Tagged: Living out Marian consecration
2 years, 2 months ago #15363
Susan LaurenParticipant@Susan Lauren
My questions are based upon 33 Days to Morning Glory by Fr. Michael Gaitley and Treatise on True Devotion to the BVM and the Secret of Mary by St. Louis de Montfort.
For those of you who have made this consecration, I would like to know how you live it out in a real and practical sense. Both authors say that it is difficult to describe, that it can emerge/ be lived in different ways for different people (no two people will be the same) and you will be shown how to do it after you make the consecration and as you live it.
I made the consecration on Our Lady of Sorrows (Sept. 15th). I did all the preparations that were asked of me (prayers, readings, rosary, sacrament of confession (a general confession) prior to the date, communion, etc., etc.). It was beautiful; if was sacred; it was poignant. And then I hit the wall. I literally hit the wall. I feel totally lost.
First, let me say that I am not going to take the consecration back. It stands. Even if I do not understand it, even if I am not doing it the way it is supposed to be done, even if I am imperfect/ uncertain/ confused/ whatever. It stands.
Second, let me say that I happened upon a spiritual classic which suggested that consecration to the Holy Spirit (there is a very beautiful prayer of consecration) and consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus should go together with the Marian Consecration. So I added those prayers and consecrations along with the Total Consecration to Mary.
Next, let me say that I have no idea how to live out the consecration — what it should look like. The books made sense to me on an intellectual level. The problem I am having is head knowledge translated into heart knowledge into life action and life change. I want to know: What am I missing, not understanding, getting wrong here?
There is a part of me that is “freaked out” because in making that consecration I am no longer my own; I do not belong to myself. I have given myself totally as property and possession — to Jesus through Mary — and nothing remains to give. It was a complete and total emptying of my “self.” How do I live with nothing left? That thought has been truly frightening. My response has been to “freeze” or to “shut down”. (I do not mean to imply that the Holy Mother of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit do not have my best interests and highest good first and foremost. They do.) I am not sure if I am describing all of this very well. I am highly articulate and I feel at a loss for words.
I had a “system” so to speak prior to making the consecration. I went to daily mass. I said the rosary daily. I did a nightly examen. I did the Angelus at 6 am, 12 noon and 6 pm. I said the Morning Offering, Magnificat and Memorare daily, I had my personal prayers arranged in the same manner as “Prayers of the Faithful” (i.e., how it is done at mass). Each week I went to adoration for one hour. Tuesday and Saturday was the Our Lady of Sorrows prayers. I went to confession at least once every month (it could be more frequently, but it was a minimum of 1 x per month). I ordered an absolutely lovely miraculous metal (I am waiting for “loops” so it will fit on a necklace). I have a brown scapular that I wear always. Each day I would also say the Way of the Cross (by St. Alphonsus Liguori).
I am relating “my routine” as a “statement of fact” — not as a matter of pride. It just was. I would not have told anyone my “routine” (even my closest friends) because of Christ's admonition to “pray in secret.” And as I am typing it all out, I am exhausted just typing it. I maintained that routine for about two months — adding prayer by prayer, devotion by devotion — and then I hit the wall. It occurs to me that one could literally exhaust oneself with all of the possible novenas, daily office prayers, readings, chaplets, types of rosary prayers, daily mass, adoration, etc.
After the consecration, all of the above routine literally “fell apart.” I found myself not doing any of it (or very little of it). Where am I going “wrong” here? Did I hit the wall because that sort of routine is not sustainable? because it was all exterior focused? because it was “too structured and too formal” and not spontaneous enough? out of fear and uncertainty? because of all of these things? Am I being too “concrete” in my thinking or approach? Is this what it is like/ it means to be penetrated with self-abandonment? Does that account for my fear and sense of lost “self”?
Maybe more importantly, how do I get back on track with a sustainable, balanced approach that lives out the consecrations? In terms of devotions? Prayers? Rosary? Scripture reading/ spiritual classics? Mass? Etc.
