An Introduction to Totus Tuus by Monsignor Florian Kolfhaus
July 26, 2015
An Introduction to Totus Tuus by Monsignor Florian Kolfhaus
St Louis Marie de Monfort and Consecration to Jesus through Mary
Hi Everyone, I hope and pray that all are having a blessed and safe summer season. Our family has had many blessings and a few trials as of late, so I am not posting as much as I would like to ; I apologize for this, but I assure you that this site is here to stay. I appreciate all the feedback and comments from all over the Catholic World. Never could I have ever imagined that this little site from Canada would have so many visitors from so many places. All for the praise of God’s Glory! That’s my little adaptation to St Ignatius of Loyola and Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity. Oh ! By the way, Pope Francis can you please look at Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity’s cause for canonization! I doubt he will ever see this but who knows :-).
Once again I would like to welcome back our guest contributor Monsignor Florian Kolfhaus who serves at the Secretariat of State’s Section for the Relation with States at the Holy See (Vatican). Monsignor Florian Kolfhaus is a diplomat of the Holy See and he has a Ph.D in Dogmatic Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University (my kind of teacher), and a Licentiate in Canon Law. We are in very good company here folks, I hope we are paying attention. Monsignor’s posts couldn’t have come at a better time ; Thank you Monsignor. God’s timing is unbelievable, He is never late. Please keep Monsignor Kolfhaus in your daily prayers. Now more than ever we need to pray for our priests ! Our Lady of Mount Carmel pray for priests !
This post is a small segment from his book called Totus Tuus Maria an Introduction to Our Lady Following the Spiritual Teaching of St. Louis Marie Grignon de Monfort
“There is only one tragedy,” said the French poet Léon Bloy, “and that is to not be a saint.” Becoming a saint is indeed our life’s goal; we are created for this. God has called the universe into being so that man might exist. He has breathed His breath into Adam and Eve, making them the progenitors of His family. In order to fulfill His plan, He sent His own son, born of a woman (cf. Gal 4:4). He was crucified to free us from our sins, and He rose again that we might also live. Yes, the Father sent us the Son, who continues to be present in the Church throughout time, so as to give Him brothers and sisters. All that is, the whole cosmos, and all that God has done and continues to do, exists in order to make saints. Yes, only in them, the children of the heavenly Father, does the universe find meaning for its existence. As St. Paul states, “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God” (Rom 8:19).
The world needs saints. Without them, without men and women for whom it was made, it loses its most fundamental sense. Holiness, the life of God’s children in communion with Him, is the goal of our entire existence; it is the goal of the whole cosmos. Indeed, there is no greater sorrow than to not become a saint. The success of all Nobel Prize winners and politicians, the glamour of Hollywood celebrities, and the victories of Olympic athletes wane in the light of even a single saint, as unknown and hidden as he might be. That is why our world needs one thing above all else: holy men, women, and children who give God first place in their lives, and who give order and meaning not only to their own lives but to the whole of creation as well.
It is the tragedy of our time that the saints are often caricatured as bigots and pious actors, as people who do not know life and thus cannot enjoy it. The saint seems to be the moralizing ascetic, unworldly pariah, or naive dreamer. How wrong this is! Saint Teresa Benedicta a Cruce (Edith Stein) wrote to her sister, “By the way, it is my conviction that it is not necessary for a saint to renounce all wishes and hopes of the world. Quite the opposite: man is in this world to live, and he is supposed to accept all the beautiful things that are given to him with gratitude.” If holiness is the goal of our being, then the saints are indeed the ones who know this world and can rejoice in it because they have found the meaning for their existence and are aware of it. They are the ones who are truly happy in this world and in the next. The Latin word “beatus,” blessed or saint, indicates this: sanctity is a synonym of true and lasting happiness for which God has created us. In order not to lose sight of this goal, the world needs saints, men and women who have both of their feet on the ground but who have their gaze directed to heaven.
In essence, all men long for sanctity, for communion with God for whom they were created. A deep longing burns in all of us to understand the deepest roots of our being and to encounter the One who is Love. To love and to be loved – that is, in full offering, which is in God and possible for Him – is the deepest human longing; it is the fulfillment of that which we hope for as happiness and beatitude. The human heart is too large to be filled with anything less than God.
