A couple of days ago, I was reading the sixth day of the second week from the Manual for Total Consecration to prepare for the renewal of my consecration on August 15th, the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
In the reading selection that day, the motives of this perfect Consecration are explored. St. Louis de Montfort explains that it is an admirable means of perseverance.
"Whence comes it that the majority of the conversions of sinners are not durable? Whence comes it that we relapse so easily into sin? Whence comes it that the greater part of the just, instead of advancing from virtue to virtue and acquiring new graces, often lose the little virtue and the little grace they have? This misfortune comes, as I have shown before from the fact that man is so corrupt, so feeble and so inconstant, and yet trusts in himself, relies on his own strength and believes himself capable of safeguarding the treasure of his graces, virtues, and merits.
"But by this devotion, we entrust all that we possess to the Blessed Virgin who is faithful; we take her for the universal depository of all our goods of nature and of grace. It is in her fidelity that we trust; it is on her power that we lean; it is on her mercy and charity that we build, in order that she may preserve and augment our virtues and merits, in spite of the Devil, the world and the flesh, who put forth all their efforts to take them from us."
This is one of the main aspects of Total Consecration to Mary. We must give her our whole selves including all that we possess. This chapter is especially talking about all of our spiritual goods; our graces, our merits, our virtues, our faith. But why entrust these to Mary? What makes her so special? Aren't we capable of safeguarding our own graces? Why not entrust everything directly to God?
"Leave not your gold and silver in your coffers, which have already been broken open by the evil spirits who have robbed you. These coffers are too little, too weak, too old, to hold a treasure so precious and so great. Put not the pure and clear water of the fountain into your vessels, all spoilt and infected by sin. If the sin is there no longer, at least the odor of it is, and so the water will be spoilt. Put not your exquisite wines into your old casks, which have had bad wine in them; else even these wines will be spoilt and perhaps break the casks, and be spilled on the ground.
Though you, predestined souls, understand me well enough, I will speak yet more openly. Trust not the gold of your charity, the silver of your purity, the waters of your heavenly graces, nor the wines of your merits and virtues, to a torn sack, an old and broken coffer, a spoilt and corrupted vessel, like yourselves, else you will be stripped by the robbers -- that is to say, the demons -- who are seeking and watching night and day for the right time to do it; and you will infect by your own bad odor of self-love, self-confidence and self-will, every most pure thing which God has given you."
Ok, now this is the important part! Why surrender our treasures to Mary?
"Pour, pour into the bosom and the heart of Mary all your treasures, all your graces, all your virtues. She is a spiritual vessel, she is a vessel of honor, she is a singular vessel of devotion. Since God Himself has been shut up in person, with all His perfections, in that vessel, it has become altogether spiritual, and the spiritual abode of the most spiritual souls. It has become honorable and the throne of honor for the grandest prince of eternity. It has become wonderful in devotion, and a dwelling the most illustrious for sweetness, for graces and for virtues. It has become rich as a house of gold, strong as a tower of David, and pure as a tower of ivory."
Get the picture?!
"Oh, how happy is the man who has given everything to Mary, and has entrusted himself to Mary, and lost himself in her, in everything and for everything! He belongs all to Mary, and Mary belongs all to him. He can say boldly with David: "Mary is made for me;" or with the beloved disciple: "I have taken her for my own;" or with Jesus Christ: "All that I have is thine, and all that thou hast is Mine."
"Hence, if a soul gives itself to her without reserve, she gives herself to that soul without reserve, if only we put our confidence in her without presumption, and on our side labor to acquire virtues and to bridle our passions."
Ah yes. This last line is also very important. We must put our whole confidence in Mary's protection and safekeeping but we must also do our part to protect our souls. We can't continue in this Total Consecration while on a path of sin and destruction. We must surrender our whole selves striving to be like Mary! She is our model and our mother.
"Poor children of Mary, your weakness is extreme, your inconstancy is great, your inward nature is very corrupted. You are drawn (I grant it) from the same corrupt mass as all the children of Adam and Eve. Yet do not be discouraged because of that. Console yourselves and exult in having the secret which I teach you -- secret unknown to almost all Christians, even the most devout."
I know this is all way "easier said than done." But it is so important. A practical application of this surrender is when we are worried about something. What is worry? Worry is the absence of peace. When we worry, we don't have peace. So let's give our peace too to Our Lady so she can safeguard it. Give her your worries also and then move on. I know it is so hard to keep worrying about something. We keep obsessing about it. But really, worry never did anyone any good. Ever. So make a conscious effort to give your worries to Mary to dispel and your peace to safeguard. Inner peace is a precious gift. Ask Mary to help you persevere in peace, virtue, and grace. She is the most peaceful person who ever lived. She knows how to help you. This is the secret that St. Louis Marie de Montfort teaches us. But Total Consecration to Mary is not a secret to keep! Please share this with a friend!!
God bless you and keep you!
In corde Mariae,