I should tell you that I come from a Protestant background (part Catholic/ part Protestant) and Marian devotion was not something I was brought up to appreciate. (That is a major understatement.) Yet, I found myself drawn to more and more of the devotions and exercises for Mary. One by one, I kept adding them, until I found the consecration. (Perhaps it was more like: until the Holy Spirit led me to the consecration.)
With Marian devotion, one is to go through Mary always and not directly to Jesus or to God the Father. None of the formal prayers, like the Our Father, begin with “Dear Mary, please intercede on my behalf with God the Father as I say the “Our Father”. I would typically pray “Dear Lord” or “Dear Jesus” or “Heavenly Father” and not “Dear Holy Mother of God”. So this is a 180 degree turn around in approach. I am used to going directly to Jesus or to God in prayer.
Also, I am still getting used to the idea of Mary in the various roles that St. Louis de Montford describes her. I accept Mary as my spiritual mother. Praying to Mary is not something I have been accustomed to doing throughout my life. Co-mediatrix is not something I grew up with — it is foreign to me. (My mother disliked and shunned the rosary and devotions to Mary; so that was not an example or model she gave to me as a child.) If I am to go to Jesus through Mary in prayer then what does one say to begin a prayer when one was used to such a different way of doing it? For example: “Dear Jesus through Mary, …. and then pray whatever prayer … ?
Again, I am not going to take any of this back. I did the consecrations because I felt drawn to them — truly drawn. Yes, I tend to run “hot” or “cold”, “all” or “nothing” and that is one of my character flaws. And I would love some ideas and feedback as to how to move forward living and incorporating all of it in a workable manner.
I am now swallowing hard and hitting the “post” button. (It is taking lot of courage for me to post this.) Thank you.2 years, 2 months ago #15372
Thank you for sharing your consecration, your questions and your struggles. Rest assured that your post does not seem prideful in any way. As I read your post, I had the feeling that you are exhausted from all of the devotional activity that you have been doing. That may be the source of the feeling like “you have nothing left.”
I would suggest that you rest in the love of Mary and the Holy Trinity and begin to get back into your devotional life by talking to Jesus and Mary about what you are experiencing and feeling right now. You can just talk to them extemporaneously and pour out your heart to them. Since you have consecrated yourself to Mary, pray a prayer consecrating your time with them to her. Also, you may find the rosary helpful in keeping you going and focused in prayer. But only pray a single decade per day for now for you appear to be exhausted. Keep it simple. Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Jesus and Mary will begin to guide you and gently lead (but not drive you) in the way they want you to go. They love you very much. Be patient. Sometimes you are to wait in trust and prayer between the answers.
As far as the freaked out feeling goes, that can be a symptom of your Protestant background, like the ones I still get occasionally when I am entering into an unfamiliar and unexplored area of the Catholic Faith. 😮 🙂
I will be praying for you.2 years, 2 months ago #15371
One more thing, feel free to share with them as you are praying any struggles or trials you are facing. I have had people tell me that they never pray for themselves, only for others. That is not true for one thing if we are praying the Our Father, the Hail Mary, the Rosary and the prayers of the Mass. Those prayers include both ourselves and others. And for another thing, we are not sharing our hearts with Mary and the Holy Trinity if we are not praying for ourselves as well as others.
Now sometimes I do forget to pray for myself because I am so focused and blessed in my time with them that my concerns cease to trouble me.2 years, 2 months ago #15370
Susan ' s post resonates with me, I just consecrated my self to Mary this month and have hit a similar wall. Thanks Howard for your advice., perhaps Susan and i will find our way to the other side of the wall together p0m$, I will be praying that we both get our answers.2 years, 2 months ago #15369
Susan, there are two things that stand out in the description of your spiritual life: 1. You are trying to accomplish union with God through the things you do rather than in the simplicity of your heart; 2. You are attempting to divide everything into neat packages using the dialectic either/or rather than God’s own approach to the divine life, which is both/and.
