I am all yours - Acies Ceremony and Mass 2019

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Today in the Acies ceremony you have rededicated yourselves to the Blessed Virgin Mary in the words, “I am all yours, my Queen and my Mother, and all I have is yours.”

When I think of these words of consecration my mind goes to Pope St John Paul II. He chose the words, Totus tuus, “all yours’, as the motto of his pontificate. In these words John Paul II dedicated himself and his mission as Pope to the Blessed Virgin Mary. As a young seminarian Pope John Paul II recalls that he "read and reread many times and with great spiritual profit" the writings of St Louis de Montfort.

The Pope commented on the effect of this reading: "Then I understood that I could not exclude the Lord's Mother from my life without neglecting the will of God-Trinity." He thus linked his faith in God to his filial piety to Our Lady. This is an important realisation for him.

What he understood was true: that our devotion to the Blessed Virgin not at the expense of our love of God, but is actually a conduit towards a greater love of God.

We know this to be true. As we grow in devotion to Mary, we find our hearts quickened in love of God. As we contemplate the mysteries of the Rosary, for instance, we are drawn into the mysteries of the life and mission of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

The phrase, “to Jesus through Mary” is attributed to Louis Grignion de Montfort in his book, True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin. For de Montfort devotion to Mary is an effective means by which a person is in fact consecrated to Jesus. De Montfort encouraged his readers to entrust themselves completely to Mary. He said that true devotion "consists in giving oneself entirely to the Blessed Virgin, in order to belong entirely to Jesus Christ through her". (True Devotion, 121)

De Montfort did not invent this spiritual idea but merely reflected a spiritual tradition that already existed in the Church. It was promoted by a number of spiritual writers in the medieval period. One saint known to us for his devotion to Our Lady was St Bernard of Clairvaux. He taught "...be careful to commit to Mary the little you desire to offer, that the Lord may receive it through her hands...."

A lesser known figure, Odo of Canterbury (+1200), said, "In fact, one goes to Christ through Mary, one goes to the Son through the Mother. By means of the Mother of Mercy one reaches mercy itself."

Holy men and women have found this truth of benefit to their spiritual lives. They understood that as we grow in love of Mary, we are drawn more and more to the love of God.
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation which, of course, falls on March 25. This feast more than any other reflects what we have been considering. It was through Mary that the world received Christ. It was through the response of Mary to the message of the angel that the will of the Father was realised and God the Son became incarnate. Born of the Virgin Mary, Christ came as saviour and redeemer.

It was only possible through the response of the Virgin Mary.

So we can turn to her always and through our devotion to her enable Jesus to be born in our hearts.

Archbishop Julian Porteous
Saturday, March 30, 2019