When I was about thirteen my parents had our family do the Total Consecration to Mary from St. Louis de Montfort. If you aren’t familiar with the old formula, it’s thirty-three days of prayers, rosaries and novenas written in old English. It made no sense to me and I dreaded having to participate. Although St. Louis de Montfort wrote it’s a “short, easy, secure and perfect” way to become a saint, I did not think there was anything short about it. It was longer than the rosary! Some days you had to say all these long prayers and a rosary.
Now, as an adult I have reconsecrated myself to the Blessed Mother through the wisdom of Fr. Gaitley’s prayers, which has helped me understand this concept of a quick, easy and secure way to holiness.
How does this happen? Fr. Gaitley writes:
“So how do we follow this quick and easy way? By giving ourselves to Jesus through Mary. Mary leads us to Jesus and makes the road to holiness quick and easy, even though she doesn’t take away our crosses. In fact, those who are particularly beloved by Mary often have more crosses than others, but Mary makes the crosses sweet and light.”
What does that mean? Am I going to have to suffer and like it? Am I going to make this consecration and then get more suffering? You are probably thinking, “No thank you, I’m not signing up for that!” Today I’d like to share one of the many times Mary has made my suffering sweet.
Just a few months ago I experienced a very difficult miscarriage. The physical symptoms had been so traumatic I didn’t have time to process the emotional side of the loss. I was planning on traveling to visit a priest friend a few hours away, but was now unable to drive that long of a distance. When I shared the news, he wrote back, “Have you named the baby?”
“I hadn’t even had time to think about it.” I texted him back.
“I’ll be praying for you. Take some time rest and reflect if you can,” was his reply.
I knew exactly what I needed to do. I had been prompted several times recently to reconsecrate myself to Mary using 33 Days to Morning Glory and I knew this is what the Lord was asking me to do.
As I prayed and pondered through the reflections each day, I was over come with the peace and joy that could only be brought to me by Mary, placing me in the arms of Jesus. Mary, who knew suffering and the loss of a child, came to my aid. I named the baby and asked Mary to give the baby to my nana (my great grandmother, who had passed away when I was in college) to watch over until I could see him in heaven some day.
On the feast of the Assumption, I had just text Fr. Mike to thank him for his advice; how 33 Days to Morning Glory had brought healing to my soul, when the doorbell rang. An unexpected gift from my Aunt Penny had arrived. I opened the package and the letter read:
While going through my books, I found this one – it was Nana’s prayer book. As soon as I saw it, the thought came to me that I should give it to you. After having that thought, I opened the book and this picture fell out (it was a picture of me from the 6th grade). I knew it was meant for you!
With tears of sorrow, joy and peace I began to weep. I thanked Mary for this special gift on her feast day, a kiss from heaven, and the special touch of my great grandmother. I couldn’t have asked for a more meaningful present.
As I unwrapped the prayerbook, I stared with unbelief at its title. In college, I belonged to a household group (spirit led community of women, sort of like a “Catholic Sorority”) named after the Blessed Mother: Mother of Love. Scripted in gold on the front cover were the words, Mother Love.
Life on earth will always have suffering, we cannot escape it, even if we try; but if we allow Mary into our hearts, she will use this suffering to make us more like Christ, and I can attest, she will make it sweet.