"Love One Another!" 13/2009 → Catholic Church
I would like to share with your readers an instance of the great love bestowed by God upon those who consecrate themselves to Our Blessed Mother’s Immaculate Heart.
For several years, on the first Saturday of the month, I have been participating in such acts of consecration, which take place after Holy Mass at six-thirty in the evening in the chapel of the Miraculous Image at Jasna Gora [Poland — ed.]. Here pilgrims consecrate themselves, their families, places of work, parishes, as well as their hardships in life, their problems, plans for the future, discernment of vocations, requests (e.g. for children) — in short, everything that has happened, is happening, and will happen in their lives. This simple act of love and child-like trust in the intercession of the Mother of God is in response to the call of Our Lady of Fatima, who stated that victory would come through her Immaculate Heart. It is also a continuation of the path blazed for us by Servant of God John Paul II, who entrusted himself to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, so as to be “entirely hers” — “Totus Tuus.” In such an act of consecration he also embraced Russia and the rest of world on March 25, 1984.
Every first Saturday of the month, Our Lady’s children come to Jasna Gora to pray for the triumph of her Immaculate Heart over problems and difficulties which they find humanly insuperable. Mary’s response is often instantaneous and extraordinary. “For,” as St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort observes in his True Devotion to Mary, “it is only that singular and miraculous Virgin who can produce, in union with the Holy Spirit, singular and extraordinary things” (48). Those who consecrate themselves to the Immaculate Heart of Mary receive numerous graces and miracles. I would like to recount one such instance of grace to which I was a witness.
One day, during a Holy Mass at the chapel of the Miraculous Image, I was struck by a young man’s bizarre behavior. Just as the priest raised the Host for the consecration, the youth fell writhing to the ground as if he had had an epileptic fit. They carried him to the sacristy and gave him a drink of holy water. His reaction was instantaneous. Oblivious of where he was and what he was doing, he began tossing about on the floor, shrieking and spluttering. We called for a priest to give him a blessing. The youth calmed down at once. His face and eyes regained their normal expression. From this we gathered that he was suffering not from epilepsy but from a condition of a spiritual nature. There was nothing else to do but to call an exorcist. Since he was busy at the moment, he prevailed on me to mind Paul (for this was the boy’s name) for a period of two hours.
We walked to a place that would normally take me five minutes to reach. This time the walk took forty-five minutes. It seemed to me I was escorting a delirious alcoholic or a drug addict in advanced stages of withdrawal. Every step Paul took required an immense amount of effort on his part. He had no control over his body and was unable to bend his knees. You could see he was suffering terribly. I had to hold him up or he would have slumped to the ground. In my heart I prayed to Mary for help. When we reached the place, Paul was utterly exhausted. We sat down on a bench. Paul tried to explain to me that he had come to seek Our Lady’s help. I began telling him about Mary and the Jasna Gora shrine. As soon I uttered the name, “Mary,” his face suddenly changed and he gave out several strange growling sounds. Despite what he said about seeking Our Lady’s help, there was some opposition at work within him. Whenever I mentioned the Blessed Mother’s name, he would react aggressively. In the end I stopped talking altogether and prayed in silence.
The two hours passed. We returned to Jasna Gora, Every now and then Paul would come to a complete stop and freeze. The closer we got to the place we had agreed on with the exorcist priest, the more Paul suffered and had to struggle to take the next step. Fortunately, Father came out to meet and bless us; as a result, Paul found the strength to enter the church sanctuary. Father asked me to stay with them; and so I was able to witness the conversation that took place between them.
Paul had wanted to “help” a friend whose girlfriend had become pregnant and placed him in a very awkward situation. Paul decided then to make the following pact with an evil spirit: his friend’s child would not be born in return for which he, Paul, would offer the demon his body, mind, his future — in short, his whole self. After concluding the pact that night, he felt the unclean spirit enter him. He did not have to wait long for the invisible being to make its presence felt. Gradually it took control of him and his life. He began to have fits of unbridled aggression. He suffered depressions, insomnia, memory lapses, suicidal thoughts, and bouts of anxiety. He heard voices, dreamed terrible dreams, saw visions, and had premonitions of the future. Paul’s life as well as his family’s became a nightmare. Soon he found himself in the care of a psychiatrist. They began to treat him with psychotropic drugs. Several times he was committed to a psychiatric hospital. But when conventional treatment proved to be of no avail, his family began to seek the help of touch healers. Alas, things only got worse. Other members of the family began to experience similar problems. Only his grandmother, who prayed the rosary for the whole family, remained untouched by the Evil One.
And so Paul began to undergo a series of exorcisms. They took place several hours a day for five consecutive days. Paul’s family attended the sessions. They made a general confession and prayed for Our Lady’s help. But Paul continued to suffer terribly. Finally, the family decided to consecrate themselves to the Immaculate Heart of Mary — first they, and only afterwards, Paul. It was with immense difficulty that he sounded out the words and phrases of the act of consecration. That was when the breakthrough happened. Paul claims it was at that very moment that something within him “burst” and thus allowed him to enter another spiritual reality. After further prayer and several more exorcisms, Paul was able to attend Holy Mass on his own and receive Holy Communion. So began his new life with God; yet even then the Evil One would not leave him.
A great deal of spiritual work still lay ahead of him. He rose early in the mornings, prayed the rosary, and then went to Mass so as to “survive the day.” Then in the evenings he would attend another Mass, so as to “survive the night.” Only after several months of such rigorous self-discipline did he begin to live a more or less normal life. With “Mary’s help” — as he puts it — he managed to catch up on his studies and graduate from high school. As an act of thanksgiving to Our Blessed Mother for rescuing him, he made a pilgrimage on his knees from Jasna Gora Park to the chapel of the Miraculous Image. Today he is a normal, prayerful young man. He loves Jesus and Mary deeply. Thanks to them his life was transformed from a hell on earth into the marvelous adventure of being a Christian in “Mary’s school.”
Paul’s contacts with the Evil One began when he was very young. As a little child he received a little toy devil. At first he was very afraid of it, but in time he got so used to it that he would talk to it. Thus he entered another, invisible world. After a while he began to experience strange premonitions, intuitions, and dreams. He felt he was unlike his peers. Already then he was aware that there was another world; and this world was drawing him in. His family also considered him a peculiar child, although they did not understand where this “otherness” came from. In time everything was made clear. When he was at his worst, and intensely seeking God’s help, Paul used to hear in his heart the words, “Mother of God. Jasna Gora.” He hoped he would find help in Mary; but he did not know how or when. All he knew was that his grandmother used to pray the rosary to Our Blessed Mother. And so it is to her prayers that he attributes Mary’s help.
I close by citing the simplest act of consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. By making it, we enable Our Blessed Mother to work great things in us and around us:
“Mother of Jesus and my Mother Mary, following the example of Servant of God John Paul II, I offer you this act of consecration: I am yours. To your Immaculate Heart I entrust myself, all that I am, my mind, my will, my body, feelings, thoughts, desires, all of my past from the moment of my conception, and all of my future — every step I take, every ensuing minute of my life. O best of all mothers, form my heart, protect me from evil, lead and make use of me to build up the Kingdom of your Son, Jesus Christ — the sole Savior of the world, my Savior, from whom come all good, truth, and life. Amen.”