Marian consecration offers children the opportunity to have a deeper encounter with Mary, to come to know her as a true mother, and to understand our role as her true children. Best-selling author Carrie Gress shares the reasons why and how to help your children consecrate themselves to Mary.
Editor’s note: Carrie Gress is the best-selling selling author of “Marian Consecration for Children: Bringing Mary to Life: Bringing Mary to Life in Young Hearts and Minds .” She is a mother and doctor of philosophy. For more information on Gress, see the author’s bio at the end of the article.
by Carrie Gress
St. Dominic Savio, St. Maria Goretti, St. Jacinta — our Church is full of saints who were mere children when they died, but who had remarkably mature faith. We know that children are close to the heart of Jesus who said, “Let the little children come to me” (Mt 19:14). Moreover, Jesus uses the child as the model for Christian living. He said, “[W]hoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it” (Lk 18:17).
Children are also very close to the heart of Mary. So many of her apparitions have involved children, including at La Salette and Lourdes, both in France, and Fatima in Portugal. At Pontmain, France, it is said she appeared in the sky to many people, but only the found children could see her, none of the adults.
Although there are only 11 legitimate and approved Marian apparition sites, there have been approximately 250 investigations into reported appearances of Mary since 1990. The most recent approved Marian apparition was in Kibeho, Rwanda, where Mary appeared at an all-girls Catholic high school in the 1980s.
The faith of these children was tremendously strengthened by their encounter with Mary who helped them to reach sainthood or at least live very holy lives. Like St. Louis de Montfort said, a relationship with Mary is the shortest route to heaven.
This is what Marian consecration offers our children: the opportunity to have a deeper encounter with Mary, to come to know her as a true mother and understand our role as her true children.
Help Your Children Consecrate Themselves to Mary
Often, children feel like they can’t really do much until they become adults. There is sense of greatness that is well beyond reach. But in the spiritual life, greatness can be grasped at any age, so long as one has the heart of a child. It makes perfect sense, then, to help form the heart of a child to live spiritual maturity and greatness from the earliest years instead of waiting until that age of innocence, humility, and trust have passed.
I have put together a book published by TAN Books to help children do just that called “Marian Consecration for Children.” Like St. Louis de Montfort’s gold standard of Marian consecration, it includes 33 days of preparation that uses stories — of saints and from children’s literature — to help the child understand the role that Mary has in each life and the world. The book ends on the 34th day when the child consecrates himself/herself to Mary.
The book emphasizes just how much Mary wants to help them fulfill the mission that God has for their life. It doesn’t start when they are adults, but now, as a child.
Steps to Marian Consecration
Marian consecration is a means by which we give our entire selves to Jesus through the hands of his mother. The practice of Marian consecration is often associated with St. Louis de Montfort, a French priest of the 18th century, who spread the practice far and wide.
Like other Marian consecrations, Marian consecration for children is divided into 34 days — 33 days for prayer and preparation and a final day for making your consecration. While the book is written for reading children to use on their own, it would also be wonderful to do with your child or as a family.
Here’s what it entails:
- Start by selecting a Marian feast day. This will be the day that you and your child will make your consecration. For example, if you choose the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on July 16, you’ll begin your Marian consecration 33 days prior on June 13.
- On each of the 33 days, set aside time to read the daily meditation with your child. End each of your sessions with the prayers for the day.
- On the 34th day you and your child will make your Marian consecration. The book includes a beautiful consecration prayer (included, in part, below). Set some time aside, perhaps even going to a church, to pray the consecration prayer and offer yourselves fully to Mary.
- Finally, there are many ways you and your child can continue to honor Mary throughout the year to increase your relationship with our spiritual mother. There is a section at the end of the book that includes some suggestions such as praying a daily rosary, learning Marian hymns, and planting a Marian garden.
Dear Jesus and Mary,
I love you. I offer myself to you this day through the renewal of my baptismal promises, but also by giving everything to you. I know that you love me more than I can ever imagine and that you wish every good thing for my life.
Mary, I know that as the Mother of Jesus, you will bring me closer to him and as my mother, you will help me to become the person God intends for me to be. You will protect me, guide me, and love me through the good times of my life, but also through the difficult times in my life. You will protect me from the many traps set against me by the devil for my whole life.
In my desire to show my love for you, I offer you everything – my life, my actions, the rewards for any action of mine, my thoughts, my love. I know that as a human being, I can only offer to Jesus very small things but that you will take my little offerings and present them to him in a special way.
— from “Marian Consecration for Children” by Carrie Gress
Carrie Gress is a best-selling author, speaker, mother, and doctor of philosophy. She is a faculty member at Pontifex University and a member of the International Marian Association. Gress is a regular blogger at The National Catholic Register and has written for numerous publications, including Aleteia, Catholic Vote, Catholic World Report, The Federalist, and The Stream. She is a regular guest on Catholic Answers and is frequently on Ave Maria Radio, EWTN Radio, and Relevant Radio, and has appeared onBBC, CBC, EWTN and Shalom World television. Marian Consecration for Children is available wherever books are sold. For more information, visit TANbooks.com.