Marian Consecration and Entrustment
Arthur Burton Calkins
II. The Papal
If, as we have just seen,
Pope John Paul II is the heir of the great ecclesial tradition of Marian consecration, manifested in various ways
in the course of the Church’s almost two millennia of history, he might be said to be even more explicitly the
inheritor of the legacy of papal consecration to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary. 59 While space does not permit us to enter into this fascinating
history here, 60 we wish to indicate
the most important high points. On 31 October 1942 the Servant of God, Pope Pius XII, in the course of a radio
broadcast to pilgrims at Fatima celebrating the Silver Jubilee of the last of the 1917 apparitions. Concluding
the broadcast, he prayed:
To you and to your Immaculate
Heart, We, the common father of the vast Christian family, We, the Vicar of Him to whom was given “all power in
heaven and on earth,” and from whom we have received the care of so many souls redeemed by His Blood; to you and
to your Immaculate Heart in this tragic hour of human history, We commit, We entrust, We consecrate [confiamos, entregamos, consagramos], not only the Holy Church, the mystical
body of your Jesus, which suffers and bleeds in so many places and is afflicted in so many ways, but also the entire
world torn by violent discord, scorched in a fire of hate, victim of its own iniquities ... Finally, just as the
Church and the entire human race were consecrated to the Heart of your Jesus, because by placing in Him every hope,
It may be for them a token and pledge of victory and salvation; so, henceforth, may they be perpetually consecrated
to you, to your Immaculate Heart [assim desde hoje Vos sejam perpetuamente consagrados
também a Vós e ao vosso Coração Imaculado], O Our Mother
and Queen of the world, in order that your love and protection may hasten the triumph of the Kingdom of God. 61
The Act of Consecration, originally made in Portuguese, was renewed in Italian in Saint Peter’s
Basilica on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception 1942. This was been referred to many times by Pope John Paul
II, especially in his own major Consecrations to the Immaculate Heart of Mary of 13 May 1982 and 25 March 1984
62 Here it should be pointed out
that, even though this first consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary was carried out in conjunction
with celebrations in Fatima, the fundamental impetus for this came not from Sister Lúcia (who had a particular
mission calling for the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary), but from Blessed Alexandrina da
Costa (whose mission was to implore the consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary). 63
Another important pronouncement
of Pius XII may be found in his address to the Jesuit Marian Congregations or Sodalities on 21 January 1945:
Consecration to the Mother of God in the Marian Congregation is total gift of oneself, for life
and for eternity; it is not just a mere matter of from nor a gift of mere sentiment, but it is an effective gift,
fulfilled in an intensity of Christian and Marian life, in the apostolic life, making the member of the Congregation
a minister of Mary and, as it were, her hands visible on earth through the spontaneous flow of a superabundant
interior life which overflows in all the exterior works of deep devotion, of worship, of charity, of zeal. 64
On 21 November 1964 at the
end of the third session of the Second Vatican Council, when he solemnly declared Mary Mother of the Church, the
Servant of God Pope Paul VI wished to commemorate the consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
by Pius XII and prayed in these words:
We commit [committimus] the human race, its
difficulties and anxieties, its just aspirations and ardent hopes, to the protection of our heavenly Mother.
O Virgin Mother of
God, most august Mother of the Church, We commend [commendamus]
the whole Church and the Ecumenical Council to you ... We commend [commendamus] the whole human race to your Immaculate Heart, O Virgin Mother of God. 65
A frequently overlooked reference to entrusting oneself to Our Lady is found in the Second Vatican
Council’s Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity: “Everyone should have a genuine devotion to her [Mary] and
entrust his life to her motherly care” [Hanc devotissime colant omnes suamque vitam atque
apostolatum eius maternæ curæ commendent]. 66
On 13 May 1967 he issued his
Apostolic Exhortation Signum Magnum to coincide with the fiftieth
anniversary of the first apparition of Mary to the children of Fatima and his own pilgrimage to that shrine.
Recalling the great act of consecration of Pius XII in 1942 and his own reaffirmation of it in 1964, he went on
to make this appeal.
