True Devotion to Mary
Introduction - The Servant of God Frank Duff, founder of the Legion of Mary, when upon his initial reading of the book, True Devotion to Mary by Saint Louis Marie de Montfort, had thought that the treatise proposed by this great saint, seemed to ‘border on the absurd.’ The absurdity that the book proposes could be on two fronts that at that time, many Catholics, could have not possibly understood completely – first, De Montfort’s proposal that to find Christ, the ultimate object of our devotion, we must completely surrender ourselves to Mary and second, that the surest and shortest way to the Son of God, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, is through his mother, a seemingly ordinary Jewish girl who would not pass the high standards of the world – then and even now. At that time, the teaching of the Catechism on the Blessed Virgin Mary, put her in the same category of the Saints – and thus to have read De Montfort’s treatise honoring Mary in this way (as the surest and safest way to Christ) definitely came as a shock to Frank Duff and many other good Catholics.
It was only after several readings of the book True Devotion and somehow a final and ‘a forced reading’ thank to his closest friends who urged him to not to give up on the book, did Frank Duff, by what he admits to be his ‘epiphany’ and “granting of a divine favor”, finally realized that everything about the book was true! This would become central to his life and on which the spirituality of the Legion of Mary would rest upon.
Therefore, for the members of the Legion and that of Mystical Body of Christ, true Christianity is a vocation of a life in Christ Jesus. The very purpose of our lives, says Saint Thomas Aquinas, is that it has to be ordained or oriented to a good – and that good is God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that man’s purpose is to gain the happiness of heaven by loving and serving God in this world. Therefore, Christianity has been ordered towards one’s consecration to Christ in order to be one with him – united unto him by acquiring his virtues of obedience and charity.
According to Saint Louis Marie de Montfort, the spirituality of total consecration is founded on the central mystery of Christianity, the Incarnation of Christ made possible by the cooperation of Mary. And therefore, it would be without doubt, that as Christ himself allowed his Divinity to be in a sense ‘set aside’ (consecrated) in Mary’s womb, so too are led towards our own consecration to Christ in the hands of Mary. This divine sharing is not something partial but rather complete and thus Jesus gave himself to mankind through Mary in complete surrender. Therefore, it is without doubt that in order to find Christ, we too must give themselves in completely to Mary
Preparation for Total Consecration to Jesus Through Mary – Frank Duff further writes in the Legion of Mary Handbook that one should not regard the consecration to Jesus through Mary as a mere solitary or isolated act in our Christian life, but rather, a life-changing conversion experience. Therefore, True Devotion to Mary is a state of life, a radical surrender of ourselves to Christ, through our total consecration to Mary. Our devotion to Mary, as Duff states, operates within our souls, quietly steering our wills to do what is holy as the mother of our souls is holy.
True Devotion and Total Consecration
1. Before starting the 33 Day Preparation leading to the formal Act of Consecration, we recommend spending some time in private reading of the book, "True Devotion to Mary." As certain parts of the book may not easily be understood, we further recommend that if possible, form a small group for sharing, reflections and discussions. Please note that the book has had many editions, publishers and versions.
2. Choose a Marian Feast day for your Formal Act of Consecration. Examples of these Feast Days honoring Our Blessed Virgin Mary are: Our Lady of Lourdes (Feb 11); Feast of the Annunciation (March 25), Our Lady of Mount Carmel (July 16) . Below is a table of Marian Feast, Start date of Preparation and the Consecration Day.
33 Day Preparation Towards the Act of Total Consecration
Saint Louis Marie de Montfort also proposes in his book. "True Devotion to Mary" that those wishing to consecrate themselves to Mary, should undergo a period of spiritual preparation for 33 days. These are divided into four phases: 1) Renunciation of the World (12 days); 2) Knowledge of Self (7 days); 3) Knowledge of Mary (7 days) and 4) Knowledge of Christ (7 days).
There are a number of books and materials that you can avail of in preparing for your total consecration. Some of which are as follows:
There are also available reference materials for the 33 Day Preparation. The San Francisco Senatus has prepared an outline using the book True Devotion as the main source of the spiritual reading and reflections. (Click to download the 33 Day Preparation Program of the San Francisco Senatus)
Below is a suggested calendar for the Total Act of Consecration using the 33 Day Preparation leading to the formal Act of Consecration on a Marian Feast. Please note that there other Marian Feast days not included in the table below.
|Marian Feast Day||Day of Consecration||Preparation Start Date|
|Our Lady of Lourdes||February 11||January 9|
|The Feast if the Annunciation||March 25||February 20|
|Our Lady of Fatima||May 13||April 10|
|The Visitation||April 28||May 31|
|Immaculate Heart of Mary||Saturday after Feast of the Sacred Heart||Saturday after Corpus Christi|
|Our Lady of Mount Carmel||July 16||June 13|
|Feast of the Assumption||August 15||July 13|
|Queenship of Mary||August 22||July 20|
|Nativity of Mary||September 8||August 6|
|Holy Name of Mary||September 12||August 10|
|Our Lady of Sorrows||September 15||August 13|
|Our Lady of the Rosary||October 7||September 4|
|Presentation of Mary||November 21||October 19|
|Immaculate Conception||December 8||November 5|
|Our Lady of Guadalupe||December 12||November 9|