Explanation of the Prayer of Total Consecration
We can consecrate ourselves to the Immaculata in various ways and this consecration can be formulated in different words; indeed, a simple interior act of the will is sufficient, since in this is included the essence of our consecration to the Immaculata. But for greater facility there exists a short formula that expresses the spirit of the MI:
Commentary on the Consecration Prayer
by St. Maximilian Kolbe
This act of consecration includes three parts: an invocation; a request that she may deign to accept us as her property; and a please that she may deign to make use of us to conquer other souls for her.
In the invocation we first say,
We turn to her under this name, because she herself deigned to give herself this name at Lourdes: "the Immaculate Conception." God is immaculate, but God is not conceived. Angels are immaculate, but there is no conception with them. The first parents were immaculate before sinning, but neither were they conceived. Jesus was immaculate and conceived, but he was not a conception, for as God he already existed before and to him also applied the words of the name of God as revealed to Moses: "I am who am, who always is and does not begin to be." Other people are conceptions, but stained. She alone is not only conceived, but also a conception and immaculate. This name conceals many more mysteries, which will be discovered in time. Thus she indicates that the Immaculate Conception belongs to her essence.
This name must be dear to her, because it signifies the first grace she received in the first moment of her existence. The first gift is the dearest one. This name is ratified by her life, because she was always unspotted. Hence she was also full of grace and God was always with her, even to the degree that she became the Mother of the Son of God.
Queen of heaven and earth
In a family, the loving parents fulfill the will of the children as much as they are able, insofar as it is not harmful for them. So much more does God, the Creator and prototype of earthly parents, desire to fulfill the will of his creatures, insofar as it is not harmful for them, that is, insofar as it is conformable with his will. The Immaculata did not bend away from the will of God in anything. In all things she loved the will of God, loved God. Hence she is justly called the Omnipotent Beggar. She has influence upon God himself, on the entire world; she is the Queen of heaven and earth. In heaven everyone acknowledges the rule of her love. That group of the first angels that did not want to acknowledge her reign lost its place in heaven.
She is queen also of earth because she is the Mother of God himself, but she both desires and has a right to be freely acknowledged by every heart, be loved as the Queen of every heart, so that through her that heart might become immaculate, similar to her heart and more worthy of union with God, with the love of God, with the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Refuge of sinners
God is merciful, infinitely merciful, nevertheless just and infinitely just. He cannot bear the least sin and must demand full satisfaction for it. The stewardess of the infinite value of the Precious Blood of Jesus that washes away sin, the Immaculata, is the personification of God’s mercy. Therefore she is rightly called the refuge of sinners, of all sinners regardless of the number and greatness of their sins – even though the sinner would think there is no more mercy left for him. Indeed, every cleansing of the soul is for her a new confirmation of her title of Immaculate Conception. The more deeply the soul is plunged into sin, the more does the power of her immaculateness show itself, by the fact that she gives snowy whiteness to such a soul.
Our most loving Mother
The Immaculata is the mother of our entire supernatural life because she is the Mediatrix of the grace of God, hence our mother in the sphere of grace, in the supernatural sphere. She is a most loving mother, because you do not have any mother so affectionate, so loving, so godlike, so Immaculate, so wholly divine.
God has willed to entrust the entire order of mercy to you
In a family, the father is glad at times that the mother stays his punishing hand over the child by her intercession, because justice is satisfied and mercy is shown. Not without cause is justice suspended. Similarly God, in order not to punish us, gives us a spiritual mother, whose intercession he never opposes. Hence the saints claim that Jesus reserved for himself the order of justice, giving to the Immaculata the whole order of his mercy.
In the second part of the act we say,
I, a repentant sinner
We here admit that we are not as she, immaculate, but sinful. What is more none of us can say that he has reached this day without sin, but feels himself guilty of much infidelity. We also say unworthy, because truly between an immaculate being and one soiled by sin there is in some sense an infinite difference. In all truth we acknowledge ourselves unworthy to turn to her, to pray to her, to fall at her feet, in order not to become similar to the proud Lucifer. Hence we also say,
Cast myself at your feet, humbly imploring you to take me with all that I am and have, wholly to yourself as your possession and property
By these words we beg, we beseech the Immaculata to accept us. We offer ourselves to her entirely, in every respect, as her children, and as slaves of love, as servants, as instruments, and under every single aspect, under every title that anyone at any time might be able to express. We become hers as her possession and property, to use us and use us up even to complete destruction, according to her free disposition.
Make of me, of all my powers of soul and body, of my whole life, death and eternity, whatever most pleases you
To her we give our whole being, all the faculties of our soul, and therefore, intellect, memory and will, and all the faculties of the body – therefore, all the senses and each in particular, our strength, health or sickness. We offer her our entire life with all its experiences, pleasant, unpleasant or indifferent. We give her our death, whenever and wherever and in whatever way it befalls us. We give her our whole eternity. We expect that we will be able to belong perfectly to her, only then beyond comparison. In this way we express a desire and an entreaty, so that she allows us to become hers under every aspect more and more perfectly.
