33 Days to Merciful Love
A Do-It-Yourself Retreat in Preparation for Consecration to Divine Mercy
Fr. Michael Gaitley
33 Days to Merciful Love was not the original book review I planned for this first Soul Saturday of our HoMwf Lenten study; God had a better idea, and as Day 1 has explained "all sin involves a lack of trust in God's goodness" (28). This is unchartered territory in that I haven't read more than a chapter of the book yet, but I'm terribly excited to start this journey to discover the greatness of the Offering of Merciful Love in conjunction with the Journey to Sainthood and I hope you will join me. (They both are rather short readings each day-we can do this!)
I first was introduced to this text by my little sister, Mallory. She is now in Chicago for her pre-aspirancy with the Missionaries of Charity (please, pray for her). I previously read 33 Days to Morning Glory and completed my consecration to Mary, but Mallory explained Merciful Love took things farther and rather focused on the writings of St. Terese of Lisieux. I distinctly remember her showing me the book and saying how much it had blessed her.
Fast forward a few months to my other little sister, MaryKatherine (her twin), telling me she just got done listening to our favorite podcast, bulldogCatholic by Fr. Mike Schmitz, and he is handing out copies of Merciful Love to all Ash Wednesday visitors and dedicating his Lenten homilies to the Offering of Merciful Love. If you haven't listened to Fr. Mike Schmitz before, please spend some time doing so. Published are his weekly homily recordings and some semi-regular YouTube videos. He is a priest at the University of Minnesota, Duluth and a fantastic communicator.
Anyway, MK mailed me her (Mallory's) copy, and here we are...the beginning of Lent.
I've never heard of the Offering of Merciful Love, which Fr. Gaitley states is actually common: "Sadly, the Offering to Merciful Love is one of the best kept secrets in the Catholic Church. Truth be told, I've never seen more than about 5% of the people raise their hands" (20). He describes this consecration as "a self-offering to God (setting of oneself apart for God) that anyone can make-and they do it for the specific purpose of glorifying God's mercy (18). I truly can hang with glorifying God's mercy all day.
Some important details of this soulful consecration:
-Divine Mercy Sunday (April 23, 2017) is actually 50 days or so from today (March 3, 2017)...the Sunday after Easter. That means we have some grace time to complete this consecration. According to Fr. Mike Schmitz, you could easily take a week off, miss a few days, take a few days to have the book shipped to your home...it is ok! That is the beauty of God's mercy and grace. I recommend taking it slow and possibly rereading some of the pages as time allows.
-If you can't start the consecration now, the book includes a calendar with different start dates and feast days to consecrate yourself to God's Divine Mercy. Fr. Michael Gaitley truly presents the material in a do-it-yourself manner.
-Fr. Mike Schmitz's homilies are usually uploaded every Monday. For the next few weeks, make it a point to listen to him for guidance through this journey.
-Let's continue to check back on this post throughout Lent and the Easter season. I would love to hear about your journey, thoughts regarding Fr. Schmitz's homilies, and how God is sharing with you His Divine Mercy.
Prayer for Holiness
Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy.
Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy.
Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love only what is holy.
Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy.
Guard me so, O Holy Spirit, that I may always be holy.
Peace of Heart
Almighty and Eternal God, Give me, I beseech You, the great gift of inward peace.
Command the winds and storms of my unruly passions. Subdue, by Your grace,
my proneness to love created things too much.
Give me a love of suffering for Your sake. make me forbearing and kind to others,
that I may avoid quarrels and contentions. And teach me constantly to seek after
and to acquire that perfect resignation to Your Holy Will which alone brings interior peace.