A few weeks ago, a new friend told me about a program coming up at an area Catholic Church called 33 Days to Morning Glory. A group meeting once a week would watch a video after reading a chapter of a book by the same title and completing daily reflections. Not knowing anything about it, I looked it up online and found that it was a Marian consecration preparation. Uh, no thanks. I was accepting of Mary, admiring even. After all, how could you not admire the woman who bore and raised Jesus, and gave a humble, yet confident “yes” to God at the Annunciation? But the stretch of being consecrated to Mary? I was not interested. But, I thought about it. A closer relationship to all the holy men and women of God, including Mary, was undoubtedly a good thing. So, I realized I ought to try it at some point.
The same new friend brought up the Morning Glory program to me again, forgetting she had previously mentioned it. I said I would think about it, and almost immediately realized that everything that was going through my mind causing me to shy away (busy, hassle of bringing kids to a meeting, not really interested in a consecration, etc) were not good reasons to not attend, participate and explore what our beautiful faith has to offer about Mary. In fact, being too busy for Our Lady and for something that could draw me closer to Christ was undoubtedly a feeling not rooted in God, but in the Evil One attempting to draw me away.
In starting the readings, I learned something right off the top. This was not a consecration to Mary, but a consecration to Jesus through Mary. Burden lifted. This was not a form of Marian worship. Phew! Also, this Marian consecration is based on one outlined by St. Louis deMontfort and expanded on, or otherwise followed by other saints who followed him.
The book is broken into four chapters (along with an introduction at the start and a final preparations section at the end), each dedicated to a particular person known for their devotion to Mary: St. Louis deMontfort, St. Maximillian Kolbe, Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and St. Pope John Paul II.
St. Louis deMontfort demands that we devote ourselves to Mary. That we give our whole selves over, including our prayers, petitions, and graces, for Our Lady to do as she sees fit. She in turn gives us grace and peace to do God’s work. At first this was so very hard for me to stomach. Giving everything to Mary, given my pre-existing hesitancies…well, I almost decided the whole thing wasn’t for me right then and there. But something, perhaps the Holy Spirit, nudged me to continue. St. Maximillian Kolbe said more of the same, but called for even more: developing an army of folks devoted to Mary. Okay. That was hard too.
But then the book dives into Blessed Mother Teresa and her spiritual journey. It was this that sold me on Marian consecration. She had a deep and wonderful relationship with God. The most beautiful of which discusses how the darkness we experience is when we are closest to Jesus; that suffering is necessary to gain that sort of relationship with Jesus. And Mary can help us with this. St. Pope John Paul II has even more wisdom to offer. I won’t dive too deeply in each section because it is best for it to be read in contemplation in order to get the most out of it. But it is a beautiful book, with a wonderful opportunity for growth in faith and love of Christ, and really does a thorough job of preparing you to give your heart to Mary to use to serve the world and salvation best.
If you choose to do the retreat, whether privately (the book may be purchased on Amazon) or in a parish group, prepare for setbacks. This will bring you closer to Jesus, and Satan is not a fan. Literally every week, there has been something that nearly keeps me from a meeting, causes me to be late, takes me out early, or interrupts my reflections and reading through the week. It has taken serious effort to do the work of the preparations. We’ve had a cold, a stomach bug, a major water leak in our bathroom, kid potty accidents during a meeting, and on and on. Pray more. Go into it knowing things
may will come up. But offer it up to Jesus through Mary.
I strongly recommend to anyone considering Marian consecration, or considering simply a good book to read that will bring you closer to Jesus through Mary, to pick up 33 Days to Morning Glory by Father Michael E. Gaitley. It’s a marvelous read and one to surely bring you closer to Jesus through Our Lady.