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Saturday, December 8, 2018

Total Consecration

Restoration of one's Heart
Total Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary 




Day 1

Patriots Day 9/11 is a reminder that we must be ever vigilantYou may be surprised by the point that both Jesus and Mary were warriors; nonetheless their weapons were generosity and zeal for the will of the Father-Love incarnate. 

Now what about us? Do we have a fire in our hearts as we begin this retreat? We should. Or at least we should strive for it. Desire and generosity are key ingredients to making a successful retreat. May Mary intercede for us, and may the Holy Spirit fill us with a passion to conscientiously make these days of retreat, despite any fatigue, distractions, or obstacles. And let’s remember that what we may have to endure in terms of the discipline of prayer is nothing compared to what St. Louis went through, and he’ll be interceding for us. Relying on his intercession and that of the Mother of God, let’s resolve right now to dedicate ourselves to this retreat with the intensity and zeal of a warrior.[1]

The Virtue of Zeal[2]

Christian warriors whose zeal was unaccompanied by moderation, prudence, or even common sense have often done in the name of God great evil. The zeal of some of the Crusaders springs to mind. So overzealous were so many Christians and non-Christians in the past that the words zealot and zealotry came to denote vice. A "zealot" is taken to be a fanatic. "Zealotry" is fanaticism put into action. (In modern terms a NAZI) Today, perhaps to give ourselves a wide margin of safety so that we do not lapse into zealotry and become zealots, we tend to avoid zeal altogether. Unfortunately, the absence of a virtue creates a moral vacuum that is quickly filled by a vice. In this instance, the vice that rushes in is sloth. This commonly misunderstood vice is really the indisposition or reluctance to have any interest in spiritual realities. These two reasons for explaining our distrust of zeal may very well be conjoined. We overreact to our fear of being as zealous as zealots of the past and, as a consequence, provide room in our souls for sloth. As we become seduced by sloth, we become even more suspicious of zeal. An instructive embodiment of sloth is the popular TV character that Jerry Seinfeld played in his widely held sitcom. Compared with the sheer zaniness of the characters that surround him, Jerry seems quite normal. But this is because our own vice, sloth, is difficult to recognize by a mass audience that is infected with the same disease and has come to accept it as normal. The Jerry character is non-religious, has no room for prayer in his life, dislikes opera, museums, reading, babies, everyone outside his small coterie of three friends, and fears commitment to any member of the opposite sex to the point of moral paralysis. His indisposition or reluctance to pursue any spiritual pleasures makes him a nearly ideal incarnation of the vice of sloth. The program's real joke is on the mass audience that cannot recognize its own sloth in the character it heartily accepts. Nonetheless, zeal is a genuine virtue. "Zeal," as St. Thomas Aquinas tells us, "arises from the intensity of love." He cites for his authority both the Old and New Testaments: "I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts" (1 Kings 19:10); "Zeal for thy house will consume me" (Jn. 2:17). In another text, Aquinas speaks of zeal that centers around virtuous goods as being praiseworthy, citing St. Paul, who exhorted the Corinthians to zealously desire the spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 14:1). Aquinas himself well exemplifies the virtue of zeal. The Angelic Doctor, as we know, produced in his brief life span of 49 years a stupendous amount of writing. His prodigious literary output is all the more remarkable given the fact that he spent a great deal of time praying, teaching, and traveling. We could not begin to understand how he could be as prolific as he was without taking into consideration his zeal for truth. Zeal for the truth is not a common virtue in our time. We tend to be tepid about the truth and enthusiastic about putting people down who dare show the slightest interest in the truth. We think of university teaching as interpreting "research" and analyzing "studies." For Aquinas, however, his role as a teacher was animated by his zeal for truth and his zeal for imparting truth on the hearts of his students. At one time, a young novice submitted to Aquinas no less than 36 questions. The questions were poorly formulated and the neophyte had the audacity to request answers within four days. Aquinas could legitimately have excused himself, given more important matters that occupied his time. Yet he not only supplied the answers, but also reformulated the questions more precisely. In addition, he completed his assignment within the requested deadline. No doubt the zeal that animated Aquinas affected many of his readers. There is an erroneous legend that Martin Luther burned a copy of Aquinas' Summa Theologica along with the papal bull in the marketplace at Wittenberg. The truth of the matter, as Josef Pieper explains in The Silence of Saint Thomas, makes a far more telling point. Although Luther intended to burn a copy of the Summa, he could not locate one since he could not find anyone who was willing to part with his copy. Zeal begets zeal. We should not be fearful of the virtue of zeal. It springs from love and does not exclude moderation. It fires our passion to a flame and enables us to be more effective, productive, and alive.

Today’s Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, living in Mary. Help me to make this retreat with generosity and zeal.

(One way we could show generosity and zeal is to have a Mass said for our departed loved ones)

“Behold the generosity of the poor! What an example and reproach to so many of the rich, extravagant in luxury and pleasure, but miserly when there is question of giving an alms to have Masses celebrated for their deceased relatives.[3]





[1]Gaitley, Michael E.. 33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat In Preparation for Marian Consecration. Marian Press.) 
[2]http://www.catholiceducation.org/en/culture/catholic-contributions/zeal.html
[3]Schouppe S.J., Rev. Fr. F. X.. Purgatory Explained (with Supplemental Reading: What Will Hell Be Like?).


Day 2

In order for the Holy Spirit to fill us we first must give Him permission for the spirit honors our individual wills. It is interesting to note that Islam in the Arabic language is a meaning or a description rather than a name or a title. It describes the state of mind of anyone who recognizes God’s absolute authority, and reaches a conviction that God alone possesses all power; no other entity possesses any power or control independent of Him. The logical consequence of such a realization is to devote one’s life and one’s worship absolutely to God alone. So, Submission (or Islam in Arabic language) is a spiritual state of mind and not a title of a religion that belongs to a specific group of people. The difference between Catholics and Muslims is that we have the revelation of the Trinity; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The point is that in order to receive we must submit to give our self fully. At our Blessed Sacrament Chapel in Sedona, Arizona our tabernacle has the initials “IHS” which is a monogram for Jesus Christ. As a personal practice as I enter; I acknowledge Him by saying to myself: “I Humbly Submit” and then I sit and listen to the Lord.

396 God created man in his image and established him in his friendship. A spiritual creature, man can live this friendship only in free submission to God. The prohibition against eating "of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" spells this out: "for in the day that you eat of it, you shall die." The "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" symbolically evokes the insurmountable limits that man, being a creature, must freely recognize and respect with trust. Man is dependent on his Creator, and subject to the laws of creation and to the moral norms that govern the use of freedom.

1009 Death is transformed by Christ. Jesus, the Son of God, also himself suffered the death that is part of the human condition. Yet, despite his anguish as he faced death, he accepted it in an act of complete and free submission to his Father's will. The obedience of Jesus has transformed the curse of death into a blessing.

1019 Jesus, the Son of God, freely suffered death for us in complete and free submission to the will of God, his Father. By his death he has conquered death, and so opened the possibility of salvation to all men.

2097 To adore God is to acknowledge, in respect and absolute submission, the "nothingness of the creature" who would not exist but for God. To adore God is to praise and exalt him and to humble oneself, as Mary did in the Magnificat, confessing with gratitude that he has done great things and holy is his name. The worship of the one God sets man free from turning in on himself, from the slavery of sin and the idolatry of the world.

2579 David is par excellence the king "after God's own heart," the shepherd who prays for his people and prays in their name. His submission to the will of God, his praise, and his repentance, will be a model for the prayer of the people. His prayer, the prayer of God's Anointed, is a faithful adherence to the divine promise and expresses a loving and joyful trust in God, the only King and Lord. In the Psalms David, inspired by the Holy Spirit, is the first prophet of Jewish and Christian prayer. The prayer of Christ, the true Messiah and Son of David, will reveal and fulfill the meaning of this prayer.
As we are just beginning our preparation for consecration to Jesus through Mary, let’s ponder some of the support various Popes have given to St. Louis’s teaching. May the testimony of their support strengthen our resolve to journey on to Consecration Day, and may it help us to trust that our consecration truly will bear great fruit in our lives, even if we don’t yet fully understand how.[1]

• Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903) not only beatified de Montfort in 1888 but granted a Church indulgence to Catholics who consecrate themselves to Mary using de Montfort’s formula. Moreover, this Pope was reportedly so influenced by St. Louis’s efforts to spread the Rosary that he wrote 11 encyclicals on this preeminent Marian devotion.

• Pope St. Pius X (1903-1914), like Leo XIII, also recommended de Montfort’s teaching on Mary to the faithful. In fact, he granted a plenary indulgence in perpetuum (in perpetuity) to anyone who would pray de Montfort’s formula for Marian consecration, and he offered his own apostolic blessing to anyone who would simply read True Devotion. This Pope so strongly encouraged the faithful to follow de Montfort’s path of Marian devotion because he himself had experienced its power. In fact, in his Marian encyclical Ad Diem Illum, the saintly Pope expressed his own dependence on de Montfort in writing it, which becomes obvious when one compares it with True Devotion. The Pope’s encyclical continually reflects the tone and spirit of de Montfort’s classic work as evidenced by sentences like this: “There is no surer or easier way than Mary in uniting all men with Christ.”

• Venerable Pope Pius XII (1939-1958) canonized St. Louis in 1947 and, in his homily for the Mass of canonization, referred to de Montfort’s Marian teaching as “solid and right.” Then, when the Pope addressed the pilgrims who had come for the canonization, he said that de Montfort leads us to Mary and from Mary, to Jesus, thus summarizing the meaning of Marian consecration.

• Saint Pope John Paul II (1978-2005) promoted de Montfort’s teaching more than any other Pope. We’ll learn more about this during the fourth week of the retreat. It’s enough here to recall two amazing facts: First, that John Paul’s papal motto was Totus Tuus (“totally yours”), which he took directly from de Montfort’s shorter prayer of consecration; second, that John Paul described his reading of True Devotion to Mary as a “decisive turning point” in his life.

Today’s Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, living in Mary. Prepare me to give myself fully to living out this true and solid devotion.







[1]Gaitley, Michael E.. 33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat In Preparation for Marian Consecration. Marian Press.


Day 3[1]

Our consecration is giving a “yes” to Mary, allowing her to fulfill in us her God-given task of forming us into other Christ’s. Saint Louis gives two key emphases in his teaching on Marian consecration. These two emphases are (1) a renewal of our baptismal vows and (2) a particularly intimate gift of ourselves to Mary. Why renew? If we do, we’ll discover that a principal reason why we fall into sin is because of forgetfulness of our promise and commitment to Christ at Baptism. De Montfort suggests that if we were to personally and sincerely renew our baptismal vows and place them in the hands of Mary, then this act alone would go a long way in helping us overcome sin in our lives. Making a renewal of vows is an essential element of his prayer of consecration.

I, (name), a faithless sinner, renew and ratify today in thy hands the vows of my Baptism; I renounce forever Satan, his pomp’s and works; and I give myself entirely to Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Wisdom, to carry my cross after Him all the days of my life, and to be more faithful to Him than I have ever been before.

So, St. Louis has us attack sin right at its root — Satan and his pomp’s and works — has us recommit our lives to Christ, and has us do all of this with and through Mary. Why through Mary? Because God has put enmity between her and Satan (see Gen 3:15), and Satan can’t stand her. In fact, according to St. Louis, Satan fears her. Our Lady helps us to overcome sin in our lives and formally renounce Satan and recommit ourselves to Christ. Today, let’s reflect on the promise we made at our Baptism to reject Satan and to love and follow Christ.

2102 "A vow is a deliberate and free promise made to God concerning a possible and better good which must be fulfilled by reason of the virtue of religion," A vow is an act of devotion in which the Christian dedicates himself to God or promises him some good work. By fulfilling his vows he renders to God what has been promised and consecrated to Him. The Acts of the Apostles shows us St. Paul concerned to fulfill the vows he had made.

Today’s Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, living in Mary. Give me the grace to reject Satan and follow Christ more closely.





[1]Gaitley, Michael E.. 33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat In Preparation for Marian Consecration. Marian Press.


Day 4[1]

“Why should we give ourselves to Mary?” We give ourselves to Mary in imitation of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. After all, didn’t Jesus give himself to Mary from the moment of the Incarnation? And aren’t we called to imitate Christ? But isn’t Mary a creature? Yes she is, but she’s unique. Not only is Mary free from sin and totally conformed to God’s will, but by God’s will and good pleasure — Mary has a special role in our sanctification. This devotion consists in giving ourselves entirely to Our Lady, in order to belong entirely to Jesus through her. We must give her (1) our body, with all its senses and its members; (2) our soul, with all its powers; (3) our exterior goods of fortune, whether present or to come; (4) our interior and spiritual goods, which are our merits and our virtues, and our good works, past, present, and future. Part of de Montfort’s formula for Marian consecration speaks of this intimate gift of ourselves to Mary:

In the presence of all the heavenly court, I choose you this day for my Mother and Queen. I deliver and consecrate to you, as your slave, my body and soul, my goods, both interior and exterior, and even the value of all my good actions, past, present, and future; leaving to you the entire and full right of disposing of me, and all that belongs to me, without exception, according to your good pleasure, for the greater glory of God, in time and eternity.

I salute thee, O sure refuge of sinners, whose mercy fails to no one. Hear the desires which I have of the Divine Wisdom; and for that end receive the vows and offerings which my lowness presents to thee. I, [Name], a faithless sinner—I renew and ratify today in thy hands the vows of my Baptism; I renounce forever Satan, his pomp’s and works; and I give myself entirely to Jesus Christ, the give myself entirely to Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Wisdom, to carry my cross after Him all the days of my life, and to be more faithful to Him than I have ever been before.

494 At the announcement that she would give birth to "the Son of the Most High" without knowing man, by the power of the Holy Spirit, Mary responded with the obedience of faith, certain that "with God nothing will be impossible": "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be [done] to me according to your word." Thus, giving her consent to God's word, Mary becomes the mother of Jesus. Espousing the divine will for salvation wholeheartedly, without a single sin to restrain her, she gave herself entirely to the person and to the work of her Son; she did so in order to serve the mystery of redemption with him and dependent on him, by God's grace: 

As St. Irenaeus says, "Being obedient she became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race." Hence not a few of the early Fathers gladly assert. . .: "The knot of Eve's disobedience was untied by Mary's obedience: what the virgin Eve bound through her disbelief, Mary loosened by her faith." Comparing her with Eve, they call Mary "the Mother of the living" and frequently claim: "Death through Eve, life through Mary."

1998 This vocation to eternal life is supernatural. It depends entirely on God's gratuitous initiative, for he alone can reveal and give himself. It surpasses the power of human intellect and will, as that of every other creature.

Today’s Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, living in Mary. Help me to give myself entirely to Jesus through Mary.



[1]Gaitley, Michael E.. 33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat In Preparation for Marian Consecration. Marian Press.


Day 5[1]

Should we really give Mary everything? Mary can best determine which people are most in need of our prayers. For instance, seeing some forgotten person in China about to die in despair, Mary can take the grace of our prayers (and “offered up” sufferings) and use it to help that dying person to trust in God and accept his mercy. She augments, increases, and purifies the spiritual gifts and merits we give her. When we give them to her, she makes them more perfect, there’s more grace and merit to go around. Mary is never outdone in generosity. So, if we’re so generous as to give her the right to distribute the grace of our prayers and good works, she’ll surely be especially generous to our loved ones. In fact, she’ll take even better care of our loved ones than we ourselves can. Giving Mary the right to distribute the grace of our prayers and good works doesn’t mean we can’t still pray for our loved ones. We can and should pray for them. It’s just that we give Mary the final say in deciding to whom and for what purpose the grace of our prayers and good works should be applied.

969 "This motherhood of Mary in the order of grace continues uninterruptedly from the consent which she loyally gave at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, until the eternal fulfillment of all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation. . . . Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix."

1370 To the offering of Christ are united not only the members still here on earth, but also those already in the glory of heaven. In communion with and commemorating the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the saints, the Church offers the Eucharistic sacrifice. In the Eucharist the Church is as it were at the foot of the cross with Mary, united with the offering and intercession of Christ.

Today’s Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, living in Mary. Help me be generous in giving all I have to Mary.





[1]Gaitley, Michael E.. 33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat In Preparation for Marian Consecration. Marian Press.



Day 6[1]

On the sixth day God the Father created man in his own image; through Mary’s intercession we are perfected in the image of her son Christ. The most holy Virgin … who never lets herself be outdone in love and liberality, seeing that we give ourselves entirely to her … meets us in the same spirit. She also gives her whole self, and gives it in an unspeakable manner, to him who gives all to her. She causes him to be engulfed in the abyss of her graces. She adorns him with her merits; she supports him with her power; she illuminates him with her light; she inflames him with her love; she communicates to him her virtues: her humility, her faith, her purity, and the rest. … In a word, as that consecrated person is all Mary’s, so Mary is all his. Saint Louis repeats the important point: Mary is not outdone in generosity! If we are especially generous with her, then she’ll be especially generous with us. Let us abandon our concerns and come from self-love Yes, we should have holy ambition and want to reach the highest heights of holiness. But our motive should not be self-love; rather, it should be that we want to please God and give great glory to him.

