Slavery to Love: Total Consecration

The chain Lucas wears on his wrist.

I always find it fun when people ask me why I wear a chain around my wrist. It looks like a regular old bracelet and I don’t think those who ask are ready for my response. Usually accompanied by a smile, I say, “It’s a reminder that I am a slave to Love.”

The chain is commonly worn by those who have gone through the Total Consecration. Saint Louis de Montfort wrote the Total Consecration in hope that people would take up true devotion to Mary, insofar as devoting oneself entirely to the will of God. God didn’t need Mary by any means, but choose her to work through to bring Himself into human existence. But, Mary needed to allow God to work through her. So, we get the humble passage in the Bible that is to reverberate in the hearts of those who have consecrated themselves:

“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)

A complete sacrifice of one’s own will to take up the will of God is what Mary did and those devoted to her must do. Throughout the preparations for the consecration, we are give readings from the Gospels, and different pieces from St. De Montfort’s other works. Each aimed at the Gospel passage from above. The consecration itself is one day but is to be prepared for by 32 days of preparation making a thirty-three days long spiritual retreat. There are different versions of the consecration and can probably be googled but I’ve found it best just to ask someone about it (most priests know of it, if not done it) if you are interested in consecrating yourself which I highly recommend.

The back of the miraculous medal

I recommend Total Consecration because, after having gone through it twice and about to finish up my third time, I find a constant need for a reminder that God presented Himself to man through Mary and that she is a powerful advocate to have praying for myself and others. The preparation readings allow me to deepen my relationship with Christ as well as Mary, and allow a very basic start to the sacrifice of my own will. They aren’t long readings but instead of watching something on Netflix, I read and reflect for the day. It’s a simple sacrifice but is the essential start to the process that leads to the larger sacrifices in life that come in all vocations and walks of life.

So, my response to those who ask about the chain may not make sense by a simple explanation but this sacrifice of my will for the will of God brings forth a lot of peace, joy and grace which is worth more than the comforts of following my own will. Totus tuus, Maria.

Lucas Gerads is a student at St. Cloud State University, and is pursuing a degree in Philosophy and English with an emphasis in Linguistics and Rhetoric. Read more about Lucas on the Meet Our Bloggers page.

End of the Academic year reflection: Community

Introducing our newest blogger, Lucas Gerads, a student at St. Cloud State University. Read more about Lucas on the Meet Our Bloggers page.

As the end of the academic year winds down, I was invited and found time to reflect on the past school year and see where the Lord had really blessed me and guided me. Every time I’m asked that question on the spot with no time to pray, reflect and think about an answer, I usually get flustered and a little panicked. This time was different. I found myself answering almost immediately by saying, “The community I’ve been led to.”

Having been a student at Saint Mary’s University in Winona for two years, I built a strong community there, and toward the end of my second year, I found out I was not able to continue my education there for financial reasons. Coming home from Saint Mary’s University was a really hard transition for a couple of reasons, but the most prominent was the disconnection with a community. I still had my friends down in Winona and we talked but the face-to-face personal interactions were absent. Trying to grow deeper in my faith without that face-to-face community was hard and I was struggling.

Around Thanksgiving, I had the opportunity to sit down and catch up with Father Scott Pogatchnik, the diocesan vocations director, and we got to talking about my transition and how I was resettling in. I expressed my struggles and he invited me to attend a Marmion House event to watch a football game. The Marmion House is a place where men in college have the opportunity to live in communion with one another and grow in their faith. A couple of days after Father Scott and I had talked, Father Ben Kociemba, who runs the Marmion House, had texted me inviting me over to events, and before I knew it, I was talking about moving in. I moved in on the 8th on January and I was a little concerned. I had only met some of the house members three times and now was living with them?!? It was crazy how quickly everything went through.

A photo of the chapel inside Marmion House.

As crazy as it all was, it has truly been one of the largest blessing of the past year. Since moving in, I’ve grown to know each of the guy in personal ways and we as a community have grown close to each other and Christ. Being able to live in the same house as the Blessed Sacrament allows us to grow our relations together rooted in Christ through prayer. I’ve always been a firm believer in the saying, “Iron is sharpened by iron; one person sharpens another,” (Proverbs 27:17) and that is exactly what has been happening. We check in with one another. Make sure each of us is staying faithful to the sacraments and prayer, and ultimately Christ. I think the pinnacle of this whole thought came through the other night when Father Ben celebrated Mass for 13 young men as a kickstarter for finals week. After Mass, we had time for some fellowship, and I could feel the presence of Christ amongst us.

The men of Marmion House at a recent gathering.

At the end of the day, a personal relationship with Christ is the greatest relationship a person could have, but Christ recognized the great need humanity has for community and relationships with one another. Even His apostles needed to be sent out in groups of two, (Mark 6:7) and so I encourage you to thank God for the communities you are part of that leads you to Christ. Pray for deeper relations with them and Christ, and for those who may not have such communities.

Lucas Gerads is a student at St. Cloud State University, currently living in Marmion House, an intentional community of men in St. Cloud. Read more about Lucas on the Meet Our Bloggers page.