"To love and venerate Mary means to honor her in God and God in her, so that He is the goal and object of all such love and veneration."-St. Francis de SalesI began the preparation for the Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary on August 6, in preparation for making the Consecration on Sunday, September 8. This is the feast of the Nativity of Our Lady, and in the Extraordinary Form it will at least be commemorated (I do not know whether the Sunday after Pentecost is the principal celebration or if it is the feast. Commemorations ought to be re-thought in the Novus Ordo.)
The Total Consecration is, as St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort explained, "consists in surrendering oneself in the manner of a slave to Mary, and to Jesus through her, and then performing all our actions with Mary, in Mary, through Mary, and for Mary." (from his work The Secret of Mary).
It has it roots in the early Church. St. Ephrem the Syrian mentions it, as do several other writers; the practice by the fifth century is known as 'holy servitude.'
You can see, then, that St. Louis de Montfort did not make this up! In fact, he builds on an earlier French monastic tradition of personal consecration. His method is not the only one, but is one of the most popular and one of the earliest formal methods for the laity.
Why would we surrender to Mary? Why would we perform our actions with her, in her, through her, and for her?
The answer in short is because she knows her Son best. She was delivered of Jesus, and she stood by the Cross as He died. She saw Our Lord after the Resurrection, and was in the Upper Room at Pentecost. She is special among all humanity. Also, Mary is Mediatrix of All Graces, and so she can apply grace where it is needed most. For instance, if we pray while someone is suffering, she will apply it there, but also to the one who is suffering with no one to pray for. And of course, the source of this grace is Our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Some might challenge the Christocentric focus of this devotion, coming from a more skeptical background (Protestant, maybe?). I can tell you: it is all about suffering alongside Our Lady at the foot of the Cross. The greatest gift besides the Sacraments given to the Church was Our Lady. Remember, God did use her as an integral element in his plan for salvation.
As to having a longer answer, hopefully I can share with you good reflections throughout the preparatory stage. But, I won't have a full answer, ever. St. Maximilian Kolbe, the apostle of the Immaculata, pondered throughout his whole life, "What is the Immaculate Conception?" and was only given a brief answer hours before his arrest by the Gestapo in 1941.
No, I simply hope to become more detached-yes, I know it's incredibly hard in today's world and for me personally!- and become more holy. An answer can wait til Heaven, methinks. I strongly encourage each and every one to make the Consecration. "As Cardinal Burke told me smiling, "You can't go wrong with the Total Consecration."