This Lent provides us with a most rare opportunity to consecrate ourselves to Mary according to de Montfort’s method. Due to highly exceptional circumstances, one could begin the preparation this year on Ash Wednesday (February 22) and complete the consecration on the feast of the Annunciation (this year, March 26). What a wonderful way to make this our best Lent ever!
There are numerous days which de Montfort recommends (and which are traditionally chosen) for the act of total consecration, including: The Assumption, the Nativity of Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows, the Presentation of Mary, and the Immaculate Conception. And there are other feasts besides. Moreover, the total consecration does not even need to be made on a specific feast day – though it is highly recommended.But, above all the others, St. Louis-Marie de Montfort most especially recommends the feast of the Annunciation as the day to make the total consecration, since this is the principal feast of the devotion. As it was on this day that our Savior took flesh and subjected himself in all humility to the Blessed Virgin, coming to us through her; so on this day it is most fitting that we subject ourselves by a holy slavery to Mary and return to our Lord through her by whom he came to us.
Why this Lent is special
Three circumstances have come together this year to provide the opportunity to begin the preparation for the total consecration on February 22nd (Ash Wednesday) and conclude on March 26th (Feast of the Annunciation). This is highly unusual.
1) Ordinarily, the Annunciation is celebrated on March 25th. However, on account of the Fifth Sunday of Lent (March 25th, 2012), the feast has been moved this year to March 26th.
2) Generally, in order to complete the thirty-three day preparation for the feast of the Annunciation, one would begin on February 20th. However, because this year is a leap year, we gain an extra day of preparation and can start later than usual.
3) This year, Easter falls on April 8th, which would usually make Ash Wednesday fall on February 21st. However, because this is a leap year, Ash Wednesday is February 22nd.
All three of these factors combine to allow the thirty-three day preparation to begin on February 22nd which is also Ash Wednesday, and to conclude on March 25th which is the Fifth Sunday of Lent. Then, as de Montfort asks, the consecration is made on the following day, March 26th which, this year, is the feast of the Annunciation.
This hardly ever happens
St. Louis-Marie died on April 28th, 1716. Since that time, there has only been three years in which the preparation for the total consecration could begin on Ash Wednesday and conclude with the act of consecration on the feast of the Annunciation (being moved to March 26th): 1792, 1860, and 1928.The next occurrence of such circumstances will not be until 2164 – and then, not again until after 2200. This is very clearly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make this Lent special.