In the third part we pray,
Use all that I am and have without reserve wholly to accomplish what was said of you: "She will crush your head," and, "You alone have destroyed all the heresies in the whole world"
On the statues and pictures of the Immaculata we always see the serpent at her feet, surrounding the globe of the earth, as she crushes the head of the serpent.
Satan, soiled by sin, endeavors to soil all souls on earth. He hates her who was always unspotted. He waits for her heel in the persons of her children; she crushes his head in the fight in the person of everyone who has recourse to her. We ask her to use us if she wishes, as an instrument to crush the head of the proud serpent in unfortunate souls. Holy Scripture adds, quoting the verse mentioned above, And you shall lie in wait for her heel. The evil spirit really lies in wait in a special way for those who dedicate themselves to the Immaculata; he desires to insult her at least in them. His endeavor against sincerely dedicated souls always ends with his more shameful defeat, hence his fury is more violent, impotently furious.
The words, You alone have destroyed all heresies in the world, are taken from the prayers which the Church orders her priests to say about her. The Church says "heresies" and not the heretics, whom she loves, and because of this love desires to free them from the error of heresy. The Church says "all," without any exception; "alone," since "she" alone suffices. God is hers with all the treasures of grace for the conversion and sanctification of souls. No corner of the earth is excluded in the whole world. 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.
Let me be a fit instrument in your immaculate and merciful hands for introducing and increasing your glory to the maximum in all the many strayed and indifferent souls
All over the world we see unhappy, erring souls, who do not even know their purpose in life. They love all kinds of earthly goods instead of the one good, namely, God. Many, too, are indifferent to the highest love. We desire the "implanting and developing…in a most eminent degree" of the glory of the Immaculata in those souls. We beg her that we may be instruments in her immaculate and most loving hands, in order that she would not allow us to contradict her, that she constrain us, should we not want to listen to her.
And thus help extend as far as possible the blessed kingdom of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus
The most Sacred Heart of Jesus is the love of God toward men. His kingdom is the reign of love in the hearts of men, which Jesus manifested in the crib, throughout his life, on the cross and in the Eucharist, when he gave his mother as mother to us, and which (love) he desires to enkindle in human hearts. The implanting and developing of the honor of the Immaculata and the conquest of souls for her is the conquest of souls for Jesus’ mother, who will carry the kingdom of Jesus into souls. For as far as possible,
Wherever you enter, there 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
The Immaculata is the "Omnipotent Beseecher." Every conversion and sanctification is the work of grace, and she is the Mediatrix of All Graces. During the apparition of the Miraculous Medal, St. Catherine Laboure saw rays streaming from the rings on the fingers of the Immaculata. They represent graces that the Immaculata liberally bestows upon everyone who desires them. Alphonse Ratisbonne speaks similarly about the rays of grace in his vision.
Allow me to praise you, O sacred Virgin;
Give me strength against your enemies
When Duns Scotus, a Franciscan, went to Paris for a dispute in which he was to defend the privilege of the Immaculate Conception at the University of the Sorbonne, he passed by a statue of the Blessed Mother and prayed to her with the above mentioned words. As tradition has it, the Blessed Mother bowed her head as a sign of confirmation.
In the first part of this petition Duns Scotus turns humbly to the Mother of God and asks that she permit him to praise her. Acknowledging his great unworthiness for such a sublime work as praising the Blessed Mother, he likewise acknowledges that grace depends upon her, and it is enough that she permit him, and his efforts will be crowned with success.
The second part is strong, unconditional, brave. As an instrument in her hand, he asks for strength to overcome the serpent.
Who is her enemy? Whatever is stained, whatever does not lead to God, whatever is not love, whatever comes from the hellish serpent, he himself is her enemy; hence it includes all our defects, or all our faults. We ask her to give us strength against him. For this one purpose all devotions exist, all prayers, the sacraments: that we receive power to overcome all obstacles in our striving for God in a more and more ardent love, in assimilating ourselves to God, in uniting with God himself. Just as we have come from God through a creature, so also we return to God. All nature tells us this. Wherever we glance, we see after action reaction, equal and opposite, and as it were, an echo of God’s operation and his operation also in all creatures.
On the return road of reaction the being endowed with free will meets with difficulties and oppositions, and God permits these trials in order to strengthen that being so much the more in its striving toward him. In order that the being may have sufficient strength for it, it must pray, it must ask for that strength from him, who is the source of all strength and who looks upon the efforts of his creatures with love and desires that it come sincerely to him, for he does not stint his aid. Even if that creature, that dear child of his, stumbles on the way, falls, soils itself, wounds itself, that merciful Father cannot look upon its misfortune. He sends down his only begotten Son, who by his life and teaching points out to him a bright and sure road. By his Sacred Blood of infinite value he washes away the dirt and heals the wounds.
So that the soul from fear of the violated justice of God would not lose hope, God sends a personification of his love, the Spouse of the Spirit of motherly love, the Immaculata, all beautiful, without stain, though a daughter of men, sister of human beings. He commits the stewardship of his entire mercy towards souls. He constitutes her the Mediatrix of grace that was earned by her Son. He makes her the mother of grace, the mother of souls born of grace, reborn, and continually reborn in an always more perfect godlikeness.