The giving of oneself to God and to neighbor is not only an act of charity. Giving it all requires a deep faith as well. Do we really love God with all our heart, soul and mind? If so, what does such a love entail? How far do we have to go in our expression of a love so expansive? Are we willing to pay the price—to really give from our core, and not from our surplus?
Giving It All
We may say that we’re “all in” for, and with, Jesus. Yet, if we’re hesitating, why do we hold back? Consider the story of the widow’s mite:
…Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, ‘Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.’ Mark 12:41-44
A widow’s life in those times was difficult; yet this woman gave all she had. If that doesn’t take a leap of faith, what does? She essentially gave her life over to God through her heroic virtue.
Giving It All (Or Almost?)
Some of us may say that we’ve accepted Jesus as Our Lord and Savior. Even so, we’re still holding back a little—or even a lot. There may be a little to a lot of fear involved in truly surrendering to Divine Providence. Another way of looking at this is that our attachments to things of this world are holding us back from receiving the fullness of grace He wants to give us. We are placing obstacles in the path of His grace, and these obstacles are our attachments. Attachments might include people, money and other material goods, or the approbation of others, for example. Now to be clear, other people, money and material goods are not bad per se. If they get in the way of our spiritual ascent to the One we love, they are not good, though.
Giving It All Through Our Lady
In my own struggles with this notion during prayer one day, Our Lady came to my aid. “Why do you make it so hard? You’ve consecrated yourself to Jesus through me. I will help you,” was the essence of her message to me. Of course! Why didn’t I think of that? Consecration to Jesus through Mary means that we turn our lives over to Jesus through Our Blessed Mother. It can follow a process of preparation over 33 days under St. Louis Marie de Montfort’s traditional approach, set out in True Devotion to Mary. Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC, has adopted a similar 33-day preparation, but streamlined it for current times, as explained in 33 Days to Morning Glory. St. Maximilian Kolbe has a nice, nine-day preparation for consecration that appeals to many, summarized in Total Consecration to Mary.
Having used them all, I will only suggest that you check them out and pick the one that suits you the best if you are interested in total consecration. They’re all good. Consecrating oneself totally to Jesus through Mary gives recognition to the special relationship that they had with each other. It further recognizes Mary’s role, given to her by Jesus from His cross, as our spiritual mother in Jn 19:26-27. Just as Jesus loves Mary, who carried Him in her womb, He wants us to love her. In the same way, as Mary loves Jesus, she wants us to love Him.
Consecration to Jesus Through Mary
St Louis’ prayer of consecration includes the following:
I…renew and ratify today in thy hands the vows of my Baptism; I renounce forever Satan, his pomps and works; and I give myself entirely to Jesus Christ, … to carry my cross after Him all the days of my life, and to be more faithful to 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… [Emphasis added]
So, through total consecration to Jesus through Mary, we truly are giving it all to God. We need to let those words sink in. We are giving all that we are and have, including all of our good deeds from the past, present and the future. Our Lady has the full right of disposing of us, and all that belongs to us, for the greater glory of God. Through our Blessed Mother, we really are “all in” for God.
Giving It All Through Mary–Our Ideal
Mary is a tender, loving mother. She is the epitome of humility, love and obedience. Her fiat was her commitment to be “all in” for Jesus. She loves us and wants to bring us to her Son, Jesus. She will help us say, and mean, our fiat as well.
“The Immaculata: here is our ideal. To approach her, become like her, permit her to take possession of our heart and all our self, that she may live and act in and through us, that she may love God with our heart, that we may belong to her without any restriction: this is our ideal…”
St. Maximilian Kolbe (Kolbe Writings, 1210).