Total Consecration to the ImmaculateDistinctive Features of the Kolbean Method
It requires no set formulation. Nonetheless, St. Maximilian has identified four elements normally reflected in such an act of love.
1. Invocation of the Immaculate as such. In this invocation St. Maximilian insists repeatedly on invoking Mary precisely under her title as the Immaculate, especially in respect to the grace of total consecration.
2. Total consecration is unlimited and unconditional. The response is unlimited, precisely because total consecration to the Immaculate achieves a complete identification in the subject with the will of the Immaculate. The degree of our consecration to her is the measure of our response or reaction to God’s prior love for us, and when that identification with her total consecration to God, i.e. with her as the Immaculate Conception, is total on our part, then our charity is perfect as it can be. In obtaining this grace for us, her total consecration, i.e. her reaction-surrender qua Immaculate to the love of Father and Son for her as the most perfect fruit of a perfect redemption becomes in turn an “action” provoking an “equal and contrary reaction” in each believer to the love of the Father and the Incarnate Word, her Son.
3. Obedience. Total consecration as identification with the will of the Immaculate is not merely an affective identification, but a thoroughly effective, practical love, that is to say, total obedience to the Immaculate, a willingness and a readiness to do whatever she asks one to do.
As her reaction to His salvific love was the inspiration for His obedience to His Father’s command to die on the Cross to establish the order of salvation, viz. the Church, so it is for us the stimulus to the perfect implementation of Christ’s commands and instruction for our salvation in the Church, and thus in practice animates the system of obedience to a sacerdotal hierarchy established by Christ in the Church for the salvation of souls.
The term “possession by Mary Immaculate to describe the state of the soul totally consecrated to her is one particularly stressed by St. Maximilian. He notes that this state has also been described as a kind of childhood and as a kind of slavery. He acknowledges the validity of both descriptions, but adds that the term possession precludes misunderstandings easily attached to both, viz. that the one making such a consecration obtains some special rights with Our Lady, or in some way acts under compulsion, whereas in fact total consecration places one totally at the disposition of the Immaculate in a quite willing fashion. He does not mean to deny that Mary has a motherly care for each one of us in accord with Our Lord’s request on the Cross that she should be our Mother. But she exercises this responsibility, even if we have not made total consecration to her. Rather the focus of total consecration and the obedience it implies is the formation of an instrument, a true militia perfected by an effective obedience, whereby the Immaculate may obtain those ends proper to her as the Woman who crushes the head of the serpent, the father of lies.
The preference for the term possession by the Immaculate to describe this state suggest an underlying scriptural-liturgical parallel: we are only fully free of the influence or possession of Satan, when we are fully possessed by Mary Immaculate. Personal independence, in the intellectual order the principle of private judgment, so well symbolized by the ethos of freemasonry, is a gross deception, making a basic slavery to the prince of this world. Total humility is the only sure way to freedom. Between these two choices there is no third ground on which to stand.
4. Scope. In general the scope of total consecration is to know, love and serve the Immaculate as much as possible, and to make her known, loved and served in the same way by others, especially through her commands to pray and to do penance for the conversion of sinners and the triumph of the Sacred Heart of her Son: in a word to make her aims totally one’s own.
It is important to observe the stress place by St. Maximilian on two texts:
- Allow me to praise you, Holy Virgin; give me strength against your enemies – where enemies are first of all understood as enemies of faith, viz. heretics, and in a particular way the quintessence of all heresy, the exercise of self-will on principle in the use of the intellect, called by St. Francis the poison of self-will (Admonitions, 6), and otherwise known as the principle of private judgment.
- You have destroyed all heresies in the whole world. The focal point of the battle and its outcome is expressed well in this text, often cited by St. Maximilian.
Herein is the precise task… to oppose this principle so fundamental to the success of the stratagems of the father of lies in seeking to undermine the faith of the Church and of Christians, its exact contrary, i.e., heroic obedience to the desires of the Mother of Truth, the Immaculate. The humility of true obedience will always unmask the slavery of false freedom.