When you concentrate on saying prayers and doing virtuous works, you end up with what Protestants rightly call “works salvation”: the idea that God owes you salvation because you earned it through all these things you have done for him. Remember what St. Paul said concerning this: Our salvation begins with a gratuitous pardon from God. He sent his Son to die for us. There is truth in the idea that Jesus was literally nailed to the cross so that we might be free from the eternal cross which our sins have merited. But there is also a both/and part which some Protestants have skipped over: Works are still required. They are required, not because we thereby gain brownie points with God, but because we must respond to his call. This is the catalyst which makes his grace effective within us. Without our response, God can’t work in us, and his a priori forgiveness will end up as a hollow shell (see James 2:14–26). We have to produce fruit from the garden we have been given by God’s grace — our forgiven soul. And to produce fruit, we must till the soil there (see Genesis 2:15), plant the crop and harvest it when the fruit is ripe. What we cannot do is make the crop grow and mature; that is God’s part. But we can do these other things to allow God’s part to happen in us.
So it is a both/and proposition. Yes, we must till the soil; yes, we must allow God to work in us, to make the crop we have planted from the seed he has provided grow and mature. The latter part is, in a sense, just as active as the first, for we must make a conscious effort to accept God’s help in our endeavor. We don’t save ourselves, but we are not blocks of wood, which merely accept passively whatever is done to them (to use St. John Chrysostom’s apt description, which I used in last Sunday’s Bible Study, Oct. 25, 2015). Our acceptance must be an active, human one, a response, a trust, a permission given. (“Give God permission” is a favorite phrase of Bl. Teresa of Calcutta. I have found it helpful in my own life.)
Now you struggle with the idea of how to reconcile praying to Jesus (or the Father or the Holy Spirit) through Mary. Yet Jesus (along with the other Persons of the Trinity) lives in Mary through the divine indwelling. This is dogma:John 14:22–23 wrote:
Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered him, “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
In another passage, John 15:4–10, Jesus speaks of his disciples “abiding” in him. This is an important concept. As you enter into Mary’s soul by means of your consecrated relationship with her, she will show you God, and especially her Son, living within her. She will help you to realize that same divine indwelling within your own soul. Unlike material goods, that must be divided up and diminished to be shared, spiritual goods actually grow and multiply when they are shared. There will be more than enough for the both of you. This is symbolized in Scripture by the episode of the multiplication of loaves and fishes, John 6:1–14. It is in this manner, too, that we are to understand Jesus’ words in John 6:63: “It is the Spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are Spirit and life.”
In this way, you are not diminishing your love of God by honoring Mary, or diminishing your attention to God by looking to Mary. That is either/or mentality. On the contrary, you are finding God in and through Mary. And in the same way, you will pray to God in and through Mary: both/and.
So have you lost yourself? Only from a material standpoint, one of an either/or mentality. You are in reality about to discover God, and in him find your true self. This is Mary’s legacy to us: She gave herself totally to God, that through her God could enter his own creation and become a man like us. In his turn, God raised Mary over all creation, to be the Queen of Heaven and Earth, as we say in the fifth joyful mystery of the rosary. By way of your consecration, Susan, you are looking to do something similar. Your total gift of self — so that you are no longer your own, but belong to God through Mary — will in the end be your salvation. You have been given a new life, a spiritual life which transcends the earthly life you have known until now. Little by little, this life will be revealed to you if you are faithful to the calling you have received from the Lord.
David2 years, 2 months ago #15368
Susan LaurenParticipant@Susan Lauren
I want all of you to know how very helpful your comments have been to me. I copied them into a word file so I could print them off, read them over and over and simply let the words sink into and permeate my soul.
I have become Martha when Christ has wanted me to be Mary.
