Monday 10 June 2019

A Month with Mary - Don Dolindo Ruotolo - Daily Meditations for a Profound Reform of Heart in the School of Mary

A Month with Mary:
Daily Meditations for a Profound Reform of Heart in the School of Mary
Don Dolindo Ruotolo
Msgr. Arthur Burton Calkins (Translator)
Academy of the Immaculate
ISBN 9781601140326
ISBN 9781601140320
eISBN 9781601145321

I believe this is one of only two books available by Don Dolindo Ruotolo that is available in English. I am not even sure how I stumbled across it. I picked up the eBook edition right before May 2019. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it during the month of May and will likely read it again next year during the Month of Mary. Both the eBook and the booklet are very reasonably priced. And I enjoyed the books so much it was hard to stop and follow the 31-day reading plan. It took a great deal of control to follow the 31-day plan. This volume was written in 1912. It has been stated that the meditations are in the style of The Imitation of Christ. The description of the book states:

“This little book, A Month with Mary, was originally written by a holy Italian priest, Don Dolindo Ruotolo (1882-1970 ), as spiritual thoughts to his spiritual daughter; it is comprised of thirty-one meditations for the month of May.
Don Dolindo wrote A Month with Mary on pocket-sized pages joined into small fascicles of eight to twelve pages. He sent them to Laura de Rosis every two to three days and later transcribed them in his autobiography: The Story of My Life in the Plan of the Great Mercy of God.

This work is from 1912, one of those years which passed in the life of Don Dolindo with the cadence of a “Way of the Cross.” But he, serene as ever, loved Christ and Our Lady the more, and reflected this love in these few pages to which he wished to give the significant title: A Profound Reform of Heart in the School of Mary. These meditations are written in the style of the Imitation of Christ.”

The chapters in the booklet are:
For Just One Soul
First Day: My Heart, a Flower which Mary must Cultivate
Second Day: My Heart and the Heart of Mary
Third Day: My Temperament
Fourth Day: Imagination
Fifth Day: Hiddenness
Sixth Day: Trust
Seventh Day: God
Eighth Day: Jesus
Ninth Day: My Soul
Tenth Day: The Grace of God
Eleventh Day: Mary’s Grace
Twelfth Day: The Channels of Grace
Thirteenth Day: Holy Baptism
Fourteenth Day: The Spirit of the World
Fifteenth Day: The Spirit of Jesus Christ
Sixteenth Day: Renouncing the Demon
Seventeenth Day: The Passions and the Flesh
Eighteenth Day: My Miseries
Nineteenth Day: Soldier of Jesus Christ
Twentieth Day: Spiritual Combat
Twenty-first Day: Human Respect
Twenty-second Day: The Misery of Human Judgment
Twenty-third Day: The Aspirations of the Heart
Twenty-fourth Day: A Canticle of Love
Twenty-fifth Day: The Eucharist
Twenty-sixth Day: The Transformation of the Soul
Twenty-seventh Day: The Medicine of the Soul
Twenty-eighth Day: The Goodness of God in Forgiveness
Twenty-ninth Day: Death
Thirtieth Day: The Presence of God
Thirty-first Day: The Offering of One’s Heart to Mary
About the Translator
About the Academy of the Immaculate

In the introduction we are told:

“This little book, A Month with Mary, also originated from an act of charity of Father Dolindo. Laura de Rosis, a person from Rossano Calabro, asked him for spiritual thoughts for every day of the month of May. The good Father Dolindo wrote thirty-one meditations for her, one for every day of the month. It was thus: everything for every soul, and his charity didn’t make it seem exaggerated for him to write a “A Month with Mary” for just one soul!”

And the introduction ends with:

“May these pages now reach every soul who reads them as an entirely personal word, a comfort from Heaven and a portent of holiness.”

I can attest to that. The book was a comfort, It was challenging, it was encouraging and it is motivating. A few of the passages I highlighted this first time through the book are:

“In the springtime plants are reborn to a new life; they are adorned with flowers full of perfume and attractive. My soul also needs to reflower in order to be full of virtue and peace!”

“Trust, trust, and, as a fragile little child, throw yourself into the arms of your heavenly Father, who is your life, your riches, your peace! You must be hidden in God; you must please him alone; you must rest on him alone!”

“Trust in him: your faults he looks on with pity and forgives, if you repent of them with trust in his mercy. Your miseries he eliminates, if you offer yourself entirely to him. In your battles he comforts and sustains you, if you lean on him.”

“The grace of God is not frugal or stingy because it is the expansion of love.”

Each day’s mediation follows the same format. It begins with the reflection. Then an aspiration, and a challenge of a ‘little work’. A sample day is:

Nineteenth Day
Soldier of Jesus Christ THE SOUL:

I was signed with holy Chrism, O Jesus, I girded myself with a mystical sword and solemnly said: I will do combat for your glory!

It was a solemn day for me: the Bishop, vested with the holy stole, invoked the Holy Spirit upon me; he extended his hands over my head to proclaim the dominion of God over me, he anointed me with oil to consecrate me to him and to fortify me and then he made me repeat the profession of faith in order to initiate me into the spiritual combat. I arose happy and found next to me a dear person who was committed to help me in this battle ...

You smiled on me, O Jesus, because I felt my soul full of peace and you awaited from me an authentic and strong testimony before the lying and faithless world.

The sword which you gave me was beautiful. You signed me with the sign of the cross to tell me that you must be my strength, that you must be my confidence, that you must be my glory.

That cross, signed on my forehead with oil, disappeared, but it was to remain in my works, in my life, in my soul; I myself was to be like a triumphant cross, a glorious trophy of your redemption!

Thus you set me apart for yourself, I was much more yours and I confirmed at your feet the solemn promise of my Baptism, while you confirmed me in your mercy!

O how great are your sacraments, O Jesus!

How many battles I’ve had since I’ve been confirmed; I should have fought and in the meantime I’ve been defeated because I’ve rendered your so many mercies and helps vain! O Jesus, I am covered with disgrace, and here I am wounded at your feet! Please forgive me! Let the grace of the Sacrament of Confirmation be revived in me; make me strong; make me faithful to your love.

Love is the most beautiful characteristic of your soldier and for this the eternal love of God descended on me ... O Jesus, detach me from all; inflame me with your love so that, loving you, I will defend you and will not be unfaithful to you.

ASPIRATION: God the Holy Spirit, inflame me with love.

LITTLE WORK: Perform some act of zeal to repair for all of the cowardice which you’ve been guilty of in the divine service.”

It is a wonderful little read. It was written and intended to be read during the month of May. But can be read over any 31-day period. I give it a very solid 5/5 stars and highly recommend it.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2019 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Don Dolindo Ruotolo:
A Month with Mary
Come Holy Spirit

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