I’m sure this hand-wrapped-special present is one of its kind.
But look closely, parents, and you’ll recognize something familiar in the jaggedly cut packaging tape (using bare hands when scissors are above reach), the skewed wrapping paper and the smushed-reffluffed-recycled red bow.
Not exactly professional looking, but thinking of the intensive labor that went into cutting, packaging and duct-taping (not to mention the saving up and the thought that went into shopping for the gift) always has this mother smiling before I even see the thingamabob or tchotchke inside it.
On Our Blessed Mother’s birthday, our family usually celebrates with a Mass and sometimes bake a cake or make an offering of flowers. This year, we’re going to renew our consecration to Mary by offering our lives to our celestial Mama.
I know I harp on consecration a lot (hey, I’m a mother so I’m an expert at nagging) but I don’t know if enough Catholics appreciate Mary’s role as Queen of Heaven or fully understand it. The value of consecration to the Immaculate (sinless) Heart of Mary was best explained by St. Louis de Montforte in The Secret of Mary:
“To consecrate ourselves thus to Jesus through Mary is to place in Mary’s hands our good actions, which, although they may appear to us to be good, are often very imperfect and unworthy of the sight and the acceptance of God, before Whom even the stars not pure. Ah! Let us pray then, to our dear Mother and queen that, having received our poor present, she may purify it, sanctify it, embellish it, and thus render it worthy of God.
"All that our soul possesses is of less value before God, the heavenly Householder; when it comes to winning His friendship and favor, than a worm-eaten apple presented to the king by a poor farmer in payment for the rent of his farm. But what would such a farmer do if her were wise, and if he were well liked by the queen? Would he not give his apple to the queen? And would she not out of kindness to the poor man, as also out of respect for the king, remove from the apple all that is worm-eaten or spoiled and then place it in a gold dish and surround it with flowers? Would the king refuse to accept the apple then? Or would he not rather receive it with joy from the hands of the queen who favors that poor man? ‘If you wish to present something to God, no matter how small it may be,’ says St. Bernard, ‘place it in Mary’s hands, if you do not wish to be refused.’”
Thus, through Our Blessed Mother’s Immaculate Heart, our human and flawed petitions, offerings…and our very lives look to Jesus like this:
Friends in Christ, if you want to offer Jesus the perfect gift, consecrate your lives to Our Lady (or renew your consecration today) so that your souls become a present that she can present worthily to her Son. The act of consecration is found here. Happy Birthday, Mama Mary!
*This is the book that prepared our 33 day consecration (which includes St. Louis de Montfort’s books and reflections by Blessed John Paul II) available at www.familyland.org. The wonderful thing about this book is that it involves a Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary in union with St. Joseph for families.
Another option is the 33 Days to Morning Glory by Fr. Michael Gaitley, which includes writings by St. Faustina, Mother Teresa and Blessed John Paul II.