A Do-It-Yourself Retreat In Preparation for Marian Consecration
Michael E. Gaitley
Father Michael Gaitley is one of the authors I was introduced to through the amazing collection Beautiful Mercy edited by Matthew Kelly. But since that introduction at the beginning of the year I have read 4 books by Father Michael, and done two in group studies, including this one. The other book I did in a group study was 33 Days to Morning Glory, which is a total consecration to Mary. This book is a consecration to divine mercy.
This book was an incredible read. And it was even better working through it in community. While reading this book I highlighted over 100 passages on my first read through. Father Michael states in the introduction:
“A Sequel That Stands Alone — But Shouldn’t. You don’t have to read 33 Days to Morning Glory before reading this book — but I recommend you do. I say that because the essence of Marian consecration is to allow Mary to bring us to the pierced side of Jesus, which is the Fountain of Mercy. Okay, well, 33 Days to Morning Glory is a book that prepares us to consecrate ourselves to Mary, so she can, in fact, bring us to that fountain.
This book, on the other hand, is about drinking from that fountain. And while we can get to the Fountain of Mercy without making a Marian consecration, such a consecration enables us to drink from it so much more deeply and easily. We’ll learn the reasons for that during Week One of this retreat — which brings me to the structure of this book and how it works.”
And I can attest to having done the two books in this order and with only a short break between them that they do nicely build upon each other. Father Michael also says: “What’s Different from Morning Glory. Unlike 33 Days to Morning Glory, this book does not include four weeks with four different saints. Rather, the various weeks will focus on one saint: Thérèse of Lisieux and her spiritual teaching. And that’s okay because St. Thérèse is the master, the Doctor of the Church on these matters. Having said that, I will also include some of the teachings of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, another great saint of mercy whose mission was closely related to that of St. Thérèse.” So there is a great deal of difference between the two books even though they follow a similar pattern.
Each day in this book follows the same pattern of a teaching followed by a short prayer. And these are some pretty amazing prayers; prayers seeking to be open to the Holy Spirit, to grow, to trust and many more. Some samples of those daily prayers are:
“Come, Holy Spirit, fire of mercy. Help me to believe in God and his love for me, even when life seems meaningless, routine, and empty.”
“Come, Holy Spirit, fire of mercy. Help me to recognize my own lowliness and to rejoice in God’s mercy.”
“Come, Holy Spirit, fire of mercy. Give me the heart of an eagle, a burning longing to choose all that you will for me.”
But to be honest I highlighted almost all 33 daily prayers and have gone back through and prayed a number of them again and again.
The chapters in this book are:
WEEK ONE: What Is Trust?
Day 4: Mary’s Pilgrimage of Faith
Day 5: Mary’s Trial of Faith
Day 6: Mary’s Song of Faith
Day 7: New Eve of Light and Life
Day 8: None More Lowly
Day 9: Discovery of the Little Way
Day 10: Discovery of Divine Mercy
WEEK TWO: The Little Way
Day 12: You Will Become a Saint
Day 13: Prophet of Mercy
Day 14: No More ‘Thieves of Hope’
Day 15: What It’s Not
Day 16: What It Is
Day 17: What’s the Catch?
Day 18: No Purgatory?
WEEK THREE: The Offering to Merciful Love
Day 20: The Offering (Part One)
Day 21: The Offering (Part Two)
Day 22: The Darkness of Sin
Day 23: The Blindness to Sin
Day 24: Liturgical Darkness
Day 25: The Daily Darkness
Day 26: The World’s Darkness
WEEK FOUR: Into the Darkness
Day 28: Thérèse’s Darkness (Part Two)
Day 29: What Is Trust?
Day 30: The Little Way
Day 31: The Offering
Day 32: The Darkness
Day 33: Putting It All Together
FINAL FIVE DAYS: Synthesis and Review
DAY OF CONSECRATION: ‘The Happy Day’
AFTER CONSECRATION: The Lens of Mercy
Appendix One: Living the Offering
Appendix Two: Family Offering and Divine Mercy Image Enthronement
One of the quotes from the book that I copied out and posted on my desk as a daily reminder is: “holiness. For now, let’s just consider that if we want to live the Little Way, we must do three things: (1) Recognize the darkness: Recognize the darkness of our littleness and brokenness. (2) Keep trying: Keep trying to grow in holiness and do little things with great love. (3) Keep trusting: Keep trusting and believing that God will satisfy our desires for holiness, even if we don’t yet fully understand how.”
This book was an excellent read. It challenges me spiritually. And really took me deeper in prayer. I know that from reading this and other books by Father Michael Gaitley that his writings are wonderful for your personal spiritual growth. There is also a DVD series that does with this book and next time I read through it I hope to have the opportunity to use the videos to supplement it.
I highly recommend this book and to be honest any by father Michael.
Books by Michael E. Gaitley:
33 Days to Morning Glory
33 Days to Merciful Love
40 Days to Mercy
Consoling the Heart of Jesus
Divine Mercy Explained
The Divine Mercy Image Explained
The One Thing Is Three
The Second Greatest Story Ever Told
You Did It To Me
Marian Missionaries of Divine Mercy Missionary Handbook
Nine Days to Joseph: A Novena in Preparation for Consecration to St. Joseph
DVD Series by Father Michael E. Gaitley:
Divine Mercy In The Second Greatest Story Ever Told
You Did It to Me: Putting Mercy Into Action
33 Days to Morning Glory - Group Retreat
Consoling The Heart Of Jesus - Group Retreat
Wisdom And Works Of Mercy - Group Study Dvd
Divine Mercy for Moms
(Note: this books is part of a series: A Year of Reading Intention - Catholic Reading!)