What do Marian Consecration and Folding Laundry Have in Common?

When two totally random ideas that come together only in my brain like this, it has to be a God-thing. Well, maybe not all the time, all the time. There was that one time I thought marinating pork in red wine was a good idea and yea, that one probably was contrived all on my own (purple pork does not make an appealing plate). But this one is good. I promise.

I have been folding my own clothes since I was probably about 10, plus or minus a year or two. I helped fold laundry in my house until I left home after college and married Ben. The laundry folding saga continues to the present. So, with approximately 20 years of experience folding all manner of clothing, you’d think I’d have it together. But I recently realized I have to rethink something, shirts specifically.

Before diving in, you have to know I fold shirts 3 different ways, depending on who I’m folding for. For myself, I fold the way they do in stores – both sleeves back, sides folded back, then folded in half so you can see what’s on the front of the shirt. When I married Ben I had to learn a completely different way of folding, because he folds his shirts the way he was taught during ROTC, into a small square (it’s complicated, I’m not going to try to explain it). For the kids, I fold the shirt in half hotdog style, then hamburger style.

Why am I crazy, folding shirts 3 ways? I refuse to fold my shirts into small little squares, because like I said, it’s complicated. So there’s 2 ways minimum. I’m not folding the kids clothes in squares, see above. And when they were little their shirts were so tiny it was easier to just do hotdog-hamburger move on (so many shirts!).

Now here’s my problem. The kids are digging and digging through their clothes, looking for specific shirts. Their drawers are so messy, because they unfold a bunch of shirts in search of that perfect one. Why why why!? Because their mother only just realized that when she folds their shirts, she puts the font in the middle of the hotdog, so the only part of the shirt they can see is the back. (insert face-palm emoji and tears of sadness here).

launry and marian consecration

Ok, you’ve endured this far. What on earth does it all have to do with Marian Consecration? Everything of course!

Marian Consecration is the complete and total gift of yourself to Jesus through Mary. One of the more common misconceptions about Marian Consecration is that somehow it’s all about Mary, since it has Marian in the name. Mary is, of course, important, but she is simply the way to the goal, which is Christ.  In laundry terms? Mary folds the shirts with the front showing so there isn’t any guessing about getting what we want and where we want to go. She’s so smart that way 😉

What is Marian Consecration, you may ask? Marian Consecration was first brought to the Church by St. Louis de Montfort in the late 1600s. In his book True Devotion, de Montfort lays out a 33-Day Consecration retreat, as well as expanding on his understanding of Mary and Jesus. De Montfort’s basic argument is that Jesus chose to reveal Himself through Mary, and Mary is the one who both knew Him best and worked most perfectly with Him. So, if we wish to know Christ and work with Him, we ought to align ourselves with she who has perfected this path. Mary’s life was set apart, or consecrated, for the holy purpose of bearing Christ to the world. We are called to do the same with our own lives. We make Christ known and we know where to find Christ (i.e. we fold shirts so we and others can see the front).

Some Louis de Montfort Quotes:

“It is through the most Blessed Virgin Mary that Jesus Christ came into the world, and it is also through her that he will reign in the world.”

“If then we are establishing sound devotion to our Blessed Lady, it is only in order to establish devotion to our Lord more perfectly, by providing a smooth but certain way of reaching Jesus Christ.”

“Since she is the sure means, the direct and immaculate way to Jesus and the perfect guide to him, it is through her that souls who are to shine forth in sanctity must find him. He who finds Mary finds life, that is, Jesus Christ who is the way, the truth and the life…Mary then must be better known than ever for the deeper understanding and the greater glory of the Blessed Trinity.”

“By this devotion we give to Jesus all we can possibly give him, and in the most perfect manner, that is, through Mary’s hands.”

Marian Consecration is a serious thing, as you may have guessed. This isn’t a part-time thing or a some days but not others. I choose a few years ago to undergo the 33-days and since then I have re-committed myself each year. The way it works is actually pretty simple. 34 days before any Marian feast (The Presentation of Mary, Immaculate Conception, Assumption, etc.) you begin your 33 days. There are 2 main texts that people use to follow. You can use de Montfort’s True Devotion, which I have not used but want to this year (I start my 33 days on Nov. 5, with a consecration day on Dec. 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception). The other text is called 33 Days to Morning Glory by Fr. Michael Gaitley. This is what I have used up to this point, and it is a great overview of de Montfort’s book, as well as weaving in the theology of John Paul II, Mother Teresa and Maximilian Kolbe – 4 powerhouse Marian saints. I can only say good things about Gaitley’s book, and I’ve only heard good things about de Montfort’s.

If you have more questions about Marian Consecration, I’d love to hear them. If you would like to take the leap this fall, I’d love to journey with you starting on Nov. 5.Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com

December 8, 2016 -Time Travel

Mary is an incredible creation of God. There is so much to be said about Mary, but we have just a short space and today happens to be a significant Marian Feast, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, so let’s focus on that. Mary was immaculately conceived, which means that she was born without Original Sin. She did not have the inclination towards sin that the rest of humanity inherited from Adam and Eve. How, you might ask?

Time travel.

Ok, so maybe not literally time travel, but it’s a good analogy. When Mary was born the gates of Heaven were still closed. Jesus had not entered the historical timeline of the world yet, since He was obviously physically born after Mary. BUT, God (aka Jesus or in John’s Gospel, The Word, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1) is outside of our fixed and limited construct called time. So, in what some call a “preemptive strike” (here’s the time travel bit), Jesus, who exists out of time, took the salvation He was going to win for humanity and gave it to Mary before He accomplished it within our timeline. Pretty cool, huh?

Why is this important? Mary remained in this pure state throughout her life. She was protected from both Original sin and personal sin. She is immaculate. When we enter heaven, after a life of friendship with God and having been cleansed in purgatory, we too will be immaculate or stainless. Mary shows us our destiny, the way we were designed to be. She perfectly united her will to God’s Will throughout her whole life.

As we continue preparing for Christ’s coming, both at Christmas and the end of time, Mary is the ideal example for how to best turn our lives toward Christ. By uniting her will with God’s, she completely oriented her life to serving God’s purpose, aka what it means to be a saint. St. Maximilian Kolbe famously wrote on the board for a group of students the following formula.

w + W = S

My little will in union with God’s Will brings me to sainthood. A few days ago we looked for small everyday moments when we could better unite our wills to God’s Will. Today, let’s spend our 3 minutes of prayer reading the following passage from the book of Hebrews. What stands out to you from this passage? Does it shed any light on an area you are discerning God’s Will or struggling to unite yours with His?

May the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep by the blood of the eternal covenant, Jesus our Lord, furnish you with all that is good, that you may do his will. May he carry out in you what is pleasing to him through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever [and ever]. Amen. – Hebrews 13:20-21

***Did you discover anything interesting while you reflected on how you wait for things? How did Elizabeth’s greeting to Mary help you grow in your time of waiting? Please feel free to share your experience, thoughts and offer support to one another in the comments, on Twitter with the #DailyGraces or on the Facebook page.Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com