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Alison W Ink Slingers Mary Prayer

Consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary: 9 Tips for Spiritual Success

It’s Christmas Eve, sisters! With today being the vigil of Our Lord’s birth, I can’t think of a better way to thank Jesus for his great gift to us than by honoring the woman whose “yes” brought him to our world. 

I just did this through the St. Louis de Montfort version of the Consecration to our Blessed Mother. I was walking through some struggles in my personal life and trying desperately to put myself back in a place of peace. That’s the thing about finding yourself in the wrong direction–it’s hard to see how to turn or even understand where the wrong direction started. But this consecration has been spiritually cleansing, and has given me new hope. I pray you will consider it, too!

I had started my journey to more intimacy with Mary with a couple “Mary, Undoer of Knots” novenas, which led perfectly to this consecration. I am certain the Blessed Mother called me to it and that my Father guided me as only the Holy Spirit can.

How beautiful that in this messy, confusing, and painful life we have a Mother who is calling us back to Jesus! Just as she told St. Juan Diego, “Am I not here, I, that am your mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection?” How beautiful that our Lord has given her to us. From the agony of His cross, Jesus gave us a mother whose entire existence on earth and in heaven has been to lead us back to Him.

To those interested in making the Consecration to the Blessed Mother, I have some suggestions:

  1. Pick a day to start the consecration. More information can be found here
  2. Find a good spiritual director. When we get serious about faith, we need someone to help guide us. Be honest with your director, so he or she can best advise you.
  3. Intentionally set aside time for prayer each day. Life is busy; our souls deserve that commitment of time.
  4. Read the “True Devotion to Mary” by St. Louis-Marie de Monfort. It is beautiful and eye opening. An audio version can be found here
  5. Keep close to the sacraments. It was recommended to me to keep a running list for confession, which I felt helpful. I also went to confession weekly through the consecration period. Regular Mass attendance–add in some daily Masses if you can!–is important. Remember to recognize the living Jesus when you receive Him in the Eucharist.
  6. Don’t try to do this in your own strength. Recognize this is the work of Jesus and Mary. We can get in our own way when we focus too much on our sinfulness and not enough on Jesus’ mercy. Think more of letting the Holy Spirit envelope what is dark in us. We all have wounds and I found this process to bring them painfully to light, but it also can bring healing. 
  7. Remember that praising Jesus is a type of spiritual warfare. If you find yourself getting down/afraid/worried/overwhelmed, praise the Holy Name of Jesus.
  8. Make use of sacramentals. This includes holy water, blessed salt, medals, scapulars, and other blessed items.  
  9. Plan ahead. The daily prayers and readings can be found here. There also is an audio version at this site

Readers, have any of you done the consecration and have tips for others interested in doing it, too? Share them here! I’d love to incorporate your suggestions when I renew my own consecration next year. May God bless you on your journey and may we all come back to Him.

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Books Current Events Ink Slingers Kerri Reviews Year of Mercy

The Year of Mercy and a Consecration to Merciful Love

Catholicsistas.comI recently finished a book that I must share with you. It’s perfect for this Year of Mercy and perfect for all us busy people. You may already be familiar with Fr. Michael Gaitley’s book 33 Days to Morning Glory which guides readers through a 33 day retreat toward a Marian Consecration. His newest book is very similar and I highly encourage you to grab it when you get a chance.

Back in February I read about Fr. Gaitley’s newest book, 33 Days to Merciful Love: A Do-it-Yourself Retreat in Preparation for Consecration to Divine Mercy, in the Marian Helpers Magazine. The Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception was encouraging supporters to get the book and start the consecration on March 1 so that the day of consecration would fall on Divine Mercy Sunday. With this falling during Lent and carrying over into the octave of Easter, I figured why not. So I bought the book. I’m glad I did!

One quick note, Fr. Gaitley does recommend doing the Marian consecration one first, but also says that it’s not necessary. Which was good for me since I have not done the Marian consecration. This one, the consecration to Divine Mercy, can stand on it’s own, so if you’re interested in this one, don’t feel like you have to do the other one first.

What I particularly loved about this one was the intertwining of the writings and biographies of St. Therese of Lisieux and St. Faustina. Fr. Gaitley speaks of both of them as “divine mercy saints.” My knowledge of St. Therese was very superficial before reading this book. It’s still pretty limited, but I have a greater appreciation for her now than I previously did. I had tried to read her autobiography, Story of a Soul, many years ago and just never got into it and ended up not finishing it. However, I may try again now after reading Fr. Gaitley’s book.

I went into this book with no expectations and I’m surprised at how it grabbed me and kept me reading. Sure, I missed a day here and there, but I made up for it and kept trekking along. Each day’s reading is only a few pages, which is very doable for this busy lady. And Fr. Gaitley has a very casual, conversational writing style that I found easy to read.

Doing this self-guided retreat instilled in me an even greater appreciation for the Divine Mercy devotion, for St. Therese as more than just a flowery saint who simply loved Jesus and died too young, for St. Therese’s “Little Way,” and for the great love that Jesus has for every single one of us as well as the abundance of mercy he wants to pour out on each of us. I have a new perspective on how much Jesus truly loves us and wants us to love Him. One of the biggest take-aways of the book is that we can and should aim for heaven, not just purgatory; that purgatory can be avoided. If that seems shocking, then you need to read this book.

If you choose to read the book it is available at the Marians website. In the front of the book is a table to help you decide on a day to start working on the consecration so that your consecration can fall on a particular feast day.