I prayed as I was making the consecrations that my devotion would be internal — a conversion of the heart — and not merely an external devotion. What has happened is that all of the external practices have been stripped away from me.
I will crawl into the arms of Our Lady and allow her to hold me as her child.
One of the prayers that remains is: “I am totally yours. Do with me as you will.” I am offering that prayer many times throughout my day. And one of the shortened consecrations would be an excellent way to begin each day. Susan1 year, 5 months ago #15367
I have been looking around for some information on reducing my own scrupulosity…newly developed with my enrollment in the brown scapular. Or is it scrupulosity? I am just naturally a scrupulous person but even more so with my Catholic life and devotion. Being Catholic is my whole life and only meaningful thing in my life right now. I finally found a site giving advice on praying the liturgy of the hours/divine office to beginning with morning and nighttime only prayer. Whew what a relief that is. Between praying, working, eating, sleeping, working out, studying and reading my life is pretty full. I am feeling a very strong relationship with Mother Mary and feel an overbearing need to study and learn as much as I can about her. And to learn all of her roles in heaven and all to do with me! Guess I am to pray to her now with enrollment into the scapular. This is a paradigm shift that I had not expected. A scapular should come with a warning on it….LOL Of some kind that says to the effect…”Warning!!! Enrolling in the scapular will change your life…while practicing the required way of life…to the best of your ability. And to make you feel a need to constantly seek a deeper devotion to our Lady Mother Mary, Mediatrix of Heaven, Lady of Sorrows and Mercy, etc. The way that you think may change by having Mary ever in your thoughts constantly and feel she is with you at all times, while wearing this scapular.”
I realize this is an old post but couldn’t find anywhere else to speak on this subject. Has anyone else experienced anything like this? Especially after beginning a new devotion or restarting an old one?1 year, 5 months ago #15366
I have been looking around for some information on reducing my own scrupulosity…newly developed with my enrollment in the brown scapular. Or is it scrupulosity? I am just naturally a scrupulous person but even more so with my Catholic life and devotion.
In my experience, if you suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder, you will almost surely have ongoing problems with scrupulosity. If you don’t suffer from OCD, but are battling with scrupulosity, the usual issue is inexperience and lack of guidance. The latter manifestation is usually temporary, but the former will probably require therapy to attain any relief.
Being immersed in one’s religion is not, of itself, a sign of mental or emotional problems. There are, after all, many thousands of persons throughout the world who are leading consecrated lives, and the vast majority are happy and balanced. But there are people who “overdo it,” and these are the ones who soon show signs of burnout. There are others who attempt to follow a lifestyle to which they are not suited, and they end up struggling to keep up. Thirdly, there are persons who have wandered off to deviant ways, and they fall into serious sin. So there are dangers to be avoided.
My question to you, JD, is whether you are receiving spiritual guidance from someone. Are you regularly going to confession? Do you have a spiritual director? Someone in your situation definitely should have contact with a guide, because without it, you are probably going to end up following one or another of the dead-end roads I have described above.
David1 year, 5 months ago #15365
Michael BoggsParticipant@Michael Boggs
The question of balance in the devotional aspects of our spiritual lives is one that we all come to sooner or later as we grow into a more intimate union with our Lord. That you can even raise the question shows that you are on the way to a more intimate relationship with Jesus our Lord. I agree with David E. that having a real, flesh and blood spiritual director is an inestimably valuable resource for this pilgrimage. Many have found Daniel Burke’s Navigating the Interior Life: Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God (SEE HERE) provides helpful guidance to someone looking for a spiritual director. The spiritual pilgrimage to intimacy with God and sainthood (something to which all faithful people are encouraged to aspire) is best not traveled alone. Indeed, in the all but the last part of the journey, we do best to travel with other faithful people.
We are praying for you as you travel to the New Jerusalem, and welcome you as a fellow pilgrim on the way.