So now We urge all members of the Church to consecrate [consecrent] themselves once again to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to translate this pious act into concrete action
in their daily lives. In this way they will comply ever more closely with God’s will and as imitators of
their heavenly Queen, they will truly be recognized as her offspring. 67
Bringing with him to the papacy
the great heritage of Polish Marian piety and the collective consecrations of Poland to Our Lady in 1920, 1946,
1956, 1966, 1971 and 1976 68 and his
total appropriation of the spirituality of Saint Louis-Marie de Montfort, the Servant of God Pope John Paul II
promoted Marian consecration and entrustment as no other successor of Saint Peter has ever done. Here I can
only present a few highlights. His first solemn entrustment of the Church to Our Lady took place at the Basilica
of St. Mary Major in Rome on 8 December 1978. 69
The prototype of great Acts
of Consecration/Entrustment was that pronounced by previous recording for Pentecost Sunday, 7 June 1981. 70 in conjunction with the celebration of the 1600th anniversary of the First Council of Constantinople and the 1550th anniversary of the Council of Ephesus. The event itself had been
planned well in advance by the Pope. The double observance had been the object of a Pontifical Letter, A Concilio Constantinopolitano I, addressed to the bishops of the world 71 in which he spoke of Mary’s divine maternity as establishing
a “permanent link with the Church” (perpetuum vinculum maternum cum Ecclesia). 72 His more active participation
in the festivities marking the observance of these two great Councils and culminating on Pentecost Sunday, however,
was precluded by an assassin’s bullet. The circumstances of this act of entrustment to Mary which addresses
her as “entrusted to the Holy Spirit more than any other human being” and “linked in a profound and maternal way
to the Church" 73 are particularly
poignant, then, and may also be reckoned as the plea of a stricken father on behalf of his family. The very
same act was renewed again on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in 1981 before the icon of the Salus Populi Romani in St. Mary Major’s. 74
The above cited act of entrustment
became the archetype of two subsequent acts, closely modeled upon it, which gained considerably more public notice.
The first of these was made on 13 May 1982, the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, in that humble village in Portugal
where Our Lady had first appeared sixty-five years earlier.75 It was also the first anniversary of the near fatal attempt on his life. The second of the acts
deriving from that of Pentecost Sunday 1981 was given more advance publication and correspondingly more emphasis
was placed on the collegial nature of the act. It was announced in a Pontifical Letter to all the bishops
of the world dated from the Vatican on 8 December 1983, but only published on 17 February 1984. 76 It was intended to be one of the crowning acts of
the Holy Year of the Redemption which began on 25 March 1983 and concluded on Easter Day, 22 April 1984.
John Paul presented the rationale to his brother bishops in this way:
In the context of the Holy
Year of the Redemption, I desire to profess this [infinite salvific] power [of the Redemption] together with you
and with the whole Church. I desire to profess it through the Immaculate Heart of the Mother of God, who
in a most particular degree experienced this salvific power. The words of the Act of consecration and entrusting
which I enclose, correspond, with a few small changes, to those which I pronounced at Fatima on 13 May 1982.
I am profoundly convinced that the repetition of this Act in the course of the Jubilee Year of the Redemption corresponds
to the expectations of many human hearts, which wish to renew to the Virgin Mary the testimony of their devotion
and to entrust to her their sorrows at the many different ills of the present time, their fears of the menaces
that brood over the future, their preoccupations for peace and justice in the individual nations and in the whole
The most fitting date
for this common witness seems to be the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord during Lent 1984. I would
be grateful if on that day (24 March, on which the Marian Solemnity is liturgically anticipated, or on 25 March,
the Third Sunday of Lent) you would renew this Act together with me, choosing the way which each of you considers
most appropriate. 77
The act itself was carried
out by the Pope on Sunday 25 March 1984, in St. Peter’s Square before the statue of Our Lady of Fatima which ordinarily
occupies the site of Mary’s appearances at the Cova da Iria in Fatima, Portugal and which was especially flown
to the Vatican for this occasion. The Act of Entrustment 78 was recited by the Pope after the Mass commemorating the Jubilee Day of Families. Already in his
address to the Roman Curia on the Vigil of the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul in 1982:
This year, in a special way,
after the attempt on my life which by coincidence occurred on the anniversary of the apparition of the Virgin at
Fatima, my conversation with Mary has been, I should like to say, uninterrupted. I have repeatedly entrusted to
her the destiny of all peoples: beginning with the act of consecration of 8 December (1981), feast of the
Immaculate Conception, to the consecration to the Virgin of the countries visited: of Nigeria at Kaduna,
of Equatorial Guinea at Bata, of Gabon at Libreville, of Argentina at the Sanctuary of Lujan. I remember
the visits to the Italian sanctuaries of Our Lady of Montenero in Livorno, and of Our Lady of St. Luke in Bologna;
culminating in the pilgrimage to Fatima in Portugal, “Land of St. Mary,” which was a personal act of gratitude
to Our Lady, almost the fulfillment of a tacit vow for the protection granted me through the Virgin, and a solemn
act of consecration of the whole human race to the Mother of God, in union with the Church through my humble service.