For in spite of all the witness of creation and of the salvific economy inherent in it, the spirit of darkness is capable of showing God as an enemy of his own creature, and in the first place as an enemy of man, as a source of danger and threat to man. In this way Satan manages to sow in man’s soul the seed of opposition to the one who “from the beginning” would be considered as man’s enemy— and not as Father. Man is challenged to become the adversary of God! The analysis of sin in its original dimension indicates that, through the influence of the “father of lies,” throughout the history of humanity there will be a constant pressure on man to reject God, even to the point of hating Him: “Love of self to the point of contempt for God,” as St. Augustine puts it. 
POPE JOHN PAUL II, DOMINUM ET VIVIFICANTEM (PAPAL ENCYCLICAL, 1986), 38

867 The Church is holy: the Most Holy God is her author; Christ, her bridegroom, gave himself up to make her holy; the Spirit of holiness gives her life. Since she still includes sinners, she is "the sinless one made up of sinners." Her holiness shines in the saints; in Mary she is already all-holy.

2677 Holy Mary, Mother of God: With Elizabeth we marvel, "And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" Because she gives us Jesus, her son, Mary is Mother of God and our mother; we can entrust all our cares and petitions to her: she prays for us as she prayed for herself: "Let it be to me according to your word." By entrusting ourselves to her prayer, we abandon ourselves to the will of God together with her: "Thy will be done."

Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death: By asking Mary to pray for us, we acknowledge ourselves to be poor sinners and we address ourselves to the "Mother of Mercy," the All-Holy One. We give ourselves over to her now, in the Today of our lives. And our trust broadens further, already at the present moment, to surrender "the hour of our death" wholly to her care. May she be there as she was at her son's death on the cross. May she welcome us as our mother at the hour of our passing to lead us to her son, Jesus, in paradise.

The spiritual master, Fr. Thomas Merton, wrote: “To say that I am made in the image of God is to say that love is the reason for my existence, for God is love. Love is my true identity. Selflessness is my true self. Love is my true character. Love is my name.”[2]

When you really give yourself to God, no difficulty will be able to shake your optimism.[3]

Today’s Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, living in Mary. Help me to give great glory to God by giving all I have to Mary.




[1]Gaitley, Michael E.. 33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat In Preparation for Marian Consecration. Marian Press.
[2]Heilman, Richard. Church Militant Field Manual
[3]Escrivá, Josemaría. The Way

Day 7[1]

Marian consecration is a quick, easy, and secure way to holiness but, we should keep in mind that the gift of these benefits doesn’t entitle us to just kick back and take it easy. Rather, when we see God’s generosity in giving us such a great gift we strive all the more ardently to live it out and grow in holiness. What is holiness? It is dying to self to live as another son or daughter of Mary.

As there are secrets of nature by which natural operations are performed more easily, in a short time and at little cost, so also are there secrets in the order of grace by which supernatural operations, such as ridding ourselves of self, filling ourselves with God, and becoming perfect, are performed more easily.

Mary doesn’t take away our crosses. In fact, those who are particularly beloved by Mary often have more crosses than others, but Mary makes the crosses sweet and light. St. Louis describe how this way is also a secure path, meaning that, as we walk it, we’re particularly protected from and defended against evil: [Mary] puts herself around [her true children], and accompanies them “like an army in battle array” (Cant 6:3). Shall a man who has an army of a hundred thousand soldiers around him fear his enemies? A faithful servant of Mary, surrounded by her protection … has still less to fear. This good Mother … would rather dispatch battalions of millions of angels to assist one of her servants than that it should ever be said that a faithful servant of Mary, who trusted in her, had had to succumb to the malice, the number, and the vehemence of his enemies.

Holiness consists in friendship with God. If we would be in any sense the friends of God, we must have at least that desire for holiness without which such friendship would be impossible; the growth in the knowledge of God is the deepening of this friendship. “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth.”[2]

The spiritual devastation of the last few decades compelled Pope John Paul II to draw up his master plan for the new millennium. In his plan, he emphasized the importance of “starting afresh from Christ”: “No, we shall not be saved by a formula but by a Person.” Thus, he called for pastoral initiatives that would focus on “Training in Holiness” and “Schools of Prayer.” St. Francis of Assisi affirms this training in holiness as the fundamental starting point: “Sanctify yourself and you will sanctify society.” Pope John Paul II challenges us to consider, “since Baptism is a true entry into the holiness of God through incorporation into Christ and the indwelling of His Spirit, it would be a contradiction to settle for a life of mediocrity, marked by a minimalist ethic and a shallow religiosity. To ask catechumens: ‘Do you wish to receive Baptism?’ means at the same time to ask them: ‘Do you wish to become holy?’ It means to set before them the radical nature of the Sermon on the Mount: ‘Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect’ (Mt 5: 48).”[3]

459 The Word became flesh to be our model of holiness: "Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me." "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me." On the mountain of the Transfiguration, the Father commands: "Listen to him!" Jesus is the model for the Beatitudes and the norm of the new law: "Love one another as I have loved you." This love implies an effective offering of oneself, after his example.

826 Charity is the soul of the holiness to which all are called: it "governs, shapes, and perfects all the means of sanctification."

If the Church was a body composed of different members, it couldn't lack the noblest of all; it must have a Heart, and a Heart BURNING WITH LOVE. And I realized that this love alone was the true motive force which enabled the other members of the Church to act; if it ceased to function, the Apostles would forget to preach the gospel, the Martyrs would refuse to shed their blood. LOVE, IN FACT, IS THE VOCATION WHICH INCLUDES ALL OTHERS; IT'S A UNIVERSE OF ITS OWN, COMPRISING ALL TIME AND SPACE - IT'S ETERNAL!

2015 The way of perfection passes by way of the Cross. There is no holiness without renunciation and spiritual battle. Spiritual progress entails the hard work of training our mind and body in prayer and mortification that gradually lead to living in the peace and joy of the Beatitudes:

He who climbs never stops going from beginning to beginning, through beginnings that have no end. He never stops desiring what he already knows.

Today’s Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, living in Mary. Help me to praise you for such a quick, easy, and secure path to holiness!





[1]Gaitley, Michael E.. 33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat In Preparation for Marian Consecration. Marian Press.
[2]Maturin, Basil W.. Christian Self-Mastery.
[3]Heilman, Richard. Church Militant Field Manual.


 Day 8[1]

A person practices purity of intention when he directs his thoughts, words, and actions not to himself or another creature but to a divine purpose or mission, and ultimately to God. St. Maximilian Kolbe knew well de Montfort’s Marian teaching and spoke enthusiastically about it. In formulating his own expression of true devotion to Mary, he not only deepened several of de Montfort’s insights but added many new ideas from his own contemplation of the mystery of Mary. Who is St. Maximilian Kolbe? He’s known by many titles: Martyr of Charity, The Saint of Auschwitz, Founder of the Militia Immaculata, Apostle of Mary, and Patron Saint of the 20th Century.

In John McCain’s book “Character is Destiny[2] John highlights the life of Maximilian Kolbe as an example of a person who best portraits the characteristic of compassion. Kolbe was a Polish priest who knew his mission was to give his life so that another might live, and who thanked God for the privilege. Kolbe had an ardent and invigorated religious faith which caused a vision of Mary, the Mother of God, which beckoned him to the faith and priesthood. She offered him two crowns, one of purity and one of martyrdom. He asked for both. With several other seminarians, he formed the Militia Immaculata, the Crusade of Immaculate Mary, with the purpose of “converting sinners, heretics and schismatics, particularly freemasons” to the love of Christ through the intercession of Mary. He threw himself into the work of the Militia Immaculata, founding chapters throughout Poland, and publishing a monthly magazine, the Knight of the Immaculate, determined to make Mary the “Queen of every Polish heart.” Poland’s brief episode of independence ended with Nazi Germany’s invasion in 1939, and the beginning of World War Two. The German Army had occupied Father Kolbe’s monastery, the City of the Immaculate. The monks and priests living there, including Father Kolbe, were arrested and deported to Germany in September of that year. They were released a couple of months later, appropriately on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, returned home, and renewed their ministry. They continued printing monthly issues of the Knight and their various other publications, including some that were considered antithetical to Nazi ideology. In what was perceived as a direct challenge to their Nazi rulers, Father Kolbe published a sermon under his own name in the Knight: “The real conflict is inner conflict. Beyond the armies of occupation and the catacombs of concentration camps, there are two irreconcilable enemies in the depth of every soul: good and evil, sin and love. And what use are victories on the battlefield if we ourselves are defeated in our innermost personal selves.”

In February 1941, the Gestapo seized their printing presses and arrested Father Kolbe and his brothers. “Have courage;” he told them, “we are going on a mission.”

In May, Father Kolbe was transferred to Auschwitz, dressed in a prisoner’s striped uniform, and tattooed with the number 16670. All through his terrible ordeal he secretly carried out his ministry. He heard confessions, preached love and forgiveness, blessed the sick and dying, and prayed for them. When the desperately hungry prisoners pushed and shoved one another in the food lines, Father Kolbe waited for all to receive their meager ration of bread or soup before he took his. Often he went without any food. When he did receive his small portion, he shared it with others.

One day in July, a prisoner from Father Kolbe’s cell block who had drowned in a camp latrine and not been found was believed to have escaped. All the prisoners in the block were ordered to stand at attention in the prison yard, under the hot sun, for the entire day. If the missing man was not betrayed or found by three o’clock that afternoon, ten of them would be taken to the starvation cell, and left naked in that underground dungeon where no light was admitted, without cover to protect against the cold, and without any food or water until they all slowly died. After many hours and after many prisoners had dropped unconscious to the ground, weakened by hunger and the heat, Commandant Fritsch singled out his ten men. One of them, a member of the Polish resistance, Franciszek Gajowniczek, cried out in despair, “My poor wife. My poor children. What will become of them?” Unmoved by the cries of the unfortunate ten, Commandant Fritsch stared at the small part of humanity whose lives and deaths were disposed of at his whim. Mercy was unknown to him. But before he turned away, one prisoner who had not been selected left the line, walked quickly toward him, and spoke to him. Fritsch didn’t hear the words Father Kolbe spoke. “What does this Polish pig want?” he asked a guard. Father Kolbe repeated his request. He pointed at Franciszek Gajowniczek and said, “I am a Catholic priest. Let me take his place. I am old. He has a wife and children.” In the end, Father Kolbe died as he lived, with compassion for all; both guards and the condemned.

2473 Martyrdom is the supreme witness given to the truth of the faith: it means bearing witness even unto death. The martyr bears witness to Christ who died and rose, to whom he is united by charity. He bears witness to the truth of the faith and of Christian doctrine. He endures death through an act of fortitude. "Let me become the food of the beasts, through whom it will be given me to reach God."

2525 Christian purity requires a purification of the social climate. It requires of the communications media that their presentations show concern for respect and restraint. Purity of heart brings freedom from widespread eroticism and avoids entertainment inclined to voyeurism and illusion.

Today’s Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, living in Mary. Make me pure in body and spirit and help me to die to myself.







[1]Gaitley, Michael E.. 33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat In Preparation for Marian Consecration. Marian Press.

[2]McCain, John and Salter, Mark. (2005) Character is destiny. Random House, New York

Day 9[1]

Mary in order to be the mother of God and spouse of the Holy Spirit was conceived by the grace of God without the curse of Adam’s sin. Father Kolbe believed that The Immaculate Conception is divine. But it isn’t Mary. It’s the Holy Spirit. Kolbe believed there are two “Immaculate Conceptions”: Mary and the Holy Spirit. Mary is the created Immaculate Conception and the Holy Spirit is the uncreated Immaculate Conception. In other words, before there was the created Immaculate Conception (Mary), for all eternity there is the uncreated Immaculate Conception, the One who for all eternity “springs” from God the Father and God the Son as an uncreated conception of Love and who is the “prototype of all the conceptions that multiply life throughout the whole universe.” So, “the Father begets; the Son is begotten; the Spirit is the ‘conception’ that springs from their love.”

Let us turn now our gaze to the spiritual garden, the Church of Christ. The various flowers there are the faithful, adorned with piety and virtue, and spreading the fragrance of saintliness with which God is pleased. In the Canticle of Canticles the Lamb of God is pictured as feeding among the lilies. A beautiful thought! It tells us how the Lamb of God, our divine Savior, is fond of the flowers of God, the God-loving souls, as is the lamb of the lilies. And in this garden of God, the Holy Church, Mary is the rose, the pride of the garden, the queen of the flowers. The rose is therefore the most beautiful symbol of Mary, of all saints the queen, exalted above all saints in sublimity, beauty, gentleness and sweetness. Therefore, because Mary is among the saints what the rose is among flowers, she is called "the mystical rose." And the name rosary is to remind us of this. The rose, furthermore, signifies the virtuous life of Mary the virgin. The rosebud is a beautiful symbol of virginity. It is hidden as under a veil. Lovely is the Christian virgin, hidden in the garb of innocence like a rosebud. Mary is the Virgin of Virgins, and can above all be compared to the fair and undefiled rosebud. The open, blooming rose is an emblem of pure motherhood. Like the opened radiant rose the Christian mother is in the full vigor of life; her heart open with true love for her husband and children; and she unfolds her soul to heaven, so that through prayer she may receive the needed assistance for herself and hers. Through her good example in Christian virtues she spreads around her the fragrance of a God-pleasing life, and encourages those who associate with her to imitate her virtues. Mary is the immaculate virgin and mother, mother of God, and of all mankind. She is the most noble and perfect of all mothers. Like a magnificent rose she shines in the splendor of her virtues, and is the perfect example for all mothers. Because her heart is fired with love for God and man, she is, as St. Jordanus says, likened to the flaming red rose. There is no rose but has its thorns. The thorns are a figure of suffering, of sorrow, of the temptations in life, under which only a truly virtuous life can thrive. St. Brigid relates in her revelations how she at one time was downcast because the enemies of Christ were so powerful, and how she was consoled by the mother of God herself, who told her to remember the rose among the thorns. "The rose," so said Mary, "gives a fragrant odor; it is beautiful to the sight, and tender to the touch, and yet it grows among thorns, inimical to beauty and tenderness. So may also those who are mild, patient, beautiful in virtue, be put to a test among adversaries. And as the thorn, on the other hand, guards, so do wicked surroundings protect the just against sin by demonstrating to them the destructiveness of sin." The life of Mary was interwoven with many sorrows and she is justly called "a rose among thorns." St. Brigid says: "The Virgin may suitably be called a blooming rose. Just as the gentle rose is placed among thorns, so this gentle Virgin was surrounded by sorrow." The rose obtains its life through the stem, to which it is closely united. A rose broken from the stem will soon wither. So Mary received all her graces from Jesus, with whom she was united through the liveliest faith and ardent love.[2]

491 Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, "full of grace" through God, was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854:

The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.

966 "Finally the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death." The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son's Resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians:
In giving birth you kept your virginity; in your Dormition you did not leave the world, O Mother of God, but were joined to the source of Life. You conceived the living God and, by your prayers, will deliver our souls from death.

2853 Victory over the "prince of this world" was won once for all at the Hour when Jesus freely gave himself up to death to give us his life. This is the judgment of this world, and the prince of this world is "cast out." "He pursued the woman" but had no hold on her: the new Eve, "full of grace" of the Holy Spirit, is preserved from sin and the corruption of death (the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption of the Most Holy Mother of God, Mary, ever virgin). "Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring." Therefore the Spirit and the Church pray: "Come, Lord Jesus," since his coming will deliver us from the Evil One.

Today’s Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, living in Mary. Unveil for me the meaning of the Immaculate Conception.




[1]Gaitley, Michael E.. 33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat In Preparation for Marian Consecration. Marian Press.
[2]Frings, Math Josef. The Excellence of the Rosary Conferences for Devotions in Honor of the Blessed Virgin

Day 10[1]

The Holy Spirit is the uncreated Immaculate Conception and Mary is the created Immaculate Conception.

What type of union is this [Holy Spirit and Mary]? It is above all an interior union, a union of her essence with the “essence” of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit dwells in her, lives in her. This was true from the first instant of her existence. It was always true; it will always be true.

In what does this life of the Spirit in Mary consist? He himself is uncreated Love in her; the Love of the Father and of the Son, the Love by which God loves himself, the very love of the Most Holy Trinity. He is a fruitful Love, a “Conception.” Among creatures made in God’s image the union brought about by married love is the most intimate of all (see Mt 19:6). In a much more precise, more interior, more essential manner, the Holy Spirit lives in the soul of the Immaculata, in the depths of her very being. He makes her fruitful, from the very first instant of her existence, all during her life, and for all eternity. This eternal “Immaculate Conception” (which is the Holy Spirit) produces in an immaculate manner divine life itself in the womb (or depths) of Mary’s soul, making her the Immaculate Conception, the human Immaculate Conception. And the virginal womb of Mary’s body is kept sacred for him; there he conceives in time — because everything that is material occurs in time — the human life of the Man-God. Mary is the Spouse of the Holy Spirit.