I’m grateful that I took the opportunity to do this Consecration to Merciful Love and I’m already encouraging my husband to do it as well. I am planning to do it again sometime, too; I know there is much more in this book that I can learn from by doing the consecration a second (or third, or fourth) time. Apparently St. Therese made it a habit to do a consecration to Merciful Love on a very regular basis. That’s a good enough reason for me!

Disclaimer: I was not asked to do a review of this book. I bought it on my own and am sharing it here only because I enjoyed it so much I want to make others aware of it. I hope you will find it equally edifying.

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Alessandra Conversion Faith Formation Feast Days Ink Slingers Mary Novenas Parenting Prayer Sacramentals

Two Hearts Bond: The Sacred and the Immaculate

There exists an incredible bond between the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, something that I had never really noticed until the day I was driving back from my first ultrasound of my firstborn son. As I kept remember the sound of his little heart beating (a sound that brings so much joy to an expecting mother’s heart), it also led me to think that he was comforted by the sound of my heart beating as well.  This led me to think of the Mary and baby Jesus.  When I think about the Sacred Heart of Jesus, I cannot help but also think of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The very first sound that Jesus heard was the beating of His Mother’s Immaculate Heart.  Since Mary gave Jesus His human nature by her genetics, Mary quite literally gave to Jesus His Sacred Heart, born of the love of her own Immaculate Heart. And this all happened because of Jesus’ gratuitous love for Mary.  He gave to her her Immaculate character so that He might unite to humanity in a sinless vessel and receive the unrestrained and untainted love of His Mother.

Now think about why Jesus manifested His Sacred Heart to Saint Margaret Mary.  He did so  largely because of the neglect He suffered in the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle.  Mary, being the Tabernacle of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, necessarily shared His sorrows because of this integral bond.  If you have a special devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, you should have one to the Sacred Heart; and in turn you should have a special devotion to Mary’s Immaculate Heart, as the Tabernacle of the Most High.

Catholics have always believed that Mary was Immaculate and have always believed that Jesus’ Heart is Sacred.  However, these truths God saw fit to express more clearly after the Reformation through Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque and Saint Catherine Laboure.

It cannot be underestimated the effect on Mary caused by her Immaculate Conception. Unlike the rest of humanity born in sin, never was there a barrier between Mary’s soul and God.  Add to this that she was overshadowed by the Most High, bore God incarnate within her womb, nourished Him in growth, and then dwelt with Our Lord most of His life on Earth, day in and day out.

In having no barrier between her and her Son, Jesus brought to her a life of indescribable joy, always being given the grace of the Godhead in a personal, immediate way, but conversely, the Prophecy of Simeon had the dolorous consequence of His painful and anguishing Passion being equally united to her heart.  The bond is the bond.  Her Immaculate Heart feels all the joy of His Sacred Heart, and her Dolorous Heart suffers all the pains of His Impassioned Heart.

Devotion to Mary is Devotion to Jesus. Marian devotion, especially to her Immaculate Heart, has one purpose: to make our prayers a perfect and acceptable offering to her Son, and unite our lives and souls to her Son more perfectly. Always allow her Immaculate Heart to draw you ever closer to His Sacred Heart because they have been integrally bonded from the moment of His conception.

Listed below are the “12 Promises” of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to St. Margaret Mary to encourage all Catholics to know and understand the benefit of practicing the Devotion and to encourage all to take up its immediate practice.

  1. I will give them all the graces necessary in their state of life.
  2. I will give peace in their families and will unite families that are divided.
  3. I will console them in all their troubles.
  4. I will be their refuge during life and above all in death.
  5. I will bestow the blessings of Heaven on all their enterprises.
  6. Sinners shall find in my Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.
  7. Tepid souls shall become fervent.
  8. Fervent souls shall rise quickly to great perfection.
  9. I will bless those places wherein the image of My Heart shall be exposed and honored and will imprint My love on the hearts of those who would wear this image on their person. I will also destroy in them all disordered movements.
  10. I will give to priests who are animated by a tender devotion to my Divine Heart the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.
  11. Those who promote this devotion shall have their names written in my Heart, never to be effaced.
  12. I promise you in the excessive mercy of my Heart that my all-powerful love will grant to all those who communicate on the First Friday in nine consecutive months, the grace of final penitence: they will not die in my disgrace, nor without receiving their Sacraments. My Divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.

(The Nine Fridays must be made in honor of His Sacred Heart, meaning, practicing the devotion and having a great love of His Sacred Heart. They must be on the first Friday of the month for nine consecutive months, and Communion must be received.)

The Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a moveable feast, which means that it depends on the date of Easter Sunday. It is celebrated 19 days after Pentecost Sunday, which falls on the 50th day of Easter. This year, the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus falls on June 7, 2013, tomorrow.

Our family has a strong devotion to the Sacred Heart; even before my husband and I met we each had our own devotion, so when we found out we had this in common it was quite easy to talk about the Faith.  Naturally, one of the first things we did was to consecrate our home to the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts.  In this we enthroned and consecrated our home to the Sacred Heart as King and the Immaculate Heart as Queen of our family.  Along with this act, we commissioned an artist, Mary Henley, to paint an image of the Two Hearts to be placed over our mantle, or family altar.  Why would we want to make this act?  Well, simple, our families gain enormous additional graces and blessings at this, the time we need them most, if the installation of His image is accompanied by a formal ceremony done by a priest, and by a Consecration of the Family to the love of His Sacred Heart.

Have you Consecrated your Domestic Church to the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts?  Ask your parish priest today about enrolling your family and also order materials for the consecration at MyConsecration.org for FREE.

Order your free consecration materials to make the St. Louis de Montfort Consecration to Jesus through Mary