On this day 3 of our preparation for total consecration we will ponder Maximilian’s Goal to Win all Souls for Christ through Mary. Contemplating Mary as not only our Mother, but the Mother of all souls – surely spurred St. Maximilian to understand that a Mother cannot be happy if any one of her children is lost. How important it was, then, for him to bring all souls to her!! Nothing short of the whole world would do.
“We could say that what is truly original in St. Maximilian, compared to other forms of consecration to Mary in the Church, is precisely its missionary and universal dimension.
He founded the MI Movement … with a great ideal in his heart…:
“To win the whole world for Christ through the Immaculata” (Cf. KW382);
To embrace the entire globe “… so that she may extend her dominion in the hearts of all those who live in any corner of the earth” (KW1210).
In the original charter of the MI… he indicated the goal of his Movement with these words:
“To bring about the conversion of sinners, heretics, schismatics, etc., especially Freemasons, and the sanctification of all, under the patronage and through the mediation of the B.V.M. Immaculate”(KW1368).
To obtain this purpose St. Maximilian considered one’s total consecration to the Immaculata the essential condition (ibid.).
St. Maximilian founded the MI with a clear objective: that everyone be converted and become a saint. Whoever is consecrated to the Immaculata in the MI Movement embraces the mission of the Church to proclaim the Gospel to every person, to the ends of the earth, collaborating in Mary’s maternal care for the brethren of her Son, which continues until they are led into the happiness of their true home (LG62). …The charismatic gift he received is the spiritual insight about Mary’s maternal role in the Church and in the life of every person, and the intuition regarding the fact that this Mother urges us to collaborate in her maternal mission. (Cf.KW1220)
Jesus’ gift from the Cross is the source of the charism of the MI movement: the gift of His Mother to John which took place at the climax of the mystery of redemption. This motherhood that we received calls us to ensure that Christ is born, through the Mother, in the hearts of all men.
Let us will refer again to a text that defines beautifully the MI identity and mission:
“That is the MI: to let her into all hearts, to bring her into being within all hearts, that by entering those hearts and taking most perfect possession of them, she may there give birth to the sweet Jesus, God, and there raise Him to perfect age. What a beautiful mission! … Is that not true?… The elevation of man to God-Man, through the God-Man’s mother”(KW508).http://missionimmaculata.com/images/Documents/preparation_for_consecration/Preparation_for_MI_Consecration_Part_3.pdf
One of the most important means of bringing Mary into all hearts was to utilize the gift that she herself gave:
Maximilian … described the means that the newly established association would have to use in the work of evangelization:
“1. To entreat the Immaculata possibly every day with this ejaculatory prayer: ‘O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you, and for all those who do not have recourse to you, especially the Freemasons.’
2. To use all legitimate means, according to one’s possibilities in the various states and conditions of life, as occasions arise: which is entrusted to the zeal and prudence of each; let the special means be the Miraculous Medal” (KW21)
In the course of the years, Father Maximilian would not hesitate to state that, in addition to the supernatural means –prayer and sacrifice– all legitimate means inspired by love and all inventions are to be at the service of the Gospel through the Immaculata: “Art, literature, theater, cinema, books, journalism, radio, etc., etc.” (SK991 Q). His mind and heart were always drawn toward new horizons in order to reach every person as soon as possible and to share the gift of Mary, the new life of grace. He would never forget to remind himself and others, however, that in this enterprise we are called to be personally engaged: “But before everything else we ourselves must be hers, even to the utter annihilation of our ego, to a total holocaust, without reserve and without limits (“penance, penance, penance”). Everything for her sake, then: our soul, our body, all the faculties of the soul and of the body, talents, energy, science, art, etc., etc… everything! Everything: the past, the present, and future, life, death, eternity. In a word, everything, everything without even the slightest, tiniest reservation” (ibid.).
While he valued all means, Maximilian reminds us that among them the Miraculous Medal, which Our Lady herself gave us through her appearances to St. Catherine Labourè, has to be cherished in a special way. The Medal is a small yet powerful tool for touching hearts, a mini-catechism on Our Lady’s role in the history of salvation. How many stories of spiritual and physical healing, of conversion and openness to the workings of grace are connected to the Miraculous Medal…! The Medal is not only the exterior sign of our total consecration to Mary (cf. KW991 Q), but also a tool we can all use to introduce her to others: “Behold your Mother!”
St. Maximilian trusted that the Miraculous Medal and the words that Our Mother dictated for it were truly a gift from heaven! Therefore, sharing the medal and the story of it’s origin was, of course, an important part of Militia. To remember the miraculous events of the medal that was given to us, let us listen to St. Maximilian himself recount the story:
The “The so-called Miraculous Medal is universally known. Its origin dates back to 1830, and the fortunate soul to whom the Most Blessed Immaculate Virgin Mary showed it was Catherine Labouré, at that time a novice of the Sisters of Mercy, in Rue du Bac, Paris. Let us listen to her story:
“On November 27, the Saturday before the first Sunday of Advent, while I was doing my evening meditation in deep silence, I thought I could almost hear the rustling of a silk dress, which reached me from the right side of the sanctuary, and I saw the Most Blessed Virgin near the painting of St. Joseph. She was of medium height, but of such extraordinary beauty that it is utterly impossible for me to describe her. She stood upright and was dressed in a white dress with reddish highlights, similar to those usually worn by virgins, that is, buttoned to the neck and tight-sleeved. A white veil covered her head and fell down on both sides to her feet. Her forehead was adorned with a small strip of thin lace that clung tightly to her hair. Her face was partly uncovered and under her feet lay the terrestrial globe, or rather a hemisphere, because I could see only one half of the globe. Her hands, raised to the waist, gently held up another globe (symbol of the whole universe). She kept her eyes turned toward heaven, as if to offer the whole universe to God, and her face shone with ever brighter radiance.
