From my earliest years my mother used to remind me, albeit on occasion, how she consecrated me and my siblings in the first days after our birth to Our Lady, at Her Altar in our local parish church. I do not imagine this act on mum’s part was an altogether common practice at the time but, then again, it was certainly far from unheard of in the mid-1960s when I entered the world. In fact the custom was a settled feature in the treasury of the Church’s devotional life. From time to time, whenever I have had cause to call to mind this childhood Marian consecration I have felt some supernatural comfort and assurance. More than that, I have even pondered whether the contours of my vocation as a priest, and now bishop, were not marked out there and then in that simple act of entrustment to Our Lady of an ordinary Catholic mother. How many souls I wonder were saved, and saints crafted, by other countless maternal acts of consecration of the young to the Mother of Jesus, and Mother of mothers.
Taking up Blythe Kaufman’s Child Consecration: To Jesus through Mary reminded me fondly of my own childhood consecration. It was like going through an old desk and coming across some memento of a by-gone age that, to my surprise, had lost none of its freshness or poignancy, relevance and vitality. Child Consecration reminds me of Jesus’ words about the: scribe discipled in the Kingdom of Heaven who brings out of his storeroom treasures old and new.
I encourage every parent, teacher and priest to read this book, quite unique in these times, that accompanies parents as they take up again the devotion of consecrating their children to Jesus through Mary. This thirty-three day consecration, designed for elementary school children, follows Saint Louis-Marie de Montfort’s Consecration to Jesus through Mary but in a way appropriated to children, following the spirit of simplicity, confidence and trust of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. Beneath the author’s simple style there lies a profound spiritual soul, full of the practical wisdom of an attentive mother of faith.
Everything is founded on the story of a child guided by her mother to tend her father’s garden, a story that engages the imagination and senses, and that is complimented by quite exquisite illustrations that lift the spirits with their innocent joy. That said, this story represents a comprehensive Christian allegory that goes on to unfold, day by day through the consecration journey: the panorama of the Scriptures; the wisdom of the Church; its elementary catechesis; its treasury of Holy Mass and the Sacraments; its essential prayers and devotions; its training in virtue, and all in the service of forming characters and personalities in light of the Christian vision of the human person. The realism with which Original Sin and redeeming grace are taken into account has created a quite exceptional manual for leading today’s children safely to Jesus around the pitfalls and temptations that abound in our modern culture.
Child Consecration is a delightful book that seems effortlessly to help parents and children scale to great heights in a consecration to Jesus through Mary as real as that proposed by Saint Louis-Marie de Montfort to the most mature of Christian souls.
Were I a parent, this would be my number one Marian book for my family. As a pastor of souls I pray many parents will take it up, confident that it has within it the grace to bring in a great harvest for the Church and the world in the generations too that lie ahead.
Most Rev. John Keenan
Bishop of Paisley, Scotland