Living Total Consecration … “my heart ought to burn with longing for it.” (St. Louis de Montfort: TD 173)
In a recent Living Your Consecration To Mary retreat weekend, Fr. Hugh Gillespie, SMM addresses the audience, all of whom have made their Act of Total Consecration….and in thereby doing so, are left with the question….what do I do next?! This Conference is not designed for people who have not read the Secret of Mary, and have not performed their Act of Total Consecration. If you have not performed both of these actions, do not continue with this Conference Audio.
So, what is next? What does it actually mean to Consecrate yourself? It is a key understanding that is required if one is to Live Your Consecration To Mary. So what is Consecration? Specifically, What is Total Consecration and how does it differ from other forms of Consecration to Our Lady? This is the focus of Conference 1 (45 minutes) of this Conference Audio Living Your Consecration To Mary.
Conference #2 (51 minutes) deals with several topics. It starts out with a prayer authored by Fr. de Montfort. It is a prayer (Fr. de Montfort’s Prayer to Our Lady) that most members of The Association of Mary, Queen of All Hearts should be aware. It is written by someone who has completed an Act of Total Consecration, but is having trouble Living it. It is very much a prayer many of us should say, and it is very much appropriate for this Retreat.
Fr. de Montfort had a preoccupation to those he preached to root in their hearts a genuine devotion to Our Lady. As the devotion grows in their hearts, it will reveal itself in a hunger of the people to bring the devotion to its perfection. And why is this so? Because love seeks to love rightly. Love that is deep and genuine looks for the proper way to express itself. When Fr Hugh states we are attempting to love perfectly; when we hear the words Perfect Devotion, there are actually many devotions. Fr. Hugh rattles off several (devotion to Devine Mercy, devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes, devotion to the Miraculous Medal, … and many others). Fr. Hugh states we are not talking about devotions with a little “d”. These are practices or prayers that we are not talking about.
We are talking about Devotion with a capital “D”, meaning Devotedness. Fr. Hugh explains the difference between the two, which is very important to understand in Living the Spiritual Life. Fr. Hugh discusses the characteristics of the heart and the spirit that gives rise, or leads to a genuine “devotedness” or a genuine relationship with the Blessed Mother, as per Fr. de Montfort’s teachings. A relationship that is deep, and not shallow. If the Devotedness is genuine, it will tend to seek perfection. This is important, because it greatly influences ones spiritual journey. Devotion to Mary is necessary, it is not optional for all Catholics, and indeed, all Christians. What does that mean? Fr. Hugh continues and explains what this means and its significance.
Fr. Hugh also discusses how one obtains a fuller “devotedness” to Mary. He outlines the minimum all Catholics must perform. But for those not content on doing the minimum, a deeper understanding of Mary may be realized. Those that have this hunger, wish to Live their Consecration to Mary. Fr. de Montfort outlines a second level of Devotion to Mary that is genuine and true. What that means and how its performed and realized is the focus of the discussion. Fr. Hugh discusses these topics, which are fundamental to understanding and preparing for Living Your Consecration To Mary in Conference #2 of the Retreat.
Conference #3 (45 minutes) focuses on External Practices. It is the Internal Practice that will deepen ones spiritual life. One can’t immediately jump to the Internal. One must perform External Practices to be able to do Internal Practices with the love Our Lady and Our Lord deserves. So in this conference, Fr. Hugh explores the details of What Living the Concentration in Mary means, as it relates to Internal and External Practices beyond the Act of Total Consecration.
Conference #4 (50 minutes) focuses on the Internal Practice. The Internal Practice is 1 thing with 4 movements. It is doing all things Through Mary, With Mary, In Mary and For Mary….so that we may do all things Through Jesus Christ, With Jesus Christ, In Jesus Christ, and For Jesus Christ. In doing so, as Fr. de Montfort instructs, we honor Almighty God in all that we do and all that we say. This conference (#4) focuses on the first three prepositions Through Mary, With Mary and In Mary. What does that mean exactly, and how does it influence our actions, and our Spiritual Life? This is the focus of this discussion.
Conference #5 (44 minutes) continues the Internal Practice discussion, focusing on the “For Mary” movement, and also offers concluding thoughts on Living Your Consecration To Mary.
Note #1: Just a note on this audio series and resources. There is a pre-published book Living the Act of Total Consecration that exists, but is not yet generally available yet on Montfort Publications. The book is not needed to listen to this Conference Audio. The book is not followed. Whether you have the book or not, simply follow along with the audio, meditating on each of its major conference topics.
Note #2: In addition to this Conference Audio series, there is a Video Series with a similar title. The question arises, which one should I focus on and why are there two sets of resources. The Audio Series was given at a recent weekend retreat and was taped. This series can be listen to on your computer, laptop, iPad, or smartphone. It provides a resource for you to listen when you find it most convenient: on a walk or jog, on a car ride, or at home. The Video series also is available and plays on all of these devices. However, the video series assumes the viewer will look at the video and therefore the times and places they view may be different than the places they would listen to the audio series.
So what should I listen or view first? Start with the resource that fits your listen/viewing preferences. We suggest you ultimately listen/view both resources, since there are some differences between both series. If it comes down to one vs. the other, we suggest viewing the Video Series. But we encourage all to use both resources at a time that most fits your Spiritual Journey.
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