Consecration to the Most Holy Virgin
General ideas about the True Devotion or Holy Slavery to Jesus through Mary
According to Saint Lewis-Mary Grignion-de-Montfort
By Fr Gabriel DENIS
1) What is the purpose of this devotion?
The purpose of this devotion is to establish the absolute reign of the Blessed Virgin in our hearts, in order to make prevail in them the perfectly incarnated Wisdom, Jesus, Christ the King:
“If, then, we establish solid devotion to our Blessed Lady, it is only to establish more perfectly devotion to Jesus Christ, and to provide an easy and secure means for finding Jesus Christ. If devotion to Our Lady removed us from Jesus Christ, we should have to reject it as an illusion of the devil; but so far from this being the case, devotion to Our Lady is, on the contrary, necessary for us, as I have already shown, and will show still further hereafter, as a means of finding Jesus Christ perfectly, of loving Him tenderly, and of serving Him faithfully” (Saint Lewis-Mary Grignion-de-Montfort).
2) What does this devotion consist of?
It consists of:
1) giving yourself entirely to the Blessed Virgin to be wholly with Jesus Christ through her;
2) to live habitually and always in a complete, whole, and perfect dependence of her will, following the example of the Son of God in Nazareth.
3) Why dedicate yourself to the Blessed Virgin?
We thus devote ourselves to the Blessed Virgin:
1) to imitate the dependence of Jesus who, in order to save us, wanted to be subject to Mary for thirty years;
2) to recognize the rights of the Holy Virgin, who, being Mother of God, has power over all creatures;
3) to receive more graces, because with Mary being in charge of applying to us the merits of the Redemption, we will be all the more favored, living more subject and more united to the divine Mother.
4) How should you give your whole self and practice this absolute dependence to the Most Holy Virgin?
We must choose a remarkable day to give her, in an act of solemn consecration:
1) our body ;
2) our soul;
3) our earthly goods;
4) our spiritual goods ;
5) all the value of our good past, present and future deeds.
By virtue of this consecration and to live habitually in her dependence, we must do all our actions through Her, with Her, in Her and for Her, so that we always look at Her as acting together with us, and to destine to Her all the good that we can do.
5) What does it mean to act through Mary, with Mary, in Mary and for Mary?
— To act “through Mary” is never to go to our Lord without going through Her, to let yourself be led in all things by Her spirit;
— “with Mary” is to take the Holy Virgin as the model of all that one has to do, and endeavor to imitate Her;
— “in Mary” is staying within the beautiful Heart of Mary with complacency, remaining in peace, relying on Her with confidence, taking refuge in Her, and losing yourself without reservation;
— “for Mary” is doing all actions for Her, for Her profit and glory, in order to do them more surely for the glory of God.
6) How does this consecration differ from those that are made on the occasion of Baptism and in the Congregations of the Children of Mary?
On the occasion of Baptism and in the Congregations of Children of Mary, one is placed under the protection of the Blessed Virgin, as a child under the tutelage of his mother, or as someone poor under the protection of someone rich, in order to have a greater part of their kindness, favors, and love; but one does not sacrifice, for that, neither the value of one’s acts, nor the liberty to rely on yourself.
Here, on the contrary, by giving everything entirely to the Blessed Virgin, for no longer do we belong to ourselves, we abandon at the same time all the rights we naturally have from our good works. She can, therefore, dispose of them as She wills, as She deems fit, without intending anything but the honor of living in her dependence as slaves by love, in order to be by it slaves of Jesus; hence this title given by the Blessed Father Montfort to this devotion: Slavery of Jesus in Mary.
7) In what sense should we consider this abandonment of all our rights to the Blessed Virgin?
To clearly understand the answer to this question, it must be remembered that each of our works, made in a state of grace and by reasons of faith contains:
1) a satisfactory (atoning) or impetratory (begging) value that we can communicate to others, and which serves, to compensate for the penalty due to sin or to obtain some benefit particular;
2) a meritorious value which is our own, that we do not share with anyone, and which brings to our soul an increase of graces and merits.
Now, by this voluntary abandonment we make of all our rights, the Blessed Virgin becomes absolute headmistress: 1) of all of the satisfactory (atoning) and impetratory (begging) value of our good works, so She can apply them how She wants, as She pleases, according to the greatest glory of God;
2) of all their meritorious value, that is, to say of the graces of our merits. But because these graces and those merits of our own are incommunicable, She will want to guard them preciously, like a beautiful and rich treasure, to grant us enjoyment at the great day of eternity.
8) How can we help our parents, friends, and benefactors, both alive and deceased, if we are not free to dispose the value of our good works in favor of who we want?
Far from opposing that we come to the aid of those who are dear to us, or who commend themselves to us, this devotion authorizes us, on the contrary, to pray for them with more confidence than ever:
“Just as well as a rich person,” says the saint of Montfort, “who, wanting to show his esteem for a great prince, gives his entire fortune to him. Would not that man have greater confidence in asking the prince to help one of his friends who needed assistance? Indeed the prince would only be too happy to have such an opportunity of proving his gratitude to one who had sacrificed all that he possessed to enrich him, thereby impoverishing himself to do him honour. The same must be said of our Lord and our Lady.”
