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Totus Tuus Again…and Again

mother-maryAll around the World people are making final preparations for World Youth Day in July, my thoughts wandered back to its beginnings.

It was Palm Sunday, 1984. Blessed John Paul II, speaking in Saint Peter’s Square said to the people, “What a fantastic spectacle is presented on this stage by your gathering here today! Who claimed that today’s youth has lost their sense of values? Is it really true that they cannot be counted on?”

He entrusted the youth with the World Youth Day Cross, and placed his trust in the young people of the world to carry forth the lasting values of the Church. In reading the life of Blessed John Paul, we find in him a vibrant young person full of zest for life. But if we look closely, we have to ask ourselves, Where did he get this zeal?  We might also say, What a pity more Christians are not like him!

Oh, but we are meant to be like saintly John Paul! We may not become pope, but we are called to be filled with the same spirit and zeal for Christ. It is the path to holiness. But how? How in our modern world where there are so many obstacles that bombard our daily life are we to carve a life of holiness?

There is no magical solution. We cannot expect a vision or event to heighten our spiritual senses so to be thrust into a life of prayer overnight (that’s not to say that God doesn’t intervene in special ways from time to time, but I am not counting that as the norm). We need to make a move toward God. As a young man, Karol Wojtyla read Saint Louis de Montfort’s book, True Devotion to Mary, and he credits the book for how his life took a decisive direction. His Papal moto “Totus Tuus” comes directly from de Montfort’s shorter prayer of consecration. His holiness did not happen overnight; but it began by a decisive turning to God.

Can we not do the same? Why not make these simple words ours? Why not make all that we are, a prayer to be “totally yours” to God through Mary? What would our world be like if all of us followed Blessed John Paul’s example and became “Totus Tuus”?

‘Totus Tuus ego sum et omnia mea Tua sunt.
Accipio Te in mea omnia. Praebe mihi cor Tuum, Maria.’

(I belong entirely to you, and all that I have is yours.
I take you for my all. O Mary, give me your heart)

I often hear from young Catholics how they find it so hard to set aside consistent times of prayer, Mass, devotions, reading the Bible.  Even Karol Wojtyla had to pick up that book by de Montfort and read in order to meet his life-changing event. We have to be willing to dedicate a time – a window – through which God can begin to work in us.  And if we do, the Holy Spirit will meet us and guide us the rest of the way.

One very useful book that I came across: 33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat In Preparation for Marian Consecration by Fr. Michael E. Gaitley, MIC.

I had made my Marian Consecration in 2004, but felt a desire to re-consecrate myself and found this book very helpful. It takes the teachings of Saint Louis de Montfort and breaks them down, using four Saints – de Montfort, Maximilian Kolbe, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, and Blessed John Paul II – to lead us through understanding Marian consecration. Many parishes have used this book to bring more of their members to ‘give themselves to Christ through Mary. In fact, our parish has a small group preparing for their consecration on July 16 (Feast of Our Lady of Mt Carmel).  The book is rich in insight, and yet not time-consuming. The book is enjoyable. The daily reflections short. It leads little by little to a deeper appreciation of Mary’s role, and how she is there waiting to make us other Christ’s, all for God and His Divine Glory.

Blessed John Paul led a life with giving all to Mary (Totus Tuus). What would happen if one after another resounded these words ‘Totus Tuus’ again…and again!

This article courtesy of Ignitum Today.


  • noelfitz

    I read here:
    “Blessed John Paul led a life with giving all to Mary (Totus Tuus)”

    and

    “I belong entirely to you, and all that I have is yours. I take you for my all. O Mary, give me your heart)”.

    Is this not “over the top”?

    Should we not try to give all to God and belong
    to him?

    Should we not try to be like the Psalmist?

    “but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.

    But for me it is good to
    be near God;
    I have made the Lord God my refuge,
    to tell of all your works
    (NRSV, Psalm 73:26-28).

    • noelfitz

      Goral, many thanks for your reply. I prefer a thoughtful critical reply than none.

      It seems the US and Ireland differ in language.
      I would imagine if a son claims he belong entirely to
      his mother), and all that he has is hers, then he must love the father less.
      If I leave all my estate to one person, others get nothing.

      • CDville

        I don’t think the misunderstanding here is geographic, but this time theological. I hope I can explain adequately. I have heard of the Holy Trinity as a never-ending reciprocity of love: the Father loves the Son, the Son loves the Father, the Holy Spirit is that reciprocity of love and the reciprocity is constantly flowing, none first, none last. We are the body of Christ and the bride of Christ, so we enter into that reciprocity. Mary is the mother of God and the spouse of God and mother of the Church at the same time, so she enters that reciprocity. All that love is spiritual and does not have to be given to one, as material possessions are bequeathed. We can give all our love to Mary, all our love to Jesus, all our love to the Holy Spirit, all our love to our spouses, all our love to our children and grandchildren, all at the same time! Our time must be rationed, our attention and energy must be rationed, but love never fails. (I am not a theologian, but I have explained the best I can.)

        • goral

          I like your explanation, CDville. I have three daughters.
          If I told one that my love for her is a third of my love because the others get two thirds, it just wouldn’t work.
          I give all of my love and attention to each one of them.

          Our Blessed Mother continues to be the vessel through which love and blessings continue to flow in both directions. She keeps nothing for herself.
          She knows that all that she is, is a gift from God.
          Consider the gift she gave us – her Son.

  • goral

    If a son really, really, really loves his mother, does that mean that he

    loves his father less. Is there only so much love to go around and then
    it’s spent?
    Did not all the saints go over the top to the point of loosing their lives?

  • noelfitz

    Goral and CDville,

    Many thanks for your most recent reply. They help me to clarify and perhaps deepen my understanding.

    Theologically do we not haver latria, hyperdulia and dulia,
    where latria is the supreme worship of adoration due to God alone, Mary is not
    adored. Hyperdulia is the honour and veneration for Marry, while dulia is the
    honor and veneration due to other saints?

    If we can give all our love to our spouses, our children,
    our cats or dogs, our bicycles and our clothes, it does not mean anything.

    I repeat if I give all my goods to one of my children the others get nothing.

    • goral

      “Hang down your head Tom Dula, hang down your head and cry”
      Noelfitz, perhaps you’re familiar with Neil Young’s song, Tom Dulia or is it Dula. In any case, the lyrics are the first sentence.

  • noelfitz

    Goral,

    many thanks for your post.

    It is good to keep things light and not be too pedantic. BUT.

    It is Tom Dooley, a good Irish name. Some time ago, I had a friend (now a priest called Tom Dooley) and he used to get into trouble by claiming he was Tom Dooley. There was another Tom Dooley, an American medical missionary, who was a tremendous hero, http://vnafmamn.com/Doctor_tomdooley.html

    I see in Wikipedia:

    “Tom Dooley” is an old North Carolina folk song based on the 1866 murder of a woman named Laura Foster in Wilkes County, North Carolina. It is best known today because of a hit version recorded in 1958 by The Kingston Trio.