We, the “Apostles of Light of the Immaculate Heart of Mary” are a spiritual society comprised of men and women of all ages and vocations – particularly the laity – who seek to live, ever more fully, the Gospel of our Lord and Redeemer, Jesus Christ – He Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life – and, in doing so, to proclaim and give witness, with our very lives, to the perennial veracity of the Eternal Word of God.
Further, in accord with the deeply Marian spirituality both espoused and promulgated by the great Sts. Louis Marie de Montfort, Maximilian Mary Kolbe and Pope John Paul II, we understand that this sublime vocation of a deeply “lived-out” devotion of Total Consecration to Christ Jesus, through Mary Immaculate is, in de Montfort’s own words, “the surest, easiest, shortest, and the most perfect means” to the end of continual, ongoing sanctification, and an ever greater conformity of our will to the Divine Will.
Moreover, we have come to recognize the profound role of St. Joseph in this most sanctifying devotion of total consecration to Jesus through Mary, for Joseph, in his espousal of the Blessed Virgin Mary, becomes the perfect model of consecration to Jesus through Mary. In his espousal of our Lady, there takes place an exchange of hearts whereby Joseph offers the fullness of all that he is and all that he has to Mary, entrusting to her his heart, and Mary, who cannot and will not be outdone in liberality and generosity, meets her spouse in the same spirit, entrusting the fullness of her Immaculate Heart to him. Thus, Joseph becomes the quintessential example of one who is perfectly consecrated to Mary’s Immaculate Heart.
As a purely spiritual society, the only leadership we have is that provided by the Blessed Virgin Mary herself. Thus, there exists one sole criterion for membership in this spiritual society: Full, active membership and participation in the Mystical Body of Christ, and this as witnessed to by membership in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ Jesus, through reception of the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, First Holy Eucharist & Confirmation). Yet, even this criterion need not be met if one is in the process of preparation to be fully received into the Church, or even if one possesses an earnest desire to become a Catholic, and possesses the intention to initiate this process as soon as one is able.
Additionally, in the same spirit of full, filial love for, and obedience to, the Holy Magisterium of the Church (the Magisterium being comprised of the entire college of Bishops throughout world, in union with the validly elected successor of St. Peter, the Pope, who is the visible head of the Body of Christ on earth), both the Apostles of Light of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and Marian Apostolate of the Laity wish to declare our unwavering fidelity to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, the one Church established on the Rock of St. Peter.
It would seem appropriate, at this juncture, to address an issue which not infrequently comes up when addressing the legitimacy of Marian Apostolate of the Laity, and / or the Apostles of Light of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus, Mary & Joseph operating as “lay apostolates” within the Church. Invariably, persons will inquire whether these so-called “lay apostolates” have received any “official recognition” from, or “approval” by the “Church,” whether from the Local Ordinary ( in whose diocese we operate), or from the Vatican.
In an effort to provide the most theologically and canonically sound answer to the above articulated questions, I shall here refer the reader to Chapter Four of the document, “Apostolicam Actuositatem,” which is “The Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity,” solemnly promulgated by His Holiness, Pope Paul VI, on 18 November, 1965:
“15. The laity can engage in their apostolic activity either as individuals or together as members of various groups or associations.
“16. The individual apostolate, flowing generously from its source in a truly Christian life (cf. John 4:14), is the origin and condition of the whole lay apostolate, even of the organized type, and it admits of no substitute.
“Regardless of status, all lay persons (including those who have no opportunity or possibility for collaboration in associations) are called to this type of apostolate and obliged to engage in it. This type of apostolate is useful at all times and places, but in certain circumstances it is the only one appropriate and feasible.
“There are many forms of the apostolate whereby the laity build up the Church, sanctify the world, and give it life in Christ. A particular form of the individual apostolate as well as a sign specially suited to our times is the testimony of the whole lay life arising from faith, hope, and charity.
“It manifests Christ living in those who believe in Him. Then by the apostolate the spoken and written word, which is utterly necessary under certain circumstances, lay people announce Christ, explain and spread His teaching in accordance with one’s status and ability, and faithfully profess it.
“Furthermore, in collaborating as citizens of this world, in whatever pertains to the upbuilding and conducting of the temporal order, the laity must seek in the light of faith loftier motives of action in their family, professional, cultural, and social life and make them known to others when the occasion arises. Doing this, they should be aware of the fact that they are cooperating with God the creator, redeemer, and sanctifier and are giving praise to Him.
“Finally, the laity should vivify their life with charity and express it as best they can in their works.