There was never any veering
from the path of this “program of entrustment” from the beginning of the pontificate to its very conclusion. 80 Pope Benedict XVI has continued to follow in
the footsteps of his venerated predecessor, most frequently using the term entrust. Here is one of his strongest
exhortations to date. It occurred in his homily at the canonization of Frei Antônio de Sant’Ana Galvão
at Campo de Marte, São Paulo, Brazil on 11 May 2007:
In fact, the saint that we are celebrating gave himself irrevocably
to the Mother of Jesus from his youth, desiring to belong to her for ever and he chose the Virgin Mary to be the
Mother and Protector of his spiritual daughters.
My dearest friends, what a fine example Frei Galvão has left for us to follow!
There is a phrase included in the formula of his consecration which sounds remarkably contemporary to us, who live
in an age so full of hedonism: “Take away my life before I offend your blessed Son, my
Lord!” They are strong words, the words of an impassioned soul, words that should be
part of the normal life of every Christian, whether consecrated or not, and they enkindle a desire for fidelity
to God in married couples as well as in the unmarried. The world needs transparent lives, clear souls, pure minds
that refuse to be perceived as mere objects of pleasure. It is necessary to oppose those elements of the media
that ridicule the sanctity of marriage and virginity before marriage.
In our day, Our Lady has been given to us as the best defense against the evils that afflict
modern life; Marian devotion is the sure guarantee of her maternal protection and safeguard in the hour of temptation.
And what an unfailing support is this mysterious presence of the Virgin Most Pure, when we invoke the protection
and the help of the Senhora Aparecida! Let us place in her most
holy hands the lives of priests and consecrated laypersons, seminarians and all who are called to religious life.
III. A Question of Terminology?
In recent years not a few
mariologists have taken the position that not only the terminology of Marian slavery – as we have seen above –
, but also the concept of Marian consecration itself is no longer acceptable. 82 The argument is that consecration pertains to God alone and depends
on his sovereign initiative and that our part can only be one of response. 83 Further some argue that in a larger passive sense one cannot be consecrated to anyone but God. 84 These authors argue that Pope John Paul II
fully accepted their perspective and so decided to use the words entrust and entrustment to describe our relationship
with Mary, effectively avoiding the “defective and discredited formulas of the past”.
In contrast, Father George
Kosicki, C.S.B. has considered at some length the meaning of the Polish word most frequently used by John Paul
II, translated into Italian as “affidare” and into English as “entrust”. The word is zawierza
, the same word employed in Cardinal WyszyDski’s various consecrations of Poland. 85 Let us allow Father Kosicki to share some of
his discoveries about this word:
I continued to wonder about the word “entrust” until I met a priest from Poland, a colleague
of the present Pope while at the University of Lublin where Karol WojtyBa taught as Bishop of Krakow. I asked
him about the word “entrust” and its Polish meaning, mentioning that I was disappointed that he didn't use
the word “consecrate” to Mary in his Letter to all Priests [of
8 April 1979] 86. His response
was very clear and reassuring. He pointed out that the Polish word “zawierza ” (translated as “entrust”)
is a strong word and is used for what we call in English “consecration” to Mary. He went on to say that the
Polish word which is the equivalent root word to the English “consecration” (viz. “konsekracia”) is usually reserved
for the consecration at Mass. He went further to point out that the word “entrust” was a special word for
John Paul II because of the way he has used it in his Polish writings. He added that the motto of John Paul,
“Totus Tuus”, (I am) all yours (Mary), means, “I consecrate myself to you, Mary” and is what Pope John Paul has
in mind when he uses “Zawierza ” (translated into English as “entrust”). In short the Polish “to entrust”
means “to consecrate”.87
I have studied the question
of consecration to Our Lady vis-à-vis entrustment to her both in terms of contemporary theological discussion
88 as well as John Paul II’s use of the
term entrustment 89 and am convinced
that he frequently used the words interchangeably along with other words such as dedicate, offer, commend, place
in the hands of, etc.90 At the
same time I have chosen as the title for this chapter the binomial “consecration and entrustment” because I believe
that each word can be justified and offers shades of meaning not conveyed by the other.
IV. The Theological Foundations of Consecration/Entrustment
A classical presentation on
personal consecration provides us an important approach to the theological questions underlying our presentation:
Strictly speaking, one can consecrate himself only to God, for only God has the right to man's
total dedication and service. Consecration to Christ, to the Sacred Heart, is legitimate because of the Hypostatic
Union. But “consecration” to the Blessed Virgin, or even to St. Joseph or to other saints, is not unknown
to Christian piety. In the case of St. Joseph or the other saints, this is to be understood as consecration
in a broad sense of the term, and it signifies no more than an act of special homage to one’s heavenly protector.
The case of the Blessed Virgin, however, is not the same. The importance of her role in Christian spirituality
is such that formulas of dedication to her appear to have more profound meaning. Her position in the economy
of salvation is inseparable from that of her Son. Her desires and wants are His, and she is in a unique position
to unite Christians fully, quickly, and effectively to Christ, so that dedication to her is in fact dedication
to Christ. French spirituality has made much of consecration to Mary. Cardinal Bérulle encouraged
the vow of servitude to Jesus and Mary. St. John Eudes propagated the devotion of consecration not only to the
Sacred Heart, but to the heart of Mary as well. But the practice achieved its strongest expression in the
Traité de la vraie dévotion à la Sainte Vierge
of St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort. The act of personal consecration according to De Montfort, is an
act of complete and total consecration. It consists in giving oneself entirely to Mary in order to belong
wholly to Jesus through her. 91
In effect the author of this article points to a resolution of this problem along two complementary
lines. First and, admittedly, only very implicitly he evokes the principle of analogy. Secondly and quite
explicitly he points to the unique role of Mary in the mystery of Christ and the economy of our salvation, particularly
A. The Principle of Analogy
In the perspective of the
philosophia perennis analogy means a “likeness in difference”.
Here are two excerpts from his article on consecration in the Nuovo Dizionario di Mariologia:
The only way to be able to
apply a term to God and to a creature is to have recourse to analogy which is based precisely on the likeness in
the difference. The analogical use of consecration referred to Mary maintains a sense of “total and perpetual
gift” which is required in order to bring this usage in line with the light of revelation and theology ... The
gift to her is analogous to that which is made to God since it maintains the significance of the total and perpetual
gift, but on the different level proper to a creature. 92
Consequently, when one speaks of “consecration to God” and “consecration to Mary” one is effectively
speaking in the first place of what the disciples of St. Thomas call the “analogy of attribution.” Gardeil
In the analogy of attribution there
is always a primary (or principal) analogate (or analogue), in which alone the idea, the formality, signified by
the analogous term is intrinsically realized. The other (secondary) analogates have this formality predicated
of them by mere extrinsic denomination.93
Following this paradigm, then, “consecration to God” is the primary analogate whereas “consecration
to Mary” is a secondary analogate. In other words, the term “consecration” signifies something which is common
to both analogates, the recognition of our dependence on them, but since God is our Creator and Mary is a creature
that dependence cannot be exactly the same. 94
But it can be held as well
that such usage of the term “consecration to Mary” is also an instance of the “analogy of proportionality” which
Gardeil explains in this way:
It will be remembered that
in the analogy of attribution the (secondary) analogates are unified by being referred to a single term, the primary
analogue. This marks a basic contrast with the analogy now under consideration, that of proportionality;
for here the analogates are unified on a different basis, namely by reason of the proportion they have to each
other. Example: in the order of knowledge we say there is an analogy between seeing (bodily vision)
and understanding (intellectual vision) because seeing is to the eye as understanding is to the soul. 95
Theologians have long recognized that there exists an analogy, a certain “likeness in difference”
between Jesus and Mary, a certain symmetry and complementarity, though not identity, between them. 96
Admittedly, today this classical
Catholic principle is more and more being called into question and yet it is a fundamental building block of Catholic
theology. Indeed without it the discipline of theology is impossible and without it there is no understanding
of Marian consecration. Even authors whom I have cited, like De Fiores, today distance themselves from it.
97 In this regard Father Joaquín
Ferrer Arellano has done us a great favor in recent years exposing the weakness of so much modern theology and
mariology 98 and clearly indicating the
Lutheran/Barthian animus against the principle of analogy. 99 Let us have a few examples of how the great masters employ this concept. Here are some very
important instances from Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort:
As all perfection consists in our being conformed, united and consecrated to Jesus it naturally
follows that the most perfect of all devotions is that which conforms, unites, and consecrates us most completely
to Jesus. Now of all God’s creatures Mary is the most conformed to Jesus. It therefore follows that,
of all devotions devotion to her makes for the most effective consecration and conformity to him. The more
one is consecrated to Mary, the more one is consecrated to Jesus. That is why perfect consecration to Jesus
is but a perfect and complete consecration of oneself to the Blessed Virgin, which is the devotion I teach; or
in other words, it is the perfect renewal of the vows and promises of holy baptism. 100
This devotion consists in giving oneself entirely to Mary in order to belong entirely to Jesus
through her. 101
It follows that we consecrate ourselves at one and the same time to Mary and to Jesus.
