By Catherine Durand
Students curious about the chains some people wear on their wrists had a chance to learn more about their symbolism of enslavement to Mary. On Tuesday, Oct. 30, Deacon Ralph Poyo spoke to students of Franciscan University of Steubenville about St. Louis de Montfort’s book and devotion titled Total Consecration to Mary.
Poyo began the presentation by outlining the importance of Mary. He said that Montfort describes the consecration to Mary as “a journey to Jesus through Mary.” Poyo said that we should turn to Mary because she is the one who has the greatest desire to know her Son.
Poyo described the deep connection between Mary and Jesus and the role Mary played in the plan of salvation. He spoke about the pain Mary suffered through Jesus and her role in starting Jesus’ ministry at the wedding feast of Cana.
“She was beginning the process that would lead to her inevitable suffering,” Poyo said.
The next part of Poyo’s presentation discussed the process of making a good devotion and the significance of a Marian devotion. He proceeded to divide the process into four sections.
The first step in the devotion process is 12 days of casting off the spirit of the world, whom Poyo explained to be Satan. A person must recognize the sins of the world and turn away from them. Poyo suggested that to stay on the right path, a good question to ask is: “Would I be doing this particular activity, would I be entertaining these particular thoughts, in the Beatific Vision?”
The second step involves a seven-day process of recognizing self-depravity. Poyo said that he learned more than he thought during this process.
“There was much more broken in me than I was willing to admit,” said Poyo.
He added that his role model to become a better person is Mary. “The one human who never sinned,” he said.
He also explained that the brokenness of a person does not mean a person is worthless. “We are lovable in and of ourselves, not based on merit,” Poyo said.
The third step is seven days of deepening our knowledge of Mary. Poyo said that all people should open their hearts to Mary. He listed 10 of her characteristics Christians should try to imitate: profound humility, lively faith, blind obedience, continued mental prayer, mortification in all things, surpassing purity, ardent charity, heroic patience, angelic sweetness, and divine wisdom.
The fourth step of the devotional process is coming to know Jesus Christ, when Christians are called to give deep thought to the actions of Jesus. Mary’s role in this union between human and Christ is a powerful one.
“Mary desires to lead us to make that connection,” said Poyo.
Poyo reminded the audience of the great role Mary can play in our spiritual lives.
“She wants to lead us into that intimate union with her Son,” said Poyo.