In the morning of Saturday, December 8, 2001, I made my way near to the altar of St. Joseph Cathedral in Baton Rouge. No one was in the church. I went over to the statue of Blessed Mother and knelt by the kneeler. I pulled out a piece of paper in which I hand wrote a long prayer. This was only two weeks after I have returned from pilgrimage to Medjugorje. On that trip, I have heard from my heart a desire for priesthood, yet I was in doubt. I had worked so hard to get an engineering degree, and the company I was working for was poised to give me an overseas assignment. In Medjugorje, I made a decision to tell my boss at work sometime soon that I was going to leave the company in 6 months. Yet now only two weeks later it seemed to me that I was throwing away a career that I worked so hard to build up. As I was kneeling there, I was asking, "Blessed Mother, are you sure that God is calling me to priesthood?"
For the past 33 days prior to December 8, I had prayed every morning a little book called, "Preparation for Total Consecration according to St. Louis Marie de Montfort." All of us were consecrated--made holy and set apart for God--at our baptism. Yet how many of us can confidently say that we have faithfully kept our baptismal promises? That's why at Easter, we renew our baptismal vows along with those who are being baptised. A saint by the name of St. Louis Marie de Montfort of France taught that there is another sure, secure, and easy way to renew our baptismal vows. According to St. Louis de Montfort, the most effective and excellent way of consecrating ourselves to Jesus is by consecrating ourselves and our families to the Blessed Virgin Mary. He said, "Whoever then wishes to advance along the road to holiness, and be sure of encountering the true Christ, should take up this devotion to Mary." This devotion consists in giving oneself entirely to Mary in order to belong entirely to Jesus through her.This consecration to Jesus through Mary had been the guiding spirituality of Pope John Paul II, as indicated in his personal motto, "TotusTuus," which means “Totally yours, Mary.”
But why keep saying "Mary, Mary" when we should be really saying "Jesus, Jesus"? There is a great mystery hidden in God's wisdom choosing Blessed Mother to make His Son incarnate through her. God did not need Blessed Mother to accomplish His Will, for He is All Powerful, but in His infinite wisdom He chose to prepare a humble girl beginning with her Immaculate Conception, withholding the Original Sin that plagued all of the descendants of Eve. It is as if all of humanity born on this earth is through the womb of Eve, sharing her Fall from the Garden of Eden, who will be shut out of the Paradise when they die. Yet it is in God's infinite wisdom that He planned a new womb from which new creation will be born, who will enjoy again His company in the Paradise. St. Augustine said, "All the predestinate are in this world hidden in the womb of the Virgin Mary, where they are guarded, nourished, brought up and made to grow by the good mother until she has brought them to glory after death.”
On the morning of December 8, 2001, I unfolded my handwritten prayer and read out loud to Jesus. "I, Jason Yi, an unfaithful sinner, renew and ratify today through you my baptismal promises I renounce forever Satan, his empty promises and his evil designs, and I give myself completely to Jesus Christ, the incarnate Wisdom, to carry my cross after him for the rest of my life, and to be more faithful to him than I have been until now. This day, with the whole court of heaven as witness I choose you, Mary, as my Mother and Queen. I surrender and consecrate myself to you, body and soul, with all that I possess, both spiritual and material, and even including the spiritual value of all my actions, past, present and to come. I give you the full right to dispose of me and all that belongs to me, without any reservations; in whatever way you please, for the greater glory of God in time and throughout eternity."
Since arriving in the United States from Korea and until entering the seminary, I used the name "Jason" which I chose for myself back in 5th grade in Texas. But the Total Consecration was the turning point in my life. My life is no longer mine. I surrendered it to Jesus, body and soul. It belonged completely to Jesus through the hands of Mary. I took up again the name that God had given me when I was baptized at 6 years old in Korea--"Paul." Just as name 'Saul' was changed by God to 'Paul,' all of us who are baptized are now set apart as new creation. And as new creation from the womb of Immaculate Conception, isn't it our duty to know and to love the mother who gave us new birth in baptism?