|Image found on website: The Kolbe Center for the Study of Creation|
I have been drawn to do just that this year.
Today, on the Feast of St. Maximilian Kolbe, August 14th, I began a 9 day preparation of Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary. I will continue through the Feast of the Assumption up unto the Feast of the Queenship of Mary on August 22nd.
It is my hope to share Preparation for Total Consecration each of these nine days by sharing the life and wisdom of St. Maximilian Kolbe.
St. Maximilian Kolbe's love for Mary began in childhood. Certainly he must have fallen deeply in love with Mary when she appeared to him offering him the choice of two crowns: one of purity, one of martyrdom. Raymond chose both crowns. And even as a boy, set upon living up to those choices from that time on.
|See this site for a detailed look at St. Maximilian's life: https://saintmaximiliankolbe.com/biography/|
"From the start, the plan outlined in the original charter of the MI is exciting and universal: “To reach out to so many unhappy souls, in order to strengthen innocent hearts in goodness, in order to help everyone draw nearer to the Immaculata, Mediatrix of all graces” (cf. KW1328). In other words,the MI plan is to work tirelessly for “The happiness of all humanity in God through the Immaculata”(KW1088).
If the word “happiness” appears constantly in his Writings, we can be sure it’s not by mere chance! When later Maximilian would trace the portrait of the Knight of the Immaculata, he wrote that an MI member “does not confine his heart only to himself or to his family, his relatives, his neighbors, his friends, his fellow countrymen. Rather, along with them he embraces the whole world, each and every person individually, for all were redeemed by the Blood of Jesus without exception, and all are our brothers and sisters. He desires true happiness for all, enlightenment through the light of faith, purification from sin, a rekindling of the heart through love for God, a love that sets no limits” (KW 1088).St. Maximilian spoke of Mary being given to us as the last gift Christ would give us from the Cross, writing:
"Who would dare to imagine?...What could You have given me more, O God, after having offered Yourself to me to become mine? ...Your heart, inflamed with love for me, suggested to You another gift; yes, yet one more gift! ...You asked us to become children, if we wish to enter the heavenly kingdom. You well know that a child needs a mother. You Yourself established this law of love. Your goodness, Your mercy, therefore, created for us a Mother, the personification of Your goodness and infinite love. From the cross, on Golgotha, You offered her to us and us to her...”(KW1145).We find this in John 19:25-30:
Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala.This passage is one of the most beautiful ones in all of Scripture. It describes the length and breadth of God's love for us. A love that is so profound that in these last moments of his earthly life and death, He gives us eternal gifts of His Presence that go beyond the grave:
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.”
Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. After this, aware that everything was now finished, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I thirst.”
There was a vessel filled with common wine. So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop and put it up to his mouth.
When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, “It is finished.”
And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.
The gift of His Mother as our own.
The gift of the Spirit.
The gift of the Church.
As we read later in the same passage:
"one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out." John 19:34
as fountains of living water flow from the Church in the form of the Sacraments.
To contemplate this more fully, an excerpt from the Militia Immaculata's Preparation for consecration is below:
The context is solemn. We are at the culmination of the life of Christ, when Jesus fully revealed His glory. He is on the Cross, the cross that raises Him to heaven and from which He draws all people to Himself (cf. Jn 12:32). It is the fulfillment of our salvation, the heart of the paschal mystery of Christ, the moment of the supreme gift of love: "God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son" (Jn 3:16). The Father manifested that love through the gift of His Son in the Incarnation, and that mystery now culminates in the gift of His life for us.
In this solemn context occurs the gift of the Mother, the penultimate act, we might say, of His giving Himself for our salvation.
At verse 30, the Evangelist tells us: "When Jesus had taken the wine, He said, ‘It is finished.’And bowing His head, He handed over His spirit."
In this solemn context, the entrusting is of great value: the gift of the Mother is part of what Jesus was to accomplish. It seems that all is finished after the entrusting of the disciple to the Mother and the Mother to the disciple.
