Superstition motivated my first Marian consecration. It all happened during my senior year of high school - a preparation process that led me to my friend's house each night as we marathoned our way through St. Louis de Montfort's prayers from late November to January 1st. The logic behind my motivation was fairly sound: how could I not get into Our Lady's university if I consecrated myself to her?
Gaining admission to the University of Notre Dame was, at that time, the driving force of my life. It was virtually all I thought about and it stood behind every decision I made. Naturally, I took up the invitation for consecration with almost entirely self-centered motives. It was about me getting, not me giving.
For a little over a month I faithfully muttered my way through the litanies, and prayers, and rosaries, until our consecration day rolled around - the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God. It was Jan. 1, 2004. I wrote the entire act of consecration out by hand and dutifully recited it following Mass at St. Mary Catholic Church in my hometown. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on the way you look at it, I was mistakenly standing before a statue of St. Thérèse of Lisieux as I made the act. I even left my signed consecration prayer at Thérèse's feet. My Catholic IQ at the time was rather low.
In the end, my superstitious and Herculean attempts at gaining entry to Notre Dame failed. I was crushed, but my pride recoiled. I decided I would attend the next most prestigious school to which I had been accepted, and I would pursue journalism because I wanted to write the articles that would be on the front page of all the big newspapers. I didn't care so much about the news -- only about salvaging my name. My pride had reached its heights.
By early October of 2004, my life had reached a crux point. The sinful life I had been leading, one that ultimately led to isolation, was being confronted by the Gospel incarnate in the Eucharist. That month, I gave in to the Lord and entered into the lifelong process of learning how to trust Him with everything.
Many years later, when invited to participate in Marian consecration again, I remembered that first, 'superstitious' consecration that took place as we celebrated Mary's motherhood. Not surprisingly, my conversion happened full-term - about 9 months later - and around St. Thérèse's feast day. I believe they both took my poorly motivated and sloppy attempt at a consecration and made something beautiful out of it. In fact, this has taught me that Mary always takes what I have to offer, however small or whatever the motivation, and she makes it into something beautiful for her Son. It also taught me that Marian consecration is, in fact, more about God's initiative in giving me a Mother who can foresee what I really need (cf. Jn. 19: 26-27), rather than my own feeble attempts to, on my own, make my life a fitting offering for the Lord.
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The Office for Youth Evangelization and Discipleship would like to invite everyone to join with them in making the preparation for, and consecration/renewal of consecration to Jesus through Mary on the celebration of the Annunciation this year. For more details, check out our webpage.