The Pieta, Michelangelo's masterpiece in St. Peter's Basilica… (Mark Harden )
Lent 2012 offers observant Catholics and other Christians a unique opportunity to honor the sacrifices of Jesus Christ by first honoring his mother, Mary.
Because of a quirky series of calender coincidences, Christians can use this year's Lent to also follow in the footsteps of St. Louis-Marie de Montfort. He was a French priest known for his deep commitment to Mary, and came up with a series of short prayers and spiritual practices to honor her called the Total Consecration.
This year, the Catholic calendar lines up so that both Lent and the Total Consecration start on the same day. The next time that happens will be 2075, Father Ryan Wayne Erlenbush told The Times.
"It's a unique opportunity to do both," said Erlenbush, a Catholic priest within the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings, Mont., who also blogs in his spare time at The New Theological Movement. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make it our best Lent ever."
Lent recalls the time that Jesus spent in the desert fasting, praying and fending off temptation. Today, many Christians observe the same 40-day period of self-sacrifice and introspection starting on Ash Wednesday. It all leads up to the single most important holiday on the Christian calendar, Easter.
St. Louis-Marie de Montfort, who died in 1716 and was elevated to sainthood in 1947, believed that the best way to honor Christ was through his mother. For those wishing to follow the Total Consecration, Erlenbush plans to post all the prayers and details on his blog.
"The Total Consecration has only fit together with the beginning of Lent 12 times since de Montfort’s death, and it will not happen again until 2075. Hence, this is truly a most rare opportunity for us to consecrate this Lent to Jesus through Mary," Erlenbush wrote on his blog.
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