ONLY IN OUR TIMES
The motherhood of Mary
of the consecration.
Even if consecration to
Mary finds its roots since the beginnings of the Marian cult and has been
expressed by the faithful of various ages with different formulae and
modalities, it has however been considered a practice that sprang from the
overabundant affection of souls particularly enamoured of Mary.
Even theology, in its
attempt to justify this special relationship of the faithful with Mary,
confined itself to demonstrate its validity and spiritual usefulness.
The reason which justifies
and pleads for the consecration of all mankind to Mary is based on her
universal motherhood – real maternity – as stated by the Vatican II.
The motherhood of Mary, that
embraces the universal Church, proclaimed by Paul VI at the close of the third
part of the Vatican Council II, even if it had been intuitively known and
witnessed in the course of history by many illustrious Fathers and Doctors of
the Church, has only become fully enlightened in our days.
Consecration is nothing but
the maternity of Mary, consciously accepted and lived out by every believer.
belonging exclusively! The term ‘consecration', which is used to mean
‘belonging to God', always remains unique and exclusive and cannot apply, with
the same meaning, to any other created being.
The issue concerning the
lawfulness of consecration to someone who is not God, in our case is resolved
when we consider that the nature of belonging to Mary must be located in the
specific relationship that exists between mother and child.
It is a part of the
salvific plan of God that Mary be our mother with regard to the grace and
therefore it must be respected! In conclusion, , we can say that it was God who
consecrated us to Mary by making us her children.
Another objection is to
consider the consecration superfluous, compared to the radical baptismal
In fact consecration to
Mary is rightly connected to this baptismal consecration: it is the recognition
and acceptance of her maternal role with regard to the life of grace that was
generated through baptism. Therefore, far from superimposing itself and
obscuring the baptismal consecration, the Marian consecration strongly underlines
the necessity of maternal action, in order of the birth and growth of such a
The biblical foundation of
the motherhood of Mary can be found in John 19, 26-27: “Then Jesus seeing
there His mother and the disciple He loved beside her, said to his mother:“
Woman, this is your son”. Then He said to the disciple:“ This is your mother”.
And from then onwards the disciple took her to his home”.
That Mary consciously
accepted her maternity towards the disciple is quite clear, but it is equally
clear that the disciple also consciously accepted this new relationship with
the Mother of Jesus.
It is now a common belief
that the disciple, to whom Mary was entrusted as mother by the dying Jesus, is
the prototype of all the disciples of Jesus, or rather of all men, because all
are called in Christ to salvation. Every Christian is asked therefore to open
himself to accept Mary and take her as his mother in the same way that she was
accepted as his mother by John.
Consecration to the
Immaculate Heart of Mary is, in short, nothing but the concrete and conscious
acceptance of her maternity in our lives in conformity with the salvific plan
HOW DOES ONE LIVE THE CONSECRATION?
Many are those who have
written how to live our filial relationship ( of consecration) to Mary. By
offering ourselves to her as docile sons, we allow her to make us share the
mystery of her “pure and unconditioned acceptance of God through faith, hope
Salvation, in fact,
consists in accepting Christ in our lives. The existence of Mary is, to the
highest degree, pure acceptance of Christ, even more than the apostle Paul did,
”I have been crucified
with Christ and it is no longer me who lives, but Christ lives in me. This is
life in the flesh I live it by faith in the Son of God ”(Gal. 2,20).
Mary wants to rouse in the
hearts of her children her faith, hope and charity which are indispensable for
a real and fruitful acceptance of Christ in us. From this point of view, we can
speak of “Mary's ministry – as well as of mystery - identifying it in the
transference to her children of her capacity to accept Christ, our salvation.
CAN BE THE MEANING OF A MEDAL?
A medal nothing else can
mean but that it is a “sign”. Even the medal known as “the miraculous medal” is
nothing but a “sign” whose value comes from what it signifies. Indeed, in
itself, it can have neither miraculous nor magical prerogatives. The sign
language, and still more the symbol language, is the most suited to express the
realities pertaining to the world of the Sacred.
The medal which reminds us,
in a specific way, of his own consecration to Mary must be considered a
distinctive sign of belonging to her and not only just a sign of simple
devotion, as it might be for any other of her images. Besides being a sign of
belonging, it also becomes a witness.
