My Lenten Journey to Marian Consecration

by Kaitlyn Clare Elizabeth Mason

I now firmly believe the only thing we have to fear with Mary is fear of Mary!

Image created with Canva

So I recently completed my first Marian Consecration.  I actually went through with it!  My companion on this journey was the book “33 Days to Morning Glory” by Fr. Michael Gaitley. It’s an excellent and engaging read (purchase this book here).

But when I started Lent this year, my goal was not to be consecrated to Mary. It was to discern whether or not I wanted to be consecrated to Mary – whether or not I was okay with this concept & willing to go through with the whole thing.

Several weeks ago, I didn’t know much about what it actually meant to be consecrated to Mary. I just knew that I felt called to learn more.

You see, when I first began brainstorming the logistics of the Mary Garden Showers ministry a couple of years ago, my knowledge and appreciation of Mary’s role in salvation was pretty nonexistent. I respected her, sure. She’s Jesus’ Mother. He respected her and we’re called to imitate Christ, so I should respect her, too. But was I devoted to her? No.

In fact, around that time, I was given a very beautiful, very large statue of Mary as a gift from a friend. Her Mother kept it displayed in their home for a long time, and was hoping to pass it along to someone who would appreciate it. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a more beautiful, more vibrantly colored statue of Mary. Deep navy, gold, crimson, and mint green – she wore a golden crown, and a beautiful flowing blue robe full of golden stars. I remember her standing on soft clouds, her arms outstretched – the Queen of Heaven reaching out to love us.

Where did I display her in my home? I stored her in an old textbook box in our upstairs closet. I was concerned about Marian devotion. It just made me uncomfortable. I hadn’t taken the time to figure out what I thought about Mary, nor did I have the time to figure it out then (or rather, I wasn’t making time to figure it out then). So into a box she went.

I now understand that Mary’s role is chiefly just to bring us all closer to Jesus, her dearly beloved Son! But there are so many people who fear Mary, thinking devotion to her is worship. Well if communicating with Mary is a powerful way to get to know Jesus better, why in the world would the devil allow everyone to think this was okay?

And so we run into a fear of Mary among many Christians – fear of communicating with Mary, fear of knowing Mary, and fear of loving Mary. I know this because even with a strong Catholic upbringing, I ran into this fear myself.

Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” I now firmly believe the only thing we have to fear with Mary is fear of Mary!

I’m pretty sure I passed that beautiful statue of Mary along to Goodwill before our big move. I just hope and pray that it’s now in the home of someone who can love and appreciate it as a beautiful piece of Catholic art. I was only meant to have that statue in my home for a short while… just long enough to be really uncomfortable about Mary. So uncomfortable that I would eventually have to do something about it…

I started the Mary Garden Showers ministry with the intention of showering women in crisis pregnancies and showing them that Mary & Jesus are there for them in the midst of their crisis situation. Afterall, Mary is a beautiful role model for all Mothers, as she chose to love and give life to Jesus!  She is our spiritual Mother.

I wanted to lead women to this truth. I wanted to lead women to Mary. But how in the world could I lead women to Mary without first understanding her, knowing her, and loving her myself? So I have been praying for a way to get to know Mary better. I’ve been praying for a way to be led closer to her, so that I can lead others to her & ultimately to her Son, Jesus Christ through her loving intercession.

These are the kind of prayers that in my experience, God always answers.

Overtime, I understood God calling me to learn more about Marian Consecration. I was drawn to the book “33 Days to Morning Glory,” and bought it several months ago at a Mothering with Grace conference.  As the loving Father that He is though, God respected my free will to decide if I wanted to follow through with this optional devotion.

Before going through with Marian Consecration, one traditionally spends thirty-three days in prayerful preparation. For me, the first couple weeks of reading through this book felt more like uncomfortable, prayerful discernment & questioning than the peaceful, relaxing “retreat-like” preparation I had envisioned.

I wondered if I would need sixty-six days of preparation. Or perhaps ninety-nine. I ran into obstacle after obstacle that I had to mentally and spiritually work through. The terminology was challenging. The ramifications of Marian Consecration were complex.

At the end of each day’s reading & meditation, there was a short prayer to the Holy Spirit. Prayers like, “Holy Spirit, help me to make this retreat with generosity and zeal.” After reading this prayer to the Holy Spirit, I added my own prayer to God the Father & to Jesus, asking them not to lead me into anything contrary to God’s will – particularly regarding Marian Consecration. My theory was this: The trinity is three in one, right? So if I’m praying to the Holy Spirit to go through with Marian Consecration, I’d better check in with the other parts of the Trinity about my doubts and make sure the whole Trinity is on board with my going through with this consecration!

One morning, exactly a month before my consecration date, I prayed, “Jesus, should I really give myself totally to Mary?” In a friendly, jovial tone, as if to express how well Jesus knows Mary, I felt Jesus reply almost in a laugh, “Oh, she’s great! Don’t worry about it!” I felt that Jesus was letting me know that Mary took great care of Him, and that she’d take great care of me as well.

After that, I began to understand more. I began to trust more. I was able to enter into a “retreat-like” part of my journey that brought me much peace and confidence.

And so on March 25, 2016, I carefully crafted my Marian Consecration prayer. The Church allows people to craft their own prayers for consecration. It’s a very personal, very optional thing in the Catholic Church, so there’s no set wording that’s required, so long as your words and intentions are in line with the Church. I headed to the Church that night with my husband, and after the Good Friday service, said my prayer, signed my prayer sheet, and left.

Realizing that I accidentally stole the pianist’s pen, we quickly turned around at my husband’s suggestion. He laughed and said he didn’t want that special night in any way to be associated with theft!

So I went back into the dark Church by myself. A large crucifix was lying on the base of the altar. Jesus was alone in the darkness after the Good Friday service – until I came in, that is! I returned the pen to its home on the piano, and took that opportunity to thank Jesus for giving us the gift of His Mother from the cross (John 19:26-27).

March 25th of this year was both Good Friday and the Annunciation – a rare intersection of feast and fasting that will not occur again simultaneously in this way until 2157. Commemorating this day with my first Marian Consecration is something that will always be special to me. And so begins a “glorious new morning” in my spiritual journey – one that I look forward to waking up to each day! Thanks be to God!

My chapel veil smelled like a bouquet of roses as I left the Church that night. Several times along this Lenten journey I have had that same experience – my veil smelled like beautiful roses.

One thing is for sure, and Fr. Gaitley said it best at a retreat I attended recently: “Mary is on the move right now.” She is leading souls closer to her Son!

Have you ever heard of Marian Consecration before?  Have you considered learning more about Marian Consecration?  It’s powerful…

Copyright 2016 Kaitlyn Mason

Advertisements