— Michael1 year, 5 months ago #15364
Thank you David and Michael! My prayers are being answered in such wonderful ways lately. I owe it to Mary for directing me to this wonderful website and ministry and to EWTN for helping to experience such spiritual wonderment. If that is an appropriate adjective for what I am feeling. Almost ecstasy at times. I never feel alone anymore knowing that Mary is in control of my life and my prayer life is vastly improving do to her. I really wish everyone could feel this way. How do you contain this love and pity that you feel for others without doing something to bring them into the light? I am now searching for ways to do this. The Coming Home Network is doing a wonderful job. The only way that I can now find is expressing myself in writing in hopes that others will seek the full truth of Christianity taught and lived out in the Catholic faith..living my life as a witness to others…trying to show love towards others in appropriate ways. Something that I have had trouble with most of my life is expressing emotion appropriately but the Holy Spirit is helping me along the way. I love you all so much.. I am poor but intend to donate whatever I can spare to help this ministry. I can’t thank you all enough for helping us to come closer to God and learning to live out our Catholic faith as we should.8 months, 2 weeks ago #22262
I am of Indian ethnicity, born and raised in the US with all the traditions of a Hindu upbringing. I grew up and became a scientist. Married another scientist and the fact he was baptized Catholic and I was “Hindu” was never an issue between us. He let me pray with my family and celebrate my holidays while I attended any masses he chose to go to. After 16 years he decided to “return to the church”. We had our marriage convalidated that year. Despite me not being baptized, I am convinced my brief prayers to Mary that day have brought about a spiritual tsunami within me and impacting us as a couple. Three years later, after finding and doing two 33-day consecrations via Fr. Gaitley’s books (Morning Glory & Merciful Love) I have found a way to live my life actively, contemplatively and in the most fulfilling way I have ever experienced. As one of the previous posts details, I first tried to “do it all right”. Then I realized I needed help to move from my head space to my heart. Fr. Gaitley’s use of various Saints’ lives & teachings helped me realize a cookie-cutter or formulaic approach is not the only way. So I follow a more organic approach. I start and end my day with a thank you & please prayer. It’s spontaneous. Sometimes Mary’s name pops up first so I ask for her intercession. Sometimes it is a cry to the Holy Spirit because of an upcoming management meeting. I try and listen to the rosary most weekdays. I read the daily readings via USCCB during my morning coffee break. I read at least one thing pertaining to christian theology before I go to bed at night (I love books), ending with a silent mental review of the “good, bad and ugly” of my day. It keeps me honest as I pray before I fall asleep. It saves me from going overboard and sliding into scrupulosity. And what is most important to me is – it did not take me doing something perfectly for God to have permitted His graces to touch my heart at the marriage convalidation, leading me into full communion with the Catholic church this Easter (April 2017). He let me take the three years it took me to walk the walk and listen to the talk before I could definitely feel an alignment between my head and heart. I was ready to acknowledge I had been blessed to find a community of disciples who held life values and followed moral principles I believed in already AND whose traditions I found appealing to my heart AND who could look to the Blessed Mother & Saints for intercessory help. Anybody who knows me as the precise project manager with primary and back-up plans to get the job done right, will know how different I am with all this – I now let my spiritual growth and deepening occur organically – with some book-reading and podcasts/radio to facilitate that growth. I have no idea if this will help. But one of the many lessons learned is to share and care.
God lets me just “be”. But part of that “being me” every day is making each decision based on a simple query – will this take me closer to, or away from God? I too emptied (or at least tried my best) to let go of the things (habits, opinions, attitudes) dragging me down. Marian consecration helped break the shackles. The Holy Spirit inspires me and the focus is our Lord & Savior. I used to only pray to God, the one God i had been taught about as a Hindu, who can be found in so many ways and places in earthly living. However Mary has been holding my hand for the past three years, my spiritual mother helped me as I kept seeking “Truth”. She lead me to her Son, Christ Jesus. To her spouse. And to a new dynamic relationship with the Triune God.