“They should all remember that they can reach all men and contribute to the salvation of the whole world by public worship and prayer as well as by penance and voluntary acceptance of the labors and hardships of life whereby they become like the suffering Christ” (cf. 2 Cor. 4:10; Col. 1:24).
Thus, according to this author’s interpretation of the above quotation, it would certainly appear that Marian Apostolate of the Laity and the Apostles of Light of the Immaculate Heart of Mary both possess the full, unequivocal approval of the Church, both local and universal.
Moreover, as so many adopted brothers and sisters of Christ, our Lord, and docile children of our Spiritual Mother, Mary Immaculate, we consider ourselves to be of one mind, heart and body – a concrete reality that is both expressed and brought about through our daily reception of the Holy Eucharist and in our daily prayer of the Holy Rosary of Our Lady. Our way of life is based on the shared ideal of striving, with the help of God’s grace, to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the letter, with a particular emphasis on:
(1) The Holy Eucharist (daily reception of our Lord in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the frequent practice of Holy Hours of adoration and reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, truly and substantially present in the Eucharistic species);
(2) Total consecration of ourselves to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in the “spirit” of St. Joseph (with an understanding that Mary, as the Mediatrix of all Grace, can only fully carry out this unique and most powerful role of hers with regard to those souls who have entirely entrusted themselves to her, and who, in imitation of St. Joseph, unite their hearts to hers in a profound union of unconditional, committed love); and
(3) A deep love and prayer for, and an unwavering fidelity to, the Holy Father and the Magisterium, the teaching and governing body of the Church on earth, who alone has been entrusted with the task of interpreting Sacred Scripture, and through whom the Holy Spirit speaks to His Church and the world as the Sacred Living Tradition of that same Church.
In essence, the goal, or mission, of the Apostles of Light of the Immaculate, is to spend ourselves ever-more completely, and to give of ourselves ever-more generously, in cooperation with the grace of God, mediated through Mary Immaculate – Mediatrix of all Graces – in an unceasing act of adoration, glorification, gratitude, expiation, reparation and supplication to the Sacred and Eucharistic Heart of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Moreover, we offer to Mary, and place on the altar of her Immaculate Heart, all of the prayers, works, joys & sufferings of each day and of our entire lives.
Having accepted her sublime invitation to suffer martyrdom of the heart in reparation for the sins of the world, and knowing we shall find no comfort outside the safe refuge of her Immaculate Heart, to which we have entrusted all that we are and have, we turn to her as our sole comfort in the dark hour of our immolation. Miraculously, she brings it about that we begin to taste the sweetness of that deep and abiding joy of suffering for the salvation of our brothers and sisters who have lost the sense of sin, and consequently, do not repent of it.
Thus, our daily participation in the Eucharistic Liturgy is the focal point of each day and of our entire lives, for it is precisely through the sacred Liturgy that we gather around the heavenly banquet table, which, simultaneously, is the altar of sacrifice, whereupon Christ offers Himself as the perfect oblation, the spotless lamb of sacrifice, taking upon Himself the sins of humanity and making possible the reconciliation of God and man (a reconciliation which begins at the moment of the Incarnation, when Christ hypostatically reconciles His human nature with His Divine Nature in His one Divine Person). The liturgical re-presentation of Christ’s once-for-all Paschal Sacrifice enables us, the members of His Mystical Body, to exercise the Royal Priesthood that was conferred upon us at the moment of our Baptism. Thus, we ask Mary to unite our spiritual sacrifices to Christ’s perfect offering of Himself to the Father, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.
Finally, we pray that through our daily consumption of, and holy communion with, the true Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist (a term which, from the original ancient Greek, means “thanksgiving”), Christ might fulfill His promise, such that He might live in us, and we might live in Him. Further, if the Eucharist is to be at the center of our every day and our entire life, then it logically follows that the soul will become increasingly grateful to God for everything that God so freely, lovingly and generously gives to and shares with us. Such an “attitude of gratitude” ought to pulsate throughout every fiber of our being, literally bringing us to our knees in thanksgiving for, and awe-struck wonder at, the infinite goodness of God. Thus, we are compelled to permit Christ to live, work, pray and suffer again in each of us, the members of His Mystical Body. In so doing, He will shine the Divine Light of His Love, Peace, Joy, Truth and Goodness through us, and onto all persons with whom we come into contact. And, since Mary is the true Mediatrix and Advocate between Christ and humanity, His divine light must first pass through Mary’s Maternal and Immaculate Heart, where it takes on the distinct shape, color and dimensions of the Heart of a Mother – our one, Immaculate Mother Mary.
