I was 21 when I realized I was being stalked by Our Lady.
In my defense, it wasn’t as obvious as it sounds. Her books just randomly showed up where I might see them, even though they hadn’t been read in forever. I was constantly surrounded by ladybugs, even inside buildings. I had discussions with two different people about Marian consecration and I didn’t even know what that was.
...On second thought, maybe it was obvious.
Honestly, though, at that point in my life, a relationship with Mary wasn’t even something I considered. Why would I need to? I didn’t hate her. I didn’t disrespect her. I believed all dogmas concerning her. What more was there for me to do?
With that kind of attitude, it’s unsurprising that my relationship with Christ was pretty much the same at that point. I fulfilled my “obligations” as a Catholic in that I went to Mass, received the sacraments, and tried to be a good person. I didn’t hate God. I didn’t disrespect Him. I just wasn’t choosing Him.
And that’s where I was when my friend explained that Mary might be stalking me.
Generally, when a saint is “stalking” you, they just want you to ask for their intercession and a novena usually does the trick. In this instance, though, Our Lady made it very clear that she wanted more from me. During Lent of 2015, I read St. Louis de Montfort’s True Devotion to Mary and later that summer I consecrated myself to Jesus through Mary using his method (while there are multiple methods for Marian consecration, St. Louis’ work is the basis for them). Though I didn’t know it then, that was the turning point in my relationship with God.
For non-Catholics especially, this doesn’t make sense. How could Marian consecration bring us closer to Christ? At the very least, Marian consecration seems mildly heretical, if not idolatrous.
What people don’t understand, however, is this devotion is meant to be a path to Christ, not the end itself. As St. Louis de Montfort states in True Devotion to Mary,
“This devotion is a perfect way to reach our Lord and be united to him, for Mary is the most perfect and the most holy of all creatures, and Jesus, who came to us in a perfect manner, chose no other road.”
Until I consecrated myself to Mary, I’d never considered how purposefully God employed Mary in our salvation. Inherently, I knew that our natural state is one where we are united with God. That’s how we were created to be. That’s what sin destroyed. That’s what had to be restored by Christ’s death and resurrection. But I’d never thought about how Jesus could have just appeared as a full-grown man instead of an infant. That’s more what people expected anyway, right?
Maybe. But that wasn’t the perfect plan for salvation.
The perfect path for salvation was for Jesus to be born of Mary. To be contained in Mary. To be raised and nurtured by Mary. To visibly obey and respect Mary. To come to us through Mary.
And if Mary was the most perfect way for Christ to come to us, it follows then that she is the most perfect way for us to return to Him. As St. Louis de Montfort explains,
“Saints are moulded in Mary… St. Augustine speaking to our Blessed Lady says, "You are worthy to be called the mould of God”… Anyone who is cast into this divine mould is quickly shaped and moulded into Jesus... At little cost and in a short time he will become Christ-like since he is cast into the very same mould that fashioned a God-man.”
This is Our Lady’s role, but she needs our consent to shape us. Our consecration is our Fiat, when we give her everything we are, every good deed we do, every spiritual benefit we receive, to do with as she pleases. The moment we consecrate ourselves to Mary, everything we have belongs to her.
But Our Lady doesn’t hoard these gifts. Everything we give her, she brings to Christ. St. Louis de Montfort compares her to a queen who offers a peasant’s gift to the king. Even though the gift is unrefined, the King accepts it because the Woman He loves offers it. Similarly, when we are consecrated to her, Mary gives our gifts on our behalf. She presents our offerings and even when they aren’t worthy, He can’t refuse her.
But this isn’t a one way street. When we give everything to Mary, she returns the favor. As she molds us into the image of Christ that we’re meant to be, she also instructs us in her virtues and takes us under her protection. This is particularly clear with regards to purity. Devotion to Our Lady has long been associated with protecting one’s purity, and a twelfth century practice of praying 3 Hail Mary’s every morning and night confirms that. The saints, most notably St. Faustina, also attest to this. In one of her diary entries, St. Faustina recalls Christ promising she would never again be tempted to impurity, and even this was a grace she attributed to Our Lady’s intercession.
That doesn’t mean that devotion to Our Lady means we’re never tempted or that we never fall. But when people run to Mary, she doesn’t ignore them. Instead, she pulls them close to protect them. Just as a child finds protection in the arms of her mother, so a child of Mary finds protection in the embrace of Our Lady.
That’s not to say life’s easy after consecration. Nope. If anything, it’s more difficult, because the devil knows Mary’s role in salvation and he will do whatever it takes to draw us away from her.
But if, as St. Bonaventure says, “Men do not fear a powerful hostile army as the powers of Hell fear the name and protection of Mary”, how can we not be confident? If we are cradled in the same arms that cradled our Savior, what is there that can harm us? As long as we stay in the arms of Our Lady, tucked close to the heart of the Mother of God, then what is there to fear?
Noelle M. is a cradle Catholic with a love for adoration and all things football (Roll Tide). She spends her days immersed in stories and air conditioning in an effort to survive the 9 month summer of the Deep South (so far, so good). A romantic at heart, she can occasionally (always) be coaxed into ballroom dancing. For more of Noelle M., visit her blog, https://beingevanescent.wordpress.com/ or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org