We give ourselves to Mary because Jesus chose her as the perfect means to unite himself to us and unite us to him.
We give ourselves to Jesus because he is our last end. 102
B. The Principle of Marian Mediation
The astute reader will recognize
that Montfort’s texts cited above are a marvelous fusion of the principle of analogy and that of Marian mediation.
He was, indeed, an extraordinary teacher who knew how to present sound theology to the poor and little ones.
It was one of the great achievements of the late Pope John Paul II to re-launch discussion on Mary’s maternal mediation
in the third part of his great Marian Encyclical Redemptoris Mater
(#38-47) at a time when such discourse had been out of favor in most theological and mariological circles since
the time of the Second Vatican Council. 103
What is perhaps even less noticed is his profound statements about Our Lady in his first encyclical which speaks
about Mary’s mediation without using the word. In Redemptor Hominis #22 he wrote:
For if we feel a special need, in this difficult and responsible phase of the history of the
Church and of mankind, to turn to Christ, who is Lord of the Church and Lord of man’s history on account of the
mystery of the Redemption, we believe that nobody else can bring us as Mary can into the divine and human dimension
of this mystery. Nobody has been brought into it by God himself as Mary has. It is in this that the
exceptional character of the grace of the divine Motherhood consists. Not only is the dignity of this Motherhood
unique and unrepeatable in the history of the human race, but Mary’s participation, due to this Maternity, in God’s
plan for man’s salvation through the mystery of the Redemption is also unique in profundity and range of action.
… The Father’s eternal love, which has been manifested in the history of mankind through the Son whom the Father
gave, “that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life”, comes close to each of us through
this Mother and thus takes on tokens that are of more easy understanding and access by each person. Consequently,
Mary must be on all the ways for the Church’s daily life. Through her maternal presence the Church acquires
certainty that she is truly living the life of her Master and Lord and that she is living the mystery of the Redemption
in all its life-giving profundity and fullness. 104
In his own unique style he was already reaffirming to the Church’s teaching about Mary’s mediation
of all graces. 105
The teaching about the analogy
between Jesus and Mary, between his heart and her heart, and her unique role as Mediatrix he would draw out in
many different ways in the course of his pontificate of over 26 years, precisely in his presentation of Marian
consecration and entrustment. Here a few examples must suffice. In his homily at Fatima on 13 May 1982,
before making his solemn Act of Consecration and Entrustment to the Immaculate Heart of Mary he stated:
On the cross Christ said: “Woman, behold your son!” With these words He opened in
a new way His Mother’s heart. A little later, the Roman soldier’s spear pierced the side of the Crucified
One. That pierced heart became a sign of the redemption achieved through the death of the Lamb of God.
The Immaculate Heart of Mary opened with the words “Woman, behold, your son!” is spiritually
united with the heart of her Son opened by the soldier’s spear. Mary’s heart was opened by the same love
for man and for the world with which Christ loved man and the world, offering Himself for them on the cross, until
the soldier’s spear struck that blow.
Consecrating the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary means
drawing near, through the Mother’s intercession, to the very Fountain of life that sprang from Golgotha.
This Fountain pours forth unceasingly redemption and grace. In it reparation is made continually for the
sins of the world. It is a ceaseless source of new life and holiness.
Consecrating the world to the Immaculate Heart of the Mother means returning beneath
the cross of the Son. It means consecrating this world to the pierced heart of the Savior, bringing it back
to the very source of its redemption. Redemption is always greater than man’s sin
and the “sin of the world.” The power of the redemption is infinitely superior to the whole range of evil
in man and the world.
The heart of the Mother is aware of this, more than any other heart in the whole universe,
visible and invisible.
And so she calls us.
She not only calls us to be converted: she calls us to accept her motherly help
to return to the source of redemption.
Consecrating ourselves to Mary means accepting her help to offer ourselves and the
whole of mankind to Him who is holy, infinitely holy; it means accepting her help – by having recourse to her motherly
heart, which beneath the cross was opened to love for every human being, for the whole world – in order to offer the world, the individual human being, mankind as a whole,
and all the nations to Him who is infinitely holy. God’s holiness showed itself
in the redemption of man, of the world, of the whole of mankind, and of the nations: a redemption brought
about through the sacrifice of the cross. “For their sake I consecrate myself,” Jesus had said (Jn.17:19).
