And there should have been plenty to blog about. The Ig Nobel awards came out, and I had a blast staying up late with my husband and a friend from grad school (himself an alumnus of an Ig Nobel-laureate's research group), reading about some poor researchers who spent six months training tortoises to yawn on command. My daughter started in American Heritage Girls, which brought back lots of fond memories of Girl Scouting. My husband's tibial stress fractures cleared up and he may start running again soon. I finished the Neal Stephenson book. I went to Iowa City for the weekend. I discovered a new way to feed nine picky children. Somehow, though, when I sat down to blog I was always too tired to think straight. Now, too. But I am determined to stick it out for fifteen minutes.
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So, let's talk about that consecration. I did it. I aimed for Our Lady of the Rosary but wound up doing it on the day after, which was a Saturday, and which made it easier to get to Mass. This is unusual for me. Normally I am all about the Sticking To The Plan. But I decided that I needed to embark on a new campaign of Good Enough spirituality, and if that meant arriving 24 hours late to a Marian consecration, so be it.
I got up early and went to breakfast at a neighborhood restaurant that opens at 6 a.m. And has wifi. I wrote out the act of consecration in my general-purpose notebook for keeping track of things. I went to Mass, I went to confession. I lit a candle and put all the folding cash from my wallet in the box -- I don't think it was very much, but it should cover the candle with some to spare. St. Louis recommends an alms or a fast or a mortification: I went for the alms because it was easy and I, who overthinks everything, couldn't possibly overthink this.
Then I sat in the church and read the consecration and signed it, and that was it.
No, scratch that, in the middle of my reading, a confused elderly woman, wearing a set of keys on a pink lanyard around her neck, approached me and asked when Mass was. I told her it had finished some time ago and she looked disappointed enough to cry. "But Father is still hearing confessions," I told her cheerfully, "so you could go, if you wanted, and then you wouldn't have made the trip for nothing." She liked that idea, so I showed her to the reconciliation room and then returned, picking up where I left off. I finished it, signed it, and that really was it.
I put on a cheap little chain bracelet I had ordered a couple of weeks before -- thinking I would get something more permanent, maybe a medal or something -- and then I went about my day. Wondering if anything would be different now.
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The first few days afterward, I felt strangely light inside -- porous, like sea foam, or more like pumice. A stone matrix, full of airy holes. And I didn't feel any desire to pray, not rosaries, not the LOTH, not even an Our Father. Nor -- and this is odder -- did I feel a duty to pray. I almost felt as if I had been given a few days off.
But after three or four days, I resumed my normal sorts of spiritual life. And here is what I think about the consecration: for me at least, it doesn't (so far) add anything extra to my life. I have no desire, for instance, to take up saying the Little Crown of the Blessed Virgin, or to add any particular fasts and mortifications. What it does seem to do is transform, if only slightly, all the things I already did do. I find myself approaching the rosary, or the breviary, with a little fascinated trepidation each time. Will I see something new now that I am consecrated? Will it mean more to me today?
One difference: I never was a huge rosary enthusiast, but now I definitely appreciate that form of prayer far better than I did pre-consecration. Another is that I have really taken to Montfort's formula: I am all thine, and all that I have is yours, O my sweet Jesus, through thy holy mother. I rather like repeating it. It has taken the place of the other things I used to blurt out for no apparent reason, such as My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
My cheap metal chain bracelet, supposed to be a physical reminder to me of my consecration in the service of Jesus through Mary, turned out to be a poor fit for me; the toggle clasp kept coming apart, and it fell off several times. So during one of the times when it was missing, I ordered a slightly less plain metal chain bracelet with a lobster clasp, not too expensive, from an etsy shop (link here). Besides the metal it is made of, it has one glass bead that adorns a small Miraculous Medal. So not perfectly plain, even a little troublingly in accord with my taste in jewelry, but not ostentatious either. The dangly end gets in my way a little while I am working, but that may be a feature rather than a bug. I decided I would try alternating the bracelet with a silver necklace I already have, with a Madonna and child pendant, depending on which was more practical for the particular day. Either should work as a "little chain" to wear according to the suggestion of St. Louis. At any rate, I find that seeing and feeling the little bracelet on my arm does recall my mind, does prompt me, to live my consecration in the moment.
I am working, too, on some related projects. Writing out a prayer for before and after communion, for example, so as to follow the Montfortian method, but in my own words. But also watching and waiting. I have taken the step of saying, "here I am, I come to do your will," without knowing what that will is. I still don't know. I wonder if this feeling of expectancy is permanent.