DPPL 204: Consecration and Entrustment to Mary

STA altar at night smallWhat is your experience of consecration to Mary? Any readers out there with experiences in this?

204. The history of Marian devotion contains many examples of personal or collective acts of “consecration or entrustment to the Blessed Virgin Mary” oblatio, servitus, commendatio, dedicatio). They are reflected in the prayer manuals and statutes of many associations where the formulas and prayers of consecration, or its remembrance, are used.

The Roman Pontiffs have frequently expressed appreciation for the pious practice of “consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary” and the formulas publicly used by them are well known (See the Atto di affidamento alla Beata Vergine Maria pronounced by John Paul II on Sunday, 8 October 2000, together with the Bishops gathered in Rome for he celebration of the Great Jubilee).

St Louis de Montfort’s way is the one I’ve seen the most in my travels. Particularly popular among the college students I know.

Louis Grignon de Montfort is one of the great masters of the spirituality underlying the act of “consecration to Mary”. He ” proposed to the faithful consecration to Jesus through Mary, as an effective way of living out their baptismal commitment” (John Paul II, Redemptoris Mater 48).
Seen in the light of Christ’s words (cf. John 19, 25-27), the act of consecration is a conscious recognition of the singular role of Mary in the Mystery of Christ and of the Church, of the universal and exemplary importance of her witness to the Gospel, of trust in her intercession, and of the efficacy of her patronage, of the many maternal functions she has, since she is a true mother in the order of grace to each and every one of her children (Cf. LG 61; Redemptoris Mater, 40-44).

The “consecration” spoken of in these situations is not quite a sacramental experience. The CDWDS raises the concern that a “consecration” should properly be an exchange with God. Picking nits? What do our commenters say?

It should be recalled, however, that the term “consecration” is used here in a broad and non-technical sense: “the expression is use of “consecrating children to Our Lady”, by which is intended placing children under her protection and asking her maternal blessing (CDWDS, Circular letter Guidelines and proposals for the celebration of the Marian Year 86) for them”. Some suggest the use of the alternative terms “entrustment” or “gift”. Liturgical theology and the consequent rigorous use of terminology would suggest reserving the term consecration for those self-offerings which have God as their object, and which are characterized by totality and perpetuity, which are guaranteed by the Church’s intervention and have as their basis the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation.

Consecration is serious. Not only a commitment inspired by personal affect. Also, there should be a strong sense of the Trinity in the expression of a Marian consecration.

The faithful should be carefully instructed about the practice of consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary. While such can give the impression of being a solemn and perpetual act, it is, in reality, only analogously a “consecration to God”. It springs from a free, personal, mature, decision taken in relation to the operation of grace and not from a fleeting emotion. It should be expressed in a correct liturgical manner: to the Father, through Christ in the Holy Spirit, imploring the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, to whom we entrust ourselves completely, so as to keep our baptismal commitments and live as her children. The act of consecration should take place outside of the celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, since it is a devotional act which cannot be assimilated to the Liturgy. It should also be borne in mind that the act of consecration to Mary differs substantially from other forms of liturgical consecration.

The Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy is online at the Vatican site.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy, post-conciliar liturgy documents. Bookmark the permalink.

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