Very simply, ‘to consecrate’ means to set aside something from a common or profane use to a sacred use. For example, the sacred vessels from the Mass are consecrated vessels; Churches are consecrated places; and those having made vows of Chastity are consecrated persons. However, being consecrated according to the DeMontfort consecration does not mean that you have to become a priest or a Sister! It just means you surrender yourself entirely to God – that you want His will to be done in your life to the full.
In a sense, making a consecration is like renewing the vows of your Baptism. When we were baptized, God claimed us as His unique possession – we are His dwelling place, His people, His friends. When we make the consecration, we renew our Baptismal decision to surrender ourselves to Him and His will in our lives all over again – in a way similar to committing ourselves to someone in love again. What makes the DeMontfort consecration so special is that by it we choose to surrender all to Jesus as Mary was totally surrendered to Jesus; that is, we share in Mary’s Adoration of Christ, her Faith in Christ, her Hope in Christ, and her love for Christ. In this way, we renew our Baptismal consecration voluntarily, with the total surrender of a slave, in and by and with the Virgin Mary.
In this way, making a consecration to Jesus through Mary according to the method and teaching of St. Louis DeMontfort does not bring with it any new obligations or commandments in the sense that we are compelled to fulfill any sort of binding promises. Instead, it impels us to a commitment to true Charity, informed by Faith and alive in Hope. It opens us up to receiving God’s merciful love ever more profoundly in our life. Its force of obligation is the force of love and our loving relationship with God. In this way, it should not be thought of in terms of a public consecration in the Church, but in terms of a devotional, personal consecration.
There are many ways one can make such a devotional consecration. Other Saints have composed very laudable and worthy formulas for personal consecration – the formula and thought of St. Maximilian Kolbe standing out prominently among them. St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort’s consecration flows from his work as a preacher and catechist, and is a crystallizing moment within the whole of his theology. In his book, True Devotion to Mary, St. Louis de Montfort describes what authentic devotion to the Virgin is and the fruit it bears in the spiritual life. The book concludes with a supplement recommending prayers and meditations for a 33 day period of preparation for the Act of Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary.