Consecration: Not Mere Words

A Grace Filled Way of Life

By His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, D.D., J.C.D.

In making the Act of Consecration as a Marian Catechist, we turn to the Mother of God, our model and intercessor in the apostolate of catechesis. We go to the Blessed Virgin Mary, striving to imitate her example as Theotokos, Bearer of Christ, asking the help of her prayers, so that we may become more Christlike for our own salvation and the salvation of the world.

In short, we bring our hearts to Mary, uniting them to her Immaculate Heart, and placing them, with Mary, into the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the glorious pierced Heart of Jesus, from Which flows unceasingly the blood and water of God’s mercy and love.

Saint Luke’s Gospel directs us to the heroic virtue of trust in God’s Providence in the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the fundamental and constant attitude of the Virgin whom God the Father looked upon in her poverty and made all rich through the Incarnation of His only-begotten Son.

The words of the Virgin Mary express her poverty of spirit, which recognizes that all depends upon God and trusts that God will never fail to provide in abundance His blessings to those who love and serve Him: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (Luke 1:47). The greeting of Elizabeth points to the source of Mary’s joy: “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled” (Luke 1:45).

The catechist is called to announce the joy of life in Christ, life in the communion of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. All who are the beneficiaries of the apostolate of the catechist should understand, as Elizabeth understood, that the source of the catechist’s joy and joyful teaching is trust in God, trust that God’s promises of salvation will be fulfilled in our lives.

In teaching the doctrine of the Faith, the catechist teaches poverty of spirit and trust in God’s Providence, teaches the union of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which is the never-failing source of our joy and peace in this life and the pledge of the fullness of our joy and peace in the life which is to come. In short, the apostolate of the catechist is to lead the catechized to the union of their hearts with the Heart of Mary Immaculate in the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

The way of poverty of spirit and trust in Divine Providence, the way of Marian joy in Christ, Son of God and Son of Mary, is not an easy way. The Virgin Mary, “the Woman clothed with the Sun,” suffered to bring the Savior into the world. She suffered from her human condition. She suffered from the assaults of Satan and the forces of evil who attack her Son and His Church “day and night.” Satan does not rest. The catechist, who brings Christ, His truth and love to others, suffers to remain humble and confident in serving Christ with all his or her heart.

In our world which is totally secularized, there are endless temptations to think that the apostolate is ours, when it is truly Christ’s; temptations to corrupt the truth and love of Christ with our own ideas and inclinations, and with the ideologies and disordered fashions of our culture. At times, the challenges of remaining faithful to Christ and His teaching can seem too great for us. The most deadly of all temptations for us is the temptation to give way to doubt, to fear and to hesitation.

Our Act of Consecration as a Marian Catechist brings particular graces with it. The Consecration brings with it the special graces which God gives to a person who hands over his or her life to the Lord by a special act. One who consecrates his or her life to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary can be assured of an abundance of graces in order to live the Consecration. They can also be assured of the intercession of the Mother of God, especially under her title of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

By our Act of Consecration, renewed in our daily Morning Offering, we, with Mary, place our poor and fearful hearts into the pierced Heart of Jesus, ever open in merciful love for us.

We hasten to Mary, our Mother, who will show us God’s merciful love. The Mother of God sends us to her Son with the maternal instruction: “Do whatever He tells you” (John 2:5).

With Mary, we, like Saint Juan Diego, will be faithful and generous messengers of God’s merciful love to others. When we are doubtful, when we are afraid, when we are hesitant, the Mother of God, the Virgin of Guadalupe, assures us that we are her chosen sons and daughters, that she is here, our Mother, that she holds us always under the protection of her mantle, in the crossing of her arms (cf. Nican Mopohua, nn. 26-32, and 118-120).

Fittingly, our Act of Consecration takes place during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Having made the Consecration, we unite ourselves to Our Lord Jesus in the most perfect way possible for us on this earth. Uniting ourselves to Him in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, we receive Him Whom we desire to bring to others, to bring to the world.

Our Consecration is not mere words. It is a way of life for us, the way of humble trust that God’s grace will accomplish in us what is otherwise impossible for us.

Drawing to the side of Mary, at the foot of the Cross, we are filled with joy. With Elizabeth, we declare: “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled” (Luke 1:45).

With Mary, trusting in God’s never-failing love, we pray: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (Luke 1:46-47).

Heart of Jesus, formed by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary, have mercy on us.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of America and Star of the New Evangelization, pray for us.

Saint Juan Diego, pray for us.

Originally published in The Tilma, Summer 2007