This past week week – our second week of preparation for the Marian consecration that will happen at the feastday Masses of the Immaculate Conception, December 7-8 – focussed on the Marian theology St. Maximilian Kolbe. Although I personally first used the approach of St. Louis de Montfort to make my first consecration to Mary, it was later the theology of St. Maximilian Kolbe that helped me understand in the structure of salvation why Mary was key. I have used St. Maximilian’s consecration prayer to Mary almost every day since then. St. Maximilian was a martyr killed in Auschwitz back in the 1940’s. He is founder of the religious order known as the Militia of the Immaculate, aimed at bringing the whole world to Christ. After a particularly piercing rebuke from his mother when he was a young boy (His mother had asked what would become of him…) St. Maximilian turned to the Blessed Virgin Mary to ask what would become of him. Mary showed him two crowns, one white and one red. The white crown was for purity, and the read for martyrdom. When Mary asked him if he wanted them, he said he did.
As a man highly trained in Philosophy, Maximilian asked himself what it meant that the Blessed Virgin Mary, in her apparition to St. Bernadette at Lourdes, called Herself “the Immaculate Conception”. A conception is an event brought about by the union of two persons who love one another. A conception is not a person. So, St. Maximilian thought deeply about how the Holy Spirit is like the “event” (of course, He is the Person) who comes about by the love of the Eternal Father and Son for each other. The Holy Spirit personifies the very love between the Father and Son. And the Holy Spirit is sinless, i.e., “immaculate”. Therefore, with Mary’s title “Immaculate Conception”, was she not leading us to understand that while the Holy Spirit is the Uncreated Immaculate Conception, Mary herself is the Created Immaculate Conception? It is like she is almost wed to the Holy Spirit, so that everything the Holy Spirit does in space and time He does through the hands and intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Church does refer to Mary at times as the “Spouse of the Holy Spirit”. This is because Mary is so united to the Holy Spirit. Here is St. Maximilian’s summary explanation of Mary’s union with the Holy Spirit:
What type of union is this between the Holy Spirit and Mary? It is above all an interior union, a union of her essence with the “essence” of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit dwells in her, lives in her. This was true from the first instant of her existence It was always true; it will always be true.
In what does this life of the Spirit in Mary consist? He himself is uncreated Love in her; the Love of the Father and of the Son, the Love by which God loves himself, the very love of the Most Holy Trinity. He is a fruitful Love, a “Conception”. Among creatures made in God’s image the union brought about by married love is the most intimate of all. In a much more precise, more interioir, more essential manner, the Holy Spirit lives in the soul of the Immaculata, in the depths of her very being. He makes her fruitful, from the very first instant of her existence, all during her life, and for all eternity.
This eternal “Immaculate Conception” (which is the Holy Spirit) produces in an immaculate manner divine life itself in the womb (or depths) of Mary’s soul, making her the Immaculate Conception, the human Immaculate Conception. And the virginal womb of Mary’s body is kept sacred for him; there he conceives in time – because everything that is material occurs in time – the human life of the Man-God (Jesus).
… If among human beings the wife takes the name of her husband because she belongs to him, is one with him, becomes equal to him, the source of new life, with how much greater reason should the name of the Holy Spirit, who is the divine Immaculate Conception, be used as the name of her in whom he lives as uncreated Love, the principle of life in the whole supernatural order of grace?
As the Spouse of the Holy Spirit, Mary will work with the Holy Spirit to bring all of creation back to God. Since Mary’s will is so united to God’s, then we will become the holiest if we unite our wills – indeed our whole being – to Mary. If Mary is so “possessed” by the Holy Spirit, shouldn’t we beg to be possessed by Her to be Her instruments for God’s glory in the world?
Have a blessed Thanksgiving!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,