By the power of the redemption the world and man have been consecrated. They have
been consecrated to Him who is infinitely holy. They have been offered and entrusted to Love itself, merciful
The Mother of Christ calls us, invites us to join with the Church
of the living God in the consecration of the world, in this act of confiding by which the world, mankind as a whole,
the nations, and each individual person are presented to the Eternal Father with the power of the redemption won
by Christ. They are offered in the Heart of the Redeemer which was pierced on the cross.
He sounded very similar notes
when he spoke on the last day of 1984 in the Church of the Gesù in Rome, commenting on his Act of Consecration
and Entrustment to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on 25 March of that same year:
Closely united with the Jubilee Year was the Act of Entrustment
to the ImmacuIate Heart of Mary which I carried out in union with all the bishops of the world.
I had already made such an act of entrustment and consecration on 13 May 1982 during my
pilgrimage to Fatima, thus linking myself with the two acts carried out by Pius XII in 1942 and 1952. On
25 March of this year the same act of entrustment and consecration had a collegial character, because it was made
simultaneously by all the bishops of the Church: it was carried out in Rome and at the same time all over
This Act of Consecration was a drawing nearer of the world, through
the Mother of Christ and Our Mother, to the source of life, poured out on Golgotha: it was a bringing back
of the world to the same fount of Redemption, and at the same time, to have the Madonna’s help to offer men and
peoples to him who is infinitely holy (cf. Homily at Fatima, n. 8).
Before the venerated statue of Our Lady of Fatima, brought to Rome for the occasion, I
offered the hopes and anxieties of the Church and the world, invoking the aid of Mary in the struggle against evil
and in preparation for the third millennium. Now is the hour when every person must
make an effort to live faithfully this Act of Consecration to Mary. 107
Again on 22 September 1986
the late Holy Father offered yet another synthesis of his great Acts of Consecration and Entrustment:
We see symbolized in the heart of Mary her maternal love, her singular sanctity and her central
role in the redemptive mission of her Son. It is with regard to her special role in her Son’s mission that
devotion to Mary’s Heart has prime importance, for through love of her Son and of all humanity she exercises a
unique instrumentality in bringing us to him. The act of entrusting to the Immaculate Heart of Mary that
I solemnly performed at Fatima on 13 May 1982, and once again on 25 March 1984 at the conclusion of the Extraordinary
Holy Year of the Redemption, is based upon this truth about Mary’s maternal love and particular intercessory role.
If we turn to Mary’s Immaculate Heart she will surely “help us to conquer the menace of evil, which so easily takes
root in the hearts of the people of today, and whose immeasurable effects already weigh down upon our modern world
and seem to block the paths towards the future” (No. 3).
Our act of consecration refers ultimately to the heart of her Son, for as the Mother of
Christ she is wholly united to his redemptive mission. As at the marriage feast of Cana, when she said “Do
whatever he tells you”, Mary directs all things to her Son, who answers our prayers and forgives our sins.
Thus by I dedicating ourselves to the heart of Mary we discover a sure way to the Sacred
Heart of Jesus, symbol of the merciful love of our Savior.
The act of entrusting ourselves to the Heart of Our Lady establishes a relationship of
love with her in which we dedicate to her all that we have and are. This consecration is practiced essentially
by a life of grace, of purity, of prayer, of penance that is joined to the fulfillment of all the duties of a Christian,
and of reparation for our sins and the sins of the world. 108
He would draw out the implications
of consecration/entrustment to Mary for both individuals and peoples in countless ways in the course of his long
pontificate. Perhaps one of his last and greatest gifts to the Church was his teaching in his last encyclical
Ecclesia de Eucharistia #57:
“Do this in remembrance of me” (Lk. 22:19).
In the “memorial” of Calvary all that Christ accomplished by his passion and his death is present. Consequently
all that Christ did with regard to his Mother for our sake is
also present. To her he gave the beloved disciple and, in him, each of us: “Behold, your Son!”. To
each of us he also says: “Behold your mother!” (cf. Jn. 19: 26-27).
Experiencing the memorial of Christ’s death in the Eucharist also means continually receiving
this gift. It means accepting – like John – the one who is given to us anew as our Mother. It also
means taking on a commitment to be conformed to Christ, putting ourselves at the school of his Mother and allowing
her to accompany us. Mary is present, with the Church and as the Mother of the Church, at each of our celebrations
of the Eucharist. 109
While an enormous number of
further texts could be adduced, it is my sincere hope that those already presented will be an encouragement to
take up the exhortation which John Paul II made on 31 December 1984: “Now is the hour when every person must
make an effort to live faithfully this Act of Consecration to Mary." 110
59. Cf. Arthur Burton
Calkins, “The Cultus of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary in the Papal Magisterium from Pius IX to Pius XII” in Acta Congressus Mariologici-Mariani Internationalis in Sanctuario
Mariano Kevelaer (Germania) Anno 1987 Celebrati II: De
Cultu Mariano Saeculis XIX et XX usque ad Concilium Vaticanum II Studia Indolis Generalioris
( Rome: Pontificia Academia Mariana Internationalis, 1991) 355-392; Ibid., “The Hearts of Jesus and Mary
in the Magisterium of Pope John Paul II” Acta Congressus Mariologici-Mariani Internationalis
in Civitate Onubensi (Huelva - Hispania) Anno 1992 Celebrati IV: De Cultu Mariano Saeculo XX a Concilio Vaticano II usque ad Nostros Dies (Vatican
City: Pontificia Academia Mariana Internationalis, 1999) 147-167.
