(Merrimack, New Hampshire)—On the morning of November 6th, 2013 students, faculty and staff at Thomas More College of Liberal Arts will join chaplain Fr. John Healey in the process for entrusting and consecrating the College to Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
“Accept with the benevolence of a Mother this act of entrustment that we make in faith today, before this your image, beloved to us.” Using a modified version of the act of entrustment, Fr. Healey will invoke the guardianship of the Virgin Mary before the blessed icons created by the College’s Artist-in-Residence, David Clayton.
Earlier generations of Catholics once knew about the practice of consecration through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It was advanced most passionately by St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort as a simple way of pursuing the Christian life of holiness. “Just over four years ago, we consecrated the College to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Many personal and institutional graces came from that act. The Holy Father’s recent encouragement of Marian devotion and tremendous act of consecrating the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary inspired us to imitate his humble trust and take up his suggestion that we turn to Our Lady as a model and guide in holiness,” said Dr. William Fahey, President of Thomas More College. “I think that the Holy Father knows our age is an age that needs signs of hope—but a combative hope, as he calls it. Like St. Louis de Montfort’s age—and like many ages—ours is marked by hostility towards Christians, but such hostility is always an opportunity to proceed in our faithfulness with joy. We can still express our faithfulness to God—and we should do so without hesitation whenever the ‘nay-sayers’ try to convince us that there is no longer a place or even a need for faith in our country.”
“Both John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis all reminded us that no saint so perfectly and simply demonstrated how we must offer our whole being to God.” Fahey continued. “We must constantly say ‘yes’ when confronted by our own joys and anxiety, and especially our own crosses. With the simple devotion of children, our College will say ‘yes,’ like Mary. ‘Yes’ to our Catholic duty of providing a place and opportunities to encounter the living God for our faculty, staff, students, and visitors. Such openness to the transcendent is actually critical to a full academic life, in addition to a rich spiritual life. Without openness to God, can any truth endure?”
The first Mass commencing the 33-day period of preparation will be Wednesday, November 6th. “Many students were planning a re-consecration in their personal lives,” said the Director of Development Paul Jackson. “I was amazed to learn that without prompting some student groups had already been intending to pursue consecration or re-consecration privately. I think it is wonderful that this devotion can offer a chance for everyone to come together and recall our spiritual lives for a few moments each day.”
The College is providing guidelines for consecration according to the principles and method set out by St. Louis de Montfort and developed by St. Maximilian Kolbe, but students often tailor their particular mediations and prayers according to schedules and interest. “The act of entrustment and the final act of consecration will be corporate, of course,” said Jackson, “but the 33 days of preparation is very personal—I expect some people will follow the meditations and prayers set out by the Marian Fathers of Immaculate Conception, others will use St. Louis de Montfort’s own prayers.”
“I like the devotion’s simplicity and balance between being highly personal and yet always tying us back to a loving unity through Mary to the Holy Trinity,” said one student.
Simplicity in faith is the key. Quoting the words of the Holy Father, President Fahey asked, “What kind of God is this who asks for something so simple?… It is a God who surprises us and in poverty, weakness, and humility reveals Himself to us. That is how He grants His love and strength. That is how he heals us. It is all in response to simple but honest trust in Him, which we learn over these days by trusting and imitating the Mother of God.”
The formal act of consecration will take place during the College’s celebration on the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary beginning Sundayevening, December 8th and ending with Vespers on Monday, December 9th (This year’s date for observing the Feast of the Immaculate Conception). The day will also be marked with a lecture given by Rev. Romanus Cessario, O.P., the Senior editor of Magnificat and author of numerous scholarly and popular works, including Perpetual Angelus: As the Saints Pray the Rosary.
For those who would like prayerfully to participate in the act of consecration, Thomas More College suggests that individuals and families simply remember the College’s intentions over the next month and offer up any traditional prayer to Our Lady and the Holy Spirit.
The Thomas More College of Liberal Arts is a four-year college that provides the rising generation with a rigorous great books education that forms them intellectually and spiritually within the Catholic intellectual tradition. It has been ranked for several years by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni as among the top 2% of Liberal Arts Colleges nationally.