An S.O.S. For Your Family

“Be only all for Jesus, through Mary, his Most Holy Mother.” —St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Antonio del Ceraiolo, “Madonna and Child,” c. 1505
Antonio del Ceraiolo, “Madonna and Child,” c. 1505

Our Lady has a way of making miracles out of messes and lifeboats out of sinking ships. She has an intimate “in” with him, and only a fool wouldn’t take advantage of her sway over the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. 

We all know that the traditional family is under attack, and that the Christian moral order is being laid on the guillotine. One glance at recent statistics on family life provides sufficient proof that a whole host of ’ism’s and “capital letter causes” are doing tremendous damage, and promoting a warped agenda that seeks to conquer every inch of the planet. The good news is that for every dark valley we are asked to walk through, God provides a staff. For devout Catholics, this staff is Mary — Regina Pacis, Regina Caeli, Regina Familiaris — Queen of Peace, Queen of Heaven, Queen of the Family. Through her intercession, the world can be rescued from the dominion of Prince of Darkness. Through her prayers, our precious, innocent children can be saved, and our families can be restored. As Pope Pius XII wrote in his splendid encyclical, Ad Caeli Reginam, “Let all Christians, therefore, glory in being subjects of the Virgin Mother of God, who, while wielding royal power, is on fire with a mother's love.”

One way that we can deepen our union with Our Lord through Mary, Mediatrix of Grace, is to consecrate ourselves and our families to her with humility, relegating our hearts, souls and bodies to her care. If we do so with magnanimity, the Eternal Father will reward us in due time. If we join our hearts to countless Catholics throughout the ages who hailed this devotion, our efforts will definitely bear fruit.

Consecration to Mary became popular when interest in St. Louis de Montfort's book True Devotion was peaked, despite extraordinary obstacles. As described in Consecration to Jesus Through Mary: Following the Plan of St. Louis de Montfort by Children of the Father Foundation: “St. Louis accurately and emphatically predicted in writing that the devil hated his book True Devotion and would try to destroy it. The book itself was lost for over 100 years. Written around 1710, the manuscript lay hidden in a wooden chest until a Montfort priest discovered it in 1842.” 

Father Réginald Marie Garrigou-Lagrange (1877-1964), a French Catholic theologian and Dominican friar and leading neo-Thomist of the 20th century, once analyzed various forms and stages of Marian devotions. After much reflection, he designated personal consecration to Mary as the highest level among these devotions.

The theology of personal consecration to Our Blessed Mother was further explained by Pope St. John Paul II in Redemptoris Mater where, building on John 19:27, he stated that the word “home” refers to the interior life of believers, and “to take Mary into one’s home” signifies a filial surrender to her as mother in every aspect of life. Further, St. John Paul II suggested St. John as an example of how every Christian should respond to the gift of the spiritual motherhood of Mary.

This being said, we are blessed to live an age where various books on Marian consecration abound. Several of these are especially family-friendly, including: Marian Consecration for Children by Carrie Gress; Marian Consecration for Families with Young Children by Colleen Pressprich (gorgeously illustrated by Rebecca Gorzynska); and Family Consecration to Jesus Through Mary: 33 Days of Preparation with Saint Louis Marie de Montfort by Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle.

Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle’s book features inspiring spiritual exercises, suggested family activities, and various prayers to enrich one's spiritual life. It walks you through the simple process of Marian consecration with detailed instructions to help you lead your family (ages 7 and up) through each of the 33 mini-retreat days recommended by St. Louis de Montfort, the beloved 18th-century priest and confessor who worked tirelessly to make the love of the Blessed Mother known to all. Impressively, Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle chose to preserve the original prayer schedule suggested by the towering St. Louis de Montfort, captivating the original thrust behind his message. As she explains, “Because I want to stay true to Saint Louis de Montfort's teachings, I have shared in this book his recommendations and prescribed readings.” 

Ultimately, regardless of which book you decide to use to consecrate your entire life/your family to Our Lady, you will never regret doing so — now, or throughout eternity. As Pope Pius XII further reminds us in Ad Caeli Reginam, “Besides, the Blessed Virgin possessed, after Christ, not only the highest degree of excellence and perfection, but also a share in that influence by which He, her Son and our Redeemer, is rightly said to reign over the minds and wills of men. For if through his humanity the divine Word performs miracles and gives graces, if he uses his sacraments and Saints as instruments for the salvation of men, why should he not make use of the role and work of his most holy Mother in imparting to us the fruits of redemption?”

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The Essential Consecration (from The Three Ages of the Interior Life by Father Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange)

O Eternal and Incarnate Wisdom! O most amiable and adorable Jesus, true God and true Man, I thank Thee for having annihilated Thyself, taking the form of a slave, to draw me from the slavery of the devil. ... I have recourse to the intercession of Thy most holy Mother, whom Thou hast given me as a Mediatrix. By this means I hope to obtain from Thee contrition and the pardon of my sins, the acquisition and preservation of wisdom.

Hail, Immaculate Mary, Queen of Heaven and earth, to whom everything under God is subject. Hail, safe Refuge of sinners, whose mercy fails no one; hear and grant my desires for Divine wisdom, and to that end receive the vows and offerings that my baseness presents to thee.

I, an unfaithful sinner, today renew and ratify in thy hands my Baptismal vows. I forever renounce Satan, his works and pomps, and I give myself completely to Jesus Christ, Incarnate Wisdom, to carry my cross after Him all the days of my life. And that I may be more faithful to Him than I have been hitherto, I choose thee, O Mary, for my mother. I give and consecrate to thee my body and soul, my interior and exterior goods, and the very value of my good works past, present, and future. Present me to thy Son and grant me the grace to obtain true wisdom from God, and for that purpose to place myself in the number of those whom thou dost love, teach, lead, feed, and protect. O faithful Virgin, render me in all things so perfect a disciple and imitator of Incarnate Wisdom, Jesus Christ, thy Son, that by thy intercession and example, I may attain to the plenitude of His age on earth and His glory in Heaven. Amen.