Last weekend, I found myself in several events where I had the pleasure of meeting new friends from different religious groups.
One group stood out among the rest, as it was composed of fairly young men and women. I was impressed by their passion and drive to spread the devotion to Mother Mary. I was especially touched because at such a young age, they were already dedicating so much of their energy and time to Our Lady.
Today, May 1, marks the start of numerous festivals celebrating Our Lady, and incidentally is the launch of the Kabataang Mediatrix, which is the youth group of the Confraternity of Mary Mediatrix of all Grace.
In honor of the month of Mary, allow me to share this informative and inspiring article with all of you.
The surest, fastest, shortest way to Jesus
By Nirva Delacruz
What is “the surest, fastest and shortest way to Jesus”? It is through Mary, His mother.
It brings to mind a very Filipino habit of “pakiusap” that happens through bloodlines, from mother to son, son to mother. In one of his talks, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle explained how this special relationship between Mary and Jesus is somehow mirrored in his own bond with his mother.
He reminisced on how, when he was still bishop of Imus, he already had an impossible schedule that made him wish for powers of bilocation. There was always a talk to give, people to minister to, Holy Masses to be said. So what would people do? People approached Ms. Tagle, his mother.
Somehow, these clever individuals who wanted to have a Mass said, a house blessed by Cardinal Tagle would somehow find that their requests were on the “express lane” and somehow had more chances of getting considered, simply because they had a mediator whom the Cardinal would find very hard to refuse!
Now, imagine that your entire life—all your good actions, thoughts, desires, dreams—are delivered into the hands of this powerful woman called Mary. What unspeakable good she could do with our small efforts.
As Brenda Padilla, head of the Confraternity of Mary Mediatrix of all Grace often described it, “Mama Mary will take your one ‘Hail Mary’ and multiple it a million times and bring it in front of Jesus as her own prayer!”
As the country prepares to celebrate May as Marian month, with major feast days of the Blessed Virgin Mary happening during the month, it is a beautiful realization that this “express lane” to Jesus is not just a vague abstraction, but is made very real through what is called the “total consecration to Jesus through Mary.”
In a truly fitting fashion to celebrate the feast day of the Queen of Heaven today, May 1, hundreds of lay leaders and youth will gather for a Total Consecration Pilgrimage and Conference at Our Lady of Carmel in Lipa, Batangas.
Lay organizations like the Legion of Mary and the Soldiers of Christ, as well as the Knights of Columbus, will listen to Fr. Paul Marquez give the first talk on “The Meaning of Total Consecration.”
This will be followed by the second session, which will focus on “Knowledge of Self,” to be given by Salesian priest and psychologist Fr. Dennis Paez, SDB. After the difference between the world of the flesh and the world of the Spirit is explained, Episcopal Commission on Family and life executive secretary Fr. Melvin Castro will expound more on the “Knowledge of Mary.” Finally, Novaliches Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani will give the capstone talk on “Knowledge of Jesus Christ” at around 2 p.m.
During the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, pilgrims present will do the act of total consecration. It will also be the launching of the Kabataang Mediatrix (KM), the youth arm of the Confraternity of Mary Mediatrix of all Grace, which was founded by Fr. Melvin Castro to spread the devotion to the total consecration to Jesus through Mary.
Youth pilgrims, defined by the Church as any single person below the age of 39, can decide to be part of KM that aims to explore ways, especially online and digital means, to bring the total consecration to more young Filipinos.
As if that were not enough, the consecration can be made even for the unborn, as mothers are encouraged to consecrate their unborn children in the womb. Once consecrated themselves, believers can consecrate friends, family members or even organizations, initiatives, projects to the ever-welcoming and generous Immaculate Heart of Mary. It is a grace that keeps on giving!
The Confraternity of Mary Mediatrix, based in St. James the Great parish in Ayala Alabang, the main organizer of the event, was mainly inspired by the recent decision of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to consecrate the entire country to the Blessed Virgin Mary this coming June 8, feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
‘A people in love with Mary’
Admitting how Filipinos remain “a people in love with Mary” (pueblo amante de Maria), the CBCP decided during its 106th Plenary Assembly last Jan. 28 to hold a simultaneous national consecration in all dioceses, prelatures and vicariates on June 8, at 10 a.m.
The decision to have a national consecration is, in part, made in preparation for the coming 500th anniversary of Christianity’s arrival in the country in 2021 and a concrete entrustment of the country to Mary, who has played a subtle yet undeniably influential role in Philippine history.
(It is said that the late Jaime Cardinal Sin personally consecrated the country before the Edsa I revolution.)
Digos Bishop Guillermo Afable, who heads the ad hoc committee to spearhead the national consecration, as designated by the CBCP Permanent Council, has only positive words for initiatives that promote the individual consecration.
In an interview, he said, “Our consecration to our Lady is fundamentally a personal commitment shared and lived with other faithful.”
The confraternity’s commitment, it seems, will not end with just the act of total consecration, but it wishes to promote the complete formation for the consecration in the form of a 33-day process, as taught by St. Louis de Montfort.
The 33-day preparation, ideally done before the final act of commitment, comprises a series of reflections and readings that will allow one to enter more into the spirit behind the consecration.
St. Louis himself, who is also called “The Saint of the Latter Days,” said an individual’s personal consecration to Mary could be nothing else but a “perfect consecration to Jesus.”
Time often proves to be the true judge of veracity. Believers of the Catholic faith today—though some have not gotten the chance yet to ponder it—are spiritual children of a man who was mocked and put to death in a most humiliating manner in His own land.
Imagine the shock that followed as He asked His followers to eat His body and drink His blood. Today, 2,000 years later, this historical hiccup—the scandal of a man dying on a cross, his followers scattered and confused—has given birth to a spiritual and real life refuge for more than a billion souls in all the continents of the world.
A similar story of this time test of the call for consecration may be happening on our shores. Backtracking to 1948, a few years after World War II, the Blessed Virgin Mary was believed to have appeared to a Carmelite novice, Teresita Castillo.
Nothing truly fantastic or new was said by the Virgin Mary then. It was often said that her messages were very similar to the ones she gave to three shepherd children in Cova da Iria in Fatima, Portugal in 1917. Strikingly, what the Blessed Virgin Mary asked for in Lipa was more “consecrated souls,” something she did not mention in Fatima.
After an official declaration from several bishops that the apparitions were “non-supernatural” and after 65 years, pilgrims continue to flock to the site in Lipa, which is also said to be where uncanny showers of rose petals have happened several times as seen by countless eyewitnesses. In any case, the Blessed Virgin Mary will be delighted to see so many of her children eager to get closer to her Son, Jesus.
To join the Kabataang Mediatrix, call Gailbert Vito-Bosea at 0917-4909290, Ma. Sheryl Abalos at 0922-8203777, Mon Punay at 0922-8316887, Nirva Delacruz at 0932-1469436. E-mail [email protected]