by Kate Earleywine, Our Lady Of Fatima Parishioner

May 13th, 2015 – Feast of Our Lady of Fatima

Today, I consecrated my life to Mary for the first time. Arriving at this place, where I feel confident and ready to commit my life even more fully to Jesus by entrusting my life to Mary’s care, has been quite the journey.

What does it mean to consecrate my life to Mary? Well that’s a great question; one that I didn’t really have an answer for when my co-leaders proposed the idea of consecrating our young adult group to Our Lady of Fatima. I was hesitant. I knew that consecration to Mary meant making a life commitment to her, but didn’t really know or understand what that meant. I didn’t want to pressure anyone into making a spiritual commitment if they weren’t ready. While I used the needs of our group as my cover, I still struggled a lot with wrapping my head around the emphasis the Church puts on the Marian teachings. Also, I was concerned that I had just spent all of Lent entrusting and surrendering everything to Jesus. What did I have left to give Mary?

We decided to extend the invitation to any young adults within our group to make the consecration together and meet weekly to discuss our reflections during the 33 days of preparation outside of our usual study. As we were finalizing details and making sure everyone had books for the consecration, my co-leaders, sensing that I was still hesitant, reminded me more than once, “Kate, you don’t have to do it if you don’t want to.” While I knew that was true, I also knew that God was challenging me to at least learn more about the consecration. I couldn’t encourage others to do something I knew nothing about. I knew that God had lessons to teach me through it and decided that I would at least do the preparation. If I didn’t feel ready to make the consecration when the time came, I wouldn’t.

As I began reading the introduction of 33 Days to Morning Glory, the book we were using for our preparation, I was reminded of how much I do love and look up to Mary as a woman and a mother. The introduction stated, “One of the greatest aspects of being consecrated to Mary is that she’s a gentle mother. She makes the lessons of the cross into something sweet, and she pours her motherly love and solace into every wound.” I wanted Mary to teach me how to be that kind of woman and mother, even if I chose not make the consecration.

The very next sentence of the introduction excitedly announces that consecrating your life to Jesus through Mary is the “surest, easiest, shortest, and the most perfect means to becoming a saint.” My stomach cringed. I felt like I was listening to an infomercial. I believe in hard work and wasn’t looking for an “easy” way to become a saint. The best things in life aren’t easy and taking shortcuts rarely ends well. I told both Jesus and Mary they had a lot of convincing to do, if this was the path they wanted me to go down. I began the preparation; still uneasy about the whole concept, but open to what God had to teach me.

The third week of the preparation, focuses on Mother Teresa’s deep love for Christ. Mother Teresa has always been a huge role model for me. In her reflections about Mary, she explains how Mary brings us face to face with Jesus at the foot of the cross. Who better to teach us how to love Christ than the one who loved Him perfectly? Mary was slowly beginning to win over my heart. I was realizing just how unified Our Lady is with the Trinity. After all, she is daughter, spouse, and mother of God. Dedicating consecrating my life to her did not mean giving God less but more fully giving myself to Him because Mary is so intertwined in Trinity.

As I became more comfortable with the idea of making the consecration, I came to this quote from St. John Paul II.

“For it must be recognized that before anyone else it was God Himself, the eternal Father, who entrusted Himself to the Virgin of Nazareth, giving her his own Son in the mystery of the Incarnation.”

God was not asking me to do anything he hadn’t already done. He choose to give Himself completely to Mary’s care first. I just was following in His footsteps. Consecrating myself to Mary all of the sudden didn’t seem as radical and far-fetched as it had initially. I began to understand that while the consecration is a big deal, living it out was not so different from what I was already doing. It simply was putting into words a formal commitment to Our Mother whom I already looked to for help and guidance.

As of today, my life is formally placed into the hands of Mary. The past 33 days have been an exciting journey. The preparation has challenged and stretched me. Despite my resistance, Mary has won over my heart and taught me so much. I know that this is just the beginning and I’m excited for her to take me by the hand, walk beside me, and most importantly take me deeper into the heart of Jesus showing me how to live my life entirely for Him.