DAY 14: Kolbe’s Prayer of Consecration
DAY 14: Kolbe’s Prayer of Consecration
By Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC
To conclude this week’s reflections on St. Maximillian’s teaching on Marian consecration, it will be good for us to get to know his actual prayer of consecration. We’ll now look at it in its three parts: (1) an invocation, (2) a plea to Mary, that she will receive us as her property, (3) a plea to Mary, that she will use us to gain other souls for her.
The prayer begins with an invocation:
O Immaculata, Queen of heaven and earth, refuge of sinners and our most loving Mother, God has willed to entrust the entire order of mercy to you.
Here we have Kolbe’s favorite title for Mary, the “Immaculata.” As we learn from her apparition at Lourdes, this is her identity. For Kolbe, this is her most important identity, because it highlights her intimate union with the Holy Spirit. This invocation also brings in another part of Mary’s identity: Mother. Mary is the most humble, gentle, tender, and loving mother. Finally, another of Kolbe’s favorite titles is alluded to here, namely, Mediatrix of All Grace. For to Mary, “God has willed to entrust the entire order of mercy.”
The second part of the consecration prayer expresses a plea that Mary will receive us as her property:
I, (Name), a repentant sinner, cast myself at your feet humbly imploring you to take me with all that I am and have, wholly to yourself as your possession and property. Please make of me, of all my powers of soul and body, of my whole life, death and eternity, whatever most pleases you.
Recall that de Montfort, in his formula of consecration, expanded and elaborated on what he was giving to Mary: body, soul, goods, merits, etc. Kolbe means the same thing as de Montfort, but he simplifies it by expressing his gift of himself to Mary with a concise statement: “[T]ake me with all that I am and have.” On the flip side, where de Montfort describes the purpose of his consecration with the simple, summary statement, “for the greater glory of God,” it’s Kolbe who expands and elaborates. Thus, in the third part of his consecration prayer, Kolbe describes the purpose of his offering not simply as “the greater glory of God” but as the following:
If it pleases you, use all that I am and have without reserve, wholly to accomplish what was said of you: “She will crush your head,” and, “You alone have destroyed all heresies in the whole world.” Let me be a fit instrument in your immaculate and merciful hands for introducing and increasing your glory to the maximum in all the many strayed and indifferent souls, and thus help extend as far as possible the blessed kingdom of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus. For wherever you enter you obtain the grace of conversion and growth in holiness, since it is through your hands that all graces come to us from the most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The boldness of the first sentence may easily be overlooked, but when we fully take it in, its boldness can be startling. Kolbe is asking Mary to use him to completely crush the reign of Satan! Perhaps he pulls back this incredible ambition (a little) when he says that he wants her to use him to help extend “as far as possible the blessed kingdom of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus.” Still, his boldness is incredible. He wants Mary to use him as her instrument — as much as possible — to crush Satan and extend the kingdom of God, the kingdom of the love of the Heart of Jesus.
It’s interesting that Kolbe homes in on the Heart of Jesus, mentioning it two times. This isn’t a passing fancy. For instance, it appears again when he gives the motto of his army of Knights of the Immaculate, the Militia Immaculata: “To lead all men and every individual through Mary to the most Sacred Heart of Jesus.” We’ll learn more about the Heart of Jesus as a most perfect goal for our spiritual lives when we reflect on Saint Mother Teresa and her teachings next week.
“Come, Holy Spirit, living in Mary.
Prepare me to give all to the Immaculata for the sake of the kingdom.”