Why so difficult?

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I noticed this morning of all the recent threads dealing with the theme of “living total Consecration” the one on how difficult it was had the most views. Interesting, isn’t it? Why is it that more interest is in the difficulty? Any suggestions?

It is a good question to ponder, and I find it especially significant after reading some comments of Pope Francis on the laziness of many Christians, whom he calls “anathesized” who have no zeal for the Gospel. Is it a lack of zeal that can keep some from giving themselves totally to Jesus through Mary?

In the thread where I quoted St. Louis De Montfort’s words, he seems to center the difficulty on our lack of dependence on God, the Holy Spirit, in writing:

  1. But how difficult it is for us to have the freedom, the ability and the light to enter such an exalted and holy place. This place is guarded not by a cherub, like the first earthly paradise, but by the Holy Spirit himself who has become its absolute Master. Referring to her, he says: “You are an enclosed garden, my sister, my bride, an enclosed garden and a sealed fountain.” Mary is enclosed. Mary is sealed. The unfortunate children of Adam and Eve driven from the earthly paradise, can enter this new paradise only by a special grace of the Holy Spirit which they have to merit.

I would greatly appreciate your thoughts on this. Thanks.

MariaChristi said : "I noticed this morning [that] of all the recent threads dealing with the theme of “living total Consecration” the one on how difficult it was had the most views. Interesting, isn’t it? Why is it that more interest is in the difficulty? Any suggestions?

No, it is NOT interesting to me.
And, it does NOT show that "more interest is in the difficulty."

I think that your “informal” survey is a pretty weak support for your making this an Issue.
Especially for you insinuating that we are all Lazy in our Spirituality.
I think that you made a BIG jump, to go from that, to calling people Lazy.

Is this how you see YOUR Spirituality (as being a Lazy Christian)?
If not, then I suggest that you might feel like you are doing Better than the rest of us.
If yes, then it would be nice for you to admit it.

If I were to suggest what that meant, I would assume that MANY people here at the Christian Answers Forum are looking at that Thread to get some Help in their Struggle to live a Life of total Consecration.

Apparently, you view this as Lazy Christians looking for reasons to NOT attempt to Live a Consecrated Life.

Could it be that people are benevolent and are drawn to helping a poster who is experiencing difficulty?

OTOH if members are “more interested” as per your poll, in the difficulty, perhaps it is because they are living their faith instead of lazily abdicating it as you suggest.

For me, I do find it difficult to engage in a conversation with many many people, catholic and non-catholics alike. It is even difficult to get my catholic husband on board half the time, let’s not talk about the kids, their friends and family.

If I were apathetic or lazy, why would I find it difficult?

Hmm, I maybe reading this differently. I think that OP raises very valid points.

1.) People in the modern world seem to be too “busy” to live a consecrated life. To me, the view is that somehow taking on a consecration is like adding on to an already hectic life.

  1. People have a misunderstanding of what consecration is meant to do. I’ve found that adding on a devotion has forced me to discard some of the things that were tying me up to this world instead of focussing on the eternal world.

So, is it “lazy” to wonder if your already hectic life can take on another thing “To-Do”? I don’t think so. I think that it’s a valid concern, but that concern shows a misunderstanding or ignorance of what consecration does for you. It releases you of the bonds that are making your life so hectic in the first place. It gives you the freedom to place some of your burdens onto our Lord and gives us the comfort of knowing our Blessed Mother is at our side.

Does one need a calling to live a consecrated life?

As I ponder about the Catholic faith and possibly/probably joining in the future, I do wonder about various Marian devotions and how much is necessary for a pious life or even salvation. Not just praying the Rosary or venerating the Mother of God through praise and honor of her role in salvation and the uniqueness and royalty of her creation.

If I don’t feel the requirement to be totally consecrated or devoted to Mary, is something wrong with me?

If there’s a lingering doubt in my mind that I might cross over inadvertently to Mariolatry, am I doomed?

