Lent is upon us. In just two short days, we’ll be celebrating Ash Wednesday, beginning the season of lent and the journey towards the cross and subsequent resurrection. The Lenten season is my favorite season on the liturgical calendar but, I’ll admit that for the past several weeks, a question has been looming in my mind: what will Lent 2012 look like?
I know that a great number people are using the last several days before Ash Wednesday to ask, “What am I going to give up for Lent?” I’m thankful that so many people know that the season entails sacrifice. Self-denial, on some level, is good and character-building for anyone. But lent is about so much more for us Catholics. It’s a time of preparation, a time of renewal and a time of seeking out the Christ who laid down his life and conquered death for us. The celebration of Easter is so much sweeter on the other side of the journey that is lent.
So, what will lent 2012 look like for you? Are you giving up something that’s distracting you from pursuing God? Are you adding in spiritual disciplines that will sharpen your focus on Him?
Last year, I gave up talk radio. I found myself filling the time in my daily commute to and from work with voices of divisiveness. It was a great time of clearing those voices out of my head and dedicating that time to more prayer and meditation.
This year, my lenten journey is taking on a slightly different focus. I wrote recently about a Marian journey I’ve been on for the last several months and, upon reading the piece, several friends recommended that I take on the “Total Consecration to Jesus Through Mary.” The challenge sounded daunting, terrifying and, perhaps, “too” Catholic. But, despite my reservations, I decided to look into it.
What is the Total Consecration to Jesus Through Mary?
The Total Consecration to Jesus Through Mary is a set of spiritual exercises (prayer, examination of conscience, education) developed by St. Louis Marie de Montfort. The church teaches us that Mary, the mother of Jesus, is the perfect model of faith and holiness. Although we worship the triune God alone, we venerate Mary and honor her for the life of faith that she lived. We seek to emulate her model of holiness and by drawing closer to her, we know that she always points us towards her most Holy son Jesus.
Why not just seek Jesus?
Certainly, Jesus is the source of our hope and our salvation and the end goal is always to be more like him. But, he gave us the gift of his mother, a model of faith. It’s our choice whether we treasure and enjoy this gift or not. The total consecration to Jesus through Mary is just one way utilize this gift.
How does it work?
Over 33 days of preparation for the total consecration, individuals spend 5-15 minutes a day in prayer and meditation, which serve as a renewal of our baptismal vows. The goal is to examine ourselves, casting off those parts which distract and remove us from the heart of Christ, while seeking to draw closer to Him. Typically, the process of preparation culminates in a Marian Feast day in which people can “make” their consecration to Jesus.
When does it start?
The next Marian feast day is the Annunciation of the Lord on March 26, 2012, which means that the time of preparation for that day begins today, February 20, 2012. All are invited to affirm or renew their consecration at Masses held throughout the diocese on March 26.
How do I get the prayers/text?
All of the prayers and resources are available for free online. The “New Evangelizers” website has full text and downloadable audio versions of the prayers, as well as an overview for those wanting more information.
Please keep me in your prayers throughout this journey and, if you decide to come along with me on the journey towards the Total Consecration, please let me know in comments section so that I can keep you in my prayers as well. Towards Christ we go together…