So this is how I live now and I confess I am more comfortable in my own skin now than I have ever been.
As Goldilocks said, “This is just right!”
Have a blessed day!8 months, 2 weeks ago #22266
Thanks for sharing the beautiful account of your journey, Anishav.4 months, 2 weeks ago #23640
Early on in my journey, one of the first Catholic books I purchased was the Preparation for Total Consecration by St. Louis de Montfort. I started it several times, but for one reason or another I stopped, letting life get in the way. However one thing that sort of bothered me (and perhaps was in the back of my mind, so I didn’t have any zeal to continue) was that coming from a Protestant background, where I (using the Protestant phrase) accepted Christ into my life/heart as a child, the idea of giving myself to Mary felt like…a change in loyalties, if you will. That I was buying into an idea that I am so sinful that I needed to approach Jesus through Mary, since she is perfect, or that I was giving my heart and soul to Mary instead of Jesus, Who is the One Who really wants/deserves it. Does that make sense? I think I grew up hearing the first idea, that Catholics pray to Mary because they believe they aren’t worthy to approach Jesus, or something. Who knows where I got that idea!
I know that her last recorded directive sums up her whole life: “Do whatever He tells you.” Maybe I was afraid that Mary would keep my soul all for herself, and not give it to Jesus? Which now that I type it, sounds very silly, since she gave all she had to Him forever by her “Yes.” She herself knew she needed His saving grace when she said “My soul magnifies the Lord and rejoices in God my Savior.” How much more would she understand that the rest of us need His saving grace? After all, when you’re learning something, you partner with a mentor, someone who knows how to do whatever it is you’re learning to do…Hmm.
Sometimes I have a hard time thinking of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth. Now I have an easier time thinking of that, and I imagine that even so, Mary does not wear her crown but casts it at the feet of God and her Son in worship, like the elders around the throne do.
Maybe I didn’t know Our Lady well enough when I first began. I know her a bit more now, but maybe I need more time with her. Even in our fallen world, part of the process of becoming friends with someone is learning about them and spending time with them.4 months, 2 weeks ago #23643
You seem to have a pretty good grasp on your situation, Melissa. I definitely endorse your idea of spending more time with Mary and the rest of the saints, absorbing both their wisdom and their presence in your life. They are the ones leading the way to Jesus, who in turn leads us to the Father.
I might mention here that the saints function in much the same way as the angels. We see angels in Scripture running errands on God’s behalf; the saints do the same. And because the saints are human beings, we can build a relationship with them more easily than with the angels. They went through many of the same things we face in our lives, so they know the ins and outs of making it through life successfully and attaining salvation.
David4 months, 2 weeks ago #23646
Melissa, you are right about these saintly friendships taking time. When I first started out on this conversion journey a few years ago, I thought that certain saints and devotions would be important to me because my natural reasoning thought that it would be so and that those particular saints or devotions made sense in my situation. It has been interesting to watch some of those things fall away – which isn’t a bad thing – and see what other relationships and devotions have come about for one reason or another. Sometimes it is all a bit inexplicable, and I don’t wonder if certain saints themselves have wanted a relationship with me that I wasn’t aware about at first. It wouldn’t surprise me. After all, they are REAL and ALIVE, and not the least bit dead as we Protestants used to understand them to be. Certain saints have become my go-to saints, and they weren’t the ones I expected. Certain devotions mean an awful lot to me, and they aren’t the ones that maybe others feel drawn too. But we are all different one from another, so it isn’t at all surprising. I always thought that Mary should be a big deal to me because she is a big deal to all Catholics – and don’t get me wrong, I do hugely appreciate her and I do pray to her – but Joseph has become the special one to me. He is the one I pray more often to and who resonates with me for whatever reason. I don’t think Mary minds though, because she loved him more than I ever can. Lol. She is always quite willing to share.
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