GETTING TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER

by Sister Mary Lucy Astuto

"Wrap yourselves in Our Lady's Mantle!"

Frequently, Our Blessed Mother, in her various reported apparitions including Fatima and Medjugorje, has requested that we, her children, consecrate ourselves to her. As a matter of fact, with regard to those who have a special worry or concern about the unfaithful living of their children, for example, Our Lady of Medjugorje has said: "Consecrate your children to me and then don't worry about them." I am confident she did not mean that one is not to have a future care, but I always make a distinction between WORRY and CONCERN. I think that when people WORRY, they expend a great deal of energy which is wasted...something like a car spinning its wheels on ice. The vehicle is using gas and the engine's rpm's is exceeding the normal range for the car to move....and yet it goes nowhere. CHRISTIAN CONCERN, however, is LOVE that moves one to prayer and faith-filled reasonable action, but it is also mixed with a realization that we must trust that God, Who is All-Good and faithful to His promises will give to each of His children all the graces they need to come to Him. And so, while continuing to pray out of CONCERN, one also avoids WORRY, which lacks trust in God and wastes time and energy.

What is CONSECRATION and why does Our Blessed Mother treasure the act of consecrating ourselves to her? First of all, Webster's New World Dictionary defines consecration as the act of setting something aside as holy and for sacred and serious use. This general definition bears out the various kinds of consecration. Of course, the holiest of all is that which takes place at every Mass when the priest prays the words: TAKE AND EAT... Thereby ordinary bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Our Savior and Lord, Jesus. There is then, as well, the special consecration of priests and religious men and women who of their own free will set themselves aside to work and pray all of their lives for the work of their own sanctification and that of others. But Our Lady is asking the laity to consecrate themselves, too. And perhaps no one has better assisted people to an understanding of the importance of consecrating themselves to Our Lady and assisting them with a FORM of doing so than St. Louis Marie de Monfort.

St. Louis not only advocated strongly that everyone should consecrate themselves to Our Lady, but he taught earnestly that this consecration should not be taken lightly and that people should make a serious preparation for it. Although a preparation for a consecration can vary according to a person's needs and circumstances, St. Louis recommended a preparation that consisted of 12 days in which a person endeavors to rid himself/herself of the spirit of the world as opposed to the Spirit of Our Lord. This preparation is followed by 3 weeks of prayer and meditation in which a person strives to acquire a better knowledge of self (1st week),... of Our Lady (2nd week),... and of Jesus (3rd week). This preparation takes 33 days.

The Monfort Fathers have assembled in one booklet the various prayers to aid people in the total consecration. This booklet is entitled PREPARATION FOR TOTAL CONSECRATION ACCORDING TO SAINT LOUIS MARIE de MONFORT. Local Catholic bookstores should have it and if not, I encourage you to contact me. This booklet even has a chart of suggested schedules for consecration to help make it easier to keep track of the preparation days. The remaining suggested beginning dates for the rest of this year are: April 28th...(ending May 31st); July 13th...(ending August 15th); and Nov. 5th...(ending December 8th).

Why does Our Lady treasure the act of consecrating ourselves to her? First of all, the act of consecration according to its very definition, means that a person wants to be set aside for God and His service. The implication is that a person wants to be saved, wants to be pleasing to God, wants to do God's Will. What good mother doesn't want her child to be good? What good mother doesn't want to help her child to be good and do good? Our Blessed Mother, the perfect Mother, the Mother of God...our Mother, does not and cannot refuse a child who says in effect..."Mother, I want to be set aside for God and I want to do His Will?"

Consecrating ourselves to Our Lady is the fastest way to place ourselves under the shelter of Our Lady's Mantle. We know from Scripture that Our dear Blessed Lady will crush the head of satan. (Can't come too soon for me! I'm getting very tired of the evil work he is clearly sowing in our world today.) The evil one cannot harm Our Lady in any way...cannot come close to her. The safest haven for us is under her Mantle. Those who ARE under her Mantle...in other words, those who have consecrated themselves to her are "safe"... are "set aside" for God.

In case, you dear reader, have not as yet consecrated yourself to Our Lady, or would like to make a TOTAL consecration, I truly encourage you to do so....SOON. Time is not to be wasted. God love you!