Take the 2-minute tour ×
Christianity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for committed Christians, experts in Christianity and those interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Peter's excellent blog posting pointed to a movement I'd never heard of before: Militia of the Immaculata (MI). In the process of figuring out what it might be, I read this important qualification:

Marian consecration is a formal act of self-giving that does not stop at Mary, but is Christ-directed. It is really consecration to Jesus. The MI's mission is "To Lead Every Individual With Mary to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus."

To the computer science side of me, this sounds like indirection:

  1. Consecration to Mary points to
  2. The Most Sacred Heart points to
  3. Jesus.

In programming, indirection can be incredibly useful since it:

  1. Hides irrelevant details
  2. Increases flexibility
  3. Can be efficient from a CPU performance perspective.

Of these, only #1 makes any sense as a use for indirection in the Christian faith, but that can't be a justification as there are usually many more symbols added to the mix in these sorts of movements. Given that there's something important in the chain of symbols, what's the right way to think of this sort of indirection?

share|improve this question
1  
I'd go with the "Abstract Factory Pattern". By making ourselves Mary's children we can all be made implementers of the same Object. –  Peter Turner Apr 16 '12 at 19:43
1  
@Peter: Or as Paul says, "Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ." (1 Corinthians 11:1 ESV) Maybe my problem is that Mary and the Sacred Heart are harder to relate to (for me) than a spiritual mentor or an inspired (in the usual sense) author or even Jesus Himself. That's before I get to the tricky task of stringing the references together. –  Jon Ericson Apr 16 '12 at 20:06
    
For coding 3 I'd have gone with maintenance... CPU isn't usually a factor here... –  Marc Gravell Apr 16 '12 at 20:58
    
@Marc: I was thinking of something along the lines of K&R section 5.6 where a qsort of variable length character arrays is best solved with an array of pointers. (I suppose this optimization has been built into the abstraction of most higher level languages.) –  Jon Ericson Apr 16 '12 at 21:38
    
I like the programming metaphor, but I'm not at all sure it's apt. Interesting question, though! +1 –  TRiG Jun 26 '12 at 0:04
add comment

2 Answers 2

Since we speak at least one common language, perhaps this illustration will shed some light on what Catholics gain by Marian consecration.

Encapsulation

Mary is not the head of the Catholic Church, she is however, the superclass from which all Christians descend. In my Marian consecration, each day I promise to devote all my prayers, actions and sacrifices to her to further the work of her Divine Son. My public methods, my private methods and my protected methods all should point to Christ. I do all these things poorly, in imitation of she who did these things well and was blessed by God for her faith and purity of heart.

Polymorphism

Marian consecration takes on many, many forms. The form you mentioned, the form I did 9 years ago at one of the lowest spiritual points in my personal life, is the consecration of St. Maximilian Kolbe who spread devotion to the Miraculous Medal given to St. Catherine Laborre at Rue De Bac (in the middle of Paris). He took the message from Poland to Nagasaki and finally died in a concentration camp in Auschwitz, but his particular devotion of starting "Marytowns" spread all the way to Libertyville, Illinois. Marian consecration really goes back to St. Louis De Montfort in the 18th century. Devotion to the Heart of Mary comes straight out of the Bible, who Simeon foretold a sword would pierce. Is the Heart of Mary, Jesus is that passage even referring to Mary? Who can know such things. Fortunately, through the grace of polymorphism, we can overload the devotion with as much as we want and never find it failing to point to Christ.

Inheritance

Mary's ancestors, as well as Josephs were through the Davidic line. If we take her into our home, if we esteem her like Solomon esteemed his mother then we do what we can to help our cause to become coheirs to the kingdom. However, the abstraction fails, we're not gnostics, we don't gain access to Christ's protected methods (those hidden outside of revelation). But we can meditate on them.

Abstraction

I think this hits your observation about indirection. When we conform ourselves to Christ, we want to take on His attributes. You want to be in Him? You want Him to be in you? Learn from the one who took Him not only into her home, but in to her body. Mary is the Church, the Church is the bride of Christ, the Church is the Body of Christ. There's no way to understand these mysteries, except through a mirror abstractly.

