with Mary, in Mary, and by Mary. He must exercise the same childlike trust and submission exhibited by the Son of God as He reposed in her most pure womb, and in her arms as a helpless infant.

Granted, not many souls, save the great St. Paul, could willingly submit their entire life to the will of God at a moment’s notice. Generally speaking, such submission takes time. Nonetheless, there is nothing within this practice that is not asked of us by the Son of God Himself in the Gospels: “Deny thyself, take up thy cross, and follow Me”. And again, “He who loses his life for My sake, will find it.” In fact, it’s been argued that this Consecration is nothing more than what is promised by all the faithful in the Sacrament of Baptism. Louis De Montfort says that it can easily be called “a perfect renewal of the vows or promises of Holy Baptism”. In short, it is a more perfect keeping of the promises made by everyone in Baptism. Even so, it is essentially the same promise.  

Yet if this were all there was to the Consecration, we might find it a bit discouraging. Nothing I’ve said in regard to the obligations incumbent upon those who wish to consecrate themselves, appears much different than what we find in the lives of many of the Saints of old. After all, didn’t they sacrifice themselves to a far greater degree than normal Christians? Did they not suffer the most horrific tortures and hardships to spread the message of salvation? To fulfill God’s will on this earth? Did they not carry out to an eminent degree the promises made in Baptism? Yes, they did. And may their souls be duly rewarded for all eternity because of it. But if this is the case then, what is the difference between the sanctity of the Saints of old, and that of the new? What is it that would render the converted Israelites as far above the other Saints in grace and glory “as the cedars of Lebanon are above the hyssop of the valleys”? Herein is the question then: What exactly makes this Consecration so special?

To answer, let me go back to the beginning:
According to what theology I've read, prior to “The Fall”, Adam and Eve were created as perfect beings - living in peaceful harmony with each other and with the animals, and in perfect union with their Creator and His Holy Will. Their every thought, action, and intention was holy and pure. There was absolutely no trace of pride or selfishness in their behavior; nor the slightest whiff of ingratitude, or covetousness, or anger, or jealousy, or any of the countless faults and imperfections which hopelessly defile even our most virtuous actions today. They were angels on earth, so to speak – “clothed in light” as the Scriptures say. We are told that God Himself was pleased to walk and talk with them as intimate friends in their earthly paradise.  

And then it happened… Adam sinned. He fell from grace. In an instant he lost his beautiful angelic purity and holiness. His soul turned black. Even his physical body began to decay. He was defiled with the ravages of sin and corruption. And through him, our body as well became defiled. Today, because of this first sin, all of our thoughts, actions, and intentions are stained with a myriad of imperfections: selfishness, pride, greed, envy, jealousy, impatience, anger, ingratitude - and the list goes on and on. Even our greatest actions, no matter how virtuous they may appear on the surface, are laden with numerous human faults, however small. Everything we think, say and do, from now until the day we die, will be continually stained with personal faults and impurities, despite even a lifetime of the strictest mortification. Even the great St. Anthony, who, after spending 70 years in almost perpetual mortification in the desert, was, for a short time, overcome with a sense of pride – a circumstance which led to his eventual discovery of St. Paul the Hermit, who lived unknown in the desert for an amazing 90 years, without any human interaction whatsoever.  

In short, as long as we remain in this fallen nature, we will never, for a minute, be free of the consequences of sin and corruption. In his book, True Spouse, the great Saint and Doctor, Alphonsus de Liguori, says that in our fallen state, it is altogether impossible to do anything without the influence of self-love.
Regarding this fallen nature of ours, De Montfort says, “As leaven sours, raises, and corrupts the dough in which it is placed, even so has the sin of our first parent left its traces in every one of us, souring our souls and filling us with puffed-up conceit. The actual sins we have committed, however perfectly they may be pardoned, have increased our concupiscence, our weakness, our inconstancy, and our corruption, and have left in our souls the grim marks of their passage. Our bodies are so corrupt that the Holy Ghost calls them bodies of sin and capable of every sin – bodies subject to countless diseases, decaying day by day, and engendering only disease, vermin, and corruption.”And he goes on… “United to our body, our soul has become so carnal that it is called flesh: ‘All flesh had corrupted its way’ (Gen. 6:12). What we can declare as our own is simply pride and blindness of spirit, hardness of heart, weakness and inconstancy of soul, concupiscence, unruly passions and bodily disease. By nature, we are prouder than peacocks, more wedded to the earth than toads, fouler than goats, more odious than serpents, more gluttonous than pigs, fiercer than tigers, more slothful than tortoises, more feeble than reeds, and more fickle than weathercocks. Nothingness and sin are the sum of our possessions, and our merits are only God’s anger and eternal Hell.”

Certainly, the difference between the state of original holiness enjoyed by our first parents, and that of our fallen nature at present, is the difference between good and evil, night and day, Heaven and Hell. Yet it must be certain that one of the greatest misfortunes of this fallen state is the loss of innumerable graces and merits due solely to the corruption of our actions. I suspect that if God were to enlighten us as to just how much merit and grace we continually lose every day because of our defiled nature, we might die of sorrow and regret. Regarding this loss, St. Theresa of Avila was given a vision one day of the immense difference between one degree of glory in Heaven, and the next. After this vision she stated that she would “with all her heart, gladly suffer the most painful tortures until the end of time” in order that she might advance that one single degree. Even so, God does not require such heroism as that of suffering the most painful tortures until the end of time in order to advance one degree. St Leonard of Port Maurice tells us that a certain nun was raised 8 degrees of glory for performing eight simple acts of mortification while eating an egg. That's right... eight degrees of glory while eating an egg. With such ease of gaining unfathomable glory and merit in Heaven, can one possibly begin to measure just how much is lost through the perpetual defilement of our every action? It is only through the infinite mercy of God that we are spared the agonizing truth. This immense loss of grace and its corresponding glory in Heaven is undoubtedly one of the greatest misfortunes of our fallen state.  