60. Cf. Totus Tuus 75-98.
61. AAS 34 (1942) 318-19, 324-25; Our Lady: Papal Teachings
(Boston: St. Paul Editions, 1961] [= OL] #374, 380 [alt.].
Cf. AAS 34 (1942) 313 25 for the text of the radio message and
the Act of Consecration in both Portuguese and Italian. For a commentary on this act, cf. Totus Tuus 99-102.
62. 8 December 1981,
(1981) 869, 873 [ORE 714:2, 12]; 13 May 1982, Inseg V/2 (1982) 1574-75, 1586 [ORE 735:5]; 19 May 1982, Inseg V/2 (1982) 1759 [Portugal: Message of Fatima (Boston: St. Paul Editions, 1983)
200]; 25 March 1984, Inseg VII/1 (1984) 775 [ORE 828:9]; 31 December 1984, Inseg VII/2 (1984) 1684 [ORE 869:4]; 22 September 1986,
Inseg IX/2 (1986) 699; 16 October 1988, Inseg XI/3 (1988) 1240 [ORE 161:1].
63. Cf. Totus Tuus 96-98;
Umberto M. Pasquale, S.D.B., Messaggera di Gesù per la Consacrazione del Mondo
al Cuore Immacolato (Rome: Postulazione Casa Generalizia Salesiana, n.d.).
64. Discorsi e radiomessaggi di sua Santità
Pio XII, Vol VI (Vatican City: Tipografia Poliglotta Vaticana, 1951) 281 [OL #389].
65. AAS 56 (1964) 1017 18 [The Pope Speaks (= TPS) Vol. 10:140 141]. Cf. Totus Tuus 106-108.
66. Apostolicam Actuositatem
#4. Cf. Totus Tuus 73, 108.
67. AAS 59 (1967) 475 [TPS 12:286].
68. Cf. Totus Tuus 113-137.
69. Inseg I (1978) 313-314 [Talks of John Paul II (Boston:
St. Paul Editions, 1979) 423-424].
70. Inseg IV/1 (1981) 1241-1247
[ORE 688:7, 10].
71. Inseg IV/1 (1981) 815-828
72. Inseg IV/1 (1981) 824
73.Inseg IV/1 (1981) 1245
74. Inseg IV/2 (1981) 876-879
75. Inseg V/2 (1982) 1586-1590 [ORE 735:5, 12].
76. Inseg VII/1 (1984) 416-418
77. Inseg VII/1 (1984) 417-418 [ORE 823:2].
78. Inseg VII/1 (1984) 774-77; ORE 828:9-10. The text
is exactly the same as that earlier transmitted to all the Bishops of the Church in Inseg VII/1 (1984) 418-21 [ORE 823:2, 12] with the exception
that the Pope inserted between the two sentences of the last paragraph of number 2 these additional words when
he recited it in St. Peter’s Square: Illumina specialmente i popoli di cui tu aspetti
la nostra consacrazione e il nostro affidamento “Enlighten especially the peoples whose
consecration and entrustment by us you are awaiting”. Inseg
VII/1 (1984) 776 [ORE 828:10].
79. Inseg V/1 (1982)
2442-2443 [ORE 744:6].
80. My book Totus Tuus takes
up the major documentation on this matter until 1991. I hope to conclude the documentation in the second
Romano [= OR] 24 maggio
2007, pp. VI-VII [ORE 1994:14].
82. Thus René Laurentin wrote: “Our votive formulas of consecration
to God need to recognize more clearly the place God has accorded to Mary. We need to ensure that our vocabularies
and terminologies in this regard always rise above some of the ambiguous and discredited formulas of the past;
these defective formulas have sometimes served to discredit the great modern spiritual movement of consecrations
through Mary.” René Laurentin, The Meaning of Consecration Today: A
Marian Model for a Secularized Age trans. by Kenneth D. Whitehead (San Francisco:
Ignatius Press, 1992) 165. Cf. my review of this book in Divinitas XXXVII (1993, fasc. III)
83. Cf. Stefano De Fiores, S.M.M., Maria: Nuovissimo
Dizionario, Vol. 1 (Bologna: Centro editoriale dehoniano, 2006) 8.