But what is a saint? There are many unfortunate misunderstandings that distort the image of true sanctity. Sanctity is not a question of moral over-achievement or, even less, philistine philanthropy. To be holy, is – even before we start with our laborious task – a gift from God. “In baptism the Lord, as it were, sets our life alight with what the Catechism calls sanctifying grace. Those who watch over this light, who live by grace, are holy” (Benedict XVI, September 24, 2011). This task of our lives consists in saving that grace and increasing it. Yes, Baptism makes us Christian and demands of us that we live like Christ, that is, that we be saints.
St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort understood this truth and did all he could to remind us of this glorious and great calling to sanctity. His “True Devotion to Mary,” which quickly became known as the “Golden Book,” is nothing other than a manual for becoming a saint. Louis-Marie Grignion is convinced that being a saint means living in the grace of Baptism, following Christ as a Christian. Who would be better suited to guide this journey than Mary, who – as a good mother – knows how she can help her children to live day by day as sons and daughters of Christ, and how to become ever more like her Son?
In this sense St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort writes that saints are formed in Mary. In her, the greatest miracle happened: God became man. In her, as in a living tabernacle, Christ can be found. Everyone who trustfully consecrates himself to her will be formed in the image of the God-Man. She is, St. Louis-Marie writes, the easiest, quickest, most secure, and most perfect way to become a saint. Consecration to the Mother of God as a conscious renewal of one’s baptismal vows was always highly recommended by the Church. St. Maximilian Kolbe declares, “Undoubtedly, all saints must be formed by the hands of the Virgin Mary. Why? Because all graces flow through the hands of this Most Holy Mother.” The Curé of Ars is firmly convinced that all the saints, without exception, “have a great veneration for the Virgin, since no grace comes down from heaven, except through her very hands.”
The Statue of Our Lady of Quito (Ecuador) depicts the Mother of God as if dancing on the devil in the form of a snake, while crushing its head, as foretold in the first book of the Bible (cf. Gen 3:15). It is indeed extraordinary to depict the Our Lady dancing. What does this image want to tell us? She who is “full of grace” defeats evil effortlessly and joyfully. It is God’s grace in Mary’s life, as in ours, which works great things, if we only declare our fiat with the Virgin of Nazareth. It is all about following Jesus by the hand of His Mother, Mary. Even if we are not spared the Cross, it is not a life of sadness and despair that awaits us, but a life of true joy and hope. Consecrating oneself to Mary means making reference to the image of Quito, that is, being led by this dance, which begins in this world, but already follows the melody of something that is not of this world. This is the core message of the “Golden Book”: whoever consecrates himself to Mary, as carefree as in dancing, will make quicker and easier progress in the spiritual life and in the struggle against one’s faults, as with any other form of piety. Consecration to Mary is, as it were, the prelude to a dance in a truly Christian life, in which three steps are repeated over and over again, and which the Mother teaches her children: to know Jesus, to love Jesus, and to serve Jesus. Veneration of Mary is not by any means secondary and, as some think, not even really necessary. No! “Being Catholic means being Marian” (Pope Benedict XVI, May 28, 2011).
Time and again voices are heard which criticize consecration to Mary as an exaggeration or see in it nothing other than sentimental piety. “De Maria numquam satis,” the Church replies. There can never be enough said about Mary; she can never be honored enough. To God belongs our worship. Mary is and always remains a creature, but she is the masterpiece of the Divine Artist, who mirrors His perfection as nothing and no one in the entire universe. Mary is that which no other creature can say about itself: daughter, mother, and spouse of God. She is the only one who can call God “my child”! Consecrating oneself to Mary means nothing other than entering this dynamic of love and following the logic of the Incarnation. The saints have never feared to exaggerate veneration of Mary. Those who have consecrated themselves to the Mother of God call themselves – as if competing with one another – children of Mary, her servants, her slaves, her own property. Saint John Eudes says, “If I were to know someone who loves Mary more than I do, then I would hasten to that person – even hundred miles I would hasten – to learn how the Mother of God can be loved even more.” Impressed by the Virgin Mary’s beauty, Padre Pio, too, did not hesitate to declare, “Ah, my beautiful mommy, my dear mommy,… Jesus was right… Yes, you are beautiful… without the faith, men would call you a goddess… your eyes are more radiant than the sun… you are beautiful, mommy, it is my honor to love you.” Consecration to Mary is not “Catholic kitsch” or a questionable form of piety, but the imitation of Christ through the hands of His mother, who safely guides anyone who entrusts himself to her. Therefore, the strong Catholic conviction is, “Servus Mariae numquam peribit,” that is, “a servant of Mary will never perish.”