What exactly is different between devotion to Jesus through Mary versus appealing to the mercy and providence of Christ Himself?

In various saintly visions, Jesus tells how He thirsts for the salvation of souls and how much He desires repentance of sinners and how much He desires to forgive even the most wicked sinners because every soul is precious in His sight. It is this love that souls might respond to and repent of our sinful ways. Or maybe the above visions tell of a last resort and that Jesus would prefer us asking the Blessed Mother first?

Does Mary obtain for us more graces if we are totally consecrated to her? It feels as though, probably erroneously, that if one were to become totally consecrated to Mary, a direct access to Christ is no longer present and one depends completely on Mary. Perhaps it’s a road of humility to deem oneself unworthy of communing with Jesus directly.

[sorry for the ramble…the coffee hasn’t kicked in fully]

The consecrated life is extremely difficult. Our Lord tells us to take up the cross and follow Him. We are told to die daily, to endure, persevere. After Jesus’ baptism, He was driven into the desert by the Holy Spirit for 40 days. Israel, after the Exodus, had many trials. A good read is St. John of the Cross’ “Dark Night of the Soul.” The closer we get to Christ, the more difficult the trials because we are getting closer to His holiness. If we desire to live an emotional high, we will not get close to Christ; we will remain “babes.” Read the sufferings of St. Paul. The more we love Christ, the more we must suffer.

We recognize ourselves as weak, yet we are tutored from the earliest formative years in self reliance. Often leaving God out of the equation, even in very devout households.
We know we can’t do any good on our own, but we are told to constantly (again, self reliance).
Then we are told that only through God’s grace can we do anything good. It gets a little twisted in the mind. What if a person is sincerely trying to do good, and become more “God conformed”, but they don’t feel that seemingly illusive grace?
The spirit is willing, the flesh is weak, comes to mind.
I think a true, deep and heartfelt understanding that we indeed are totally reliant on God would be a step in the right direction. But how to achieve even that understanding?
Prayer.:gopray2:
More prayer.:gopray2::gopray2:
Prayer without ceasing.
:gopray2::gopray2::gopray2::gopray2: :

That is the crux of faith for me. I don’t feel a reward for what I believe to be a catholic life, in fact I feel a lot of pain. It is all faith.

Praying with all. I did not find it difficult at all. As a matter of fact; I am in the middle of my Church mission. It helped my missions’ contemplative prayer & lecto divino greatly.

Dear 4love2God,

Thanks so much for your reply. I am so sorry if I gave you the impression you expressed above. I know I am lazier than I would like, but I did not mean to accuse anyone else. I simply wondered why the word “difficult” seemed to draw more people to view a thread. I agree with you that people who are struggling to be better and do more for the Lord may be the very ones who viewed the thread and that is a good thing. :slight_smile:

Thanks tawny,

We too are having a Mission in our parish. Please let us continue to pray for one another and for all those in most need of His Mercy. Thanks for your reply and for all your prayers during the preparation for consecration and the days following. :slight_smile:

Dear Dulcinea,

The journey of Faith throughout our lives has both pain and joy, it seems to me. The more I listen to the Scriptures, and ponder the mysteries of the Rosary, the more I “see” by faith the great humility of God and Our Blessed Mother.

No matter how difficult our lives can get, we can always look to Calvary and know Jesus and Mary suffered far more, and all because of Love for God and for us. May God help us to continue asking, seeking and knocking on the door of God’s Heart for all we need to be the saints He created us to be.

Thanks so much for your reply. May Our Lady of Sorrows enable us to stand with her looking always on the Face of Christ.

Dear SoulSolace,

Thanks for your reply. Yes, many of us received training as youngsters that seems contradictory, but we do need both the virtues of Fortitude to help us remain strong even when all but God seem to forsake us, and also Piety which clings to God in total dependence on Him for everything.

I find in the Holy Family a beautiful balance. They lived a simple family life in Nazareth which seemed so ordinary, people questioned Jesus when He began His public ministry. Nevertheless, God’s power went out from Him as He revealed Himself as the Incarnate God.

