The morning of Marian Consecration filled with an an odd combination of Peace, Joy, excitement and I can’t explain what. It was a combination of absolute ecstatic energy and utterly calm peacefulness. Consecration was more right than anything I had ever done. I was sure of it in a way that’s impossible to explain.
On a normal Saturday, my boys and I would sleep in. For me, that means getting up around 6 instead of 5. For the boys that could mean almost anything. We’d hang out.
For me, that means making breakfast and tackling never-ending cleaning projects that come from life with five boys. It means working on my blog, life coaching, or speech writing. It means responding to unintentionally neglected emails, paying bills, and planning student lessons. For the boys, it means going to practice for whatever sport they are playing at the time and then sitting with their ipods until I get frustrated and ask for help with housework. The amount of grumbling that goes along with housework varies greatly among my different children, but grumbling is sure to be part of Saturday.
On weekends with their dad, my routine doesn’t change much. I go to the boys’ activities and then pretty much work anytime I’m not sleeping, and sleeping isn’t something I’d learned to do in the nine years since abandonment trauma had left me almost totally sleepless for so long.
Sundays aren’t much different. We all sleep in. I make pancakes or French toast. The boys hang out, and I try to contain the mess that comes from cooking for five hungry, active boys. As a single mom of five boys, “cleaning” often became an exercise in containment rather than a production of real cleanliness. It is survival, and sometimes survival means picking your battles and learning to laugh and roll with life rather than elicit perfect organization I desired.
So Sunday mornings continue until I realize how late it is and that, once again, we’ll be late for Church. I still don’t know how that happens every week, but it does. At that point, there’s a frenzied rush, usually involving me yelling at one child or another, to get in the car. We arrive at Mass present, but my boys would not fully participate. Their bodies would be there, but they’d lack the depth and loving relationship with the Trinity I longed for them to build. In many ways most of them had faith stronger than mine was at their age. I have to remind myself that, but every day, I now feel an intense sadness as they reject, or maybe not outright reject but certainly refuse to not engage in, something I find so vital, so beautiful, so selfless, so Love itself. I feel that sadness for total strangers too. How could I not want more for my boys?
My faith, increasing belief in the concrete reality of the Risen Christ, and all that goes with Him grow stronger with every breath, but with every breath since Consecration I also feel a deep sadness for those who refuse to do the same. It’s not a judgment of them, but a sadness for them. I’ll get more into this in my next and last post as I explain my vision of Purgatory and the lasting effects of Marian Consecration.
The point is, weekends and going to Church are usually pretty much like every other day and activity. I am usually on “alert” to some degree, trying to pull too many loose threads together to try to form some sort of bind. I can be overwhelmed, exhausted, and frustrated sometimes even now that the boys are older and I no longer feel the trauma of rejection. For me, even Mass can be a point of stress many Sundays.
Consecration Mass was different.
I was sad because my boys were with their father and would be not there to celebrate with me. At the same time, I knew they wouldn’t really understand or care what I was doing. Having them there and knowing this to be true would sadden me more than not having them there and being able to pray for them.
I was sad because among the happy families with positive male role models, I would be alone and my children would be with one I’d never choose knowing what I do now. My choices and the effects of my choices on my children fill me with sadness especially when I think of their faith or lack of it. I pray often for their free will to kick in so they choose to go deeper when confronted with challenges rather than walk away.
Marian Consecration for me meant not only given myself to Mary, but giving my boys and all my relationships to her too. I fully trust in the Lord and His plans for my children. I pray they hear His voice and come to Him, and because she is the Mother I am not, I pray they come to the Lord through a love of her.
Consecration day, there was a sadness yes, but that sadness did not hold the same immense burden it has other times. I woke and was able to shower alone and carefully dress myself. I chose an outfit I realized later may have made me overdressed, but I didn’t care much. I was like a nervous bride, giddy and ready to give myself away.
I was there to give myself to Jesus through Mary. I was not there to teach my children in hope for a conversion of their scarred and wounded hearts. I was not there to ask forgiveness for things I’d done or things done to me. I was not there to pray for myself or my needs and desires or for anyone else’s.
At Marian Consecration, I existed solely to give myself to Jesus.
And that’s what I did, and when everyone else was in the Church basement celebrating with their happy families, I snuck back upstairs for a few minutes alone in Peace in the big, silent empty Church where I could feel Angels singing.
By keeping an open heart, I clearly understood why I’d thought I be unable to Consecrate myself to Jesus through Mary. I began to understand the intense wounds I carried from childhood, teen years, college, marriage, and beyond. I saw the brokenness in relationships I was most closely involved in.
Those relationships should have been the most caring, protective, and loving, but they were far from it. Those relationships and the toxic events that went with them had blinded me to the bonds families should share. I failed to understand the love of Mother-Child, Wife-Husband, and Father-Child or see love as fully inclusive and selfless rather than exclusive and self-seeking. I failed to see how God could make Mary His own and want us to make His Mary our own too. I’d failed to see how His Mary could become My Mary and not force me to choose her over Jesus.
When I understood the relationship Mary has with the Lord and He has with her and their desire to wrap me in that Loving, un-jealous relationship, I understood I could never fully turn to them and still hold onto my marriage, pain, anger, or desires to turn back time or make my life like everyone else’s.
If I was going to give my all to My Mary, I had to leave the broken parts of myself on that altar for Jesus to take on His Cross too.
Enough blood, sweat, and tears and been poured out as I’d tried to carry these weights on my own. Handing them over to God would be my imperfect, bloody sacrifice. It was this thought that made me approach the altar with the anonymous tissue wrapped rings in my hand.
I placed my gift on the altar. Stepping back, I wanted to capture the moment. I focused my phone’s camera on the small package. What I saw will be dismissed as a trick of the light or the obvious need to focus of the camera’s lens. I’m sure there are a million scientific reasons, but none to explain why it hit my heart just so.
In that moment, it was abundantly clear that I could never again make a person, object, or activity my focus. I was leaving myself behind that day and learning to live and love imperfectly, but better, for God and His plans rather than for myself and what I’d get out of it. I knew as I looked at those photos I could never again focus on my plans and see God in the background. It had to be the other way around.