St. Louis-Marie leads whomever wishes to consecrate himself to the Mother of God, and through her to her Divine Son, over thirty-three days toward the consecration. During this time, the faithful must decide to turn away from sin and strive to learn to love Jesus and Mary more. The fruit of this endeavor is supposed to be the conscious renewal of one’s Baptismal vows, a complete giving of self to Jesus through Mary. The present work hopes to trace the steps of St. Louis-Marie Grignion and help the reader prepare himself for the consecration to Mary. In a conscious effort, the thirty-three days of this consecration have been reduced to twelve: three should serve as an in-depth examination of conscience and a renewal of life, and nine should serve as a novena to directly prepare for the consecration and to present the most important stages of Mary’s life to the faithful.
At the end of the first three days a thorough confession is recommended, in which one tries to look deeper into his life than in a typical confession. Hence, it is suggested to answer the questions of the examinations of conscience in written form and to prepare an in-depth confession with these written notes, perhaps even of one’s entire past life. At the same time, one’s gaze must be directed toward the future along with the question of fighting one’s central flaw more effectively. The firm will to repent and concrete resolutions for the spiritual life are fruit of the first three days.
Each day of the Novena as a preparation for the consecration consists of two parts: one concerning prayer and one concerning reading. The part concerning prayer should serve as an opportunity to become closer to the Virgin Mother by meditating on her life and by entrusting oneself to her in prayer. To this end, the most common Marian prayers have been chosen in order for the faithful to acquire an array of prayers during this time. The principal part concerning prayer is one decade of the Rosary that should be prayed slowly and while meditating upon the images, which means meditating upon each mystery with one reason and heart. Obviously, it can be useful to pray the whole Rosary every day, but beginners in the spiritual life especially should avoid pushing themselves too hard. Someone who has never has done sports cannot run a marathon. However, one who trains regularly and proceeds with reasonable steps can perform excellently without risking bruises or sprains. The same is true of the spiritual life, in which it is not principally our own doing and working, but the effective grace of God.
Appended to the prayers and meditations for each day of the Novena is a reading with an excerpt taken from the “Golden Book” by St. Louis-Marie de Montfort. These readings contain a short introduction of the principal idea of the given meditation before the text. At the end of the text, there is a short biographical note of a saint and a prayer. The reading of these spiritual texts does not necessarily have to follow each meditation. It might be recommended to postpone this until another part of the day with time and inspiration. It is very reasonable to pause between the reading of these texts in order to consider and understand the thoughts of the different saints, and to make them one’s own in prayer. It is also recommended to take notes of one’s thoughts and comments in a “spiritual diary.”
This book has no other goal in mind than that of St. Marie-Louis Grignion de Montfort: that is, to be the quickest and most secure way to sanctity. Nevertheless, it simply lends a helping hand in order to deepen one’s spiritual life. The countless hidden treasures that are contained in the Biblical texts and the writings of the saints must be uncovered and appropriated for oneself. One who has already been consecrated to Mary can fruitfully use this novena to prepare for the annual renewal of the consecration and to deepen his spiritual life.
It is left to hope that through this preparation for the consecration many faithful might give themselves generously to the Mother of God, so that she in turn might give our era many saints. This book supports the main principle with which St. Louis-Marie Grignion began his book: “Through Mary Christ came into this world; through Mary He wants to reign in this world!”
May Almighty God Bless us all and protect us from the World, the devil, and ourselves !
 English Standard Version.
 Padre A, Da San Marco in Lamis, Diario, p. 53: “Ah, Mammina bella, Mammina cara… Aveva ragione Gesù…Sì, sei bella…Se non ci fosse la fede, gli uomini ti direbbero Dea… Gli occhi tuoi sono più splendenti del sole… Sei bella Mammina, me ne glorio, ti amo…”.