Mary and Joseph daily learned through their prayer and their lives with Jesus how to grow even closer to God. Our seemingly “ordinary” lives can also be so transformed by God’s Grace, if we faithfully pray and continue learning from Jesus especially through Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium of the Church. The Holy Spirit continues to form the Body of Christ spiritually through Mary, as St. Louis de Montfort has written so beautifully.

Please let us continue to pray for one another and all those in most need of His Mercy.

Dear Tommy,

Thanks for your reply. Your last sentence reminded me of something St. Therese wrote: “Love is the willingness to suffer”. Yes, if we want to be disciples of Jesus we need to remember we follow in His blood-stained footsteps. However, we do not walk alone, for He never gives us more than we can bear, but is near to help us carry the Cross He gives.

May Our Lady of Sorrows intercede for us and help us though all the events of our lives, that we may offer all in union with Christ as she did on Calvary.

This is the truth. Consecrated life is extremely difficult. I wasn’t able to handle it. I had to forsake my consecration and beg for forgiveness. I pray with a guilty and seared conscious that the Lord will forgive me and have mercy on me for disobeying the vows I had made in the consecration prayer…

Dear hakop,

Saints are not people who never made a mistake, but rather those who continued to get up and begin again. The prayer of Consecration is a cry from the heart to become all God wants us to be as His Sons and Daughters. He knows each of us better than we know ourselves and so we can trust Him to work all things – ALL things – unto good (cf Rom 8:28) even our failures to live fully in His Grace. Mary our Mother is interceding for us, as are all the saints united with Jesus our Brother and Saviour before Our Father.

Take courage from all those saints who have gone before us, and never give up asking, seeking and knocking on the door of God’s Heart for His Holy Spirit to overshadow you and bring Jesus to life in your soul. He wants us all to be holy as He is Holy and He offers us all the graces we need. Let us humble, say “Yes” with Mary moment by moment, looking to Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our Faith. (cf Hebrews 12:1-2)

Thanks for your reply. Please let us pray for one another and for all those in most need of His Mercy.

Dear EIF5A,

I somehow missed your post yesterday, and just found it this morning. I guess there were more replies than usual and I thought I had answered all, but this morning I discovered two: yours and CathConv also from yesterday. Sorry to be delayed but glad I found your reply because your questions are important.

First the term “Consecrated Life” has several meanings. Many people think it means only those consecrated as priests or religious brothers and/ or religious sisters, or in some extraordinary way like a “Consecrated virgin, or widow or widower” living in the world. Since my threads have been dealing with the Consecration specifically written about in St. Louis De Montfort’s little book, True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, my use of the word was primarily concerning those “consecrated in baptism”. Many Christians especially Catholics baptized as infants do not realize the tremendous gift of Baptism and the what the effects are.

St. Louis De Montfort in his little book shows how we can, by God’s grace perfectly renew our Baptism, by the Act of Consecration to Jesus through Mary. If you have never read his book, I encourage you to read it, slowly, and to ponder it prayerfully. I’ll always be willing to answer questions as best I can for you. It can be difficult to appreciate all that he writes.

He states several times in this book that Mary is never an obstacle but rather an easy way to know, love and serve Jesus better. When we know God willed to send Jesus through Mary in His Incarnation, why would it not be appropriate for us to go to Jesus through Mary. God was the first to honor Mary by creating her immaculate and free from all sin to be His special tabernacle for Jesus, so we are imitating God by honoring her and loving her with Jesus.

I can assure you that I came to know Jesus first but soon after I came to know Mary and have found that my love for them both has grown together. There is a certain “fear” among some that they would possibly offend God by honoring Mary, but does a son or daughter ever feel offended when their mother is praised, I don’t think so. Mary loves us and intercedes for us whether we consecrate ourselves to her or not. God gave her to us from His Cross and she loves us with His Love since she is perfectly united to God in heaven. I think it pleases God very much when we honor His Mother. We are honoring all the gifts He gave her. She like all of us is nothing without Him.

