|CONSECRATION TO OR THROUGH OUR LADY?
|Today one hears at times that it
is not possible or correct to make any consecration to Our Lady—it is asserted
that it is only through her to God. Superficially, one might say: Everything is
directed to God, so of course this is true.
But there is more. It is a commonplace in philosophy that not all means are mere means. Some indeed are only as it were stepping stones, leading on to a higher goal. But there are other means that have two very real aspects: There can be and are means that are at the same time secondary goals. For example, a person may set out to gain a college degree. He wants that as a means to getting a better job. But he at least could and should want it for the sake of the personal development and improvement to be had in the process of acquiring that degree.
So it becomes evident that the truth might be that we make a consecration both to and through Our Lady.
Is that really the case? We begin with clarifying what the word consecration means. It is often used loosely, so that it means merely entrusting self to her. But we are concerned with the strict sense of that word consecration. When, in 1899, Pope Leo XIII consecrated the world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, he explained it this way ("Annum sacrum," May 15, 1899. ASS 41.649): "For we, in dedicating ourselves, not only recognize and accept His rule explicitly and freely, but we actually testify that if that which we give were ours, we would most willingly give it, and we ask Him to graciously accept from us that very thing, even though it is already His."
In other words, in consecration we as it were say to Our Lord that we acknowledge that He already has most full rights over us. He has them on two titles: He created us out of nothing, He redeemed us from the captivity of Satan. So we already owe Him everything, and He would not need to reward us at all. But yet we say that we beg Him now to kindly accept the very same service, on a title of love, and we propose to serve Him better.
Now Pope Pius XII, in his "Radio Message to Fatima, Bendito seia," on May 13, 1946 explained the kingship of Jesus, by which we owe Him our service (AAS 38.266): "Jesus is King throughout all eternity by nature, and by right of conquest." This second title of course means He is king since He rescued us from captivity. But a few lines before this sentence, Pius XII had said: "He, the Son of God, reflects on His heavenly Mother the glory, the majesty, and the dominion of His kingship, for, having been associated to the King of Martyrs in the unspeakable work of human redemption as Mother and Co-operatrix, she remains forever associated with Him, with a practically unlimited power, in the distribution of the graces that flow from the Redemption.... Mary is Queen by grace, by divine relationship, by right of conquest, and by singular choice [of the Father]. And her kingdom is as vast as that of her Son and God, since nothing is excluded from her dominion."
So then Our Lady does have dominion, the right to rule, a dominion from which nothing is excluded. She has it on four titles, two of which are precisely parallel to those by which Jesus is King. Namely, He is King as the Creator—she is the Mother of the Creator ("by divine relationship"); He is King by right of conquest," she, the Pope remarkably says, is, in dependence on Him, also Queen by right of conquest, that is, by her immediate cooperation with Him in the objective redemption, that is, even in the great Sacrifice itself. (Cf. Wm. Most, "Co-redemption: Theological Premises, Biblical Bases" in "Miles Immaculatae," 1986, pp. 59-92).
As we saw above, her dominion, her right to rule, is not independent of that of Her Son: it is "through Him, with Him, and subordinate to Him." Yet, we should not think of two authorities, one infinite, the other finite. Yes, hers is finite, His is infinite, but the correct image is that of two operating "per modum unius," as one. So Pius XII wrote ("Munificentissimus Deus," AAS 42.768) that she is "always sharing His lot."
That being the case, even though the final destination of our service is God Himself, yet we do owe her our service because she, as Mother of the Creator, and as Cooperator in the Redemption, does have a title to our service. Further, she gained this second title at immense cost to herself (cf. Wm. Most, "Pope Deepens Conciliar Theology", in "Miles Immaculatae," 1990, pp. 329-45).
Then just as in consecration to the Sacred Heart, we ask Him to accept what we already owe, to accept it anew on a title of love, so too we can and should ask her to accept on a title of love, that which we already owe her. As, St. Maximilian said poetically, we should do this so thoroughly that we "become her" or "are in her." ("Gli Scritti di Massimiliano Kolbe," Florence, 1975-78, ## 579, 432, 508).
So St. Maximilian and recent Popes have not been straining language or the truth when they have urged us to consecrate ourselves to Our Lady.
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