AND so, the spiritual or “interior” life consists in co-operating with grace in order that Jesus’s divine life may live in and through me. So if Christianity consists in Jesus being formed in me, how will God make this possible? Here is a question for you: how did God make it possible the first time for Jesus to be formed in the flesh? The answer is through the Holy Spirit and Mary.
That is the way Jesus is always conceived. That is the way He is reproduced in souls. He is always the fruit of heaven and earth. Two artisans must concur in the work that is at once God’s masterpiece and humanity’s supreme product: the Holy Spirit and the most holy Virgin Mary… for they are the only ones who can reproduce Christ. —Archbishop Luis M. Martinez, The Sanctifier, p. 6
Through the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation, in particular, we receive the Holy Spirit. As St. Paul wrote:
God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us. (Rom 5:5)
Secondly, Mary was given to each of us at the foot of the Cross by Jesus Himself:
“Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. (John 19:26-27)
Working together, these two artisans can reproduce Jesus in us to the degree to which we co-operate with them. And how do we co-operate? By entering into a personal relationship with both. Yes, we often speak of a personal relationship with Jesus—but what about the Third Person of the Holy Trinity? No, the Spirit is not a bird or some kind of “cosmic energy” or force, but a real divine person, someone who rejoices with us, cf. I Thess 1:6 grieves with us, cf. Eph 4:30 teaches us, cf. John 16:13 helps us in our weakness, cf. Rom 8:26 and fills us with the very love of God. cf. Rom 5:5
And then there is the Blessed Mother, given to each of us as a spiritual mother. Here too, it is a matter of doing exactly what St. John did: “from that hour the disciple took her into his home.” When Jesus gives us His Mother, He is sad when we leave her outside the door of our hearts. For her motherhood was good enough for Him, so surely—God knows—it is good enough for us. And so, simply, invite Mary into your home, into your heart, like St. John.
Rather than go into the theology of Mary’s role in the Church—something I have already done through numerous writings (see the category MARY in the sidebar), I want to simply share with you what has happened to me since I invited this Mother into my life.
The act of giving oneself over to Mary’s motherhood in order that she and the Holy Spirit may teach, refine, and form Jesus within, is called “consecration”. It simply means dedicating oneself to Jesus through Mary, just the way Jesus dedicated His humanity to the Father through this same Woman. There are many ways to do this—from a simple prayer… to entering into a 33 day personal “retreat” through the writings of St. Louis de Montfort, or more popular today, 33 Days to Morning Glory by Fr. Michael Gaitley (for a copy, go to myconsecration.org).
Several years ago, I did the prayers and preparation, which were powerful and moving. As the day of consecration approached, I could sense how special this giving of myself to my spiritual Mother would be. As a token of my love and gratitude, I decided to give Our Lady a bundle of flowers.
It was kind of a last minute thing… I was in a small town and had no where to go but the local drug store. They just happened to be selling some “ripe” flowers in a plastic wrapping. “Sorry Mom… it’s the best I can do.”
I went to the Church, and standing before a statue of Mary, I made my consecration to her. No fireworks. Just a simple prayer of commitment… perhaps like Mary’s simple commitment to do the daily chores in that little house in Nazareth. I placed my imperfect bundle of flowers at her feet, and went home.
I came back later that evening with my family for Mass. As we crowded into the pew, I glanced over to the statue to see my flowers. They were gone! I figured the janitor probably took one look at them and chucked ’em.
But when I looked over at the statue of Jesus… there were my flowers, perfectly arranged in a vase—at the feet of Christ. There was even baby’s breath from heaven-knows-where garnishing the bouquet! Immediately, I was infused with an understanding:
Mary takes us into her arms, as we are, poor, simple, and ragged… and presents us to Jesus clothed in her own mantle of holiness, saying, “This too is my child… receive him, Lord, for he is precious and beloved.”
She takes us to herself and makes us beautiful before God. Several years later, I read these words given by Our Lady to Sr. Lucia of Fatima:
[Jesus] wants to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. I promise salvation to those who embrace it, and those souls will be loved by God like flowers placed by me to adorn His throne. —This last line re: “flowers” appears in earlier accounts of Lucia’s apparitions. Cf. Fatima in Lucia’s Own Words: Sister Lucia’s Memoirs, Louis Kondor, S.V.D., p, 187, Footnote 14.
Since then, the more I fall in love with this Mother, the more I love Jesus. The more I draw close to her, the closer I draw to God. The more I surrender to her gentle direction, the more Jesus begins to live in me. No one knows Jesus Christ the way Mary does, and so, no one knows how to form us in the image of her Divine Son better than her.
And so, to close today’s meditation, here is a simple prayer of consecration to Mary that you can make right now, inviting her into your life as your permanent Retreat Master.
I, (Name), a faithless sinner,
renew and ratify today in thy hands, O Immaculate Mother,
the vows of my Baptism;
I renounce forever Satan, his pomp and works;
and I give myself entirely to Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Wisdom,
to carry my cross after Him all the days of my life,
and to be more faithful t o Him than I have ever been before.
In the presence of all the heavenly court,
I choose thee this day, for my Mother and Mistress
I deliver and consecrate to thee, as thy slave,
my body and soul, my goods, both interior and exterior,
and even the value of all my good actions,
past, present and future; leaving to thee the entire and full right
of disposing of me, and all that belongs to me,
without exception, according to thy good pleasure
for the greater glory of God, in time and in eternity. Amen.
SUMMARY AND SCRIPTURE
Jesus is reproduced in us through the motherhood of Mary and the power of the Holy Spirit. For Jesus promised:
The Advocate, the Holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name—he will teach you everything… (John 14:25)
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|1.||↑||cf. I Thess 1:6|
|2.||↑||cf. Eph 4:30|
|3.||↑||cf. John 16:13|
|4.||↑||cf. Rom 8:26|
|5.||↑||cf. Rom 5:5|