Yet imagine for a moment that there was a means of turning the clock back – of reversing the effects of our fallen nature. That is, of regaining the benefits of original holiness. Imagine for a moment that there was a way of once again enjoying the benefit of absolute purity in our thoughts, actions, and intentions – a way of rendering them as pure and holy as those of our first parents in the Garden of Eden. In other words, imagine that our Heavenly Father was now offering mankind a means of repairing the consequences of Adam’s fall – that is, of overcoming the ravages of sin, and the loss of near infinite amounts of grace because of our sinful and corrupted state.    

THIS is what Consecration to the Queen of Heaven is all about.  It’s about regaining the benefits of original holiness – of turning the clock back, as it were – of repairing the miserable consequences of our fallen nature. But how can this be? How is it possible to reverse the fallen state of man? Well, first of all, we’re not talking about reversing the fallen state of man. No, this unfortunate condition is our curse for the sin of Adam, and the innumerable sins that we commit every day of our lives. Only the Son of God and His Blessed Mother lived and died without sin, free of this curse. Instead, what De Montfort is talking about is regaining the benefits of Original Holiness, and not Original Holiness itself. He is talking about repairing the consequences of our fallen nature – not the fallen nature itself. And herein is the great secret of this devotion.

What Bl. Louis de Montfort is telling us is that when we consecrate ourselves to the Mother of God, she faithfully purifies all of our good actions. In a word, she perfects them. She renders them as holy as if they were performed by the Angels themselves. This Consecration, then, is a way of purifying our thoughts, actions, and intentions – not our body, mind, and soul. This is what the Consecration affords us. It’s a means of purifying our actions, despite the intrinsic corruption of our fallen nature.  

This is something the Saints of old were hopelessly incapable of accomplishing through their endless mortifications and austerities – no matter how long they lived, or how hard they tried. Certainly, through mortification, they managed to cleanse their actions of a certain degree of impurity and faults; yet, even then, their most virtuous actions fell far short of the absolute purity and holiness enjoyed by Adam and Eve in their actions prior to The Fall; and, undoubtedly, the Saints would be the first to admit it. Despite his obvious sanctity, for example, St. Francis of Assisi truly believed he was the greatest sinner on earth. This great Saint, and many more like him humble enough to see themselves through God’s eyes, knew how corrupted and prone to sin mankind is in this fallen nature. There are far too many examples of the Saints’ profound humility to list here. Suffice it to say, they will be the first to testify that there is an immense difference between the actions of one born in a corrupted and fallen state, and those carried out by one who is absolutely pure, holy, and sinless, as were our Lord and His Blessed Mother.

This vast difference in grace and merit enjoyed by those consecrated to Mary, as opposed to the ordinary sinner, is but one reason why the sanctity of the consecrated Israelites will far surpass that of the Saints of old. The difference, then, is in the amount of grace and merit they will acquire through the practice of this Consecration – that is, on account of the merits gained from actions, thoughts, and intentions absolutely purified of all stain and corruption.

And how is this purification possible? Well, as it is, much of what surrounds this Consecration is a mystery. No one, including blessed Louis de Montfort, has claimed to know exactly how it happens. We just know that it does. De Montfort says that in virtue of our faithful consecration to the Mother of God, she in turn cleanses all of our actions, all of our thoughts, and all of our intentions. That is to say, they are still naturally laden with countless imperfections as they proceed from our corrupted selves; yet, somehow, by virtue of our having consecrated our entire being, and all that we do, our actions are secretly rendered pure and holy by Mary’s hand.  

Blessed De Montfort explains: “Since, by this practice of perfect devotion, we give to our Lord, by the hand of His Blessed Mother, all our good works, this good Mother purifies them, embellishes them, and causes them to be accepted by her Divine Son. She purifies them of every stain of self-love, and from that imperceptible attachment to the creature which insinuates itself into our best actions. When our good works are given into the all pure and fruitful hands of Mary, these same hands, which have never been soiled or idle and which purify what they touch, will cleanse of everything that could render it tainted or imperfect, the gift which we make to her.”

And he adds: “But the Blessed Virgin, to whom we have fully relinquished the value and the merit of any good works we may do, knows perfectly where the greatest glory of God is to be sought, and acts in all things solely to procure this greatest glory. Hence, a perfect servant of the good Mistress, who has consecrated himself entirely to her, can boldly claim that the value of all his thoughts, words and actions is being used for the greatest glory of God.”

In summary then, a benefit that has been practically lost to the human race for the last 6000 years is now being offered as an inheritance to the Firstborn Children of God. At long last, the possibility of obtaining the benefits of Original Holiness, and of acquiring near infinite riches of grace and glory is within the reach of fallen man. And all it takes is an act of Consecration to Mary. Behold, then, the generosity of the Mother of God, who loves those who love her, and who gives generously of her immense treasury of grace to those who are faithful to her. Let us remember the words of Mary herself, spoken to a saintly nun many years ago: “The soul’s capacity for glory approaches the infinite”. Such is the incomprehensible reward our Heavenly Father wishes us to obtain. Indeed, the unfathomable depths of His love would demand nothing less. And this is what the True Devotion to Mary is all about - the opportunity of acquiring infinitely more grace here on earth, and glory in Heaven, then we ever thought possible.

In closing, may endless gratitude be to God for giving us such a merciful, wise, and loving Mother. May He be blessed forever for His own boundless mercy and generosity; for His never-ending kindness; and for His selfless giving of everything He has. And may the Sovereign Queen of the Heavens, His Most Holy Mother, be blessed for all eternity.

Flat

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