Canonised in 1947, this statue of Saint Louis Marie de Montfort stands on top of one of the great columns in the central nave of Saint Peter’s Basilica, Rome. His writings have been recommended by many Popes, including the great St John Paul II – who took his motto “Totus Tuus” from the works of Saint Louis Marie.

My personal spirituality has always been what you might call ‘profoundly Marian’ in character. It has always been this way, from the earliest days of my childhood. The Blessed Virgin has simply always been there with me, for reasons I can’t fathom or explain, but which I state here simply as a fact because that is what it has always been, borne out every day by my personal experience of Her.

And so it was not really a surprise to me that I felt very much drawn by the spirituality of Saint Louis Marie de Montfort – initially through his beautiful book ‘The Secret Of The Rosary’, followed by ‘The Secret Of Mary’ and then on to what I now see as the intended goal – ‘A Treatise On The True Devotion To The Blessed Virgin Mary’.

This last book changed my life irrevocably and forever.

That year, I consecrated myself to Jesus through Mary, on the feast of Her Immaculate Conception, 8th December. The year was 1981 and I was sixteen years old. I had never met anyone who had followed the path laid out by this greatest of all Our Lady’s knights nor who had made this Consecration which the Saint proposes. Because of this, I could only live the Consecration by reading his writings and by the (sometimes bitter) fruits of my experience as the years passed, including a very great many failures.

Everything Saint Louis writes about this Consecration is both true and accurate – from the sublimity of it, to the fruitfulness of it, and to the attempts by the Demon to destroy it. I concur with all he has written of it and know it to be true.

I have renewed the Consecration several times since then. One of the happiest occasions was in the Chapel of the Miraculous Medal on the Rue du Bac in Paris, in 1994. This was a truly blessed privilege for me, one I am deeply grateful for, since this was a spot specially chosen by the Mother of God Herself, when She appeared there in that Chapel to Saint Catherine in 1830.

Most recently, I have felt impelled to renew the Consecration, as though for the first time. A circuitous but very brief set of circumstances led me to this conclusion, and the  particulars of these seemed – on the surface – like nothing more than coincidence. Except, my experience over all these years has taught me one particular lesson – there is no such thing as ‘coincidence’. Everything is ordained and happens for a reason, in it’s allocated time and manner; we may never see the overall plan, but there is little real doubt about Who is behind it.

And that brings me to today.

Having received a new copy of the Treatise On The True Devotion – I gave away my last copy – I have begun reading it, and it seems as though I am reading it for the first time, as I did all those years ago. I know more about it than I did then, but I still feel like a child who has picked up a beautifully coloured book and is poring over the pages incredulously and in awe, wondering where it will take me. I have chosen the date of the renewal of my Consecration and the date on which the preparation period will begin; now, I wait and pray.

And that brings me to the point of writing all this, which is unusually personal for me.

If you have read all these words, then I would ask your kindness in doing one thing for me – offer one Hail Mary on my behalf to the Mother of God and ask Her blessing as I go forward. And be quite certain that She will return that kindness, as will I.