84. Cf. Laurentin, The Meaning of Consecration Today 98-99.
85. George W. Kosicki, C.S.B., Born of Mary:
Testimonies, Teachings, Tensions (Stockbridge, MA: Marian Press, 1985) 64.
86. Inseg II/1 (1979) 860-861
88. Cf. Totus Tuus 143-151.
89. Cf. Totus Tuus 171-178.
90. Cf. Totus Tuus 143-144;
Apollonio, Cons 87.
91. N. Lohkamp, “Consecration, Personal”
in New Catholic Encyclopedia 4 (NY: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1967) 209; cf. also Joseph
de Finance, S.J., “Consécration” in DSp 2:1579-1582.
92. NDM 409, 412 (my trans.).
93. H. D. Gardeil, O.P., Introduction to the Philosophy
of St. Thomas Aquinas IV: Metaphysics trans. by John A. Otto (St. Louis: B. Herder Book Co., 1967) 53.
94. Cf. J. Bittremieux, “Consecratio Mundi
Immaculato Cordi B. Mariae Virginis,” Ephemerides
Theologicae Lovanienses 20 (1943) 102.
96. On the principle
of analogy as it pertains to Mariology, cf. José M. Bover, S.J., “El Principio Mariologico de Analogia,”
Alma Socia Christi: Acta Congressus Mariologici-Mariani Romæ Anno Sancto
MCML Celebrati (Rome: Pontificia Academia Mariana Internationalis, 1953) I:1-13;
Gabriele M. Roschini, O.S.M., Dizionario di Mariologia (Roma:
Editrice Studium, 1961) 30-31; Roschini, Maria Santissima nella Storia della Salvezza I: Introduzione Generale (Isola del Liri:
Tipografia Editrice M. Pisani, 1969) 171-77; Brunero Gherardini, La Madre: Maria
in una sintesi storico-teologica (Frigento: Casa Mariana Editrice, 2006) 309-10;
Emile Neubert, S.M., Mary in Doctrine (Milwaukee: Burce
Publishing Co., 1954) 5-8.
97. Maria: Nuovissimo Dizionario I:383-386. A fundamental premise of Laurentin’s The Meaning of Consecration
Today is the unacceptablity of the use of the concept of analogy and thus of the term
“consecration to Mary”. His revision of the entire history of Marian consecration is very instructive.
98. Cf. Totus Tuus 162-178.
99. Joaquín Ferrer Arellano, “Marian Coredemption in the Light of Christian
Philosophy” in Mary at the Foot of the Cross II (New Bedford,
MA: Academy of the Immaculate, 2002) 122-124, 135-139; Ibid., “La mediación materna de María
a la luz de la Filosofía Cristiana. Perspectivas ecuménicas” in Maria:
“Unica Cooperatrice alla Redenzione” (New Bedford, MA: Academy of the Immaculate,
103. Cf. Theotokos 242-245,
351-356; Ibid., “Still Mediatress of All Graces?”, Miles Immaculatæ 24 (1988) 122-125.
104. Inseg II/1 (1979) 607-608 [U.S.C.C. Edition 97, 98].
105. Cf. Father Alessandro Apollonio’s treatment of this topic in this book.
Cf. also my article “Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces, in the Papal Magisterium of Pope John Paul II” to appear in
Mary at the Foot of the Cross, VII.
106. Inseg V/2 (1982) 1573-1574 [Portugal: Message of Fatima
(Boston: St. Paul Editions, 1983)79-81]. Emphasis my own.
107. Inseg VII/2 (1984)
1683 84 [ORE 869:4]. Emphasis my own.
108. Inseg IX/2 (1986) 699-700; ORE 959:12 13.
109. Inseg XXVI/1 (2003) 508 [ORE 1790:IX-X]. The teaching
about accepting/welcoming Mary into our lives is another aspect of Marian entrustment which the Pope developed
over the course of the years. Cf. Totus Tuus 240-248.
110. Inseg VII/2 (1984)
1683 84 [ORE 869:4].
Copyright ©; Msgr Arthur Calkins 2011
Version 23rd November 2011
The above essay first appeared in the following book and is reproduced with the kind permission of Dr Mark Miravalle.
Mariology: A Guide for
Priests, Deacons,Seminarians, and Consecrated Persons