Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Give all, lose nothing

The plans we make and pursue will always have the sterility of self-reference - in more or less degrees - and they thus fall with us (in more or less degrees) and do not satisfy. Unless something largely unplanned happens. It's not to say our plans are wicked and evil (though in this day, who knows) but that we fail at allowing those plans to be enlarged - supernaturally enlarged.

When they are fulfilled, or, sometimes more deliciously, when they are in the process of being fulfilled, it is not that the plans don't bring joy. For they often do. But we don't offer it, give it to God, which would carry us to better heights. Happiness (I hesitate to write that word...grrr, this is starting to sound like Emerson) occurs to the extent that we "radicalize" the plans we make, counterbalancing them with the unplanned.

Then there are things we can do that are acts of such radical trust, acts that don't plan for something large to give or offer, but heave it all up, right now as one is - everything to do with one's self, from possessions to failings to successes to the most mundane - that from there on in, it just gets better and better, with surprise and fulfilment. Consecration is one of those things - one of those acts.

(Note surprise and fulfilment. Take all materialist and even "spiritual" thoughts of "better and better" and throw it in the mud where it belongs.)

There is a book you can order and get for free, with the addendum of course that you are decided to make the preparation and consecration - to Mary.

The book, with all the directions and schedules can be found here. All they need is your mailing address.

This is Preparation for Total Consecration according to Saint Louis Marie de Montfort. There are 21 feast days of Mary which you can choose from to be the day on which you consecrate yourself to Jesus Christ through Mary. Actually, it is more like Mary consecrates you to Jesus. The preparation is 33 days of prayers and readings to be done, leading up to the Marian feast day you have chosen, the 34th. day.

Last year, I chose, almost randomly, Our Lady of Czestochowa, August 26th. I did all the readings and prayers leading to the day, and on that day, which I believe fell on a Sunday, I drove to a parish that had a grotto. As most do have, or something like it.

The outside grotto is off to the side of the church that leads to its adoration chapel. The statue of Mary, which has been replaced with a different one, stood at the center of a paved circle - and I knelt down on the broiling bricks on a summer afternoon. I could have picked a better-looking statue. This one was in the classical pose (the pose found on the miraculous medal on my side bar) but the cheap gaudy paint was chipping off all over - the face and hands and all. On my knees with one of the leprous-painted hands, which yet held the gentle power of Mary, extended by my face, I prayed the consecration prayer as best I could, and I signed my name in the book where it says to place your signature.

And that was it. I got up and walked to my car and drove off. I took a couple of turns and, as I was driving, there was an all-around, quickened presence, of something, or more accurately, somebody - two somebodies. Two parents. It seemed like they pressed in with love. Two parents as one, who had all the amiability not found in any earthly parent in such a manner (except in rare fragmented ways), whose amiability is constant and overflowing in an instant. How could docility be such power? I knew that I could make thousands upon thousands of consecrations, giving everything with more abandon than I did before the last, and still it would be nothing to how immediately giving were these two. And I was between them both, and I knew that what I had just done was a good thing.

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