I hope that helps, it was fun to write but probably exceptionally useless in the long run.

share|improve this answer
    
Thanks for taking the time: it's fun to read and think about, and its usefulness is directly proportional to the usefulness of Marian consecration itself. I would love to hear more of your experience 9 years ago (though this might not be the ideal place for that). I'm not sure I ever took notice of Luke 2:33-5. But isn't it Jesus' heart that is being referred to in the quote in the question? You've (once again) given me a lot to think about. –  Jon Ericson Apr 17 '12 at 20:01
    
I've got the same question about Luke, the semicolons and/or parentheses throw one for a loop. But imagine the hundreds of years where Luke was proclaimed and not read, it would be pretty difficult to imagine parentheses here. It really makes it sound like Mary has a role to play in our judgement ( or at least our coming to know our sins). Now, I have no idea whether this is Catholic doctrine or not, it's certainly nothing I've ever heard preached about or talked about on the radio –  Peter Turner Apr 18 '12 at 3:07
add comment

If you will indulge me in a section of "The Great Divorce," by C.S. Lewis. In chapter 3, a deceased bishop (the "Ghost") who is in hell but does not understand that he is, insists on arguing with a friend of his (the "Spirit") - a "Solid" person who wants to bring him to God. Unfortunately, the poor bishop is so wrapped up in his own theology, that he is simply unwilling to be brought into the fullness of heaven. The exchange goes as such:

"There is no meantime," replied the other. "AH that is over. We are not playing now. I have been talking of the past (your past and mine) only in order that you may turn from it forever. One wrench and the tooth will be out. You can begin as if nothing had ever gone wrong. White as snow. It's all true, you know. He is in me, for you, with that power. And- I have come a long journey to meet you. You have seen Hell: you are in sight of Heaven. Will you, even now, repent and believe?"

"I'm not sure that I've got the exact point you are trying to make," said the Ghost.

"I am not trying to make any point," said the Spirit. "I am telling you to repent and believe."

"But my dear boy, I believe already. We may not be perfectly agreed, but you have completely misjudged me if you do not realise that my religion is a very real and a very precious thing to me."

"Very well," said the other, as if changing his plan. "Will you believe in me?"

"In what sense?"

"Will you come with me to the mountains? It will hurt at first, until your feet are hardened. Reality is harsh to the feet of shadows. But will you come?"

"Well, that is a plan. I am perfectly ready to consider it. Of course I should require some assurances ... I should want a guarantee that you are taking me to a place where I shall find a wider sphere of usefulness-and scope for the talents that God has given me-and an atmosphere of free inquiry-in short, all that one means by civilisation and- er -the spiritual life."

"No," said the other. "I can promise you none of these things. No sphere of usefulness: you are not needed there at all. No scope for your talents: only forgiveness for having perverted them. No atmosphere of inquiry, for I will bring you to the land not of questions but of answers, and you shall see the face of God."

The indirection is a tool used by the Spirit to bring the Ghost towards Christ. The bishop is so unable to trust in the reality of God that he simply does not understand what he must do. So, the Spirit says to his friend, "Will you believe in me?"

This isn't entirely allegory here. People can be so far from God that they require someone they recognize to lead them back on the path towards Christ. The reason behind the incarnation was precisely that we limited human beings cannot relate to God in His fullness. So, God became man to intermediate that relationship - to put a veil on his own majesty - for the sake of bring us to him.

Thus, that indirection may be a tool by which an omnipotent God could woo rather than overpower those whom he would call to himself. If that is in the guise of Mary, as long as it leads back to Christ, then who am I to argue with his methods?

share|improve this answer
    
Now you're speaking my language! But it's a two-edged sword, isn't it? On the one hand, the Spirit does redirect the Ghost to himself as God's representative, but on the other, he had to do that as the Ghost had made on idol of theology. He had (and I am well acquainted with the problem) substituted academic belief for actual belief. And further, the Spirit was a close friend in whom the Ghost could be expected to trust. And the goal would be to rid oneself of the intermediary when the real thing can be obtained directly, right? –  Jon Ericson Apr 17 '12 at 23:10
    
Precisely. Couldn't have said it better myself. –  Affable Geek Apr 17 '12 at 23:50
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.