Our Lady lovingly leads us to her Son Jesus, so we go to Jesus with our hand in hers. St. Louis Marie de Montfort (1673-1716) was a French priest and missionary who fostered devotion to Jesus through Mary, especially through total consecration. St. Louis said, “If then we are establishing sound devotion to our Blessed Lady, it is only in order to establish devotion to our Lord more perfectly, by providing a smooth but certain way of reaching Jesus Christ.” We poor sinners ask Our Lady to lead us to her Son Jesus, that we may be saints.
St. Louis de Montfort (whose feast day is April 28) is probably best known for his classic work True Devotion to Mary. In it he prepares the reader to consecrate himself totally to Our Lady, so as to belong totally, without reserve, to her dear Son Jesus.
St. Louis says: “Our entire perfection consists in being conformed, united, and consecrated to Jesus Christ. Hence the most perfect of all devotions is undoubtedly that which conforms, unites and consecrates us most perfectly to Jesus Christ.
“Now, since Mary is of all creatures the one most conformed to Jesus Christ, it follows that among all devotions that which most consecrates and conforms a soul to our Lord is devotion to Mary, his Holy Mother, and that the more a soul is consecrated to her, the more will it be consecrated to Jesus Christ.”
The beautiful prayer below is used during the 33-day preparation period for Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary according to the method of St. Louis de Montfort. This total consecration is a way of practicing true devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Queen of heaven, the Mother of Mercy, our loving Mother. O Mary, our loving Mother, pray for us!
St. Louis de Montfort Prayer
Hail Mary, beloved Daughter of the Eternal Father! Hail Mary, admirable Mother of the Son! Hail Mary, faithful spouse of the Holy Ghost! Hail Mary, my dear Mother, my loving Mistress, my powerful sovereign! Hail my joy, my glory, my heart, and my soul! Thou art all mine by mercy, and I am all thine by justice. But I am not yet sufficiently thine. I now give myself wholly to thee without keeping anything back for myself or others. If thou still seest in me anything which does not belong to thee, I beseech thee to take it and to make thyself the absolute Mistress of all that is mine. Destroy in me all that may be displeasing to God; root it up and bring it to naught; place and cultivate in me everything that is pleasing to thee.
May the light of thy faith dispel the darkness of my mind; may thy profound humility take the place of my pride; may thy sublime contemplation check the distractions of my wandering imagination; may thy continuous sight of God fill my memory with His presence; may the burning love of thy heart inflame the lukewarmness of mine; may thy virtues take the place of my sins; may thy merits be my only adornment in the sight of God and make up for all that is wanting in me.
Finally, dearly beloved Mother, grant, if it be possible, that I may have no other spirit but thine, to know Jesus and His divine will; that I may have no other soul but thine, to praise and glorify the Lord; that I may have no other heart but thine, to love God with a love as pure and ardent as thine.
I do not ask thee for visions, revelations, sensible devotion, or spiritual pleasures. It is thy privilege to see God clearly; it is thy privilege to enjoy heavenly bliss; it is thy privilege to triumph gloriously in Heaven at the right hand of thy Son and to hold absolute sway over angels, men and demons; it is thy privilege to dispose of all the gifts of God just as thou willest.
Such is, O heavenly Mary, the “best part,” which the Lord has given thee and which shall never be taken away from thee—and this thought fills my heart with joy. As for my part here below, I wish for no other than that which was thine: to believe sincerely without spiritual pleasures; to suffer joyfully without human consolation; to die continually to myself without respite; and to work zealously and unselfishly for thee until death as the humblest of thy servants.
The only grace I beg thee to obtain for me is that every day and every moment of my life I may say “Amen; so be it”—to all that thou didst do while on earth; “Amen; so be it”—to all that thou art now doing in Heaven; “Amen; so be it”—to all that thou art doing in my soul, so that thou alone mayest fully glorify Jesus in me for time and eternity. Amen.