With Lent already here, you may be in the pre-season of deciding your Lenten practices. Amazing options crowd the internet and it can be hard to choose. If you have never done a personal consecration to Jesus, however, this could be a good place to start. Deepening your trust in the Lord and your fidelity to him—the process of sanctification—is the aim of a consecration, and ultimately the point of Lent, too. Today we’ll look at two consecrations– the ancient consecration to Jesus through Mary, and the newer consecration to Jesus through St. Joseph.
Why consecrate oneself to Jesus through Mary or Joseph?
Great question. Both consecrations are ultimately, of course, a consecration of our whole selves and lives to God himself. But a consecration to the Lord through Mary or Joseph attunes you to the best human parents to have ever walked the earth, and the ones who parented Jesus. It is a way to entrust yourself to them as mother and father, as Jesus entrusted himself to them, and to deepen in a Marian or Josephite spirituality- which is to say, a spirituality influenced and inspired by their own.
The Consecration to Jesus through Mary
You may know that St. Louis de Montfort is the great champion of this devotion. He is, in fact, largely responsible for its popularity in the Western Church. What is less known, however, is that the practice of consecration to Jesus through Mary is ancient, with roots going back to the early Church. Indeed, we even see this scripturally at the foot of the Cross, when Jesus entrusts John to Mary as her son. This devotion continued to grow throughout the centuries.
St. Louis de Montfort’s classic spiritual work, True Devotion to Mary, the pivotal work popularizing this devotion, was written in the 17th century. Within this book is the traditional, thirty-three day preparation and prayer of consecration to Jesus through Mary. The de Montfort consecration can be a hefty commitment, including daily readings, prayers, and rosary. But what more perfect time than Lent to take this on?
If you know you can’t take on quite that much a day, however, there is also a shorter form of preparation in Fr. Michael Gaitley’s 33 Days to Morning Glory. Both preparations are beautiful!
It is a tradition, though not necessary, to make your consecration on a Marian feast day. To complete the thirty-three days and end on the feast of the Annunciation, March 25, start your preparation on February 20.
Consecration to Jesus through St. Joseph
This consecration is gaining in popularity since Pope Francis declared 2021 the Year of St. Joseph. As in a Marian consecration we consecrate ourselves to Mary as our mother in a particular way, so in the consecration to St. Joseph do we entrust ourselves to him as a father. Modeled after the de Montfort Marian consecration, this is also a thirty-three day preparation, with the day of consecration on the thirty-third day. To make the consecration on March 19, the Solemnity of St. Joseph, you will want to start your preparation on February 15—yes, a few days before Ash Wednesday this year! Fr. Calloway’s book with everything you need for the consecration can be found here.
Why thirty-three days?
These days represent the thirty-three years that Christ walked on earth- another sign of the ultimate Christocentricity of the devotions.
Can I do both consecrations?
Of course! As Fr. Calloway explains on his site, “God desires that all children be committed to the care of a mother and a father. You are not a member of a single-parent spiritual family. Mary is your spiritual mother, and St. Joseph is your spiritual father. The spiritual fatherhood of St. Joseph is extremely important for your spiritual growth. Total consecration to Mary is not diminished by total consecration to St. Joseph. Mary wants you to consecrate yourself to St. Joseph! Jesus wants you to consecrate yourself to St. Joseph! Everything you have given to Jesus and Mary can also be given to St. Joseph. The hearts of Jesus, Mary, and St. Joseph are one.”
If you’ve never done either, pick the one you’re more drawn to start with and pick up the other if you wish at another time. You can do either consecration at any time of year, and there are multiple feast days of both Mary and Joseph to choose from if you want an extra-special consecration date!
The saints have been proclaiming the efficacy of devotion to Mary and Joseph throughout the centuries. Let’s emulate their example and gain amazing parents and intercessors on our journey towards heaven.
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