...Jesus explains to the Mother what her mission is: to be the mother of the disciple. But who is the "beloved disciple"?
...the disciple represents all the disciples of the Lord. The “beloved disciple” can be you or me: each of us is loved by Jesus.
Mary's motherhood, which began at the Annunciation, assumes at Calvary a universal dimension. Since then, as the Second Vatican Council teaches, Mary takes care of the brethren of Her Son (cf. LG62), who became from that moment her own children.
Yes, from "that hour." So it is written in the Gospel of John. It is the hour of the Cross, the hour of the manifestation of the glory of Christ, the hour of salvation, the heart of the paschal mystery of Christ itself.
What happens from that hour on? "The disciple took her into his home."
This is the consecration to Mary: Welcoming the gift of Christ! John takes Mary into his home, among his own things, into his inner life space, as St. John Paul II says (RM45). This gift also concerns us today. Every disciple of the Lord, on the day of one’s Baptism, together with the gifts of Christ receives the gift of the Mother.
To consecrate oneself to Mary does not mean, therefore, to "create" the gift, to make up something. The gift is a gift, is free and unmerited and remains so even if we are not conscious of it. Mary always exercises her motherhood, whether we are aware or not. What we can do is accept the gift of the Mother, like all gifts of Christ. To accept her, as John did; to take Mary in our life, to live this mother - child relationship with gratitude and awareness. As John Paul II continues:
"It means accepting - like John - the one who is given to us and was our Mother. It also means taking on the commitment to be conformed to Christ, putting ourselves at the school of His Mother and allowing her to accompany us"(Ecclesia de Eucaristia57)
There is another passage that encourages us to take Mary with us. It's a text from the Gospel of Matthew: "Do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her.”(Mt 1:20) It is the invitation of the angel to Joseph, while he had decided to divorce her quietly. This motherhood comes from the Spirit, it is a gift of the Spirit. This is true of Mary’s motherhood of Jesus and of her spiritual motherhood of us.
"She will bear a son...," said the angel to Joseph.
That is what the spiritual motherhood of Mary is: to give birth to Jesus within us.
This is the motherhood of Mary: to form Jesus in us.
St. John Paul II recalled it very well on several occasions, when, speaking to young people, he invited them to take Mary into their lives: "She will discharge her ministry as a mother and train you and mold you until Christ is fully formed in you" (Message, Behold Your Mother, for the XVIII World Youth Day, April 13, 2003, n.3)
Additionally, St. Maximilian speaks of Mary's spiritual motherhood in this way:
"In Mary’s womb our soul must be reborn after the form of Jesus Christ. She is bound to feed the soul with the milk of her grace, raise it as lovingly as she nourished, looked after, and raised Jesus. At her knee the soul must learn to know and love Jesus. From her Heart it must draw love toward Him, or even love Him with her heart and become like Him through love" (KW1295).Never forgetting that the ultimate end of all consecration to Mary is to be completed consecrated to Jesus:
“Precisely because we have consecrated ourselves to the Immaculata without limits, with much greater courage, despite our wickedness, we come closer to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. In reality, therefore, we are fully, completely and exclusively consecrated to the Immaculata with all of our actions, and in her and through her, we are again fully, completely and exclusively consecrated to Jesus Christ” (KW 643). Therefore, he stresses the need to draw closer to Our Lady through total consecration: “To be more and more of the Immaculata, to belong to her more profoundly, and so let fly more and more the wings of love, especially toward the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the manifestations of His love”(KW 1284). (http://missionimmaculata.com/images/Documents/preparation_for_consecration/5._Love_toward_the_Most_Sacred_Heart_-_Our_Only_Motive.pdf)St. Maximilian, pray for us and help us live out the wisdom you express.
You, who died on this day in 1941, (a day before the Feast of your Beloved Mother's Assumption), be with us and help us give ourselves entirely and without reserve to Our Blessed Mother, so that she, in turn, can draw us ever closer to Jesus and make of us great saints!
We ask this in Jesus's Name, Amen.
© Janet Moore 2019. All Rights Reserved.