Totus Tuus (Even at Work): Marian Consecration in the Workplace
“It was through the Blessed Virgin Mary that Jesus came into the world, and it is also through her that he must reign in the world.” Saint Louis de Montfort
Marian consecration is the act of entrusting yourself to Mary, in order to align your life with God’s will and to grow in holiness.
In the introduction to his book 33 Days to Morning Glory, Fr. Michael Gaitley makes three important points about Marian consecration:
Jesus wants every person to be part of His work of salvation.
Jesus entrusted His mother to us to help us grow in holiness and to grow closer to Him.
Through Marian consecration, we give Mary our full permission “to complete her motherly task in us.”
In other words, Marian consecration helps us help Jesus in His work.
St. Louis de Montfort, whose book True Devotion to Mary popularized the concept of Marian consecration, wrote that in consecrating ourselves we give Mary our body, our soul, our “exterior goods,” and “our interior and spiritual goods, which are our merits and our virtues, and our good works, past, present, and future.”
It’s those last two gifts that are relevant in the workplace. No matter where we work or what we do, our work is for God, and Mary can give that work to God for us. St. Louis uses the analogy of a queen giving our meager gifts to her king and, thereby, making them more precious to him.
It might seem like consecration only impacts religious work, but it can and should seep into every aspect of our lives, including secular work. “The whole person, body and spirit, participates in [work], whether it is manual or intellectual,” wrote Pope St. John Paul II in his encyclical Laborem Exercens (“On Human Work”). Jesus himself spent much more of his life doing non-ministry work as a carpenter, and you can bet that while He was working alongside St. Joseph, He was praying without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and offering up everything He did to His Father in Heaven.
According to Fr. Billy Swan, a successful career requires the same thing that holiness does: giving your all. As business leaders and owners, we are motivated to give everything we have and dedicate ourselves to our work. In a similar way, Marian consecration requires us “to give everything we have, with all the love we have, to God, out of love for Him.”
In our work, we must adopt St. Louis de Montfort and St. Pope John Paul II’s mindset towards Mary and offer the “exterior goods” of our business and our income and the “interior goods” of our gifts and talents back to God: Totus tuus ego sum et omnia mea tua sunt (I am totally yours and all that I have is yours).
Consecration takes work. It takes an immense level of trust and faith – trust in God’s love and faith that aligning your will with His is for the best.
It’s not easy to take that step back and pray that God’s will be done, perhaps especially in a secular workplace, where God may not always be at the forefront of your mind.
Consecrating yourself to Mary is a way to bridge the gap between your spiritual life and your work and build that trust muscle throughout your day.
In her 1932 essay “Fundamental Principles of Women’s Education,” St. Edith Stein (or St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross) wrote that “we can do nothing ourselves; God must do it. To speak to Him, thus, is easier by nature for woman than for man because a natural desire lives in her to give herself completely to someone.” By allowing Mary to give us completely to Christ, we are living our vocation fully and trusting God to use us in the best possible way to do His will.
Taryn Oesch, managing editor of Catholic Women in Business and owner of Everyday Roses Editorial, LLC, is a writer in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she writes and speaks about women’s issues for a variety of publications and conferences. Her role models are all named Teresa, and she keeps discovering new ways they influence her work and her life. When not writing or editing, Taryn is typically reading Jane Austen, drinking Earl Grey, and spending time with family and friends. She is a contributing writer to FemCatholic.com and an active member of the Raleigh Catholic Young Adults, where she leads a women’s Bible study and plays the piano and flute for monthly Holy Hours. You can follow Taryn on Twitter, on Instagram, on Facebook, and on her blog Everyday Roses.