Today is the feast day of St. Louis Marie de Montfort (1673-1716). St. Louis was a French priest who is remembered for his love for the Blessed Mother and for being the author of the classic book True Devotion to Mary. Within that great work is a prayer where St. Louis writes to Mary: “Totus tuus ego sum et omnia mea tua sunt”—“I am totally yours and all that I have is yours.” With these words, St. Louis not only expresses his love for Mary but his desire to belong completely to God like her and with her. Louis believed that this Marian spirituality of “Totus tuus . . . totally yours” is “the most perfect of all devotions” because “it conforms, unites, and consecrates us most perfectly to Jesus Christ” (St. Louis de Montfort, True Devotion to Mary).

Roll on to October 1978 when the newly elected Pope John Paul II revealed why he chose St. Louis’ words “Totus tuus” as his episcopal motto. Throughout his life as a Christian, priest, bishop, and finally as pope, John Paul II remained “totally hers.” But what does a spirituality of “Totus tuus” imply for the rest of us, and how can we live it?

The Irish writer George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) once wrote: “I want to be thoroughly used up when I die.” Although these words were not inspired by faith, they do express the natural desire to give everything we have to living this life meaningfully and to the full. We sometimes hear the same desire from determined athletes before a big game: “I want to leave it all on the pitch, to give everything I’ve got.”

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