Spouse of the Holy Spirit[2]

 “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.” Luke 1:35 Thanks to her openness and faithfulness, the Holy Spirit filled the life and soul of Mary. St. Maximilian Kolbe, the greatest of Marian theologians, would go so far as to say she was, in fact, “the spouse of the Holy Spirit.” We know that Mary is not God without an ounce of divinity in her; nonetheless, the union between Mary and the Holy Spirit is unparalleled and unmistakable. Mary was so completely docile to the actions of the Holy Spirit in her life that she always said yes to his movement. When you behold Mary move or speak, you are witnessing the manifestation of her union with the Holy Spirit.  Mary is a living tabernacle "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” Luke 1:42 In the Old Testament, the presence of God dwelled in the temple where the Ark of the Covenant was kept. However, it wasn’t so easy to gain access to the presence of God. One must go past the outer courts, into the center of the temple, to find the Ark in the Holiest of Holies. In fact, only a Levitical Priest could enter into these inner courts where the Ark was kept. What made the Ark holy was the fact that it contained the Ten Commandments and the Mosaic Covenant with Israel. As such, the presence of God dwelt above the Holy of Holies. The Old Testament signs are brought into New Testament realities in numerous ways. Jesus Christ becomes the Lamb of God, slain for our sins and those of the whole world to save us and restore us to new life.  Likewise, the God of the universe no longer dwelt in a physical sanctuary, but brought his presence to humanity in a new way: as a child born from a woman. Mary becomes the New Testament fulfillment as the living Ark. God is holy, holy, holy and literally dwelt in her womb. Mary was a living, breathing tabernacle of the Lord for nine months. She gave birth to the Author of Life!

507 At once virgin and mother, Mary is the symbol and the most perfect realization of the Church: "the Church indeed. . . by receiving the word of God in faith becomes herself a mother. By preaching and Baptism she brings forth sons, who are conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of God, to a new and immortal life. She herself is a virgin, who keeps in its entirety and purity the faith she pledged to her spouse." Think of all creation. God speaks, and it goes forth from him. Then, plants and animals return to God by fulfilling their natures, by being what they were created to be. They do this without thinking or deliberating and with a sort of ease. It happens by a kind of instinctual autopilot. Human beings, on the other hand, are different. While there are times when we act by instinct, we also act in a way different from the animals. We act by reason and will, and we’re conscious as we do so, present to ourselves as we act. This is what it means to be made in the image of God: We can know God and love him. And whereas the animals do God’s will by instinct, we can do his will freely and consciously. The problem is, we abuse the freedom God gave us. We don’t always choose his will, and so we don’t return to him as we should. We sin. And if we sin gravely and don’t fully repent, then we don’t make it back to God. This is a great tragedy of human life.

Today’s Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, living in Mary. Unveil for me the meaning of the Immaculate Conception.





[1]Gaitley, Michael E.. 33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat In Preparation for Marian Consecration. Marian Press.
[2] Hartfiel, Mark. The School of Nazareth: A Spiritual Journey with St. Joseph



Day 11[1]

According to St. Thomas Aquinas, all of creation makes one big, circular movement from God and back to God, referred to by theologians as “The Great Circle of Being.” Aquinas writes: Issuing from the Primary Principle, creatures accomplish a sort of circuit, a gyratory movement, such that all things when they tend to their proper end are returning to the Principle whence they came forth. … We were created by the Son and by the Holy Spirit; and hence it is by them that we are brought back to our end. Everything goes forth from God. Think of all creation. God speaks, and it goes forth from him. Then, plants and animals return to God by fulfilling their natures, by being what they were created to be. They do this without thinking or deliberating and with a sort of ease. It happens by a kind of instinctual autopilot. Human beings, on the other hand, are different. While there are times when we act by instinct, we also act in a way different from the animals. We act by reason and will, and we’re conscious as we do so, present to ourselves as we act. This is what it means to be made in the image of God: We can know God and love him. And whereas the animals do God’s will by instinct, we can do his will freely and consciously. The problem is, we abuse the freedom God gave us. We don’t always choose his will, and so we don’t return to him as we should. We sin. And if we sin gravely and don’t fully repent, then we don’t make it back to God. This is a great tragedy of human life. Thanks be to God! For he sent his only Son and the power of his Spirit to save us, to bring us back home to our Father in heaven. And thank God that after the fall of the human race, he made a creature who was conceived without sin and who is freely and perfectly conformed to his will, for she is perfectly united with the Holy Spirit. Mary does the will of God perfectly and as the Immaculate Conception she is among all creatures in the universe the creature most completely filled with this love, filled with God himself, she who never contracted the slightest stain of sin, who never departed in the least from God’s will is united to the Holy Spirit as his spouse, she is one with God in an incomparably more perfect way than can be predicated of any other creature. She helps us poor sinners along the way. She helps us to overcome the tragedy of sin. She leads us to do God’s will, return to God, and become saints.

Solomon reasons thus in the person of the foolish, as expressed in the words of Wisdom 2. Therefore the saying that man and animals have a like beginning in generation is true of the body; for all animals alike are made of earth. But it is not true of the soul. For the souls of brutes are produced by some power of the body; whereas the human soul is produced by God. To signify this it is written as to other animals: "Let the earth bring forth the living soul" (Gen. 1:24): while of man it is written (Gen. 2:7) that "He breathed into his face the breath of life." And so in the last chapter of Ecclesiastes (12:7) it is concluded: "(Before) the dust return into its earth from whence it was; and the spirit return to God Who gave it." Again the process of life is alike as to the body, concerning which it is written (Eccles. 3:19): "All things breathe alike," and (Wis. 2:2), "The breath in our nostrils is smoke." But the process is not alike of the soul; for man is intelligent, whereas animals are not. Hence it is false to say: "Man has nothing more than beasts." Thus death comes to both alike as to the body, by not as to the soul.[2]

1432 The human heart is heavy and hardened. God must give man a new heart. Conversion is first of all a work of the grace of God who makes our hearts return to him: "Restore us to thyself, O LORD, that we may be restored!" God gives us the strength to begin anew. It is in discovering the greatness of God's love that our heart is shaken by the horror and weight of sin and begins to fear offending God by sin and being separated from him. The human heart is converted by looking upon him whom our sins have pierced:

Let us fix our eyes on Christ's blood and understand how precious it is to his Father, for, poured out for our salvation it has brought to the whole world the grace of repentance.

1691 "Christian, recognize your dignity and, now that you share in God's own nature, do not return to your former base condition by sinning. Remember who is your head and of whose body you are a member. Never forget that you have been rescued from the power of darkness and brought into the light of the Kingdom of God."

Today’s Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, living in Mary. Renew the face of the earth, so that all creation may return to God.




[1]Gaitley, Michael E.. 33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat In Preparation for Marian Consecration. Marian Press.
[2]Aquinas, Saint Thomas. Summa Theologica.


Day 12[1]

Saint Maximilian used to give spiritual conferences to the new men in his religious community, the novices: “How to become a Saint.” He began by telling his listeners that sanctity isn’t so hard. It’s the result of a simple equation, which he wrote on the blackboard: “W + w = S.” The capital W stands for God’s Will. The small w stands for our wills. When the two wills are united, they equal Sanctity.

Are you ready to become a soldier saints for God under the generalship of Mary Immaculate? The Immaculata said at the Annunciation: “Behold, the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done unto me [fiat mihi] according to your word.” As God wills, so be it. In this thought, all happiness is contained, already here on earth, all destiny fulfilled. … Let us beg our Blessed Mother that she might teach us how our soul might be a “handservant” of the Lord, as was her own. God did not reveal Himself directly to the Mother of God, but rather through a messenger. We too have divine messengers. … Let us pray that we would know how to say to every one of these messengers: God’s will be done. And in this is everything that we are placed upon this earth to learn. To be one in will with Mary of the great fiat, the only human being whose will has never deviated by her choice from God’s, is to be perfectly united to the will of God. And it is this alignment of your will with his that is the pressing business of your life. Father Kolbe emphasized Mary makes sanctity easy. It has to do with her being the Mediatrix of all grace, an idea he expresses in his formula for Marian consecration, “God has willed to entrust the entire order of mercy to [Mary].” It’s God’s will that she distribute his graces. Why? Because it’s God’s will to unite himself to Mary by his Holy Spirit, “The Holy Spirit does not act except through the Immaculata, his spouse. Hence, she is the Mediatrix of all the graces of the Holy Spirit.” Ask Mary to take us completely into her hands, so as to make us channels of graces for the whole world.

Let us fix our eyes on Christ's blood and understand how precious it is to his Father, for, poured out for our salvation it has brought to the whole world the grace of repentance.

Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces[2]

“In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph”: Mary’s prophecy at Fátima reassures us that besides the body-to-body [struggle] with the demon (the exorcism), the earthly anticipation of the eschatological struggle between the Mother of God and the ancient dragon (cf. Rev. 12) also has her attention. Despite rampant sin and despite the man who abandons God, considering him only a useless impediment to his own unrestrained liberty, the tribulations of the Church will have an end. And the finale will be good: God will have the last word on history. For this reason, Mary is always invoked during the exorcism; although, to tell the truth, the old ritual did not include an invocation to her. Adding her to the ceremony is a practice I borrowed from Father Candido, however. It is a necessity, and the current ritual has gotten around this deficiency. During the prayer, the priest repeatedly invokes her intercession and her powerful action. Without her, little is accomplished in the struggle against Satan. It is always God who liberates one from his influence — it is good to keep repeating it — but His ear is especially attuned to the mediation of Mary, the Mother of His Son. What role does the Virgin have in the liberation of the obsessed? Mary, as the Hail Mary says, is “full of grace.” She is the mediatrix of God’s every grace for all men, particularly for those who suffer much, including those who suffer from spiritual evils. The enmity between Mary and Satan — proclaimed solemnly by God in the first book of Genesis (Gen. 1:3–15) and manifest in the eschatological struggle with the dragon — makes her the number-one enemy of the demon. She will be the one to crush his head at the end of time.

Today’s prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, living in Mary. Unite my will to the will of the Immaculata, which is one with your will.





[1]Gaitley, Michael E.. 33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat In Preparation for Marian Consecration. Marian Press.

[2]Amorth, Fr. Gabriele. An Exorcist Explains the Demonic: The Antics of Satan and His Army of Fallen Angels


Day 13[1]

St. Maximilian Kolbe didn’t want to ask solely for graces, from the Immaculata; he wanted to BE; the graces of the Immaculata. He didn’t just want to do; the will of the Immaculata. He wanted to BE; the will of the Immaculata. Wait, isn’t that a bit arrogant? What about humility? Kolbe reasoned that if people can give themselves over to Satan to be possessed by him and be his instruments of evil, why can’t people give themselves over to God to be possessed by him and be his instruments of love?” Moreover the Immaculata is “possessed” by the Holy Spirit, so why not ask to be “overcome” by her so as to be perfectly united to God’s will? To not be Mary’s “slave,” as St. Louis de Montfort often put it but something deeper. He wanted to be an instrument; a sword, in the hands of the Immaculata. “Let me be a fit instrument in your immaculate and merciful hands.” Yes, he wanted to raise up a whole army of fighting knights and soldiers who give themselves to be instruments in the grace-filled hands of the Immaculata. He wanted to build a “Militia Immaculata,” which he describes as follows: The Knights of the Immaculata seek to become ever more truly the property of the Immaculata; to belong to her in an ever more perfect way and under every aspect without any exception. They wish to develop their understanding of what it means to belong to her so that they may enlighten, reinvigorate, and set on fire the souls living in their own environment, and make them similar to themselves. They desire to conquer these souls for the Immaculata, so that in their turn they may belong to her without reserve and may in this manner win an ever greater number of souls to her — may win the entire world, in fact, and do so in the shortest possible time. Imagine if Mary had a million instruments through which she could fulfill the perfect will of God. Kolbe exclaims, “Teach others this way! Conquer souls for the Immaculata!” Conquer the whole world for Christ. “Let’s get to work!” Begin by learning to live this consecration, and then bring it to others. We need to “belong to her in an ever more perfect way.” How do we do this? We learn to love the Immaculata by relying on her powerful intercession, experiencing her tender care, speaking to her from our hearts, letting ourselves be led by her, having recourse to her in all things, and trusting her completely.

Today, let’s end by reflecting on Kolbe’s words: “My dear, dear brothers, our dear little, little mother, learn to turn to her. She will overcome everything”.

Instrument[2]

474    So you are a nobody. And others have done wonders—are still doing them—through organization, through the press, through promotion. And they have all the means, while you have none. Well, then, just remember Ignatius. Ignorant among the doctors of Alcala; poor, penniless, among the students of Paris; persecuted, slandered … That’s the way: love, and have faith, and … suffer! Your love and your faith and your cross are the unfailing means to make effective and to perpetuate the ardent desires for apostolate that you bear in your heart. 475    You realize you are weak. And so, indeed, you are. In spite of all that—rather, because of it—God has sought you. He always uses inadequate instruments so that the work may be seen to be his. From you he asks only docility. 476    When you really give yourself to God, no difficulty will be able to shake your optimism. 477    Why do you neglect those corners in your heart? As long as you don’t give yourself completely, you can’t expect to win others. What a poor instrument you are! 478    But, surely—at this stage—you don’t mean to tell me you need the approval, the favor, the encouragement of the powerful, to go on doing what God wants? The powerful are often changeable, and you have to be constant. Be grateful if they help you, but go your way if they show you contempt.

776 As sacrament, the Church is Christ's instrument. "She is taken up by him also as the instrument for the salvation of all," "the universal sacrament of salvation," by which Christ is "at once manifesting and actualizing the mystery of God's love for men." The Church "is the visible plan of God's love for humanity," because God desires "that the whole human race may become one People of God, form one Body of Christ, and be built up into one temple of the Holy Spirit."

Today’s Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, living in Mary. Prepare me to be a fit instrument in the hands of the Immaculata.





[1]Gaitley, Michael E.. 33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat In Preparation for Marian Consecration. Marian Press.
[2]Escrivá, Josemaría. The Way


Day 14[1]

St. Maximillian’s prayer of consecration contains three parts: (1) an invocation, (2) a plea to Mary, that she will receive us as her property, (3) a plea to Mary, that she will use us to gain other souls for her.

Invocation

“O Immaculata, Queen of heaven and earth, refuge of sinners and our most loving Mother, God has willed to entrust the entire order of mercy to you.

Plea for Reception

I, (Name), a repentant sinner, cast myself at your feet humbly imploring you to take me with all that I am and have, wholly to yourself as your possession and property. Please make of me, of all my powers of soul and body, of my whole life, death and eternity, whatever most pleases you.
Plea for Souls

If it pleases you, use all that I am and have without reserve, wholly to accomplish what was said of you: “She will crush your head,” and, “You alone have destroyed all heresies in the whole world.” Let me be a fit instrument in your immaculate and merciful hands for introducing and increasing your glory to the maximum in all the many strayed and indifferent souls, and thus help extend as far as possible the blessed kingdom of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus. For wherever you enter you obtain the grace of conversion and growth in holiness, since it is through your hands that all graces come to us from the most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Kolbe is asking Mary to use him to completely crush the reign of Satan: to help extend “as far as possible the blessed kingdom of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus.” He wants Mary to use him as her instrument — as much as possible — to crush Satan and extend the kingdom of God, the kingdom of the love of the Heart of Jesus. It’s interesting that Kolbe hones in on the Heart of Jesus, he gives the motto of his army of Knights of the Immaculate, the Militia Immaculata: “To lead all men and every individual through Mary to the most Sacred Heart of Jesus.”

The Reward of Renunciation[2]

Then Peter said: Behold, we have left all things, and have followed thee. Who said to them: Amen, I say to you, there is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake, who shall not receive much more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.

182    In our poor present life, let us drink to the last drop from the chalice of pain. What does it matter to suffer for ten, twenty, fifty years, if afterward there is Heaven forever, forever …forever! And above all—even better than for the sake of the reward, propter retributionem—what does suffering matter if we accept it to console, to please God our Lord, with a spirit of reparation, united with him on his cross—in a word, if we suffer for Love?[3] …

Today’s Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, living in Mary. Prepare me to give all to the Immaculata for the sake of the kingdom.





[1]Gaitley, Michael E.. 33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat In Preparation for Marian Consecration. Marian Press.
[2]de Montfort, Saint Louis. True Devotion to Mary: With Preparation for Total Consecration
[3]Escrivá, Josemaría. The Way.


