Andrew has just begun a Marian Consecration Program with The Somascan Young Adults at St. Jerome’s Spearwood he shares his story as he embarks on his prayer journey:
Why Consecrate: A Story of the beginning of a Young Adults Marian Consecration Program
It was a dark and stormy night, as it normally is when most tales of adventure and wonder begin. I was stuck in my usual evening routine; ignoring the voice deep within me whispering suggestions of activities that are a healthy use of my time, and instead entertaining the bad habit that is too much mind-numbing Facebook use. All of a sudden, up popped both an event invitation, and a message from my recently-returned-to-Australian-shores friend and Somascan Brother, Sheldon. It mentioned ‘Marian’ and ‘Consecrate’, and was on an evening I was free, and admittedly that was most of the investigation I did. But when Brother Sheldon thinks something is a good idea, it generally is. It wasn’t until I was about a week into the program did I really figure out what I was in for, and more importantly, why this was perfect for me, in my life, at this particular time. Why? I am so glad you asked!
I can easily get behind an idea I know nothing about if the person suggesting it is a trusted friend who intends to do good. For as long as I have known him, Brother Sheldon has had a burning desire to bring people to Christ, much like St Maximillian Kolbe (who we learn about during the program). So, getting along to the first night was easier; after that, I only had to sit and listen and let God’s will unfold in my life.
Things we do repetitively become a habit, and the longer a habit is in place, the easier it is to fall back into it. And for me lately, I’ve noticed those old habits of wasting time staring at a glowing screen taking precedence over a strong prayer life. I had no idea what a Marian Consecration Program was, let alone the life changing effects of not only being closer to our Mother but entrusting our lives to her completely. I believe it was God calling me back, helping create some better habits in life, by being with me in that room on the first day. Now, I struggle with making massive life changes all at once. Or making lots of small changes but in quick succession. So a program that involves a long litany of prayers to get through daily might not have been the easiest thing to accomplish. That was part of what was involved in Marian Consecration Programs of the past, especially pioneered by St Louis de Montfort. More recently, the program (in my humble opinion) is a lot more ‘user-friendly’; an easier program, still with positive habit forming daily practices, but importantly simple enough that can be easily achieved every day. The way I see it, if a positive habit can be formed in the program, especially if that habit is more time with Mary, then by the end of the program there will be a lot more people consecrating themselves, which in itself is a very good thing.
The two questions that popped into my mind at the beginning were ‘Why consecrate, and what is involved in the program?’ The latter may be easier to start answering. 33 days to Morning Glory is the book we are reading from; over 33 days we have 4 weeks of reflection, plus 5 days to prepare for consecration. Each week looks at the lives of a different saint, and the impact Marian Consecration had on their lives; St Louis de Montfort, St Maximillian Kolbe, St Theresa of Calcutta, and St John Paul II. Each day is an easy yet incredibly enlightening reading, with a prayer, that is our daily focus, and the aim is simple; have that day reflecting on the reading and the prayer, whilst spending more time with Mary.
As to why consecrate? Well, I bet I can answer that question a lot easier at the end of the 33 days, but Mary wants us to be closer to Jesus, through her. The more we give her, the more we get in return. Each day on this program I am diving deeper into my faith and learning new little gems, beautiful, life giving aspects that I didn’t realise. What is most important is that all this comes at a time in my life where I could really benefit from more quiet time reading, time in prayer, time in adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament, time holding Mary’s hand (in the form of actually holding rosary beads, instead of counting on my fingers) whilst saying a rosary. What I am realising is that these struggles of bad habits, poor prayer life, generally not having a strong relationship with Mary at all, these issues I face are not unique to me, but of many people, even though with a strong faith. So when the question popped up, ‘Should I go through a consecration program? Do I have the time to?’ Well, do I really have the time NOT to? If the goal is to know God more intimately and eventually reach heaven, giving your life over to Mary is a pretty quick and easy way to do that. And all it takes is 33 days. Even with all my time wasting bad having, I can manage that.
Whilst it may have been a dark and stormy night, both outside my house and inside my head, I am feeling that after 33 days, the forecast will be a lot brighter. Every moment in life is an opportunity to love, to learn, to grow, and become closer to God, and in this instance, through Mary.
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.