For those consecrated as slaves, it is of their kindness and power never to be outdone in gratitude.
While the application of our good works does not depend anymore on our will, Jesus and Mary “will assist, of our humble and submissive commendation, of our small spiritual merit, or by other ways, our parents, friends and benefactors” alive and dead, when they will be in need. It is even a duty of justice and charity that they will recognize and fulfill better than us.
9) What are the main benefits we find for ourselves in the slavery of Jesus in Mary?
We, being stripped of all that we have to give it to the Most Holy Virgin, are right to believe:
1) That the good Mother, having accepted our offering, is obliged at the same time to consider us always as her good, to protect us and defend us against our enemies, to give us the ways of salvation, and to obtain for us all of the graces we need in life;
2) That our good works, passing by her hands before arriving at God, are purified, augmented, embellished with its virtues, and presented by Herself to Jesus Christ, they will be favorably welcomed, and thus make them more meritorious in His eyes:
3) That, being shown to be generous and selfless, parting with our own goods to put them back in Her hands, she acquits our debts towards God in this life and will not permit that we stay a long time to suffer in Purgatory after our death.
Also, in the slavery of Jesus through Mary, a fervent, animated soul of special love for the Most Holy Virgin, arrives more surely and more promptly to a perfect sanctification than by any other spiritual way. “Show me a new road to go to Jesus Christ,” says the saint of Montfort, “pave it with all the merits of the saints, adorn it with their heroic virtues, illuminate and enhance it with the splendor and beauty of the angels, have all the angels and saints there to guide and protect those who wish to follow it. Give me such a road and truly, truly, I boldly say, and I am telling the truth, that instead of this road, perfect though it be, I would still choose the immaculate way of Mary. It is a way, a road without stain or spot, without original sin or actual sin, without shadow or darkness.”
10) What are the obligations of this devotion?
To be a slave to Jesus in Mary:
1) We must have made our consecration;
2) By virtue of this consecration, one must seek to live according to her spirit, that is to say, in union with Mary.
The act of consecration is a contract that always lasts unless it is formally retracted. The saint of Montfort asks us to renew it frequently, even if it is brief.
To help us do our consecration well and to live united with Mary, he also shows us a few particular external and internal practices.
11) Does this devotion oblige under pain of sin?
It does not oblige under pain of sin, but one could find in their negligence a lack of conformity to grace. It is a great medium of salvation and of perfection that we must neither despise should nor neglect.
12) What are the external practices of this devotion?
These practices are:
1) To prepare for the consecration in offering to God, for thirty days, one’s prayers, meditations and good works, with intention and in following way: twelve days to purge the spirit of the world, six days to get the knowledge of oneself, six days to get to know the Blessed Virgin, and six days to get to know Jesus Christ. This preparation completed, the consecration is done pronouncing the formula composed by the saint of Montfort himself 1;
2) To renew each year the act of consecration, after preparing for three weeks in the same way as the first time. This preparation can coincide with the month of May; it would be an excellent exercise for the month of Mary;
3) To make a small offering to the Holy Virgin, the day of the first consecration and the day of the renovation, as a mark of universal dependency towards Mary;
4) To recite every day some prayer in honor of the Most Holy Virgin; for example, the Magnificat, a chaplet, or the Holy Rosary, especially the Little Crown of the Blessed Virgin, praying three times one Pater, four Aves, and 1 Glory Be.
5) To devoutly celebrate the Feasts of the Blessed Virgin, particularly the Annunciation, the main festival of the present devotion.
13) What are the interior practices?
These practices are:
1) Offering to Our Lord Jesus Christ, every morning, by the hands of his Holy Mother, all of our thoughts, desires, words, and actions, by pronouncing these words or other similar ones: “I am all yours, and all that I have, I offer to you, my kind Jesus, by Mary, your Most Holy Mother” or “I give myself up, I give myself entirely to you, my dear Mother.”
2) To live all day in union with Mary, seeking to act everywhere and always through Her, with Her, in Her, and for Her, as it was explained above (fifth question). For this, in the course of the day, do all works habitually with this thought: “My good mother, act in me…speak in me…work in me.” All this is to be done peacefully, gently, without effort, without restraint, but also with fidelity and perseverance.
14) What are the fruits of this devotion?
Souls who know how to enter the spirit of this devotion are happy, a thousand times happy. They find their consolation invoking and blessing Mary as their powerful Queen; their pleasure to obey their dear Headmistress without delay. They discover in contemplation of her virtues a ravishing beauty and, in the imitation of her, strength and incomparable joy. They live in their Mother’s company with the trust and abandonment of a child. They draw from the intercession of the Most Holy Virgin (becoming for them the conduit of all graces) such a great abundance of goods that they withdraw fast from sin to live fully according to God. It is Jesus and Mary who reign in their hearts and they do not delay not to reign there perfectly.
Translation by J.F.
1 — You will find it in his « Treatise of the true devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary ».