Our Lady of Light (Henri Charlier)
Every year on the 15th of August, feast of the Assumption of the most Blessed Virgin Mary and Marian peak of the liturgical year, the Benedictine of the Immaculate monks solemnly renew their consecration to Mary.
The Prologue of our Constitutions, approved by the Holy See on 25th of March last, specifies that the Benedictines of Villatalla, wishing to connect with the irreplaceable monastic and liturgical heritage received from their Fathers, a complete consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, “because the virtues which must constitute the essence of our society”, (said Fr. Muard), “are the virtues par excellence of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and that of his Holy Mother”. In the direct line of this heritage, on 22nd of August 1986, Dom Gérard solemnly and irrevocably renewed the consecration of the community and all its members to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, considered as the perfect ideal to imitate. In order to make this Marian consecration more manifest and effective, through which they become the “absolute property” of Mary, the monks of Villatalla wish to adopt the name of “Benedictines of the Immaculate” and see to it that their prayer life, their reading and their manual labour be imbued with Her spirit, to the point where She alone lives again in them. That is why every day in private the Benedictine monks of the Immaculate renew their consecration and every 15th of August, the Fr. Prior solemnly reads the consecration again, with the community kneeling at the feet of the Virgin of the miraculous medal.
Here is this text, composed by Dom Gérard and carefully revised due to special circumstances; it connects to a spiritual elevation of thought, a literary expression of unequalled beauty:
“O Mary, our sovereign and tender mother, whose most tender heart, wounded by love, burns with a most ardent charity for each one of us, cast your gaze on your children gathered together on this day by a sentiment of profound gratitude for so many graces received, as well as by their unbreakable confidence in the sweet and powerful protection which they dare to expect from you in their weakness, surrounded by great perils.
“Look upon our young community of brethren whose filial confidence lays claim to your help; see what great perils we are threatened with by the state of the world and of Holy Church, and never allow our interior life, supernatural spirit, orthodox faith, love of doctrine, taste for solitude, humility of heart and fraternal charity to weaken. Bring it about that our community and those which it shall found may always be faithful to the spirit of our Father Muard*, your ardent servant, who set forth to all the members of his religious family “the virtues of the Heart of Jesus and the Heart of Mary” as an immense reservoir of grace and love from which we can draw strength to embrace “a life humble, poor and mortified” until the end of our days.
Dom Gérard … 48 years ! “The monk is a child who is surprised by nothing and who marvels at all”
“Never allow our inexperience to frighten us or make us pull back. Give us a heart both gentle and strong, so that no success can make us proud, no setback break our spirit. Bring it about that, being nothing through ourselves, we can find our entire glory in our dependence on you, similar to the children your Son set forth as the example for his disciples: children who see in every event the hand of their heavenly Father, who are shocked by nothing and who marvel at everything.
“We take as our own, and for all time, the desire of our founders who regarded your Immaculate Heart to be our model “for it is the finished archetype of two characteristics of the Work: interior life and immolation”.
“Therefore we beseech you to keep us free of the evil of pride, the thirst for power, the attraction to the pleasures and grandeur of this world.
“May the demon never sow among us the weeds of discord, or of jealousy, but may there reign always in the ranks of our monastic family a supernatural peace, the spirit of sacrifice, humility of heart and pardon for offenses.
“Bring it about, O sweet Virgin Mary, that the poor are always welcomed among us with tenderness as the envoys of God, but may the spirit of the world, and the assaults of schism and heresy be smashed against our walls and unable ever to penetrate among us.
Renewal of consecration before the Virgin of the miraculous medal
“To this end we ask of you the grace to always keep firm without fail behind the twofold rampart of the holy Rule and the sacred Liturgy, the best guarantees of the purest Catholic faith and the highest sanctity.
“O most sweet and strong Virgin Mary, our most loving mother, persuaded of our incapacity to accomplish a plan so far beyond our strength, we consecrate to you today, solemnly and irrevocably to your Immaculate Heart: our community, our works and our foundations, our families, our oblates, friends and benefactors; to you we give everything. Everything is yours, all is for you in our thoughts, affections, desires and projects.
“Bound by such a solemn pact, O Mary, we wish to remain immersed in your most pure Heart, which is an ocean of interior life and charity, confident of receiving from you all necessary lights and graces in order to love you and make you loved, so that the life of your Son may be manifested in us for the glory of the Father in the unity of the Holy Ghost.
O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee. (3 times)