All posts by Tim

Tall, Catholic, Action Geek, Ambulance Man, Lover of God and Nachos.

Considerations for Preparation

Or, Preparing to Prepare

Whether to plan to make the full 33 day consecration or you are making an abreviated three day re-consecration, there are some practical considerations to take into account. First, do I intend to make my act of Consecration on a specific day? Next, do I have all the needed items to prepare fully? Do I understand the gravity of what I am about to do? Am I really ready?

When Should I Start?

On a practical level, any day will do. Taco Tuesday is a possibility, Maybe the 29th of February. Like the old saying goes, if you don’t have a destination, it doesn’t matter much how you get there. But for most people who make their consecration, they begin with the end in mind. They may wih to honor Our Lady’s Assumption on August 15th, and so they begin to prepare 34 days before on July 13th. For those making a 9 day consecration in the spirit of St Maximilian Kolbe, you may want to consider August 14th.

What Do I Need?

The resources that you need to prepare for consecration are pretty well at hand for anyone with an internet connection. If you would like to use a pdf version of the 33 day preparation of St Louis de Montfort, take a look at our Resources page for a quick download. This can be added to any ereader or smartphone. If you would like a physical copy, I suggest purchasing from a local Catholic store (Subsidiarity!) or a catholic publishing house online. You might also consider items like a chain to wear once you’ve made your consecration. It is a helpful reminder of the total entrustment you have made by giving yourself completely to Jesus through Mary. Helpful, but not required.

What am I Doing?

Making an act of total consecration is serious business. In short, it is the total giving of your self, all that you have, are, and will be. Everything belongs to Christ and his Mother. Every grace you merit is given to Our Lady to do with as she will. I had a friend who decided not to make the act of consecration after his preparation because he did not think that he could live a life truly based on absolute donation of his self. He said, jokingly, that he didn’t want to get to purgatory and be handed a broom and dust pan and be told that once everyone leaves, his job was to tidy the place up and turn out the lights.

It is a humorous example, but there is a serious consideration there. Having given up everything we have to Our Lord and Lady, we will appear before God empty handed. No works or merits in our favor. Every act of love, kindness, devotion, charity, everything will have been given up with trust in a God who loves us with an infinite love. Are you willing to give that much? Are you ready to trust that completely?

A Prayer While Fasting

My God, I Offer You This Fast

for the purpose of ….

(examples: healing of my soul, forgiveness of sins, that I learn to truly fast and pray, that I be protected from the world, prepared by your blessed mother and consecrated to your loving service)

“Hear me lord and answer me for I am poor and needy.”

“Establish my steps in your word.”

“Let your compassion quickly meet our needs because we are on the brink of despair.” 

“Protect me God because I take refuge in You. I say to the Lord, You are my Lord, apart from You I have nothing good.”

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen, to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?”

So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer.

“Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.

I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over.

Moses was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments.

Let us pray-

Hanging as a vine upon the Wood,
O Christ our Saviour,
Thou hast made the ends of the earth

to drink from the wine of incorruption.
Therefore do I cry aloud:
I am darkened always by the hateful drunkenness of sin;
Give me to drink from the sweet wine of true compunction,

and grant me now the strength, O Saviour,
to fast from sensual pleasures,
for Thou art good and lovest mankind.

St. Joseph Studite, Lenten Triodion

Forgiveness comes from the Lord. Forgive me my sins, Almighty Father and merciful judge. Renew my spirit and fortify me in your Word. You are the bread of life and thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.

Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.

Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.

Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.

Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.

Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.

Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.

Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.

For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem.

Lectio Divina in a minute

The five rungs of prayer

Despite sounding intimidating, lectio divina is a simple and effective way to pray that has been part of the practice of the Catholic faith for millennia.

The first step, lectio, is a slow (snail’s pace) reading of a verse or two of Scripture until a word or phrase in the text grabs you.

Next, in meditatio, like a cow chewing cud, you mull over that word or phrase, meditating on it, considering it, pondering it in your heart.

Our third step is oratio, which means prayer. Now that we have food for thought from God in Scripture we can respond with our prayers.

The fourth step is contemplatio, or contemplation. This is where we quiet our hearts and wait for God. He may speak to us in the quiet of our hearts, or He may use this time to help us grow in silence. This part is dependent on the action of God and we are simply present at this stage.

Finally, Saint Francis de Sales concludes the steps of lectio divina with a fifth step that was not originally part of Guigo’s Ladder for Monks . Resolutio is where we conclude our prayer with a concrete resolution that helps guide our day and continues our spiritual growth through our prayer.

The Five Consecrations to Jesus Through Mary

“Mary has produced, together with the Holy Ghost, the greatest thing which has been or ever will be—a God-Man; and she will consequently produce the greatest saints that there will be in the end of time.”

― Saint Louis de Montfort

Image result for miraculous medal design

St. Louis Marie Gringon de Montfort May have penned the most famous and possibly rigorous consecration to Our Lady, but over the last decade a number of guided preparations for consecration have become available. Each is similar in structure, meditations and prayers to seed the field for a period before consecration is made, but each is also very different as well. Where De Montfort gives us a primarily prayerful option, Aquinas leans more theological. Kolbe draws from his works, walking a middle ground, eminently practical but also, at the same time, deeply contemplative. Both the Morning Glory text and the Consecration for children draw from the biographies of the saints for further inspiration. 

Having already made the De Montfort consecration, I want to go back through in a slower more deliberate manner and explore the preparation in a way that I didn’t have time to during my first time through. As anyone who has made a consecration can tell you, after the first week, you can feel like you’ve wandered to the ocean. The prayers permeate your day and the work of beginning to reestablish yourself with a new Marian character can easily overwhelm.

For this project, I am going to use five (6) texts. I will be looking at a side by side of the original translation by Reverend Frederick William Faber, D.D and Scott L Smith’s recent translation.

Next I’ll look at Fr. Michael Gaitley’s 33 Days to Morning Glory.

The final 33 day preparation will be Marian Consecration for Children by Carrie Gress

And I will also take a look at two 9 day preparations, one, recently published based on Saint Thomas Aquinas by Fr. Gregory Pine and Matt Fradd. And the other based on Saint Maximilian Kolbe by Fr. Anselm Romb.

I plan to work through all of these books side by side, giving each book it’s own day/post. The way this works, about every week and a half, we will visit Saints Kolbe and Aquinas, while moving through the other three (4) books together in turn.

I’ve image linked the books above. It would be helpful to look into copies of the 4 non-Montfort consecrations. to follow along with. Of course, there are many free versions of the original translation of True Devotion to Mary available, and the Preparation for Total Consecration from that title is easily found online.