Day 15[1]

This week, we’ll focus on the example and words of a third great teacher of Marian consecration: Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Who was Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta? She’s easy to understand. All we really need to know are two words: “I thirst.” These words of the Heart of Jesus, spoken from his agony on the Cross, were Mother’s whole concern, her everything — and the same could be said of Our Lady. The deepest desire of the hearts of both Mother Teresa and the Mother of God is to satiate the thirst of the Heart of Jesus for love and for souls. On September 10, 1946, while on a train to her yearly retreat, the 36-year-old sister experienced what she described as “a call within a call.” The details of this call became clearer in the subsequent weeks and months through a flood of mystical experiences that included visions. At the heart of this call was the burning thirst of Jesus for love and for souls and a plea to Teresa to found the Missionaries of Charity religious congregation. Regarding the latter, as if to remind her of the vow she had made, Jesus kept repeating to her, “Wilt thou refuse?” Mother Teresa did not refuse the Lord. Mother founded the Missionaries of Charity, whose general purpose was “To satiate the thirst of Jesus Christ on the Cross for Love and Souls.” From the beginning of the new congregation, Mother Teresa began to experience “such terrible darkness” in her soul “as if everything was dead.” At times, it seemed unbearable, and she frequently found herself on the brink of despair. In 1961, she received a light in this darkness. After a conversation with a holy priest, she realized that her painful longing was actually a share in the thirst of Jesus: “For the first time in these 11 years — I have come to love the darkness. — For I believe now that it is a part, a very, very small part of Jesus’ darkness and pain on earth.” Teresa’s experience of darkness and painful longing continued to the end of her life. She found the strength to persevere because, as her spiritual director put it, she realized that the darkness was actually a “mysterious link” that united her to the Heart of Jesus. What about us? Do we yet realize the mysterious link between the darkness we sometimes experience in our own lives and that of the Lord’s suffering? Let us ponder Mother Teresa’s words on suffering that come from her own experience and so, like her, become better lovers of the Heart of Jesus: Suffering has to come because if you look at the cross, he has got both hands open wide — he wants to embrace you. He has his heart opened wide to receive you. Then when you feel miserable inside, look at the cross and you will know what is happening. Suffering, pain, sorrow, humiliation, feelings of loneliness, are nothing but the kiss of Jesus, a sign that you have come so close that he can kiss you. Do you understand brothers, sisters, or whoever you may be? Suffering, pain, humiliation — this is the kiss of Jesus. At times you come so close to Jesus on the cross that he can kiss you. I once told this to a lady who was suffering very much. She answered, “Tell Jesus not to kiss me — to stop kissing me.” That suffering has to come that came in the life of Our Lady, that came in the life of Jesus — it has to come in our life also. Only never put on a long face. Suffering is a gift from God. It is between you and Jesus alone inside.

Darkness[2]

May the light of thy faith dispel the darkness of my mind; may thy profound humility take the place of my pride; may thy sublime contemplation check the distractions of my wandering imagination; may thy continuous sight of God fill my memory with His presence; may the burning love of thy heart inflame the may thy merits be my only adornment in the sight of God and make up for all that is wanting in me. Finally, dearly beloved Mother, grant, if it be possible, that I may have no other spirit but thine to know Jesus and His divine will; that I may have no other soul but thine to praise and glorify the Lord; that I may have no other heart but thine to love God with a love as pure and ardent as thine I do not ask thee for visions, revelations, sensible devotion or spiritual pleasures. It is thy privilege to see God clearly; it is thy privilege to enjoy heavenly bliss; it is thy privilege to triumph gloriously in Heaven at the right hand of thy Son and to hold absolute sway over angels, men and demons; it is thy privilege to dispose of all the gifts of God, just as thou willest.

164 Now, however, "we walk by faith, not by sight"; we perceive God as "in a mirror, dimly" and only "in part". Even though enlightened by him in whom it believes, faith is often lived in darkness and can be put to the test. The world we live in often seems very far from the one promised us by faith. Our experiences of evil and suffering, injustice and death, seem to contradict the Good News; they can shake our faith and become a temptation against it.

165 It is then we must turn to the witnesses of faith: to Abraham, who "in hope... believed against hope"; to the Virgin Mary, who, in "her pilgrimage of faith", walked into the "night of faith" in sharing the darkness of her son's suffering and death; and to so many others: "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith."

530 The flight into Egypt and the massacre of the innocents make manifest the opposition of darkness to the light: "He came to his own home, and his own people received him not." Christ's whole life was lived under the sign of persecution. His own share it with him. Jesus' departure from Egypt recalls the exodus and presents him as the definitive liberator of God's people.

Today’s Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, living in Mary. Help me to find the love of the Heart of Jesus hidden in the darkness.





[1]Gaitley, Michael E.. 33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat In Preparation for Marian Consecration. Marian Press.
[2]de Montfort, Saint Louis. True Devotion to Mary: With Preparation for Total Consecration


Day 16[1]

Mother Teresa stated that one crucial event changed everything: the September 10th “call within a call,” and the experience of Jesus’ thirst for love and for souls.

·         After reading Holy Father’s letter on “I Thirst,” I was struck so much — I cannot tell you what I felt. His letter made me realize more than ever how beautiful is our vocation. … [W]e are reminding [the] world of His thirst, something that was being forgotten. …

·         Holy Father’s letter is a sign … to go more into what is this great thirst of Jesus for each one.
·         It is also a sign from Mother that the time has come for me to speak openly of [the] gift God gave Sept. 10th — to explain [as] fully as I can what thirst of Jesus means to me. … Jesus wants me to tell you again … how much love He has for each one of you — beyond all you can imagine. I worry some of you still have not really met Jesus — one to one — you and Jesus alone. We may spend time in the chapel — but have you seen with the eyes of your soul how He looks at you with love? Do you really know the living Jesus — not from books but from being with Him in your heart? Have you heard the loving words He speaks to you?

·         Ask for the grace, He is longing to give it. Until you can hear Jesus in the silence of your own heart, you will not be able to hear Him saying “I thirst” in the hearts of the poor. Never give up this daily intimate contact with Jesus as the real living person — not just the idea. How can we last even one day without hearing Jesus say “I love you” — it is impossible. Our soul needs that as much as the body needs to breathe the air. If not, prayer is dead — meditation without Christ is only thinking. Jesus wants you each to hear Him — speaking in the silence of your heart. Every day. If you listen with your heart, you will hear, you will understand.

·         Why does Jesus say “I Thirst”? What does it mean? Something so hard to explain in words — remember this — “I thirst” is something much deeper than Jesus just saying “I love you.” Until you know deep inside that Jesus thirsts for you — you can’t begin to know who He wants to be for you. Or who He wants you to be for Him. …

·         [Our Lady] was the first person to hear Jesus’ cry “I Thirst” with St. John, and I am sure Mary Magdalen. Because Our Lady was there on Calvary, she knows how real, how deep is His longing for you and for the poor. Do we know? Do we feel as she? Ask her to teach … . Her role is to bring you face to face, as John and Magdalen, with the love in the Heart of Jesus crucified. “Listen to Jesus’ thirst.”

·         Let it be for each … a Word of Life. How do you approach the thirst of Jesus? Only one secret — the closer you come to Jesus, the better you will know His thirst. “Repent and believe,” Jesus tells us. What are we to repent? Our indifference, our hardness of heart. What are we to believe? Jesus thirsts even now, in your heart and in the poor — He knows your weakness, He wants only your love, wants only the chance to love you. He is not bound by time. Whenever we come close to Him — we become partners of Our Lady, St. John, Magdalen. Hear Him.

165 It is then we must turn to the witnesses of faith: to Abraham, who "in hope... believed against hope"; to the Virgin Mary, who, in "her pilgrimage of faith", walked into the "night of faith" in sharing the darkness of her son's suffering and death; and to so many others: "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith."

530 The flight into Egypt and the massacre of the innocents make manifest the opposition of darkness to the light: "He came to his own home, and his own people received him not." Christ's whole life was lived under the sign of persecution. His own share it with him. Jesus' departure from Egypt recalls the exodus and presents him as the definitive liberator of God's people.

Today’s Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, living in Mary. Help me to find the love of the Heart of Jesus hidden in the darkness.






[1]Gaitley, Michael E.. 33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat In Preparation for Marian Consecration. Marian Press.


Day 17[1]

In Mother Teresa’s “call within a call,” she experienced three visions that further expressed her mission.

·         In the first vision, she saw a huge crowd of all kinds of people that included the very poor and children. The people in the crowd had their hands raised toward her and were calling out, “Come, come, save us — bring us to Jesus.”
·         In the second vision, the same great crowd was there, and this time Mother Teresa could see the immense sorrow and suffering in their faces. She was kneeling near Our Lady, who was facing the crowd. Although she couldn’t see Mary’s face, she could hear what she said: “Take care of them — they are mine. — Bring them to Jesus — carry Jesus to them. — Fear not.”
·         In the third vision, the same great crowd was there again, but they were covered in darkness. Despite this, Teresa could see them. Within this scene, Jesus hung on the Cross, and Our Lady was a little distance away. Teresa, as a little child, was just in front of Mary. Mary’s left hand rested on Teresa’s left shoulder and her right hand held Teresa’s right arm. Both of them were facing the Cross, and Jesus spoke to Teresa: I have asked you. They have asked you, and she, My Mother, has asked you. Will you refuse to do this for Me — to take care of them, to bring them to Me?

Father Joseph Langford, MC, co-founder of the Missionaries of Charity Fathers, reflects on the meaning of these visions:

Without Our Lady, we would be … alone before the crosses of life, oblivious to Jesus in our midst. In times of trial, we are often like the poor in Mother Teresa’s vision, covered in darkness, unaware that Jesus is there in the midst of us. [W]ithout the fidelity [Our Lady] gave to Mother Teresa, the world would not have heard those words [I thirst], or seen them lived out, today.

On the 50th anniversary of that blessed day, Mother shared something new: “If Our Lady had not been with me that day, I never would have known what Jesus meant when he said, ‘I thirst.’” Our Lady] was the first person to hear Jesus’ cry “I Thirst” with St. John, and I am sure Mary Magdalen. Because Our Lady was there on Calvary, she knows how real, how deep is His longing for you and for the poor. Do we know? Do we feel as she? Ask her to teach … . Her role is to bring you face to face, as John and Magdalen, with the love in the Heart of Jesus crucified. “Listen to Jesus’ thirst.”

Thirst of the Soul[2]

Age after age went by; the struggle waxed fiercer and fiercer; times were when the flesh seemed wholly victorious and the spirit dethroned and dishonored; men questioned one another as to what was to be the end. But no complete answer was given until Christ came. He came and laid open the secret not only of the future but of the past. His answer to man was this. This dualism that rends and tortures you is not of God’s making, but your own. It had a beginning, and it will have an end. It is the penalty of that act of disobedience whereby Adam sacrificed the supernatural union with God that held the body subject to the soul. The soul unaided is not able to keep the whole nature in harmonious order. Man’s nature was never intended to be complete in itself; it was created so that it could fulfill itself and its destiny only by union with God. That union was lost by sin. Then began the conflict, “the flesh lusting against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh.” But the body, however rebellious, is an integral part of man’s nature. He must be saved body and soul, or he cannot be saved at all. Men must pay the penalty of the Fall — that inner conflict which ends only in the separation of soul and body in death. But the body shall rise again, and the risen and glorified body shall live in perfect union with the soul. Then “they shall no more hunger nor thirst, neither shall the sun fall upon them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall rule them and shall lead them into the fountains of the waters of life . . . and wipe away all tears from their eyes.”

2560 "If you knew the gift of God!" The wonder of prayer is revealed beside the well where we come seeking water: there, Christ comes to meet every human being. It is he who first seeks us and asks us for a drink. Jesus thirsts; his asking arises from the depths of God's desire for us. Whether we realize it or not, prayer is the encounter of God's thirst with ours. God thirsts that we may thirst for him.

2561 "You would have asked him, and he would have given you living water." Paradoxically our prayer of petition is a response to the plea of the living God: "They have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water!" Prayer is the response of faith to the free promise of salvation and also a response of love to the thirst of the only Son of God.

2835 This petition, with the responsibility it involves, also applies to another hunger from which men are perishing: "Man does not live by bread alone, but . . . by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God," that is, by the Word he speaks and the Spirit he breathes forth. Christians must make every effort "to proclaim the good news to the poor." There is a famine on earth, "not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD." For this reason the specifically Christian sense of this fourth petition concerns the Bread of Life: The Word of God accepted in faith, the Body of Christ received in the Eucharist.

[Our Lady’s] role is to bring you face to face … with the love in the Heart of Jesus crucified.

Today’s Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, living in Mary. Bring me face to face with the love in the Heart of Jesus crucified.





[1]Gaitley, Michael E.. 33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat In Preparation for Marian Consecration. Marian Press.
[2]Maturin, Basil W.. Christian Self-Mastery.


Day 18[1]

Mary’s role is to bring us face to face with the love in the Heart of Jesus crucified. Whatever the reason, our hearts can be cold and unfeeling, and this can be a problem. Thankfully, the one who has a sinless, perfect, immaculate heart will help us. She’ll give us her compassionate heart. She’ll even let us live in her heart! If only we’ll give her ours. When we consecrate ourselves to Mary, we give our whole selves to her, and Mary then gives her whole self to us. If we give our merits to Mary, she gives her merits to us. This is a marvelous thing. Mother Teresa explains that total consecration to Mary focuses on a kind of exchange of hearts: We give Mary our hearts, and she gives us her Immaculate Heart. For Mother Teresa, this gift of Mary’s heart through consecration essentially means two things that are expressed by two simple prayers: “Lend me your heart” and “Keep me in your most pure heart.”

“Mary, lend us your Heart. Bring us the Spirit. Pray that our hardened hearts would burn with love for Jesus. Help set our hearts on fire with love for him.”

“Keep me in your most pure heart.” Or, stated more fully, one prays, “Immaculate Heart of Mary, keep me in your most pure heart, so that I may please Jesus through you, in you, and with you.”

1432 The human heart is heavy and hardened. God must give man a new heart. Conversion is first of all a work of the grace of God who makes our hearts return to him: "Restore us to thyself, O LORD, that we may be restored!" God gives us the strength to begin anew. It is in discovering the greatness of God's love that our heart is shaken by the horror and weight of sin and begins to fear offending God by sin and being separated from him. The human heart is converted by looking upon him whom our sins have pierced:

Let us fix our eyes on Christ's blood and understand how precious it is to his Father, for, poured out for our salvation it has brought to the whole world the grace of repentance.

2517 The heart is the seat of moral personality: "Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication. . . . " The struggle against carnal covetousness entails purifying the heart and practicing temperance:

Remain simple and innocent, and you will be like little children who do not know the evil that destroys man's life.

2563 The heart is the dwelling-place where I am, where I live; according to the Semitic or Biblical expression, the heart is the place "to which I withdraw." The heart is our hidden center, beyond the grasp of our reason and of others; only the Spirit of God can fathom the human heart and know it fully. The heart is the place of decision, deeper than our psychic drives. It is the place of truth, where we choose life or death. It is the place of encounter, because as image of God we live in relation: it is the place of covenant.

Heart[2]

Brave souls courageously accept the challenge of integrity by ignoring the trends of their times while remaining true to themselves, even if it means being a signum cui contradicetur, a sign of contradiction, in the world (Lk 2: 34). The word “courage” actually derives its meaning from a Latin root word “cor” which means “heart.” It means we are never more courageous than when we “have the courage of our convictions,” that is, when we live from the heart, remaining true to who we really are. St. Catherine of Siena put it this way: “If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world ablaze!” Who are we, then, and what is our reason for existence? Sometimes the message escapes us in its simplicity. Jesus said, “I give praise to You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although You have hidden these things from the wise and the learned You have revealed them to the childlike” (Mt 11: 25). The Baltimore Catechism states who we are quite plainly: “We were made to the image and likeness of God … to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in heaven.” The spiritual master, Fr. Thomas Merton, wrote: “To say that I am made in the image of God is to say that love is the reason for my existence, for God is love. Love is my true identity. Selflessness is my true self. Love is my true character. Love is my name.”

Today’s Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, Living in Mary. Keep me in her most pure and Immaculate Heart.





[1]Gaitley, Michael E.. 33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat In Preparation for Marian Consecration. Marian Press.
[2]Heilman, Richard. Church Militant Field Manual


Day 19[1]

One important way that we live out our consecration is by recognizing God’s blessings and pondering them, with Mary, deeply in our hearts. Oftentimes, we don’t recognize the many gifts that God pours out to us in our daily lives. What we do recognize are daily annoyances, burdens, difficulties, and inconveniences. These win our attention. These get us complaining. Nevertheless, when we give Mary our “yes,” she begins to arrange all the events and details of our lives in such beautiful, tender, and loving ways. As a result we often will recognize the multitude of mercies that will come to us through her Spouse, the Holy Spirit. Mother Teresa lived in some of the poorest environments on earth. She had to put up with burning heat, bad breath, stuffy rooms, nagging fatigue, endless responsibilities, bland food, hard beds, body odor, cold water bathing, and an agonizingly deep spiritual aridity. Yet, despite all this, she radiated joy. She smiled. She marveled at the good things God did in her life and in the lives of others, and she pondered the countless loving details arranged by Our Lady. Seeing and recognizing all this, she didn’t complain. How did Mother Teresa develop such a spiritual sensitivity and attitude of gratitude? What was her secret?
·         First, she followed the example of Mary who was always “pondering in her heart” the “good things” that God was doing in her life (see Luke 2:19, 51).
·         Second, Mother Teresa followed the example of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the soldier saint and master of practical prayer. Specifically, she lived his method of making a daily examination of conscience (“examen”), whereby one reviews the day, at the end of the day, in the presence of the Lord. Contrary to what people often think about the examen, it’s not simply a laundry list of sins. In fact, Ignatius directs people to spend most of their time reflecting not on sins but on the blessings of the day. It’s really an exercise in recognizing the good things God is doing in our lives and how we are or are not responding to his love. It’s an imitation of Mary’s attitude of heart-pondering prayer. God is always showering his love and mercy down on us in so many ways. It’s important that we begin to recognize these blessings and thank him for them, especially because this shower of blessings is going to turn into a torrent of grace once we consecrate ourselves to Mary.

