Saint Louis de Montfort and Total Devotion to the Blessed Mother

Most of Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort’s intense ministry and fiery preaching revolved around two essential practices: frequent, if not daily, reception of Holy Communion, and total, radical entrustment of the whole person – body, soul, and merit – to the Mother of God. His wholehearted belief in approaching Jesus by giving all to the Blessed Mother was inherited through his seminary education, but his notion that anyone and everyone could participate in total devotion to her was revolutionary. But he firmly believed and taught that for all, “Mary is the safest, easiest, shortest, and most perfect way of approaching Jesus”, and that such a relationship with the Blessed Mother was attainable by anyone who sought it.

Though he was ordained a diocesan priest in 1700 – not exactly the “wandering preacher” position he’d hoped for in his younger days – his passionate sermons attracted followers far and wide. Moreover, Saint Louis wrote extensively about the Blessed Mother, the Rosary, and the benefits of intentional and happy slavery – his words – to her. Today, we know this devotion (and its 34-day formula) as the Marian Consecration.

This prolific saint wrote True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin in 1712, but, like Our Lady of Montserrat, this masterpiece vanished and was rediscovered in the late 1800s. His formalized consecration has inspired many to practice a uniquely intimate Marian devotion. Among these devotees were Saint Maximilian Kolbe, who condensed the 34-day preparation into a novena, and Pope Saint John Paul II, who adopted “Totus tuus” from de Montfort as his papal motto. Today, bookstores and websites are flooded with devotional how-tos, small consecration prayers, and in-depth explorations of True Devotion.

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But why spend so much time growing closer to Mary when we could spend that time on Jesus? This is a common question of devotional beginners and skeptics alike. Simply put, in Saint Louis’ words, real devotion to Mary “is a smooth but certain way of reaching Jesus Christ… necessary, simply and solely because it is a way of reaching Jesus perfectly, loving Him tenderly, and serving Him faithfully.” All Saint Louis wanted for his followers was to approach Jesus through Mary, and he made such clear in his writings. Increasing one’s Marian devotion augments and perfects our attention to Jesus Christ!

Marian Consecration is, according to the saints who have lived it, a beautiful and liberating way to live. Like any prayer, we need patience, practice, perseverance, and sometimes a reminder. Many who consecrate themselves to Mary choose to wear a physical reminder of their devotion so that in highs and lows alike, they can look at whatever reminder they’ve chosen to keep them going – a scapular, a necklace, a medal or a chain bracelet.

Still, there is only one essential requirement for a good Marian Consecration: an open heart to the Blessed Mother and confidence in the will of God.

Our Lady is celebrated under many names, from popular apparitions to small-town titles. Each reveal something different about the Blessed Mother to us – and affirms what we already know of her love and intercessory power! Deepen your devotion to Our Lady with Miracles, Mysteries, & Mary, a monthly collection of stories, Church teaching, reflections, and so much more – guaranteed to expand your knowledge of Our Blessed Mother. Sign up today to receive this Marian content, right to your inbox, and check out our archive page to catch up on our year of Our Lady!

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Colleen R. Schena serves as the Junior Copywriter for Relevant Radio. She is a graduate of Marian University Indianapolis with a Bachelor of Arts in Theology. Colleen has a deep passion for writing fiction and nonfiction, hiking, and nature photography.