GIFT FROM THE MOTHER
The medal that Our Lady
asked to have coined is a gift: “I wish to give a sign, a gift of my love to
all my children, my heart's favourites, whom I love and by whom I am loved, in
order to show them the gratitude of my motherly heart”. It is a gift that
is to be identified with her heart :“ I come (…) to give them a gift of my
heart, so that they understand how much I love them”. .
Mary presents us with her
heart, not only as an expression of her love, but also to enable us to love
Jesus with her own love.
Moreover, it is a reminder
to live the values of the consecration consistently and faithfully: “It will
also be a reminder to many of my children, whom I love with tenderness, but who
do not return my love”.
It would not be possible,
without experiencing an interior conflict and uneasiness, to wear the medal,
that has the value of a sign, living a life at variance with its meaning,
It seems that it is part of
Our Lady's style to confirm, with particular signs, ecclesial events concerning
her person-. The apparitions of the Immaculate Conception at Lourdes in 1858
took place just after the proclamation of this faith truth by the Church (Pious
Wasn't perhaps the
apparition to Saint Catherine Labouré ( 27th November 1830 ), to whom Our Lady
asked to have the radiant medal (called miraculous) coined, a contribution from
Heaven to encourage the proclamation of her Immaculate Conception?
If so, is it any surprise
that she wanted to give a sign of particular approval, after the Church,
granting her incessant request, had consecrated the whole world to her
By granting credibility to
this story, don't we risk to create a certain confusion in putting. beside the
miraculous medal so rooted in the devotion of many Christians, another medal,
it too specifically requested by the Blessed Virgin Mary?
In this way could not arise
confusion at the expense of the transparency that must have the signs of
Christian piety , only valid, useful and recommendable if they lift the spirit
to the level of the represented reality?
Finally, is there not the
risk of falling into the grotesque with these two medals making Mary seem in
conflict with herself?
difficulties are only apparent. First of all, the value of the miraculous medal
and its importance for popular devotion are certainly not questioned.
The medal, of which we
speak, “gift and reminder” to live the consecration to Mary, has a meaning only
for those who are consecrated to her Heart.
To wear it without being
consecrated to Our Lady, would be like wearing the membership badge of a
particular movement without actually being a member of it. One medal cannot
replace the other!
This can be exemplified by
the anology of rings . There are rings worn with different meanings and linked
to events of greater or lesser importance in one's life ( for instance, the engagement
ring, a ring in memory of the birth of a child, of a particular event in one's
life and so on…) and there is the wedding ring, which, even if of a modest
appearance, contains the richest significance: that of the marriage pact.
We might consider this
medal as the sign of the reciprocal acceptance and belonging of the disciple to
the Mother expressed through the “Consecration”.
It is not possible in this
little descriptive book to deepen the symbolism of this medal whose essence and
centre is the heart. This word “heart” – as J. Guitton wrote – is one of the
most synthetic there is, because it gathers into the sign that it illustrates a
pulsating Gospel, the essence of Christianism summed up by saint John in the
axyom : “God is love”.
On the reverse of the
medal, the symbol of the two hearts, closely united, almost tied by a crown of
thorns, both surrounded by flames, hints at a symbology rather-recurring after
Saint John Eudes.
Catholic piety often joins
the love of the Son with the love of the Mother.
The union of Jesus and Mary
in one single heart had already been taught by Saint John Eudes.
There is only one salvific
sacrifice : that of Christ, fully received and lived in the Immaculate Heart of
It is for this reason that
Mary said repeatedly to sister Chiara that her sacrifice was a single thing
with Jesus' sacrifice.
“Jesus and Mary, I love you,
“Jesus and Mary, I love
you, save all souls!” is the invocation that proclaims the unity of supportive love
that has saved us out of compassion.
This ejaculatory prayer on
the other hand must not only mean, on the part of the one who recites it, the
expression of a love that embraces two people at the same time, but still more
an insertion in the loving relations of these two people, which is the same as
saying: Jesus, I love you with Mary's love; Mary, I love you with Jesus' love.
“My Mother, trust and hope,
entrust and abandon myself in you”
The writing that encircled
her person “My Mother, trust and hope, in you I entrust and abandon myself” contains
the essential elements for every consecration to Mary.
Furthermore the expression:
”I entrust and abandon myself in you” means that our taking roots in
Mary makes possible, as it did for her, the trusting, indefectible faith, and
the total abandonment to Christ, the only saviour, just as it is only in Him,
through Him and with Him that our abandonment to the Father is possible.