Gratitude[2]

Gratitude consists in a watchful, minute attention to the particulars of our state, and to the multitude of God's gifts, taken one by one. It fills us with a consciousness that God loves and cares for us, even to the least event and smallest need of life. It is a blessed thought, that from our childhood God has been laying His fatherly hands upon us, and always in benediction; that even the strokes of His hands are blessings, and among the chiefest we have ever received. When this feeling is awakened, the heart beats with a pulse of thankfulness. Every gift has its return of praise. It awakens an unceasing daily converse with our Father,—He speaking to us by the descent of blessings, we to Him by the ascent of thanksgiving. And all our whole life is thereby drawn under the light of His countenance, and is filled with a gladness, serenity, and peace which only thankful hearts can know. H. E. MANNING.

800 Charisms are to be accepted with gratitude by the person who receives them and by all members of the Church as well. They are a wonderfully rich grace for the apostolic vitality and for the holiness of the entire Body of Christ, provided they really are genuine gifts of the Holy Spirit and are used in full conformity with authentic promptings of this same Spirit, that is, in keeping with charity, the true measure of all charisms.

2097 To adore God is to acknowledge, in respect and absolute submission, the "nothingness of the creature" who would not exist but for God. To adore God is to praise and exalt him and to humble oneself, as Mary did in the Magnificat, confessing with gratitude that he has done great things and holy is his name. The worship of the one God sets man free from turning in on himself, from the slavery of sin and the idolatry of the world.

2220 For Christians a special gratitude is due to those from whom they have received the gift of faith, the grace of Baptism, and life in the Church. These may include parents, grandparents, other members of the family, pastors, catechists, and other teachers or friends. "I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you."

Today’s Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, living in Mary. Help me to recognize and ponder in my heart all the good you do for me.





[1]Gaitley, Michael E.. 33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat In Preparation for Marian Consecration. Marian Press.
[2]Tileston, Mary W.. Daily Strength for Daily Needs




Day 20[1]

We’ll be preparing for Consecration Day by reflecting on how serious a commitment Marian consecration really is. Mother Teresa took her consecration so seriously has to do with her roots in Albanian culture. A key word in this culture is “besa.” Literally translated, this means “faith,” but it’s more complete meaning is “word of honor” and “to keep one’s promise.” [Besa] means even if you have killed my father and the police are after you, if I have given you my word, then even if the police kill me, still I will not disclose your name. If you give your word to someone, you give yourself. Indeed, besa has a sacred character like a vow, oath, or covenant. A major difference between contracts and covenants may be discovered in their very distinctive forms of exchange. A contract is an exchange of property in the form of goods and services (“That is mine and this is yours”); whereas a covenant calls for the exchange of persons (“I am yours and you are mine”), creating a shared bond of interpersonal communion. Another feature of a covenant is that it usually entails certain rights and obligations. For example, in the marital covenant, a husband and wife have the right to enjoy one another in the spousal embrace of self-giving love, but they also have the obligation to care for and support one another “in good times and bad.” Fr. Joseph Langford, MC, inspired by Mother Teresa’s teaching on the Covenant of Consecration, spells out the details of a Missionary of Charity’s rights and duties in her relationship with Mary, listing 12 corresponding rights and duties. The list begins, significantly, with Mary having the duty to give “her spirit and heart” and ends with each Missionary of Charity having the “right” to enter into Mary’s heart and share her interior life. So, the two bookends of this covenant with Mary are Mother Teresa’s two prayers that we learned about earlier: “Lend me your heart” and “keep me in your most pure heart.” Everything in between is simply the terms of the relationship.

In the end can you say, “Moved by an ardent desire to live in the closest union with you possible in this life, so as to more surely and fully arrive at union with your Son; I hereby pledge to live the spirit and terms of the following Covenant of Consecration as faithfully and generously as I am able.”

Covenant[2]

Matthew 26: 27: Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom.” Jesus gave himself up as a sacrifice for our sins and so put right the relationship between God and His creation, which had been fractured through the disobedience of man. All who are baptized, and who believe that Jesus is the Son of God are a party to the new covenant that Jesus established. The covenant which Jesus created, as with all covenants, is conditional. It offers eternal life to those who have faith that Jesus is the Son of God and his sacrifice nullifies the effect of sin and renders a soul eligible for eternal life. As with all previous covenants this new covenant between God and believers in his Son Jesus was confirmed by sacrifice and this time the sin offering was Jesus himself on the cross at Calvary. Our Lady made her most prophetic of all appearances in the course of six visits to Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta at Fatima in 1917. Her mission was to call on mankind to repent of their sins and so to stop offending God by them and she showed a terrifying vision of Hell. It was a mother’s plea, a mother who cares for us, who asked that we turn to prayer and she called on us to make the First Five Saturday’s devotion to her Immaculate Heart. She also asked that Russia be consecrated to her and said that if these requests were met, then the World would enjoy peace and many souls would be saved. Pope John Paul II did ultimately consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart, but the World has turned to ever greater sinfulness and the devotion she called for has been virtually ignored. Clearly her warning at Fatima of the global consequences of sin wasn’t only for that generation! World War II was the chastisement for the sins prevalent at that time in history, so surely the offence we are causing God today is putting Mankind at risk of a far greater chastisement. However it’s never too late to heed the call of Our Lady for us as individuals and for those that do so, she has left us the most beautiful of promises. “Look, my daughter, at my Heart, surrounded with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce me at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. You can at least try to console me and say that I promise to assist at the hour of death, with the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, for five consecutive months, shall confess, receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary, and keep me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me.”

1150 Signs of the covenant. The Chosen People received from God distinctive signs and symbols that marked its liturgical life. These are no longer solely celebrations of cosmic cycles and social gestures, but signs of the covenant, symbols of God's mighty deeds for his people. Among these liturgical signs from the Old Covenant are circumcision, anointing and consecration of kings and priests, laying on of hands, sacrifices, and above all the Passover. The Church sees in these signs a prefiguring of the sacraments of the New Covenant.

1601 "The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament."

1612 The nuptial covenant between God and his people Israel had prepared the way for the new and everlasting covenant in which the Son of God, by becoming incarnate and giving his life, has united to himself in a certain way all mankind saved by him, thus preparing for "the wedding-feast of the Lamb."

Today’s Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, living in Mary. Help me to ardently make a Covenant of Consecration with Mary.





[1]Gaitley, Michael E.. 33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat In Preparation for Marian Consecration. Marian Press.
[2]De Marco, Paul. Fatima 2017



Day 21[1]

The essence of Mother Teresa’s consecration to Mary is to “Be the one.” “Be the one, with Mary.” in her own darkness at seeing the suffering of her son; as express in Psalm 68:21: My heart had expected reproach and misery. And I looked for one that would grieve together with me, and there was none: and I sought one that would console me, and I found none. In consecration you can be the one to console her son. Ask Mary and she will reveal how best to quench the thirst for souls. After all she is the spouse of the Holy Spirit the great comforter. Two things are required to satiate Christ’s thirst for humanity. The first is to console the head of His mystical body-and the second is to console the members of His body. Therefore first we must be filled with the apostle’s joy as at his resurrection and his appearance in the upper room. Like them we must have 1) Total surrender to our risen Lord 2) Loving Trust and 3) optimism mixed with cheerfulness. We must turn ourselves, from ourselves, like Mary who consoled the apostles and forgave them under the great darkness of losing her son and God helping them to create the Kingdom. We like our mother must recognize the thirst in others. For everyone both rich and poor are in need of the greatest and most precious of pearls: Love of God. No one is exempt, for all are beggars, for the slightest drop of love to satisfy our souls; for we are made for love. To console Jesus in others is to recognize this thirst in others and become the one like the woman, at the well in Jericho with Jesus, to draw from the wellspring of God’s love for others by responding to their suffering and to avoid indifference. As Mother Teresa states, “The greatest evil is the lack of love and charity, terrible indifference towards one’s neighbor…People today are hungry for love, for understanding love which is much greater and which is the only answer to loneliness and great poverty.”

The Second Gift of the Holy Spirit is Understanding[2]

Love and respect those around you. The only one you have to impress is God Himself. If we could only see ourselves as God sees us, that’s the real understanding! Everything else is transitory; nothing material in this world is worth a thing. It took me years of pain and suffering to figure this out. Surrender everything to God’s plan for you, not your plan for you, and it will all fall in place. I was soon to learn I had to put Him first in all things. Understanding is the second gift of the Holy Spirit, and people sometimes have a hard time understanding (no pun intended) how it differs from wisdom. While wisdom is the desire to contemplate the things of God, understanding allows us grasp, at least in a limited way, the very essence of the truths of the Catholic Faith. Through understanding, we gain a certitude about our beliefs that moves beyond faith.

158 "Faith seeks understanding": it is intrinsic to faith that a believer desires to know better the One in whom he has put his faith, and to understand better what He has revealed; a more penetrating knowledge will in turn call forth a greater faith, increasingly set afire by love. The grace of faith opens "the eyes of your hearts" to a lively understanding of the contents of Revelation: that is, of the totality of God's plan and the mysteries of faith, of their connection with each other and with Christ, the center of the revealed mystery. "The same Holy Spirit constantly perfects faith by his gifts, so that Revelation may be more and more profoundly understood." In the words of St. Augustine, "I believe, in order to understand; and I understand, the better to believe."

1027 This mystery of blessed communion with God and all who are in Christ is beyond all understanding and description. Scripture speaks of it in images: life, light, peace, wedding feast, wine of the kingdom, the Father's house, the heavenly Jerusalem, paradise: "no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him."

1722 Such beatitude surpasses the understanding and powers of man. It comes from an entirely free gift of God: whence it is called supernatural, as is the grace that disposes man to enter into the divine joy.

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." It is true, because of the greatness and inexpressible glory of God, that "man shall not see me and live," for the Father cannot be grasped. But because of God's love and goodness toward us, and because he can do all things, he goes so far as to grant those who love him the privilege of seeing him. . . . For "what is impossible for men is possible for God."

Today’s Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, living in Mary. Help me to “be the one” to console Jesus with Mary.




[1]Gaitley, Michael E.. 33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat In Preparation for Marian Consecration. Marian Press.
[2]LaVallee, Andrew; Velasquez, Leticia. From the Hub to the Heart: My Journey.



Day 22[1]

During this fourth and final full week, we’ll be focusing on the example and words of another great teacher of Marian consecration: Saint John Paul II. “The most Marian Pope,” as he’s been called, profoundly deepened the Church’s understanding of Marian consecration. Building on the work of the Second Vatican Council, he provides us with a thoroughly biblical treatment of consecration—which he also calls “entrustment”—and hones in on the idea that it’s Mary’s role to lead us into the mystery of Christ’s redeeming love and self-consecration to the Father.

In 1917, while World War I raged, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal. She told them that the war would end but if people didn’t convert, a worse war would follow and Russia would spread its errors throughout the world, causing more wars, martyrs, and persecutions of the Church. To prevent this, Mary asked that the Holy Father consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart and for people to make five consecutive “First Saturday” communions of reparation. In the end, she said, her Immaculate Heart would triumph. It’s interesting that Mary mentioned Russia. At the time, this was cause for confusion: Russia? Holy Russia? What errors would this devoutly Christian country spread throughout the world? And how could such a poor Russia exercise so much influence? (At this point in history, the Soviet revolution was in its infancy; the communist, atheist, totalitarian regime had not yet been established.) After Mary gave her prophesy about Russia, the children saw a vision involving a “bishop dressed in white,” who they understood to be the Pope. With great distress, they saw that he would suffer much and then be shot and killed. Exactly 64 years later, May 13, 1981, at 5 p.m., a small, open-air jeep rode out into St. Peter’s Square, carrying Pope John Paul II, who warmly greeted pilgrims gathered in the square. Suddenly, a gunman fired two shots at the Pope from close range. The first bullet grazed his elbow. The second struck him in the abdomen and ricocheted inside him, shredding intestines and piercing his colon. Miraculously, the bullet missed the main abdominal artery by one tenth of an inch. Had it been struck or even grazed, John Paul would have bled to death on the way to the hospital. Realizing this blessing, the Pope stated that “One hand fired, and another guided the bullet.” John Paul believes it was the hand of Our Lady of Fatima (the May 13th anniversary was not lost on him). John Paul made a solemn entrustment of the world to Mary’s Immaculate Heart. He concluded the prayer with the following words: Let there be revealed, once more, in the history of the world the infinite saving power of the redemption: the power of merciful Love! May it put a stop to evil! May it transform consciences! May your Immaculate Heart reveal for all the light of Hope! After learning of the Pope’s solemn entrustment, Sr. Lucia, the lone survivor of the three Fatima seers, declared that it fully satisfied Our Lady’s original request. Five years later, the horrific, Soviet, totalitarian regime that had terrorized millions of people suddenly came to an end. That victory won, the Pope didn’t rest. What he once called the “century of tears” was far from over. To confront the ongoing evil and injustice in the world, he forcefully proclaimed, with growing frequency, the saving power of God’s “merciful Love.” His efforts to promote this message culminated in the establishment of the universal Feast of Divine Mercy Sunday in 2000 and a solemn Act of Entrustment of the world to Divine Mercy in 2002.

To the Sacred Heart of Jesus[2]
(Prayer of St Alphonsus.)

ADORABLE Heart of my Jesus, Heart created expressly for the love of men! Until now I have shown toward Thee only ingratitude. Pardon me, O my Jesus! Heart of my Jesus, abyss of love and of mercy, how is it possible that I do not die of sorrow when I reflect on Thy goodness to me and my ingratitude to Thee? Thou, my Creator, after having created me, hast given Thy blood and Thy life for me; and, not content with this, Thou hast invented a means of offering Thyself up every day for me in the Holy Eucharist, exposing Thyself to a thousand insults and outrages. O Jesus, do Thou wound my heart with a great contrition for my sins, and a lively love for Thee. Through Thy tears and Thy blood give me the grace of perseverance in Thy fervent love until I breathe my last sigh. Amen.

211 The divine name, "I Am" or "He Is", expresses God's faithfulness: despite the faithlessness of men's sin and the punishment it deserves, he keeps "steadfast love for thousands". By going so far as to give up his own Son for us, God reveals that he is "rich in mercy". By giving his life to free us from sin, Jesus reveals that he himself bears the divine name: "When you have lifted up the Son of man, then you will realize that 'I AM'."

1992 Justification has been merited for us by the Passion of Christ who offered himself on the cross as a living victim, holy and pleasing to God, and whose blood has become the instrument of atonement for the sins of all men. Justification is conferred in Baptism, the sacrament of faith. It conforms us to the righteousness of God, who makes us inwardly just by the power of his mercy. Its purpose is the glory of God and of Christ, and the gift of eternal life:

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from law, although the law and the prophets bear witness to it, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as an expiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins; it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies him who has faith in Jesus.

Today’s Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, living in Mary. Have mercy on us and on the whole world!





[1]Gaitley, Michael E.. 33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat In Preparation for Marian Consecration. Marian Press.
[2]Hammer, Bonaventure. General Catholic Devotions


Day 23[1]

One of the main Marian teachings of Vatican II is known as Lumen Gentium. The heart of this teaching has to do with what’s usually called Mary’s “maternal mediation.” Maternal mediation basically means that Mary is our spiritual mother (hence “maternal”) who assists us from heaven with her prayers and motherly care to help bring us to God (hence “mediation”). While the term “maternal” should be familiar, “mediation” may need some explaining. A mediator is someone who stands between two people for the sake of bringing them into unity. Thus, Jesus Christ is a mediator. He is the one who, after the fall, stands between God and fallen humanity to bring us back into communion with God. And there’s only one, as St. Paul makes clear, “[T]here is one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ” (1 Tim 2:5). If there’s only one mediator between God and man, and if that one mediator is Jesus Christ, then why does the Second Vatican Council describe Mary as a mediator? God is generous. In other words, Jesus doesn’t keep his role as mediator to himself. He wants Mary — and not just Mary, but all Christians — to share in his one mediation, though in subordinate ways. For instance, each of us shares in Christ’s one mediation when we pray for one another “in Christ.” I mentioned a similar point in the introduction when I wrote that God wants all of us to participate in his work of salvation. I also mentioned there that Mary has a uniquely important role in this work. Again, according to Vatican II, this special role is captured by the phrase “maternal mediation.” Among creatures, Mary’s role in the ongoing work of salvation is by far the most important. She was given such an important role “not from some inner necessity” on God’s part but “from the divine pleasure.” [T]he Blessed Virgin was on this earth the virgin Mother of the Redeemer, and above all others and in a singular way the generous associate and humble handmaid of the Lord. She conceived, brought forth, and nourished Christ. She presented him to the Father in the temple, and was united with him by compassion as he died on the cross. In this singular way she cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope, and burning charity in the work of our Savior in giving back supernatural life to souls. Wherefore she is our mother in the order of grace. This maternity of Mary in the order of grace began with the consent which she gave in faith at the annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, and lasts until the eternal fulfillment of all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this salvific duty, but by her constant intercession continued to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation. By her maternal charity, she cares for the brethren of her Son, who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers and difficulties, until they are led to the happiness of their true home. Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked by the Church under the titles of Advocate, Auxiliatrix, Adjutrix, and Mediatrix. This, however, is to be so understood that it neither takes away from nor adds anything to the dignity and efficaciousness of Christ the one Mediator. Through her “constant intercession” and “maternal charity,” she brings us grace, mercy, and the “gifts of eternal salvation.” Mary is our spiritual mother whose God-given task is to nurture us with tender care and the gifts and graces that come to us through her loving prayers.

