Last month I shared with you some inspiring words from the book I was reading by Fr. Jacques Philippe. I finally finished that book, and the main takeaway was this: God is ALWAYS with me - loving me, guiding me, consoling me.
It is my duty to respond to this love by acting on the inspirations that I notice from the Holy Spirit. Grace builds on grace. I cannot expect to follow God in significant ways if cannot follow Him in small ways. The book concludes with calling out the important role that Mary plays in our spiritual life. This was an inspiration I noticed, and I plan to act on it.
November 21st is the feast of the Presentation of Mary, the day Anne and Joachim offered her to the Lord just as Mary and Joseph did with Jesus. For centuries, Catholics have been encouraged to consecrate themselves to Mary because Mary is the surest and quickest path to Jesus. It is common practice to arrange the period of preparation (typically 33 days) so as to land on a Marian feast day. I cannot speak highly enough of this noble spiritual practice, but I'll leave it to St. Louis De Montfort, the author of the most thorough preparation literature ever written, to explain it best.
"When Mary has struck her roots in a soul, she produces there marvels of grace, which she alone can produce, because she alone is the fruitful Virgin who never has had, and never will have, her equal in purity and in fruitfulness."
On October 19th I will begin my consecration renewal journey. For those of you who haven't done it yet OR have attempted but never completed it, I have a few recommendations:
- If you've never done it, start with Fr. Michael Gaitley's book, 33 days to Morning Glory. Here is a link to the book. Here is a link to the video series on Formed. Total Preparation by St. Louis De Montfort is wonderful, but if you aren't familiar with Consecration, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed.
- This is my advice to those who have never completed it. PERFECTION IS THE ENEMY OF PROGRESS. Consecration is a singular event that occurs on the feast day. The other 33 days are a period of "preparation". You are never perfectly prepared for Jesus in the Eucharist or the healing power of confession. We aren't worthy of any of these spiritual gifts. God gives them to us anyways. Likewise, we do not deserve Mary's love nor are we qualified to be called her children. It is a gift from her son, Jesus. If you miss a day or 5 days of readings, the consecration process is not null or void. Carry on.
- Inspirations from the Holy Spirit bring peace. Do not begin the consecration journey out of fear that God won't love you if you don't do this. I am writing this to the few of you who have already felt inspired to pursue this devotion, and just need a final nudge to move forward.
For the rest of you, here is a complete list of Marian Feast Days and the suggested start date. December 8th is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Consecration preparation would start on November 5th. Here is a complete schedule: