I wish I could say I haven’t been avoiding you, dear reader. And though yes, we have been busy and yes, Ben has come and gone a number of times on various missions and duties as his job requires, I have still found time to knit, read some books, crochet a new pair of slippers (almost), bake multiple batches of cookies and watch a number of interesting movies. All of this and not one post. To be completely honest, as you’ll soon be able to tell, I wrote this post nearly 2 weeks ago and am only today getting around to publishing it.
I’ve talked before about how I am capable of minor obsessions or passions. I focus intensely on one or two things, like knitting or decorating cookies, and then after some time it falls to the wayside, to be replaced with a new series of books, making rosaries or creating new crochet patterns. All of these are wonderful things. There is nothing inherently wrong with them.
And yet, if I truly believe that this writing is something I am being called to, which I do (I don’t think I could have stuck with it so long if wasn’t God’s will for me at this time), then these other wonderful, interesting and otherwise diverting are actually temptations away from what God is asking of me.
I would imagine we all experience this at some point in our lives, probably many points in fact. We know what we must do, but suddenly other things seem to be more important, are more exciting or are more appealing. We make excuses, we have reasons, we tell ourselves whatever we need to hear, yet in the depths of our hearts we know we are shirking responsibilities or avoiding the callings of God for our life.
Today (well, 2 weeks ago), on the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth, I renewed my consecration to Jesus through the heart of Mary. I have spoken of this consecration once or twice I think, but not in any great detail. For the past 33 days I’ve been reading, meditating and preparing to renew my consecration using an extraordinary book, 33 Days to Morning Glory. Fr. Michael Gaitley MIC, has combined the lives and teachings of St. Louis de Montfort, St. Maximilian Kolbe, soon-to-be St. Mother Theresa and Pope St. John Paul II into one complete whole that guides the seeker on a journey to understanding and deeper faith in Jesus with the help of His Blessed Mother.
What is a consecration to Jesus through Mary, or more simply put a consecration to Mary? The easiest way to understand Mary’s role is to explore her mission or “job”. Mary’s job is to form us into Christ. Just as she sheltered, guided and taught the child Jesus, she continues to shelter, guide and teach the faithful today. Mary is a living embodiment of the generosity and overabundance of God. God not only gives us His Son to be our brother, friend and Savior, on the Cross Jesus’ love continues to overflow in the gift of His mother. This moment is especially important for John Paul II, who understood that consecrating oneself to Mary was to join with the apostle John by taking Mary into his home. That’s really what this is all about, inviting Mary into our home, our life, and asking her to school us in the art of sainthood.
And so, as Mary has gradually taken over the tutelage of this unruly student, I have begun to see certain things in new light. Temptation for starters. Temptation is that which encourages us to avert our eyes from God, the sparkle in the corner of our eye that causes us to lose focus and turn our head to a different direction. Mary has been showing me where temptations are in my life. As a result, I’ve been praying that she will begin to give me the strength I need to overcome them and ignore them. Hopefully we all will see the fruit of her labor here in the blog, or in my “Other ideas” folder which seems to be ever expanding.
To be clear, a consecration to Mary in no way obscures, distracts or circumvents a person’s relationship with Jesus, our Savior and Mediator. Mary’s sole purpose is to form us into saints, that is, to help us become every more fully living images of Jesus. She is a gift from the abundant love God has for each one of us. The sacrifice of Jesus for the salvation of the world was enough, His action is complete. Mary is simply one more way that God continues to shower us with His blessing, grace and mercy. That is why we ask Mary to “pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.” We ask her to stand alongside us, to show us the way, as we journey both with and toward her Son.