“O Mary, God has chosen you and purified you, and elected you above all the women of the earth!”
I think we modern Christians forget that our faith began in, is now, and will always be rooted in the supernatural. We have lost a true appreciation for prayer, considering it nothing more than a cordiality (“I’ll pray for you!”) instead of an imperative that yields results should God bless it. We give more reverence to psychology, works of social justice, and self-help books than to the sacraments, the liturgy, and the Eucharist. One spiritual practice, which is “the surest, easiest, shortest, and the most perfect means” to becoming a saint, is to consecrate yourself to Jesus through Mary.
Jackie and I consecrated ourselves to Our Lady many years ago (separately, before we ever met) and we renew it every year on the Immaculate Conception. Christians have been honoring Mary and asking for her powerful intercession since the early Chuch was established, but this particular spiritual practice of preparation was crafted by St. Louis de Montfort in the 17th/18th century. Essentially, after a 33-day period of preparation and prayer you lay your life (vocation, finances, family, etc) into Mary’s hands to purify and lift onward to Christ. We’ve experienced many, many spiritual fruits because of this practice and have no doubt that she played a part in bringing us together for marriage.
Feeling convicted to pray for our modern world, which seems to be suffering and is more violent than ever in recent memory, we are beginning the consecration today asking for the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima for global peace and the conversion of terrorists who act out in violence in the name of Islam. The current cycle of violence is also the result of violence at the spiritual level, and we must employ spiritual means to combat it.
If there is any bridge between Christianity and Islam, it will be Our Lady. The history of Fatima is too vast for this blog post, but its sufficient to note that Mary is shown unique reverence in the Islamic faith (while Jesus is regarded as only a prophet, not the Son of God). Fatima was Muhammad’s first and favorite daughter, as well as a Muslim princess in Portugal who converted to the Catholic faith. Our Lady chose the only village in Portugal that bears a Muslim name to appear in 1917.
“Since nothing ever happens out of heaven except with a finesse of all details, I believe that the Blessed Virgin chose to be known as “Our Lady of Fatima” as a pledge and a sign of hope to the Moslem people, and as an assurance that they, who show her so much respect, will one day accept her Divine Son, too.”
-Fulton Sheen, The World’s First Love
Without Christ, Mary would be nothing. She always points onward to Him, never solely to herself. Let us invoke her powerful intercession everyday. Please join us as we start our consecration today! (We will be using Fr. Michael Gaitley’s book 33 Days to Morning Glory, but the traditional consecration method and prayer by St. Louis de Montfort can be found here).