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Mary, consecration and Christian life

July 13, 2017

A season of consecration is upon us, a season of joyful commitments gladly made. In May, 13 new permanent deacons and in June two new priests were ordained in our cathedral, consecrated to the service of the people of this archdiocese.

It is also a season of exultant attention to our Blessed Mother, as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of her appearances at Fatima, and prepare to consecrate ourselves, as a community, to her Immaculate Heart at the October Rosary Rally.

To “consecrate” something, of course, means to reserve it for or devote it to a sacred purpose. And each of us has a sacred purpose: To live in communion with Jesus. Our vocation as an archdiocese is a sacred calling also: To bring people into the presence of Jesus.

Is there anyone who knows the way to Jesus better than His mother?

At the wedding party in Cana, Mary said to the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.” These five short words uttered 2,000 years ago are a true guide to Christian living. And the Fatima centenary that we celebrate now reminds us that Mary is not some figure from the past. She is a living and active presence, pointing us always toward her Son, urging us to “Do whatever He tells you.”

Mary is our model of Christian virtues: of receptivity to God’s word, of a joyful “Yes” to what God asks, of profound trust in God through the surprises and sorrows of life, and of a steadfast humility that flowers into charity. She is not only our model, but also our constant helper, ever-vigilant on behalf of the children whom she loves.

Her great heart is mentioned in the Gospel, when Simeon in the Temple tells her that a sword of sorrow will pierce her on account of her Son; and when her 12-year-old Son tells her that He must be about His Father’s business: “His mother kept all these things in her heart” (Luke 2:51).

It is in this capacious heart that she invites us to dwell. As she told the shepherd children at Fatima: “My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge, and the way that will lead you to God.” Her “heart,” of course, means her inmost spirit, her authentic self, her true being in all its candor. And we call Mary’s heart “immaculate” because it is unstained by original sin, and wholly devoted to the service of God. As we sing in the hymn, derived from Psalm 51: “Create in me a clean heart, O God.”

Mary is the living exemplar of this clean heart that we pray to develop.

Unique, irreplaceable, and profoundly holy, Mary is a loving presence, a consoling presence, and even, as she was at Fatima, a prophetic presence. It is no wonder that so many people in our archdiocese have requested that we consecrate ourselves to Mary’s Immaculate Heart, which we will do at the Rosary Rally in October.

As we look toward that day, let us make every spiritual preparation for a deeper and more fruitful relationship with her. A good place to start is our website’s Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary pages. Here you can learn about Mary, hear current news about her and about Fatima, experience some of the great music and art that she has inspired, and above all, join in praying to her.

As our official prayer for this consecration says, we ask her to “inspire in us the longing to know, love, and follow your beloved son Jesus Christ, and help us imitate your spirit of generosity in doing God’s will and your example of serving others selflessly.”

Piderit_Father John - web 100x125Father Piderit is vicar for administration and moderator of the curia for the Archdiocese of San Francisco.


02 PAGE 7.13.17_mary.fatima.ADSF2017_Marian Retreat-13 altFor the consecration of the archdiocese to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Visit www.sfarch.org/IHM.

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