Through consecration to Mary, we entrust our entire beings and lives to the protection, intercession, and guidance of our heavenly mother. This act of consecration to Mary has been a faith tradition since the beginning of the Church. Jesus himself entrusted his disciple John to Mary from the cross — “Woman, behold, your son!” (John 19:26).
The first documented consecration to Mary was created by St. Louis de Montfort in the 1600s, True Devotion to Mary. The 33-day consecration sets forth the saint’s spirituality and is a guide to his act of total consecration to Jesus through Mary. Later, the order St. Louis de Montfort founded, Company of Mary, adapted it into Preparation for Total Consecration.
33 Days to Morning Glory, the popular Marian consecration published in 2011 and written by Fr. Michael E. Gaitley, MIC, is based on St. Louis de Montfort’s original consecration. It incorporates the spirituality and prayers of St. Louis de Montfort, St. Maximilian Kolbe, St. Teresa of Calcutta, and St. John Paul II — all who had strong devotions to Mary.
Why should we consecrate ourselves to Jesus through Mary? As St. Louis de Montfort said, “Total consecration to Jesus through Mary is the surest, easiest, shortest, and most perfect means to becoming a saint.” If we are striving for sainthood, as we should, asking for the intercession of Mary is the ideal way to approach this eternal goal!
It deepens our relationship with her, which in turn brings us closer to her son Jesus. We know that Jesus can’t resist the requests of his mother, we see her pure influence in the Bible on many occasions such as the wedding at Cana. We know that our spiritual mother Mary loves us, as she loves her son, and will advocate for our intentions.
Fr. Michael E. Gaitley shares his inspiration for 33 Days to Morning Glory in the introduction. He had struggled to get through Preparation for Total Consecration which he describes as a “prayer marathon.”He wrote, “I personally find more spiritual fruit not in reciting long prayers but in pondering in my heart inspiring teachings on Marian consecration.”
In doing so, he hoped to provide a “less daunting experience of spiritual reading and prayerful pondering” for those who “sometimes struggle with saying so many long prayers.” Fr. Gaitley also aimed to modernize the 33-day Marian consecration with the insights of St. Maximilian Kolbe, St. Teresa of Calcutta, and St. Pope John Paul II.
Fr. Gaitley chose the four saints featured in the Marian consecration because they “dramatically added to the beauty and richness of consecration spirituality.” He shared that the goal of the 33 Days to Morning Glory consecration is to reflect on and internalize how each of these four saints “lived out his or her consecration to Jesus through Mary.”
The focus on heart-pondering is specifically Marian, he explained, and is conducive to busy lifestyles. Fr. Gaitley presents the consecration as a retreat, not just preparation for the final consecration. If we are forgetful or distracted, he encouraged, “Let’s tell the Lord we’re sorry, trust in his mercy, make up the missed readings, and keep going.”
The “33 Days” part of the consecration’s title is clear, but what is the significance of “Morning Glory”? Fr. Gaitley chose this part of the title because it depicts the goal of Marian consecration: “a new way of life in Christ.” It is a fresh start; it “marks the beginning of a gloriously new day, a new dawn, a brand new morning in one’s spiritual journey.”
Fr. Gaitley described his first consecration to Mary as “life changing” when he was a freshman in college, using the original True Devotion to Mary by St. Louis de Montfort. “I look back on it now, and I can truly say that everything changed. Everything opened up. It was a gloriously new morning in my walk with Christ, now with Mary.”
St. John Paul II also shared that reading St. Louis de Montfort’s book was a “turning point” in his life. He even chose “Totus Tuus” (All Yours) as his papal motto to represent his consecration to Jesus through Mary based on St. Louis de Montfort’s spirituality. This particular devotion continued throughout his entire papacy and life.
As believers, we strive to become more Christlike in pursuit of sainthood. Our mother Mary wants to help us. She devoted her own life to our salvation by bringing Christ into the world. Who better to turn to for inspiration and intercession? Mary gives us her constant love, attention, and care to support each of us on our journey to eternal life.
Fr. Gaitley shared, “If we want to become more fully Christ, then we need to belong more fully to Mary. By going to her and remaining with her, we allow her to accomplish her mission in us. We allow her to form us into other Christs, into great saints.” So consider renewing your devotion to Mary by participating in this 33-day consecration.
You can find the recommended dates to start and end the consecration here since the last day should fall on a Marian feast day.
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We are excited to invite you to join the Napa Institute for our first Virtual Conference, “Finding Hope in the New America.” While we won’t be able to share conversation or a bottle of wine with you this year in person, we invite you to fill your glasses at home and toast the hope we have in the Napa Institute Family and in our Faith. Join speakers such as Cardinal George Pell, Dr. Scott Hahn, Curtis Martin, and many more as they address issues ranging from socialism to how to answer our call to evangelization in a hostile world. In these unprecedented times in our nation, we must view all the critical issues through a Catholic lens, with great hope in Christ.
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