The United States of America are badly in need of conversion. My readers, I think, will take this as axiomatic, so I shall not attempt to prove it. Instead, I would like to propose, in very simple terms and briefly, that Marian consecration is a most excellent way to bring about the conversion of America (i.e., the great majority of Americans) to the one, true Faith.
Why? The answer is quite simple. Saint Maximilian Kolbe reveals it in these tender and grave words addressed to the Holy Virgin: “For wherever you enter you obtain the grace of conversion and growth in holiness, since it is through your hands that all graces come to us from the most Sacred Heart of Jesus” (from his Act of Consecration). The Saint goes on to explain that “God is hers [Mary’s] with all the treasures of grace for the conversion and sanctification of souls. … In this act of consecration we beg her to use us to destroy the whole serpent coiled about the earth, the serpent representing the various heresies.”
Mary is the Mediatrix of all graces: that is why the grace of conversion will come through her. Our dear Founder, Father Leonard Feeney, explained it this way:
From Mary, all grace overflows into us. She is the Mediatrix of All Graces. Nothing comes from God to us except through Mary. Nothing goes from us to God except through her. Saint Bernardine of Siena says, “All the gifts and graces that we receive from God are given by Mary, to whom, when, and as she pleases.” Saint Louis Marie de Montfort says that no one gets into Heaven without venerating the Blessed Virgin Mary. (from “The Mother of God”)
Lex orandi lex credendi. The Law of praying is the law of believing. All prayer and devotion has a doctrinal foundation, and the practice of Marian Consecration is founded upon the doctrine of Mary’s universal mediation. If Mary were not the mediatrix of grace, this form of devotion would make no sense, as Saint Maximilian Maria Kolbe himself observed.
When I speak of “Marian consecration,” I mean personal consecration, whereby an individual consecrates himself according to the formula of Saint Louis de Montfort, that of Saint Maximilian Kolbe, or some other act of Marian consecration. But I do not restrict my meaning to personal devotion. There is a great tradition of consecrating entire nations to Our Lady. (So, at Fatima, the Blessed Virgin promised that Russia would convert to Catholicism when the Pope, together with all the bishops of the world, consecrates that great nation to her Immaculate Heart.) Portugal, Spain, France, Poland, and other Catholic nations have been consecrated to Our Lady at various times and have reaped heavenly blessings from these acts.
The United States were dedicated to the Immaculate Conception by Bishop John Carroll, its first bishop, in 1792. In 1846, all the bishops of the nation officially named the Immaculate Conception the Patroness of the United States. An act of Consecration to the Immaculate Conception was made by the Bishops of the U.S. on the occasion of the dedication of the National Basilica in 1959 (the formula used was the same as, or very close to, the one employed by Bishop Carroll). Finally, in 2006 the Bishops renewed this act, this time consecrating the nation to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary.
If the acts of our hierarchy are to have any lasting effect, we Catholics of every state in life must make, renew, and live our own personal Marian consecrations. All advocates of total consecration to the Blessed Virgin tell us that the consecration is not a passing act. For it to be fruitful, it must be lived. We Catholic Americans have great examples of living the Marian consecration in the persons of Saint Katharine Drexel and the Servant of God, Father Thomas Fredrick Price.
I should like to emphasize that Marian consecration is not a phenomenon on the edges of Christianity. It is not merely a form of devotion that grew out of this or that school of piety. Although different schools have given it shape — especially the “French School,” out of which comes Saint Louis de Montfort — Marian consecration is a thing central to the Gospel. This is because Christians are by grace what Christ is by nature, children of God. Christ is constantly renewing the mystery of His Incarnation in the Mystical Body, and Mary is an active participant, being Mother of the Body as well as of the Head. Beyond that, the Christian life is a conformity to Christ, and by drawing close to the Sinless Mother of God, we are made more conformable to Jesus, for she is the “great mold of God,” as Saint Louis de Montfort said. Further, in giving Our Lady and Saint John to one another at the Foot of the Cross, Our Lord entrusted — consecrated, even — all the members of his Mystical Body to His Immaculate Mother. What He did on the Cross, we must second by our own volitional acts, and the act of perfect consecration to the Immaculate Virgin is an excellent way to do this. For, in so doing, we invite into our souls her who obtains for us “the grace of conversion and growth in holiness.”
“Victory, if it comes, will certainly be a victory through Mary”!
(Our store site has several resources to help in making and living one’s Marian consecration.)