Suddenly there appeared on her fingers rings adorned with precious gems of great value, sending off rays of light that spread out in all directions; these rays surrounded her in such splendor that her face and her clothes became invisible. The precious gems were of varying size, while the rays coming out of them gave off more or less intense beams of light.
I cannot possibly express all that I heard and felt in that short period of time.
While, fascinated by the sight of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, I was carefully observing her majesty, the Most Blessed Virgin turned her benevolent gaze on me, and an inner voice told me: ‘The globe that you see stands for the entire world and every single person.’
At this point I am no longer able to describe the impression that I felt at the sight of the rays that shone so dazzlingly. Then the Most Blessed Virgin told me: ‘The rays that you see emanating from the palms of my hands are the symbol of the graces that I bestow on all those who ask for them,’ and with that she gave me to understand how great her generosity is to those who turn to her… How many graces she grants to all those who call upon her… At that point I lost consciousness, fully absorbed in bliss… Then the Most Blessed Virgin, whose hands were pointing to the ground, was surrounded by some kind of oval frame, on which appeared the following inscription in letters of gold: O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.
Then I heard a voice saying to me: ‘Have a medal struck according to this model; all those who wear it will receive great graces, especially if they wear it around their necks. I shall bestow many graces on those who put their trust in me.’
At that point,” Labouré continued, “it seemed to me that the picture was turning over. And on the other side I saw the letter M, in the center of which stood a cross. Below the monogram of the Most Blessed Virgin there were the Heart of Jesus surrounded by a crown of thorns and the heart of Mary pierced by a sword.”
The vision was repeated three times, and each time Sister Catherine confided in her spiritual director, Father Aladel. But fearing that the whole thing was a delusion, Fr. Aladel kept delaying the striking of the medal. In fact he forbade the nun to even think about it. Eventually he decided to report the matter to the Archbishop, Msgr. De Quélen. When the Archbishop showed that he was in favor of it, the medal was finally struck. It was the year 1832.
Amazing miracles of conversion started to occur immediately, and demand for the medal became so high that as many as 80 million of them were struck in the first ten years.
Is it not fitting, therefore, that as we consecrate ourselves to the Immaculata without reserve, we should grace our chest with the Miraculous Medal? This medal, then, is the external sign of consecration to the Immaculata: it is the second condition.
(Kolbe Writings, 1011)
To end this day of preparation, there is one last writing of St. Maximilian. In it, he is encouraging all Knights of the Immaculata (20,000 of them in Poland!!!) to renew their complete surrender to Mary – and to not forget to pray the prayer that Mary herself taught through the Miraculous Medal – the one to which he felt called to add the additional words:
and for all those who do not have recourse to you, especially the Freemasons.’
From the Writings of St. Maximilian Kolbe (KW 1079):
“Let us pray to the Immaculata with fervor, that she may accept us as her own property. We can do that by using the act of consecration to the Immaculata printed on our enrollment cards. Thus, on this day, all of us knights of the Immaculata renew our act of unconditional surrender to her. Let us do it together, if we can; all of us. In Poland, there are now about 20,000 of us. Let us rekindle in ourselves love and trust toward our most beloved Lady, Queen, Mother, Leader, Hope… Some of us may already have forgotten to recite that short little prayer every day: the ejaculatory prayer that the Immaculata herself taught us, the one listed in our enrollment cards as one of the means [available to us]. May such people be rekindled and resolve no longer to neglect it. Also… each of us ought to ask himself or herself: Have I done all I could in the course of this year for the Immaculata, for the salvation and sanctification of my soul and my neighbor’s? Or am I being reproached by my conscience for my laziness, listlessness, my poor zeal… or my want of self-sacrifice?… Let us examine ourselves… Let this day be a day of rebirth for our souls, a day of renewal in our zeal for expanding the kingdom of the Most Loving Queen of heaven and earth. We ought not to rely at all on ourselves. Neither should we, however, place limits on our trust in her. In every difficulty or temptation, let us have recourse to her and we shall not fail. Let us entrust all our endeavors to her and we shall surely achieve what she wants.
May we take his words to heart and wear the miraculous medal with great fervor and pray this prayer daily (this is the updated form that the Militia prays today):
O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you, and for all those who do not have recourse to you, especially the enemies of Holy Church and all those recommended to you.
As a part of our preparation and our consecration, may we consider not only wearing a miraculous medal, but consider giving them away as St. Maximilian did as an act of love, remembering:
“The Medal is a small yet powerful tool for touching hearts, a
mini-catechism on Our Lady’s role in the history of salvation. How many stories of spiritual and physical healing, of conversion and openness to
the workings of grace are connected to the Miraculous Medal…! The
Medal is not only the exterior sign of our total consecration to Mary
(cf. KW991 Q), but also a tool we can all use to introduce her to
others: “Behold your Mother!”
As we continue to pray:
Come Holy Spirit, living in Mary, help us to prepare well for our Total Consecration.
St. Maximilian, pray for us and help us live out the wisdom you express and help win all souls for Christ through Mary and the Miraculous Medal!
And be with us as we continue to ponder Mary’s place in the Holy Trinity’s plan of salvation – and strive to give ourselves more and more fully and without reserve to Our Blessed Mother, even to giving her: “everything, everything without even the slightest, tiniest reservation”
so that she, in turn, can draw us ever closer to Jesus and make of us great saints!
We ask this in Jesus’s Name, Amen.
© Janet Moore 2019. All Rights Reserved.