Mother[2]

Of a truth, in Mary, there has been a purer creature, who was exempt from every shade of sin; and yet, if we may say so, sinless. Was not her highest prerogative, even independent of the Divine Maternity? Cast an eye over her sixty-three years, and you will see what is meant by generosity towards God and unreservedness with Him. Her first act of love and use of reason at the very moment of her Immaculate Conception was an entire and joyous surrender of herself to God, and it was never retracted for an instant. The thought never crossed her of being aught else than all for God. So when she made her vow of virginity, as the most perfect offering to the infinite sanctity of God, she sacrificed apparently the one object which was nearest and dearest to every Jewish maiden's heart, even the hope of being the Mother of the Messias. Then again when she consented, in obedience to those who had a right to command her consent, to espouse St, Joseph, what an utter abandonment of self it was! Even her consent to the Incarnation, and her acceptance of the dignity of Mother of God, were acts of generosity, not only because of the unequalled suffering they involved, but also because of the violence she was called upon to do to her deep humility. Her presentation, of Jesus in the temple, and her acceptance of Simeon's prophecy, were equally examples of her self-forgetting generosity with God. Amidst all the trials of the Sacred Infancy she called for no miracle to alleviate her cares. In the Holy House of Nazareth her life was nothing else than a perpetual oblation of Jesus and of herself to God. Her poverty was perfect; neither did she seek for spiritual consolations, but was contented with the almost unbroken silence of her Divine Son, when she longed for Him to speak. She parted with Him unselfishly when He went upon His three years' ministry, which, even when she followed Him she consented to His Passion, and co-operated with Him in all its steps. She spent fifteen years of resigned desolation upon earth, when He had ascended, and like a magnet had almost drawn her Immaculate Heart up to heaven with His own. She gave Him away to the Eternal Father.

We are Mary’s foster children having been made so through the birthing action of the cross. As our Holy Mother, if we allow her to, will in cooperation with the Holy Spirit, she will deliver us to the Divine Father.

507 At once virgin and mother, Mary is the symbol and the most perfect realization of the Church: "the Church indeed. . . by receiving the word of God in faith becomes herself a mother. By preaching and Baptism she brings forth sons, who are conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of God, to a new and immortal life. She herself is a virgin, who keeps in its entirety and purity the faith she pledged to her spouse."

975 "We believe that the Holy Mother of God, the new Eve, Mother of the Church, continues in heaven to exercise her maternal role on behalf of the members of Christ" (Paul VI, CPG § 15).

Today’s Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, living in Mary. Fill my heart with praise to God for giving me Mary as my spiritual mother.





[1]Gaitley, Michael E.. 33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat In Preparation for Marian Consecration. Marian Press.
[2]Faber, Frederick William. Growth in holiness. Baltimore: John Murphy and Co..


Day 24[1]

We are on a “pilgrimage of faith” leading up to Consecration Day.Mary too, during her earthly life was on a kind of retreat and pilgrimage of faith. She pondered in her heart different truths. She didn’t discover all at once her vocation to be a spiritual mother and mediatrix for the world. Like us, Mary needed to walk by faith while pondering in her heart. She needed a time of preparation regarding her special role as our “mother in the order of grace.” Because Mary’s maternal mediation is so central to a proper understanding of Marian consecration, we need to spend the next few days making a retreat within our retreat. In other words, we’re going to accompany Mary along the way that God led her to progressively discover her vocation to be our spiritual mother and mediatrix.

Day 1-The Annunciation

At her first “yes” to God, her “fiat,” she accepted her vocation to be the mother of Jesus. Yet, the Holy Spirit did not reveal that she was also accepting the call to be the spiritual mother to all Christians as well? The whole mystery of the Annunciation gave Mary something amazing to ponder. Who was the first person to entrust himself to Mary? It was God the Father. St. John Paul II explains, “For it must be recognized that before anyone else it was God himself, the Eternal Father, who entrusted himself to the Virgin of Nazareth, giving her his own Son in the mystery of the Incarnation.” Mary surely marveled at this act of humility on God’s part. As she marveled and pondered it, might she have begun to have some inkling that God would later want the people he came to redeem to follow his example? Mary had many other things to ponder during her preparation. In the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, they offer several points of reflection that speak to Mary’s spiritual motherhood. In the Gospel of Mark (3:31-35) where Mary and Jesus’ cousins are outside, wanting to see Jesus, and so they send for him and call to him. Jesus responds by asking, “Who are my mother and my bretheren?” Then, looking at those sitting around him, he says “Here are my mother and my bretheren! Whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and mother.” As God the son he was preparing his mother for who he wanted her to be. Specifically, he was revealing to her the new filial bond of the kingdom that goes beyond the bonds of the flesh. He was pointing out the primacy of the spirit to the flesh, the primacy of the supernatural Fatherhood of God to the natural fatherhood (or motherhood) of man. It’s likely that Mary immediately grasped some of what Jesus was trying to teach her. After all, for years she had pondered in her heart another strange response of Jesus, the one he gave when she found him in the Temple after three days of sorrowful searching: “Did you not know I must be about my Father’s business?” (Lk 2:49). During his public ministry, Jesus was indeed completely concerned with his Father’s business. Now, a key part of this business involved preparing his mother for her new role in God’s kingdom. Jesus knew that “in the dimension of the Kingdom of God and in the radius of the fatherhood of God” Mary’s motherhood “takes on another meaning.” In the words reported by Mark that we read earlier, Jesus points to this meaning, “Whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and mother.” We can be sure that Mary pondered this in her heart and that she realized that by these words, Jesus was not rejecting her but rather preparing her.

Ponder the Miracle[2]

Paul VI, in his admirable encyclical Mysterium Fidei, after having contemplated seven modes of Jesus’ presence in His Church, writes, “The mind is filled with amazement at these different ways in which Christ is present; they confront the Church with a mystery ever to be pondered. But there is yet another manner in which Christ is present in His Church, a manner which surpasses all the others; it is His presence in the Sacrament of the Eucharist.… It contains Christ Himself.” And further, “Not only while the Sacrifice is offered and the sacrament is received, but as long as the Eucharist is kept in our churches, Christ is truly the Emmanuel, that is, ‘God with us.’ Day and night He is in our midst; He dwells with us, full of grace and truth.” The apostle St. John, when he speaks of the Last Supper, searches for a word in which he can express all the love which Jesus unveiled at His Last Supper with the disciples, and he says, “In finem dilexit”: “He loved them unto the end.” He loves us to the extreme limits of love. Why did Jesus remain with us in the Eucharist? To be our food: He knew how our feeble souls would need this Bread of Heaven, which is Himself. He remained in order not to leave us alone. When a person loves, he desires the presence of the beloved. Leaving aside pure theology, let us imagine that, as Jesus considered the fact that He would have to return to Heaven after His Resurrection, there was a conflict in His Heart. He did will to die, but He did not want to leave. He did not want to go away from us and leave us alone. Besides remaining in us by grace, by faith, hope, and charity, He wanted to give us the sweetness and richness of His ineffable presence in the Eucharist and to remain there with us until the end of time. He would go back, of course, to the glorious Heaven to which His glorified body was to return, but at the same time, He would remain. So there was the Cenacle. At the banquet of love in the Cenacle, surrounded by His friends, His brothers, He worked the miracle much greater than creation: He instituted the Holy Eucharist. He remained in order to be our food: “For my Flesh is meat indeed, and my Blood is drink indeed,” a food extraordinary in its effects. He comes into us in order to transform us into Himself. He willed more than a union, more than a fusion; He willed the unity of love: to be one with us. The Fathers of the Church search for comparisons to explain this union: two pieces of wax which, when mixed, are no longer distinguishable one from the other; the iron reddened in the fire, which becomes fire itself. Yet it is even more than that. In these there is only union, only fusion, but He truly brings about the oneness of love. The Council tells us, “The partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ does nothing other than to cause us to be transformed into that which we consume.” “He assumed our nature in order to communicate to us His divinity; He took a human life in order to give us a part in His divine life; He made Himself man in order to make us gods. And His human birth became the means of our birth into the divine life.” See how beautiful it is and how far it goes: He gives us the commandment: “Be you therefore perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” But how? By eating and drinking the Body and Blood of Him who alone is perfect as the Father and who transforms us into Himself. In the presence of this Sacrifice and around this holy table, the unity of the people of God is realized, whose “spiritual center” is the Tabernacle, because it contains Him who is the center of all hearts, “by whom are all things, and we by Him.” Seek to be Eucharistic souls! Hunger and thirst to eat this living miracle; nourish yourselves with it! Never omit receiving Communion through lack of love, through scruples or fear. From the moment when you are in the state of grace, go to the holy table; go to receive Jesus! An act of humility and an act of love prepare you in an instant. If you cannot go for a reason beyond your control, it is all right; Jesus will supply, seeing your ardent desire to receive Him.

94 Thanks to the assistance of the Holy Spirit, the understanding of both the realities and the words of the heritage of faith is able to grow in the life of the Church:
- "through the contemplation and study of believers who ponder these things in their hearts"; it is in particular "theological research [which] deepens knowledge of revealed truth".
- "from the intimate sense of spiritual realities which [believers] experience", the sacred Scriptures "grow with the one who reads them."
- "from the preaching of those who have received, along with their right of succession in the episcopate, the sure charism of truth".

1167 Sunday is the pre-eminent day for the liturgical assembly, when the faithful gather "to listen to the word of God and take part in the Eucharist, thus calling to mind the Passion, Resurrection, and glory of the Lord Jesus, and giving thanks to God who 'has begotten them again, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead' unto a living hope":

When we ponder, O Christ, the marvels accomplished on this day, the Sunday of your holy resurrection, we say: "Blessed is Sunday, for on it began creation . . . the world's salvation . . . the renewal of the human race. . . . On Sunday heaven and earth rejoiced and the whole universe was filled with light. Blessed is Sunday, for on it were opened the gates of paradise so that Adam and all the exiles might enter it without fear.

Today’s Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, living in Mary. Help me to be faithful to heart-pondering prayer, as was Mary.






[1]Gaitley, Michael E.. 33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat In Preparation for Marian Consecration. Marian Press.
[2]d'Elbée, Jean C.J.. I Believe in Love: A Personal Retreat Based on the Teaching of St. Therese of Lisieux



Day 25[1]

Retreat of Mary Day 2-Wedding at Cana

On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons.[ Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” 11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.
Father Gaitley tells us that we need to ponder three important points from this passage.

1.      We have recourse to Mary in regard to our needs and intentions.
2.      We must ensure we “Do whatever he tells you” as Mary advises.
3.      Mary’s intercession always leads to the heart of Christ.

The New Eve[2]

St. John Paul II in reflecting on this gospel explains to us the importance of consecrating ourselves to Mary. The Catholic tradition has pointed out how this scene expresses Mary’s compassion and attentiveness to other’s needs. Lumen Gentium describes Mary at Cana being "moved with pity." Pope John Paul II said Mary was "prompted by her merciful heart" to help this family by bringing her concern for them to Jesus: "Having sensed the eventual disappointment of the newly married couple and guests because of the lack of wine, the Blessed Virgin compassionately suggested to Jesus that he intervene with his messianic power." This scene also serves as a pattern for Marian intercession. Just as Mary at Cana noticed the family’s needs before anyone else did, so Mary in heaven continues to notice our needs before we do. And just as Mary at Cana brought those needs to Christ, so does she continue to bring our needs to her Son through her intercession for us. John Paul II also wrote in Redemptoris Mater, that this scene at Cana exemplifies "Mary’s solicitude for human beings, her coming to them in the wide variety of their wants and needs." He continues: At Cana in Galilee there is shown only one concrete aspect of human need, apparently a small one of little importance ("They have no wine"). But it has a symbolic value: this coming to the aid of human needs means, at the same time, bringing those needs within the radius of Christ’s messianic mission and salvific power. . . . Mary places herself between her Son and mankind in the reality of their wants, needs and sufferings. Now we are ready to understand the profound meaning of Jesus calling His mother "woman" at the wedding feast of Cana. Highlighting how this scene takes place on the seventh day of the new creation week, Johns Gospel leads us to view Jesus and Mary in light of the creation story. And in this context, Jesus calls Mary "woman." With the Genesis themes in the background, this title would bring to mind the "woman" of Genesis, Eve (Gen. 2:23; 3:20).

This woman of Genesis played an important part in the first prophecy given to humanity. After the fall, God confronted the serpent and announced his eventual defeat, saying: "I will put enmity between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise his heel." (Gen. 3:15) Given at the dawn of creation, these words, known as the Protoevangelium ("First Gospel"), foretell how the woman one day will have a seed, a son, who will crush the head of the serpent (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 410). Centuries later, at the wedding feast of Cana, this prophecy begins to be fulfilled. By calling Mary "woman" with the creation story in the background, Jesus in the narrative of Johns Gospel is not merely addressing her politely as He does Mary Magdalene or the Samaritan woman. Rather, He is identifying Mary as the woman of Genesis 3:15. Far from rebuking His mother or distancing Himself from her, Jesus, in calling Mary "woman," honors her in a way no woman had ever been honored before. She is the New Eve, the woman whose long-awaited Son will defeat the devil and fulfill the prophecy of Genesis.
2618 The Gospel reveals to us how Mary prays and intercedes in faith. At Cana, the mother of Jesus asks her son for the needs of a wedding feast; this is the sign of another feast - that of the wedding of the Lamb where he gives his body and blood at the request of the Church, his Bride. It is at the hour of the New Covenant, at the foot of the cross, that Mary is heard as the Woman, the new Eve, the true "Mother of all the living."

Today’s Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, living in Mary. Help me to ask for Mary’s intercession in times of need.





[1]Gaitley, Michael E.. 33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat In Preparation for Marian Consecration. Marian Press.
[2]http://www.catholiceducation.org/en/religion-and-philosophy/apologetics/knowing-mary-through-the-bible-new-wine-new-eve.html


Day 26[1]

Retreat of Mary Day 3-The Cross

Cana was not the most important part of her preparation. The “crowning moment” of her preparation — indeed, and its full actualization — came at Calvary. Mary suffers with Christ. Yet her faith is stronger now than it has ever been. Through faith:

·         She shares his suffering.
·         She shares in the gift of himself for us!
·         She dies with him and at the resurrection rises with him; as our mother she assists us to do the same.
·         She becomes the mother of every living human beings Catholic’s and well as non-Catholics
·         She is the fruit of the new love born at the foot of the cross.
·         She thirst’s for souls.
·         As our mother she seeks the restoration of supernatural life to all of humanity.
·         She gives birth to a new humanity via the Church.
·         Mary continues to intercede for us with her spouse the Holy Spirit.

Words spoken by Mary at Guadalupe[2]

"Juanito, dearest Juan Diego."

"Listen, Juan, my dearest and youngest son, where are you going?"

"Know, know for sure, my dearest, littlest, and youngest son, that I am the perfect and ever Virgin Holy Mary, Mother of the God of truth through Whom everything lives, the Lord of all things near us, the Lord of heaven and earth. I want very much to have a little house built here for me, in which I will show Him, I will exalt Him and make Him manifest. I will give Him to the people in all my personal love, in my compassion, in my help, in my protection: because I am truly your merciful Mother, yours and all the people who live united in this land and of all the other people of different ancestries, my lovers, who love me, those who seek me, those who trust in me. Here I will hear their weeping, their complaints and heal all their sorrows, hardships and sufferings. And to bring about what my compassionate and merciful concern is trying to achieve, you must go to the residence of the Bishop of Mexico and tell him that I sent you here to show him how strongly I wish him to build me a temple here on the plain; you will report to him exactly all you have seen, admired and what you have heard. Know for sure I will appreciate it very much, be grateful and will reward you. And you? You will deserve very much the reward I will give you for your fatigue, the work and trouble that my mission will cause you. Now my dearest son, you have heard my breath, my word; go now and put forth your best effort." "Listen to me, my youngest and dearest son, know for sure that I do not lack servants and messengers to whom I can give the task of carrying out my words, who will carry out my will. But it is very necessary that you plead my cause and, with your help and through your mediation, that my will be fulfilled. My youngest and dearest son, I urge and firmly order you to go to the bishop again tomorrow. Tell him in my name and make him fully understand my intention that he start work on the chapel I'm requesting. Tell him again that I am the ever Virgin, Holy Mary, the Mother of God, who is sending you."

501 Jesus is Mary's only son, but her spiritual motherhood extends to all men whom indeed he came to save: "The Son whom she brought forth is he whom God placed as the first-born among many brethren, that is, the faithful in whose generation and formation she co-operates with a mother's love."

505 By his virginal conception, Jesus, the New Adam, ushers in the new birth of children adopted in the Holy Spirit through faith. "How can this be?" Participation in the divine life arises "not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God". The acceptance of this life is virginal because it is entirely the Spirit's gift to man. The spousal character of the human vocation in relation to God is fulfilled perfectly in Mary's virginal motherhood.

Today’s Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, living in Mary. Help me give thanks of the gift of Mary as our mother.





