This is my message to every Catholic today.
Get to know our Blessed Mother; consecrate yourself to her, it’s the easiest way to heaven. I have realized that now, more than ever, the Lord is asking us to draw closer to him through his mother.
Franciscan has just started a new project called #ProjectEveryHeart. It’s an amazing event that is happening on campus (led by a very good friend of mine) that will end with a campus-wide consecration to the Blessed Mother. This event is huge. Father Michael Gaitley, author of 33-Days to Morning Glory is coming to campus to speak, free copies of his book were distributed, there are video screenings, prayer groups, social media pages, you name it. All of it in an effort to bring more Franciscan students to Jesus through Mary.
The hashtag describes the goal of the project. According to its Facebook page, the project aims to “Bring the love of the Immaculata to Every Heart that beats”. If every student on campus uses the hashtag #ProjectEveryHeart, what will the chain reaction be? How many souls in the world during this time in history of hopelessness will be renewed by Mary’s love and comforted by Christ’s mercy?
I first consecrated myself two years ago on August 24, 2013, using St. Louis de Monfort’s Total Consecration, which was beautiful and required me to read beautiful prayers that I have never heard before. It allowed me to dive deep in prayer through meditation which opened doors in my heart that I didn’t know I had. Project Every Heart will be my third time doing Gaitley’s consecration. I did it last summer to prepare to renew my original consecration and with my household last spring. I bought Maximilian Kolbe’s 9-day consecration and I’m hoping to do it in the spring.
Father Gaitley came to Franciscan towards the end of the first semester to promote his 33-Days to Morning Glory book and I had to cover it for the Troub. I hadn’t thought a lot about my consecration since. I bought a consecration chain (a chain worn around the wrist to serve as a reminder of the sins in which baptism and the consecration has freed us from) but I would only wear it every once in a while so I lacked a daily reminder. Gaitley’s words captivated me as he discussed the beauty of a Marian Consecration and offered another way to consecrate myself to the Blessed Mother. Hey gave me a new perspective on Marian Consecration.
His book was on sale in Franciscan’s Bookstore, so I decided to grab a copy and begin as soon as I got home from school. Both Gaitley and de Monfort suggest that you schedule the 33 days so it will end on a Marian Feast Day. I choose the feast of the Immaculate Heart because it was the soonest feast day. The consecration itself is four weeks plus 5 days of preparation and reviewing before the final consecration day. Each week is devoted to a particular Saint with a strong devotion to the Blessed Mother. Gaitley reviews that Saint’s relationship with Mary and throws quite a bit of Mariology (the theological study of Mary) in with the mix. So it’s different every day versus the constant repetition of de Monfort’s consecration.
At the end of the 33 days, you say a long and beautiful prayer promising yourself to Mary and to Christ. Gaitley suggests you print your own copy of the consecration to sign and date on consecration day and every time you renew your consecration after that.
Despite completing a consecration before, I decided to start fresh with a greater understanding of the significance of a Marian consecration. So I printed and laminated my consecration prayer to hang in my room and I bought a new consecration chain from Home Depot that I liked more than my original and was more permanent so I wouldn’t be so tempted to take it off and avoid the daily reminder of my consecration.
I haven’t taken it off since.
So, my dear readers, I have a challenge for you; Consecrate yourself to the Blessed Mother. Join the movement. Use the hashtag. If you are already consecrated, re-consecrate yourself. Do some research and get excited about preparing for consecration. There are thousands of books devoted to this very thing and Gaitley’s version just so happened to be the way that worked for me. There are plenty of consecrations written by St. Louis DeMonfort, St Maximilian Kolbe, Pope Saint John Paul II, and more. Do some research and find a way that works for you whether it be by reciting prayers like DeMonfort’s consecrations, or by reading about the Theology of Mary like in Gaitley’s version. Read the introductions to have a solid understanding of your commitment and enjoy it because Mary is awesome. I’ll be praying for y’all in the meantime.