Andrew recently completed a Marian Consecration Program with The Somascan Young Adults at St. Jerome’s Spearwood. Last month he shared his thoughts as he started the program; he now shares his reflections looking back at the journey:
Marian Consecration: Life Lessons along the Journey
Just last week, I consecrated myself to the Virgin Mary. As is often the case, the journey to consecration was as important as the consecration itself. Similar to developing a relationship with your partner before your wedding day, a consecration to Mary shouldn’t happen without preparing your heart and mind first. On the outside, looking in, the journey to Marian Consecration was 33 days of daily reading, and a daily prayer. On the inside, however, it was one of the most soul challenging and life-changing experiences of my life.
Have you ever played that hide-and-seek game where people tell you are getting ‘warmer’ to a particular hidden object? Many times when we wonder if we are making the right decision or are on the right path, we rely on a ‘gut feeling’; the feeling of being closer to a particular truth, or something that resonates within us. I felt a lot of the unknown, a lot of mystery, even confusion when I began, and journeyed to consecration, so many times I relied on that gut feeling. The further I dove into the preparation for consecration, something began to stir within me: I started feeling warmer! That strong gut feeling, that feeling of warmth as if I were nearing the truth itself.
I’ve heard it said that God only says no if it leads to a bigger yes. That has been a big lesson through the consecration journey; the plan I think I have for my life, and God’s perfect plan for my life, often differ. And when this happens, there is generally a big reason for it, even if I can’t see it at the time. Mary leads us, brings us closer to God so as to reveal the bigger yes in our lives. As Mary gave her yes to God, so may we give ours to her, and to God’s will in our lives.
Nothing worth doing is easy, and we are constantly reminded to ‘Be not afraid’. As my Fr Rob Galea merchandise t-shirt says, ‘Do It Scared’- if it scares you, do it anyway. Because we are always going to face obstacles to the right path- fear, tiredness, lack of motivation, temptation. One of the hard lessons I faced over the 33 days (and beyond) was acting upon the answer to the question, ‘does this lead me closer to Mary (and thus to God) or further away?’ I didn’t start asking myself that question until more than halfway through.
During this 33-day prayer journey, I have felt an almost overwhelming barrage of temptation towards sin, dragging me off the path to consecration. Mary is such a powerful bringer of souls to Christ that the devil will try anything to prevent it, this was an incredibly profound, and life-altering realisation. Whenever we are able to overcome temptation, we are winning small, but important victories in the battle for our souls. Imagine that! Arming ourselves with the gifts of the Rosary and Sacraments helps us, through Mary’s intercession, literally beating back the devil!
The battle can be easily lost when we are frustrated, tired, and unmotivated to pray or even go to mass. But those are the moments where we need prayer and the sacraments the most! If we can get ourselves to a mass, to set aside some time in prayer even amidst our frustrations, those are the moments we grow most in our spiritual life. The amount of times I have almost fallen asleep listening to a homily, wondering why I was there, to then be filled with the most inspiring message of God’s love. In fact, I get the most from prayer when I stay the course even when it isn’t easy.
Every day through the program we learnt new and exciting ways to strengthen our hearts to give to Mary. One of the most practical pearls of wisdom I picked up was keeping your rosary beads on you as often as you can. So I’ve started keeping my set in my pocket. And I noticed one thing changed almost instantly- I’m praying more! I am more inspired to plunge my hand into my pocket to say a Hail Mary between walking from the car into work; holding the crucifix in my hand as if it were the comforting hand of my mother herself.
The beads even opened up a conservation about Mary. I was chatting with a gentleman who asked me if I were a man of prayer. And as the band Men At Work sing about whether someone ‘speaks their language’, instead of smiling and giving him a vegemite sandwich, I smiled and pulled out my rosary beads from my pocket.
With the rosary, with other sacramentals, with daily readings and with prayer, Mary leads us closer to Christ. Just like a big warm hug from our earthly mother can be the best thing in times of stress, our Heavenly Mother is always there to give us a spiritual hug from the bottom of her Immaculate Heart.
Everyone on earth is a potential saint. And I’m convinced that the quickest and easiest way to sainthood is THROUGH Mary! Our earthly mission is to get to heaven; her heavenly mission is to bring us closer to Christ. A Marian Consecration is like an express elevator straight to the Heart of Christ. Is it time you got on board the elevator?
By Andrew Smith
Andrew Smith is a Perth local who, by day, loves working with people to help them express their most optimal life, and by night dreams of his next overseas adventure. In his spare time, he is at the beach or being a big kid with his nieces and nephews.