My friend Irene consecrated on the same day I did, and she was laughing about how one night, she was having a glass of wine and a bath before bed, and it occurred to her to offer it, "All for!" She felt weird about it at first, but why not offer up our rest, our comfort, our blessings as well as our suffering?
I think one source of the anxiety I've felt in the past is some sense of shame about the goodness of my life. Am I undeserving of Heaven because my life hasn't led me to any significant suffering? The pleasures of having a good marriage, good kids, good friends, reading good books, eating good foods, seem to offer little in the way of salvific value. So rather than offering up those good things, I would discount them completely, choosing to focus my emotional and spiritual energy on the minute discomforts of a relatively privileged life. If nailing oneself to the Cross is the only way to Salvation--I had no idea what to do with my blessings--blessings that God, in his goodness, made it impossible for me to escape.
Offering ALL of it, the good and the bad, has redeemed the mostly good things that constitute my life. And without seeking suffering, looking for it, wallowing in it, I'm free to administer to those who really do suffer.
For those wondering if offering every aspect of one's life to Mary is idol worship, let's say it again: Catholics don't worship Mary. She is a vessel of God. She points always to her son. And Christ is always God. So when Christians offer anything to Mary it sets off a chain reaction, whereby God is the power that draws all good things to himself.
I've found it useful to my Consecration to pray the Shema: "Hear Oh Israel: the Lord, our God is One Lord" (Deuteronomy 6:4). This prayer does not replace the Creed, but I love how it takes for granted belief in God, emphasizing, rather, that God is One. God is not this computer on which I'm typing, or any of the other ways I seek to occupy my time. God is One and the only thing that matters. He is what I need to teach my children, what I wake up proclaiming. There is no one else but God, and everything I have is His. All for. Totus Tuus.
When Bearing did her Consecration, she picked out a bracelet to remind her to live her day accordingly. I thought about getting something, but I've worn a Marian necklace for years, and I thought more Mary might be overkill.
Nevertheless, on special days, I can pull out the Our Lady of Guadalupe belt buckle that my friend Biz brought me from Mexico.
For those with pricier tastes, Instyle Magazine informs me that Dolce & Gabanna have just come out with a new line of luxury jewels, inspired by their Southern Italian Grandma and her religious medals.
Fashionistas might want to be aware, that wearing images of Mary may have the effect of drawing you to Christ. There are, of course, cheaper ways to come to Jesus. Before you splurge on the $17,000 price tag for that necklace, know that you can get a similar look for about a dollar at a Catholic Gift shop.