Today we welcome another guest post by Nan Balfour, devoted handmaid of Mary, wife, mother, writer, benefactor of the Marian Faith Network and event coordinator for the Pilgrim Center of Hope, founder of the annual San Antonio Catholic Women’s Conference.
Have you ever asked, “Why Mary?” Have you been intrigued by those who gush about all the blessings received once a soul consecrates herself to Jesus through Mary but hesitate to go any further?
I have . . . . and for years I avoided it out of ignorance until I could no longer deny that the women and men I met who had gone through Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary enjoyed a peace, a confidence, a faith I longed for. My question of what do they have that I don’t led me to the Consecration.
It has been five years since I first went through the Consecration process. I confess I was not exactly sure what I was doing for the 33-day preparation prescribed in the book by Saint Louis De Montfort titled, True Devotion to Mary. Blessedly, my understanding was not a requirement to reap the benefits.
Being a ‘slave’ of Mary at first made me nervous; but my jitters soon dissipated when to my delight I came to understand that her only command is, “Love my Son!” Through the Consecration, I have discovered what so many before me have: Mary is the quickest, surest and most efficient way to Jesus!
Though Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary is required only once in a lifetime to receive its full blessings, renewing your consecration annually is an invitation to go deeper in devotion to our Blessed Mother and closer to our Lord Jesus Christ.
I have used many resources to renew my consecration over the past four years, but my clear favorite is the book edited by Father Nathan Cromly, CSJ titled Totus Tuus – A Contemplative Approach to Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary. (To those attending the Columbus Catholic Women’s Conference on February 20th, the book will be available at Father’s exhibitor table!)
Father Nathan has a perspective to presenting the Consecration based on his years in contemplation as a priest with the Community of St. John (CSJ). It is easy to see why the preparation provided is so intimate and beautiful upon reading the Community’s Rule of Life which states, “The Community of Saint John wants to be a community of children of the Father and of friends of Jesus, gathered together by the Holy Spirit, in order to live a fully evangelical life in the footsteps of Christ in intimate communion with Him : a life of adoration and contemplation intimately close to Mary,”
Father has lovingly included Marian talks given by the Community’s founder, Father Marie-Dominique Philippe, O.P, prayers of Mary by Pope Saint John Paul II, Scripture and beautiful images all for our contemplation.
What this 33-day preparation (which can be used for your first consecration or as your renewal) provides unlike any other I have experienced is a journey into the heart of Mary. For someone like me who struggles with the perfection of Mary in contrast to my very great imperfections, this book’s Marian meditations help me discover the true Mary. Often as I read and contemplate the meditations and art, I imagined sitting at Mary’s feet while she runs her fingers through my hair and softly tells me about Jesus. Thanks to Totus Tuus, I have met the real Mother of God and discovered to my delight, she has much to share and desires to be my Mother too! I have learned she is not scolding and above us all, but rather welcoming and totally understands our sorrows and struggles.
Father Nathan provides a website dedicated to a dynamic formation for Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary called the Marian Faith Network. This site offers a wealth of information and library of video talks presented by Father Nathan focused on the Virgin Mary and Total Consecration. His book, Totus Tuus, may also be purchased from the site.
So as Pope John Paul, II said at the beginning of his pontificate echoing our good Lord, “Do Not Be Afraid!”
Special Notice: Also at Father Nathan’s exhibitor tables at the conference will be the Community of St. John Rosary CDs and a way for your entire family to experience Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary . . . even your wee ones! Representatives from Your Holy Family Ministries will be on hand. Stop by and visit Father Nathan and the Holy Family Ministries!