Thus, as Apostles of Light of the Immaculate, we spread, all about us, the Light of Christ, which passes through the Heart of Mary, the first and most perfect Apostle of Light.
To Become an Apostle of Light of the Immaculate:
- Make a nine-day preparation for your Total Consecration to Mary. Your preparation should begin exactly nine days prior to a significant Marian Feast Day or Solemnity.
- On the ninth and last day, make a good confession, participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, receive Our Lord in Holy Communion, and after Mass, kneel at the foot of the Tabernacle and recite, with a humble heart, clear intention and deliberation, the prayer of Total Consecration of the Apostles of Light of the Immaculate.
- Become invested in the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, wear the scapular devoutly each day of your life, and ask the priest who invests you for permission to substitute the daily prayer of five decades of the Holy Rosary of Our Lady in place of the daily prayer of the “Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary.” In doing so, you shall be admitted to the spiritual benefits of the entire Carmelite Order.
- Pray at least the five decades of the Holy Rosary that you have promised to pray to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, in association with the wearing of her garment, the Holy Scapular. Further, enroll yourself in the Rosary Confraternity of the Dominican Fathers. In doing so, you shall participate in the spiritual benefits of the entire Dominican Order.
- Make every effort to attend Mass daily, or at least as often as possible – your daily duties permitting.
- Enroll yourself in the Association of the Miraculous Medal and enroll at least 12 persons each year. In doing so, you shall become a promoter of the Miraculous Medal, and shall receive, in addition to the spiritual benefits of being a promoter, the Apostolic Blessing of the Holy Father. The cost is nominal – a mere 25 cents per person. Thus, it will cost you only three dollars to enroll twelve persons each year; remember to renew this enrollment each 12 months. Moreover, be sure to wear your Miraculous Medal around your neck, visibly, as an outward sign of your interior disposition of heart.
- Enroll yourself in the Militia Immaculata of St. Maximilian Kolbe.
- Set aside at least 15 minutes per day for Lectio Divina (spiritual reading). You may read Sacred Scripture; “True Devotion to Mary,” by St. Louis de Montfort; the “Summa Theologia” of St. Thomas Aquinas; the 1917 edition of “The Catholic Encyclopedia;” any of the theologically rich Documents of the Second Vatican Council, such as Lumen Gentium, Gaudiem et Spes, Dei Verbum or Sacrosanctum Concilium; the Catechism of the Catholic Church, or any of numerous writings of the Early Church Fathers, such as the writings of St. Ambrose, St. Athanasius, St. Augustine, St. Basil the Great, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, St. Ephraim the Syrian, Pope St. Gregory the Great, St. Gregory Nazianzen, St. Hilary of Poitiers, St. Jerome, St. John of Damascus, St. John Chrysostom or Pope St. Leo the Great, all of whom are not only great saints, but additionally have been designated as “Doctors” of the Church” – the single highest honor that can be bestowed upon any canonized saint of the Church. All of the above mentioned documents are freely available to you simply by clicking on the above links.
- Pray, on a daily basis, that our Lady will clothe you with her own virtues of Faith, Hope, Charity, Purity, Temperance, Fortitude, Humility, Poverty of Spirit, Spiritual Childhood, all the graces necessary to cooperate fully and completely with the Divine Will of God the Father at each moment of your life, and the grace to be fully attentive to the promptings and movements of the Spirit within your soul.
- Exercise, as often as opportunities present themselves, the corporeal and spiritual works of mercy; for, we shall only be shown mercy to the extent that we, ourselves, have shown mercy.
- Plead with our Lord and our Lady to rid you of all self-love, all egoism, all self-pre-occupation, all narcissism, all selfishness. and pray daily the Litany of Humility by Cardinal Merry del Val. Beg the Two Hearts to free you of the self-centered desires to be accepted, to be loved, to be esteemed, to be remembered, to be thought well of, to be consulted, etc. Beg to be freed of the self-centered fears of being rejected, being despised, suffering rebukes, being suspected, being calumniated, being falsely accused, being humiliated, and so on. Pray for the grace to sincerely desire that others may be more esteemed than you, that, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and that you may decrease; that others may be praised while you go unnoticed; that others may be chosen while you’re set aside, and that others become holier than you, provided that you become as holy as you should. This is the goal of everything outlined above. This is that radical littleness to which you have been called by your heavenly Mother, should you choose to second her plan; for the salvation of the many depends on the sanctification of the few.