[1]Gaitley, Michael E.. 33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat In Preparation for Marian Consecration. Marian Press.
[2]Br. Francis Mary, "Nican Mopohua: Original Account of Guadalupe," in A Handbook on Guadalupe.



Day 27[1]

Today we will need to return to the foot of the cross to begin what St. John Paul calls “Marian Entrustment”.

·         Christ with the words, “Woman behold your son” is entrusting all of humanity to Mary thereby making her the spiritual mother of all.
·         Christ in turn says to John, “Behold thy mother” and he takes her into his home; through consecration we say, “Yes” to Christ’s final request thus making our own fiat as did Mary at the conception of Christ.
·         To take Mary into our home is the equivalent, of having her soul exist in our soul. We still retain our own selves but we ever live and breathe through the spirit of our mother.
·         Mary thus resting in our “home” brings us ever closer to Christ and whispers to us, “Do whatever He tells you”.
·         His thirst for souls is amplified by Mary and then in turn is given to us.
·         As our mother she seeks to bring us ever closer to Christ.

Entrust[2]

John Paul II first made his own personal Marian consecration (as Karol Wojtyla) when he was 18 years old after reading the book, True Devotion to Mary, by St. Louis de Montfort. He later described that spiritual act of entrusting himself totally to Jesus through Mary as a “decisive turning point” in his life. In fact, after making his consecration, he never forgot it as he renewed it daily and placed it at the very heart of his personal spirituality. Perhaps the fact that he had lost his own biological mother at a young age contributed to the fervor with which he lived out this crowning of Marian devotion. Whatever the reason, the consecration touched him deeply, and he explicitly chose the Mother of God as his own adoptive mother, entrusting himself to her motherly care as he prayed: Totus tuus ego sum et omnia mea tua sunt. Accipio te in mea omni. Praebe mihi cor tuum, Maria. (I belong totally to you, and all that I have is yours. I take you for my all. O Mary, give me your heart.) When Wojtyla became a bishop, he adopted a shortened version of the above prayer as his episcopal motto, “Totus Tuus” (Totally Yours), which appeared below his episcopal coat-of-arms. That coat-of-arms, consisting of a golden cross with the letter “M” on the lower right, also emphasized his personal consecration to his mother, Mary, because it captured that iconic moment from the Gospel of John (19: 26-27) when Jesus, dying on the Cross, entrusts his mother to us (“ Behold, your mother”) and us to his mother (“ Behold, your son”). When Wojtyla became Pope, he kept this same episcopal Marian motto and coat-of-arms. Seeing that Wojtyla had such an extraordinary Marian devotion, it’s not surprising that this “most Marian Pope,” as many have called him, would be the one to fully and successfully consecrate Russia to Mary’s Immaculate Heart. 

2677 Holy Mary, Mother of God: With Elizabeth we marvel, "And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" Because she gives us Jesus, her son, Mary is Mother of God and our mother; we can entrust all our cares and petitions to her: she prays for us as she prayed for herself: "Let it be to me according to your word." By entrusting ourselves to her prayer, we abandon ourselves to the will of God together with her: "Thy will be done." Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death: By asking Mary to pray for us, we acknowledge ourselves to be poor sinners and we address ourselves to the "Mother of Mercy," the All-Holy One. We give ourselves over to her now, in the Today of our lives. And our trust broadens further, already at the present moment, to surrender "the hour of our death" wholly to her care. May she be there as she was at her son's death on the cross. May she welcome us as our mother at the hour of our passing to lead us to her son, Jesus, in paradise.

2682 Because of Mary's singular cooperation with the action of the Holy Spirit, the Church loves to pray in communion with the Virgin Mary, to magnify with her the great things the Lord has done for her, and to entrust supplications and praises to her.

Today’s Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, living in Mary. Help me to entrust myself to thee and to come ever closer to thy blessed son.






[1]Gaitley, Michael E.. 33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat In Preparation for Marian Consecration. Marian Press.
[2]Michael E. Gaitley, MIC. The Second Greatest Story Ever Told


Day 28[1]
Today we will be going to the pasture of the children of Fatima with St. John Paul II.

·         Exactly one year after St. John Paul II was shot he went to Fatima to give thanks to our Mother.
·         At Fatima he delivered a homily on Marian consecration and entrustment.
·         St. John Paul II in this homily makes a connection between Mary, Divine Mercy and the redeeming consecration to Christ.
·         Divine Mercy is 1) the limit imposed by God on evil-the love of God in the face of evil, 2) it is symbolized by the blood and water that flowed from Christ’s pierced side and 3) the divine mercy chaplet is essential for the salvation of man.
·         Love is greater than sin and the ‘sin of the world’. As our mother, Mary seeks, to bring us ever closer to Christ.
·         Mary knows the power of redemption and merciful love better than anyone.
·         Consecrating ourselves to Mary is our yes (fiat) to accepting her help for ourselves and mankind.

Act of Entrustment[2]

“Mother of all individuals and peoples, you know all their sufferings and hopes. In your motherly heart you feel all the struggles between good and evil, between light and darkness, that convulse the world: accept the plea which we make in the Holy Spirit directly to your heart, and embrace with the love of the Mother and Handmaid of the Lord those who most await this embrace, and also those whose act of entrustment you too await in a particular way. Take under your motherly protection the whole human family, which with affectionate love we entrust to you, O Mother. May there dawn for everyone the time of peace and freedom, the time of truth, of justice and of hope”

Behold, as we stand before you, Mother of Christ, before your Immaculate Heart, we desire, together with the whole Church, to unite ourselves with the consecration which, for love of us, your Son made of himself to the Father: ‘For their sake’, he said, ‘I consecrate myself that they also may be consecrated in the truth’ (Jn 17:19). We wish to unite ourselves with our Redeemer in this his consecration for the world and for the human race, which, in his divine Heart, has the power to obtain pardon and to secure reparation.

The power of this consecration lasts for all time and embraces all individuals, peoples and nations. It overcomes every evil that the spirit of darkness is able to awaken, and has in fact awakened in our times, in the heart of man and in his history.

How deeply we feel the need for the consecration of humanity and the world—our modern world—in union with Christ himself! For the redeeming work of Christ must be shared in by the world through the Church.

Above all creatures, may you be blessed, you, the Handmaid of the Lord, who in the fullest way obeyed the divine call!

Hail to you, who are wholly united to the redeeming consecration of your Son!
Mother of the Church! Enlighten the People of God along the paths of faith, hope, and love! Enlighten especially the peoples whose consecration and entrustment by us you are awaiting. Help us to live in the truth of the consecration of Christ for the entire human family of the modern world.
In entrusting to you, O Mother, the world, all individuals and peoples, we also entrust to you this very consecration of the world, placing it in your motherly Heart.

Immaculate Heart! Help us to conquer the menace of evil, which so easily takes root in the hearts of the people of today, and whose immeasurable effects already weigh down upon our modern world and seem to block the paths towards the future!

·         From famine and war, deliver us.
·         From nuclear war, from incalculable self-destruction, from every kind of war, deliver us.
·         From sins against the life of man from its very beginning, deliver us.
·         From hatred and from the demeaning of the dignity of the children of God, deliver us.
·         From every kind of injustice in the life of society, both national and international, deliver us.
·         From readiness to trample on the commandments of God, deliver us.
·         From attempts to stifle in human hearts the very truth of God, deliver us.
·         From the loss of awareness of good and evil, deliver us.
·         From sins against the Holy Spirit, deliver us, deliver us.

Accept, O Mother of Christ, this cry laden with the sufferings of all individual human beings, laden with the sufferings of whole societies.

Help us with the power of the Holy Spirit to conquer all sin: individual sin and the ‘sin of the world’, sin in all its manifestations.

Let there be revealed, once more, in the history of the world the infinite saving power of the Redemption: the power of merciful Love! May it put a stop to evil! May it transform consciences! May your Immaculate Heart reveal for all the light of Hope!”.

1700 The dignity of the human person is rooted in his creation in the image and likeness of God (article 1); it is fulfilled in his vocation to divine beatitude (article 2). It is essential to a human being freely to direct himself to this fulfillment (article 3). By his deliberate actions (article 4), the human person does, or does not, conform to the good promised by God and attested by moral conscience (article 5). Human beings make their own contribution to their interior growth; they make their whole sentient and spiritual lives into means of this growth (article 6). With the help of grace they grow in virtue (article 7), avoid sin, and if they sin they entrust themselves as did the prodigal son1 to the mercy of our Father in heaven (article 8). In this way they attain to the perfection of charity.

Today’s Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, living in Mary. Create in me a fountain of Love and Mercy.





[1]Gaitley, Michael E.. 33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat In Preparation for Marian Consecration. Marian Press.
[2]http://mariansolidarity.com/blessed-john-paul-iis-act-of-entrustment-to-mary/



Day 29[1]

Reflection on the first week with St. Louis de Montfort we can condense his way into to three words: PassionBaptism and Gift of self.
Passion
·         Allow Mary to take charge of your passions and use them for the greater glory of God.
·         Ask Mary to guide you to use your natural passions to be advanced in accordance with the will of God.
·         When we unite ourselves with Mary we also unite ourselves with her spouse the Holy Spirit and the result is a divine filling of the soul which then completes the will of God more perfectly.

St. James speaks of the “law of liberty,” and of the “royal law,” the latter being, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,” and both mean, I apprehend, just what we have already alluded to as the law of love. “Love,” says Paul, “is the fulfilling of the law,” and this is liberty, and this is royalty, the freedom to do God’s will because we love it, and to have all the antagonisms to that blessed will expelled from our hearts, and all lawful affections and passions subdued and subjected to Him who is our King, and who reigns without a rival in our hearts.  “I worship Thee, sweet will of God, and all Thy ways adore; and every day I live, I seem to love Thee more and more…is this not the true liberty and the true royalty.[2]
Baptism

·         By baptism we are born again to become part of the body of Christ.
·         By renewing our vows the Holy Spirit forms us into other Christ’s.
·         Mary was the vessel through which Christ was formed by the Holy Spirit and it is through Mary that the Holy Spirit desires to form us into other Christ’s.
·         The closer one is to the heart of Mary the more active and mighty that soul becomes.
·         Mary brings the grace of Baptism to fulfillment. Baptism isn’t the end it’s the beginning.
·         Mary as the perfect mother oversees and nurtures our growth with the Holy Spirit.
For every Christian, before his Baptism, was the slave of the devil, seeing that he belonged to him. He has in his Baptism, by his own mouth or by his sponsor’s, solemnly renounced Satan, his pomp’s and his works; and he has taken Jesus Christ for his Master and Sovereign Lord, to depend upon Him in the quality of a slave of love. This is what we do by the present devotion. We renounce, as is expressed in the formula of consecration, the devil, the world, sin, and self; and we give ourselves entirely to Jesus Christ by the hands of Mary. Nay, we even do something more; for, in Baptism, we ordinarily speak by the mouth of another, namely, by our godfather or godmother, and so we give ourselves to Jesus Christ not by ourselves but through another. But in this devotion we do it by ourselves, voluntarily, knowing what we are doing. Moreover, in holy Baptism, we do not give ourselves to Jesus by the hands of Mary, at least not in an expressed manner; and we do not give Him the value of our good actions. We remain entirely free after Baptism, either to apply them to whom we please or to keep them for ourselves. But, by this devotion, we give ourselves to our Lord expressly by the hands of Mary, and we consecrate to Him the value of all our actions.[3]

Gift

·         If we have courage we can gift ourselves to Mary.
·         It is only when we have the courage to gift it is then that we discover that we are the true recipients of the gift.
·         We are family and our families are family; she anticipates our needs and orders everything to the will of God.
·         She does not remove our crosses but like her son at the way of the cross she gives us hope.
·         She protects us from temptation and the attacks of evil.
·         She gladdens our hearts.

For the difference between goodness and badness does not consist in the presence or absence, the preservation or destruction, of anything within us that is evil, but in the right or wrong use of powers in themselves good. Sin is the misuse of powers that God has given us, the use of them for ends for which they were never intended. It is like a soldier taking the sword he was given to defend his country and using it in the cause of her enemies. Every power, every faculty, every gift of our nature was given to us for good. They were given us for the service of God and are capable of being used in His service. When we take these God-given powers and use them for an unworthy end, we sin. The heart with which I can rise up into the closest union with God I can use in loving what God most hates. The heart of the greatest sinner is the same faculty and is capable of the same acts as the heart of the greatest saint. It is not the heart itself that is evil. The most degraded and vicious of men have the same divine power of love as the holiest. The difference is that one has set his affections on an object unworthy of them, and the other has turned to Him who has made our hearts for Himself. So, again, it is the same will with which I choose right that I can use in choosing wrong. The will is good whatever I use it for. In choosing evil, I violate my whole nature and weaken my will. In choosing good, I act according to my nature, and my will grows stronger and ever more reliable. The will that has been most enslaved by the constant choice of all that is base and vile, and which seems incapable of making one good choice — even such a will is in itself good. The evil lies not in the will but in the objects upon which it exercises its choice. The evil is the abuse of a great and noble power. To become good, you have not to destroy it or rid it of anything inherent in it, still less to lay it aside unused, but rather to use it, weakened and debased as it is, in the energetic choice of good. Thus we might take one after another of those powers that have been the cause of the greatest sin, and see how, although the instruments of sin, they are in themselves good and in the use of them, the saints became saints.[4]

1272 Incorporated into Christ by Baptism, the person baptized is configured to Christ. Baptism seals the Christian with the indelible spiritual mark (character) of his belonging to Christ. No sin can erase this mark, even if sin prevents Baptism from bearing the fruits of salvation. Given once for all, Baptism cannot be repeated.

1765 There are many passions. The most fundamental passion is love, aroused by the attraction of the good. Love causes a desire for the absent good and the hope of obtaining it; this movement finds completion in the pleasure and joy of the good possessed. The apprehension of evil causes hatred, aversion, and fear of the impending evil; this movement ends in sadness at some present evil, or in the anger that resists it.

2346 Charity is the form of all the virtues. Under its influence, chastity appears as a school of the gift of the person. Self-mastery is ordered to the gift of self. Chastity leads him who practices it to become a witness to his neighbor of God's fidelity and loving kindness.

Today’s Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, living in Mary help us to ponder the gift, passion and baptism in the spirit.





[1]Gaitley, Michael E.. 33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat In Preparation for Marian Consecration. Marian Press.
[2]Clark, Dougan. The Theology of Holiness
[3]de Montfort, Saint Louis. True Devotion to Mary: With Preparation for Total Consecration.

[4]Maturin, Basil W.. Christian Self-Mastery


Day 30[1]

From the week of reflection on St. Maximilian Kolbe we can condense his way into to three words: MysteryMilitia and Love.
Mystery

·         Consider the mystery that Mary is the created Immaculate Conception and the third person of the trinity the Holy Spirit is the uncreated Immaculate Conception.
·         She consents to the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit which takes possession of her soul to bear the Christ and us as her spiritual children.
·         Mary is the spouse of the Holy Spirit and we are the children of their union.

Most holy Virgin, who was pleasing to the Lord and became His mother, immaculate in body and spirit, in faith and in love, look kindly on the wretched ones who implore your powerful patronage. The wicked Serpent, against whom was hurled the first curse, continues fiercely to attack and ensnare the unhappy children of Eve. So then, O Blessed Mother, our queen advocate, who from the first instant of your conception crushed the head of the Enemy, receive the prayers which, united with you in our single heart, we implore you to present at the throne of God; so that we may never fall into the snares that are laid out for us, and may all arrive at the harbor of salvation. And in so many dangers, may the Church and Christian society sing once again the hymn of deliverance and of victory and of peace. AMEN.[2]
Militia

·         St. Maximilian reasoned that if one person can bring great glory to God; He further reasoned that the power of many-men can give even greater glory. People are like sticks; alone they can be easily broken but when many are bound together they are almost impossible to break.
·         The goal is the conversion of the whole world: one heart at a time but it must start with the first one to give himself completely. In a word committed. Between Ham and Eggs the chicken was involved but the pig was committed!

The world has its own gospel. The message of the world is incomplete, and nothing demonstrates this incompleteness more than the world’s inability to make sense of suffering. The world cannot make sense of suffering because it views suffering as worthless. The world has no answer for the inescapable, unavoidable, and inevitable suffering of our lives. Jesus has an answer for everything. The Old Testament Scriptures tell us that suffering is the consequence of sin. In the Old Testament suffering is presented as a punishment inflicted by God as a direct result of humanity’s sinfulness. In the New Testament, Jesus boldly announced with his words and actions that suffering has value. It is a tool that can transform us into more loving people. It ushers us into higher spiritual realms. Salvation and the suffering of Jesus are inseparable. So what could be more meaningful than suffering? Now, let’s be very clear. I am not suggesting that we should go looking for suffering. And there is a great deal of suffering in this world that you and I can and should do more to relieve. But the inescapable suffering of our lives has a purpose. We can try to run from it, or we can accept it and allow it to transform us in unimaginable ways. We can allow it to make us angry, or we can let it teach us how to love more fully. For hundreds of years Christians have whispered to each other, “Offer it up!” The Scriptures encourage us to offer everything that happens in our day— the joys and suffering— to God as a prayer. Suffering is a powerful prayer. Once we come to this realization and begin to surrender to the inevitable suffering of life, offering it to God as a prayer— for ourselves, for our friends and family, for the world— we become filled with a deep and abiding peace. Jesus promised us suffering. His leadership was unique and awesome; he didn’t sugarcoat things or pretend. He led by example and asked for great commitment from those who wanted to follow him. For more than two thousand years, the heroes, champions, and saints of Christianity have been meditating on the passion and death of Jesus Christ. Perhaps it is time we all spent a little time exploring the genius of the cross. The world changed at three o’clock on that Friday afternoon when Jesus laid down his life for us. That was how he changed the world. Radical. “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9: 23). The mandate is clear. I don’t know what your cross is, but I sure know what my own is. Some days I am more reluctant than others to pick it up and carry it. That’s life. What cross is Jesus inviting you to take up and carry today? Whatever it is, the risen Christ wants to help you carry it. You are not alone.[3]
Love

How can we love the immaculata?

