I 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.