I hope you will read more form the book and hear what St. Louis says. I count my Consecration as one of the great graces of my life. I can only hope to invite others to share in the joy of belonging to Jesus and Mary in this special way. The choice is always a free one. For me there is little difference in praying directly to Jesus or to Mary except in the words we tend to use. I believe Mary is always present with Jesus and so I tend to see them always in union with one another. That is not to say Mary is God. Their union is not one of equals but a union of Mother and Son. I’m not sure if I’m answering all your questions, so please feel free to ask again, but do also take a look at the book HERE

Dear Catholic Convert,

BRAVO! Thanks so much for your reply. Yes, to renew my Baptism by this Act of Consecration does, as you said, free me, by God’s Grace to do the Truth I hear from Him.

Jesus’ words from the cross, “Behold your Mother” continue to give me so much more as I hear them more and more deeply, by His Grace. May we all, by His Grace do as John, the beloved disciple did and take her into our lives!

Please let us continue to pray for one another and for all those in most need of His Mercy!

Thank you for the reply.

A few moments after I wrote that, I thought to myself, “How terrible it is to think that Mary thinks she is seen as an impediment to Jesus!” As is always the case, it is the eye (my mind) that is corrupt, not the light itself.

Jesus is God, but God the Father is also God, as is the Holy Spirit. I’m just generally confused as to how to think about Mary without offending God the Father or the Holy Spirit…kind of as if I’m trying to “persuade” God or make Him relent by asking for Mary’s help. But since God wants to be merciful to the world, perhaps He doesn’t mind…:blush::shrug::slight_smile:

Dear EIF5A,

I do not think any of the Persons in the Holy Trinity are offended when we honor Mary because in honoring her, we honor the beauty of their work in Mary. What Father doesn’t love to hear His daughter praised? God the Father loves Mary His most perfect daughter and is pleased when we honor her. In fact we are honoring God whenever we honor the marvels He has worked in her. Mary herself says in the Gospel of Luke, “My soul magnifies the Lord…The Almighty works marvels for me…” We honor the Holy Spirit when we honor Mary because He overshadowed Mary that Jesus born of her would be called Son of God. The Holy Spirit loves Mary and continues to sanctify the Church by giving us the Life of Jesus through Mary.

St. Louis De Montfort wrote in his Introduction to “True Devotion”:

… She is the sanctuary and resting-place of the Blessed Trinity where God dwells in greater and more divine splendour than anywhere else in the universe, not excluding his dwelling above the cherubim and seraphim…

He continues in Chapter One to write:

… 14. With the whole Church I acknowledge that Mary, being a mere creature fashioned by the hands of God is, compared to his infinite majesty, less than an atom, or rather is simply nothing, since he alone can say, “I am he who is”. Consequently, this great Lord, who is ever independent and self-sufficient, never had and does not now have any absolute need of the Blessed Virgin for the accomplishment of his will and the manifestation of his glory. To do all things he has only to will them.

  1. However, I declare that, considering things as they are, because God has decided to begin and accomplish his greatest works through the Blessed Virgin ever since he created her, we can safely believe that he will not change his plan in the time to come, for he is God and therefore does not change in his thoughts or his way of acting.
  1. God the Father gave his only Son to the world only through Mary. Whatever desires the patriarchs may have cherished, whatever entreaties the prophets and saints of the Old Law may have had for 4,000 years to obtain that treasure, it was Mary alone who merited it and found grace before God by the power of her prayers and the perfection of her virtues. “The world being unworthy,” said Saint Augustine, “to receive the Son of God directly from the hands of the Father, he gave his Son to Mary for the world to receive him from her.”

The Son of God became man for our salvation but only in Mary and through Mary.

God the Holy Spirit formed Jesus Christ in Mary but only after having asked her consent through one of the chief ministers of his court…

Hope this helps a bit. Thanks for your reply.

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