·         By relying on and in her intercession.
·         By experiencing her tender care.
·         By speaking to her from our hearts.
·         By letting ourselves be led by her.
·         By having recourse to her in all things.
·         By trusting her completely.

How does Mary love us? To ponder this let us consider Mitvah 26, which is a Jewish precept, Mary loves us as a Jewish Mother after all. “You shall love your neighbor as you do yourself.” But look at what follows, (for) it almost sounds like a contradiction: “You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him.” In light of this close contextual connection, we shouldn’t automatically assume Moses has moved on to a different subject. Actually, I believe the second phrase defines what it is to “hate your brother.” And the truth that emerges if we make this connection has stunning relevance for us today: we are not to be tolerant of false teaching, but are rather to “rebuke” those in error— to neglect this correction is to hate our brother. Remember the rabbinical Mitzvah (# 27) that said, “Do not stand by idly when a human life is in danger?” This is the practical outworking of the principal: if your brother is in spiritual error, if he espouses doctrines that Yahweh’s Word says will kill him in the end, then to withhold rebuke and admonition is to hate him. By tolerating his heresy, you are sending him to hell, (very much like offering an alcoholic a drink or) like indulging a diabetic’s sweet tooth.[4]

963 Since the Virgin Mary's role in the mystery of Christ and the Spirit has been treated, it is fitting now to consider her place in the mystery of the Church. "The Virgin Mary . . . is acknowledged and honored as being truly the Mother of God and of the redeemer. . . . She is 'clearly the mother of the members of Christ' . . . since she has by her charity joined in bringing about the birth of believers in the Church, who are members of its head." "Mary, Mother of Christ, Mother of the Church."

2442 It is not the role of the Pastors of the Church to intervene directly in the political structuring and organization of social life. This task is part of the vocation of the lay faithful, acting on their own initiative with their fellow citizens. Social action can assume various concrete forms. It should always have the common good in view and be in conformity with the message of the Gospel and the teaching of the Church. It is the role of the laity "to animate temporal realities with Christian commitment, by which they show that they are witnesses and agents of peace and justice.

1024 This perfect life with the Most Holy Trinity - this communion of life and love with the Trinity, with the Virgin Mary, the angels and all the blessed - is called "heaven." Heaven is the ultimate end and fulfillment of the deepest human longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness.

Today’s Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, living in Mary help us to ponder the mystery, militia and love that brings the greatest glory to God.





[1]Gaitley, Michael E.. 33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat In Preparation for Marian Consecration. Marian Press.
[2]Thigpen, Paul. Manual for Spiritual Warfare
[3]Kelly, Matthew. Rediscover Jesus: An Invitation
[4]Joseph F. Dumond. Remembering The Sabbatical Years of 2016



Day 31[1]
From the week of reflection on St. Teresa of Calcutta we can condense her approach into to three words: ThirstHeart and Covenant.
Thirst

·         Only those who were present to the Lord at his crucifixion could hear the Lord’s cry of thirst.
·         Mary, his mother; St. John the Apostle and most likely Mary Magdalene the sinner.
·         If we ask Our Lady she will understand Christ’s longing for sinners and the poor.
·         If we ask her, the witness of our hope, she will teach us the love in Christ’s heart.
·         We can with Mary satiate His thirst.

Does Christ also thirst for our happiness? True happiness can only be from doing the will of the Father-Mary will help us with this if we ask.

The Happiness Paradox[2]

Quickly write a list of what makes you happy. Whatever you wrote on your list, chances are those are the things, places, people, and experiences that you believe will make you happy. You may object, saying that you have written some of the things on your list because you know that by doing them, you will make someone else happy. But by making them happy, you will also share in that happiness. Even if you wrote on your list that you wanted world peace and to feed the starving people of Africa and wrote those things for completely altruistic reasons… their attainment will also bring you great happiness. The things you put on your list represent happiness to you. Everybody wants to be happy. You want to be happy, and I want to be happy. The human person has a natural thirst for happiness, and we do the things we do because we believe they will make us happy. From time to time, people do stupid things. We may look at them and scratch our heads. We may wonder, “Why would anybody ever do something so stupid?” or, “Don’t they know that is going to make them miserable?” But be assured, the reason people do stupid things is because they mistakenly believe those stupid things will make them happy. People do not wake up in the morning and ask themselves, “How can I make myself miserable today?” The human heart is on a quest for happiness. We give this happiness different names and masks, and we live our lives in search of it. This is the great modern paradox: We know the things that make us happy; we just don’t do them.

Heart

·         Our hearts are inconsistent to say the least; Mary always had a consistent heart.
·         She will lend us her heart if we ask.
·         She will keep us in her heart if we ask.
·         Mary through her heart will teach us to Love her son as she did with perfection and humility.
·         Love Jesus through Mary, with Mary and in Mary.
·         Mary’s heart always focused on the good things God had done in her life, day by day, hour by hour. Ask Mary to help you construct your own “Magnificat” to be sung in gratitude each evening reflecting on His love. Begin with “My soul magnifies the Lord…”.




Ravished Heart[3]

In Father Autiemma's little book, Affetti Scambievoli, we read of innumerable favors granted by the Mother of God to those who practised this most profitable devotion of often visiting her in her churches or before some image. We read of the graces which she granted in these visits to Saint Albert the Great, to the Abbot Rupert, to Father Suarez, especially when she obtained for them the gift of understanding, by which they afterwards became so renowned throughout the Church for their great learning: the graces which she granted to Saint John Berchmans of the Society of Jesus, who was in the daily habit of visiting Mary in a chapel of the Roman college; he declared that he renounced all earthly love, to love no other after God than the Most Blessed Virgin, and had written at the foot of the image of his believed Lady: 'I will never rest until I shall have obtained a tender love for my Mother;' the graces which she granted to Saint Bernadine of Sienna, who in his youth also went every day to visit her in a chapel near the city-gate, city-gate, and declared that the Lady had ravished his heart. Hence he called her his beloved, and said that he could not do less than often visit her; and by her means he afterwards obtained the grace to renounce the world, and to become what he afterwards was, a great saint and the apostle of Italy. Do you, then, be also careful always to join to your daily visit to the Most Blessed Sacrament a visit to the most holy Virgin May in some church, or at least before a devout image of her in your own house. If you do this with tender affection and confidence, you may hope to receive great things from this most gracious Lady, who, as St. Andrew of Crete says, always bestows great gifts on those who offer her even the least act of homage.

Covenant
In this covenant:

·         You make a free gift of all you have and your being and Mary will give you her heart and spirit.
·         You have total dependence on her and Mary will transform, protect and possess your being.
·         Will be responsive to Mary’s spirit and Mary will enlighten, guide and inspire you.
·         You will be faithful in prayer and Mary will share her experience of prayer and praise.
·         You will trust in her intercession and Mary will provide for your sanctification.
·         Accept all things as coming from her and Mary will be with you in all that befalls you.
·         You will imitate her spirit and Mary will share with you her virtues.
·         You will have constant recourse to her and Mary will provide for your spiritual and material needs.
·         You will acknowledge her presence and Mary will keep you in union with her heart.
·         Deny yourself and develop a purity of intention and Mary will purify you and your actions.
·         I will be able to profit myself from her guidance and energies for the sake of the Kingdom and Mary will dispose of me, my prayers and intercession and graces thus perfecting and magnifying them.
·         I have the ability to enter into her heart and share her interior life and Mary has total freedom in and around me as she pleases in all things.

Covenant[4]

John Paul begins by pointing out that Israel had drawn “a special experience of the mercy of God” from their age-long history, a history of the covenant: Israel was, in fact, the people of the covenant with God, a covenant that it broke many times. Whenever it became aware of its infidelity — and in the history of Israel there was no lack of prophets and others who awakened this awareness — it appealed to mercy. In this regard, the books of the Old Testament give us very many examples. And what did God do after Israel continually broke the covenant and then appealed for mercy? He gave mercy. He forgave. He healed. He brought back. For Israel, therefore, the process of breaking the covenant and then experiencing mercy from God taught them about who God is. God is not someone to hide from out of fear. Rather, he’s someone to whom we can run with contrite hearts, ask for mercy, and from whom we can expect to receive it.

64 Through the prophets, God forms his people in the hope of salvation, in the expectation of a new and everlasting Covenant intended for all, to be written on their hearts. The prophets proclaim a radical redemption of the People of God, purification from all their infidelities, a salvation which will include all the nations. Above all, the poor and humble of the Lord will bear this hope. Such holy women as Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Judith and Esther kept alive the hope of Israel's salvation. The purest figure among them is Mary.

489 Throughout the Old Covenant the mission of many holy women prepared for that of Mary. At the very beginning there was Eve; despite her disobedience, she receives the promise of a posterity that will be victorious over the evil one, as well as the promise that she will be the mother of all the living. By virtue of this promise, Sarah conceives a son in spite of her old age. Against all human expectation God chooses those who were considered powerless and weak to show forth his faithfulness to his promises: Hannah, the mother of Samuel; Deborah; Ruth; Judith and Esther; and many other women. Mary "stands out among the poor and humble of the Lord, who confidently hope for and receive salvation from him. After a long period of waiting the times are fulfilled in her, the exalted Daughter of Sion, and the new plan of salvation is established."

2676 This twofold movement of prayer to Mary has found a privileged expression in the Ave Maria:
Hail Mary [or Rejoice, Mary]: the greeting of the angel Gabriel opens this prayer. It is God himself who, through his angel as intermediary, greets Mary. Our prayer dares to take up this greeting to Mary with the regard God had for the lowliness of his humble servant and to exult in the joy he finds in her.

Full of grace, the Lord is with thee: These two phrases of the angel's greeting shed light on one another. Mary is full of grace because the Lord is with her. The grace with which she is filled is the presence of him who is the source of all grace. "Rejoice . . . O Daughter of Jerusalem . . . the Lord your God is in your midst." Mary, in whom the Lord himself has just made his dwelling, is the daughter of Zion in person, the ark of the covenant, the place where the glory of the Lord dwells. She is "the dwelling of God . . . with men." Full of grace, Mary is wholly given over to him who has come to dwell in her and whom she is about to give to the world.

Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. After the angel's greeting, we make Elizabeth's greeting our own. "Filled with the Holy Spirit," Elizabeth is the first in the long succession of generations who have called Mary "blessed." "Blessed is she who believed. . . . " Mary is "blessed among women" because she believed in the fulfillment of the Lord's word. Abraham, because of his faith, became a blessing for all the nations of the earth. Mary, because of her faith, became the mother of believers, through whom all nations of the earth receive him who is God's own blessing: Jesus, the "fruit of thy womb."

Today’s Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, living in Mary help us to ponder Thirst, Heart and Covenant that brings the greatest glory to God.





[1]Gaitley, Michael E.. 33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat In Preparation for Marian Consecration. Marian Press.
[2]Kelly, Matthew. The Rhythm of Life: Living Every Day with Passion and Purpose
[3]Church, Catholic. Rosary Novenas to Our Lady
[4] Michael E. Gaitley, MIC. The Second Greatest Story Ever Told

Day 32

Blessed John Paul II Three words summarize what we learned from Blessed John Paul II: (1) Mother, (2) “Entrust-acration,” and (3) Mercy.

Let’s ponder each one in turn. MOTHER John Paul’s teaching on Marian consecration not only carries with it his authority as Pope but also the authoritative weight of an Ecumenical Council, because he repeats and deepens Vatican II’s teaching on Mary. Therefore, his teaching actually constitutes the mind and heart of the Church today, and we should pay particular attention to it. So what is the mind and heart of the Church telling us about Mary? It’s pointing to Mary’s maternal mediation. It’s saying she’s our mother in the order of grace. It’s proclaiming the Good News that God has given us a spiritual mother who prayerfully, lovingly attends to our growth in grace and holiness. This new motherhood of Mary in the life of the Church, in the life of each of one of us, is the constant, consoling, beautiful background to everything we’ve said about Marian consecration — or what John Paul often calls “entrustment.” ENTRUST-ACRATION Seeing Mary standing at the foot of the Cross next to his beloved disciple, John, Jesus said, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then, to John, “Behold, your mother” (Jn 19:26-27). These words summarize what we already covered in the last point, that Mary is our spiritual mother. But then we read the next verse, “Then the disciple took her into his home.” Here is the heart of our response to Jesus entrusting us to Mary as our mother: We are to then entrust ourselves to her by taking her “into our homes.” In other words, we’re to take her into our inner life, into all that concerns us. We are to let her into our joys and sorrows, hopes and fears, plans and activities. When we let Mary into our lives, when we entrust ourselves to her care, she intercedes for us, consoles us, and gives us courage and strength to unite ourselves more fully to Jesus’ own consecration of himself for the life of the world. In other words, she brings us to the Cross of Jesus, which is the final meaning of Jesus’ self-consecration, and she inspires us to spend ourselves for the salvation of the world, to take up our part in the work of redemption. As we take up our cross, as we live within Christ’s own consecration, we may become spiritually thirsty, desolate, and tired. That’s when Mary carries us to the pierced side of Christ, the Fountain of Mercy, where we find a ceaseless source of strength and holiness. Thus, to John Paul’s mind, entrustment to Mary leads to our consecration to Christ. In other words, one might say it’s a movement of “entrust-acration.” MERCY Ultimately, Marian consecration leads us to Divine Mercy. Acts of consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary lead to acts of trust in the Merciful Heart of Jesus. We see this in the story of Fatima and Pope John Paul, and especially in the Pope’s homily during his pilgrimage to Fatima in 1982, a pilgrimage of thanksgiving “to the mercy of God … and the Mother of Christ” for having saved his life.  In that homily, John Paul repeatedly pointed out how Marian consecration leads us to the pierced Heart of Jesus, the Fountain of Mercy. This connection is part of the will of Jesus himself, who said to Sr. Lucia in 1936 that he wills the consecration to Mary’s Heart “because I want my whole Church to acknowledge that consecration [that my mother requested at Fatima] as a triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, so that it may extend its veneration later on, and put the devotion to this Immaculate Heart beside the devotion to My Sacred Heart.”118 Jesus wants to extend veneration and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary because she leads us most perfectly to him and helps us to receive the infinite mercy of his Heart.  Today’s Prayer: Spend the day pondering John Paul’s Marian teaching as it is summarized by these three words: Mother, Entrust-acration, and Mercy.


Gaitley, Michael E.. 33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat In Preparation for Marian Consecration . Marian Press. Kindle Edition. 

Day 33[1]

HOW TO MAKE YOUR CONSECRATION[2] we should go to confession and Holy Communion with the intention of giving ourselves to Jesus Christ in the quality of slaves of love, by the hands of Mary. After Communion, we should recite the consecration prayer—we ought to write it, or have it written, and sign it the same day the consecration is made. It would be well that on this day, we should pay some tribute to Jesus Christ and our Blessed Lady, either as a penance for our past unfaithfulness to the vows of Baptism, or as a testimony of dependence on the dominion of Jesus and Mary. This tribute should be one in accordance with your fervor, such as a fast, mortification or alms, or a candle. If but a pin is given in homage, and given with a good heart, it will be enough for Jesus, Who loves only the good will. Once a year at least, and on the same day, we should renew this consecration.

Consecration to the Blessed Virgin[3]

My Queen and my Mother, I give myself entirely to you, and, in proof of my affection, I give you my eyes, my ears, my tongue, my heart, my whole being without reserve. Since I am your own, keep me and guard me as your property and possession. Amen.

·         Every day let us renew the consecration to God's service; every day let us, in His strength, pledge ourselves afresh to do His will, even in the veriest trifle, and to turn aside from anything that may displease Him. He does not bid us bear the burdens of tomorrow, next week, or next year. Every day we are to come to Him in simple obedience and faith, asking help to keep us, and aid us through that day's work; and to-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, through years of long to-morrows, it will be but the same thing to do; leaving the future always in God's hands, sure that He can care for it better than we. Blessed trust! That can thus confidingly say, "This hour is mine with its present duty; the next is God's, and when it comes, His presence will come with it." W. R. HUNTINCTON.[4]





[1]Gaitley, Michael E.. 33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat In Preparation for Marian Consecration. Marian Press.
[2]de Montfort, Saint Louis. True Devotion to Mary: With Preparation for Total Consecration
[3]Heilman, Richard. Church Militant Field Manual
[4]Tileston, Mary W.. Daily Strength for Daily Needs


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