This year for Lent I am reading/doing the retreat Consoling the Heart of Jesus by Fr. Michael Gailey.
Fr. Gailey wrote Consoling the Heart of Jesus in an attempt to create a version of the Ignatian 30 day spiritual retreat that would be suitable to perform over a full weekend or slowly over a period of time. He says that he hopes to make the fruits of the Ignatian retreat available to ordinary people who have jobs and families that they cannot leave for 30 or even 8 days.
What is really exciting me about this is that to do this, Fr. Gailey has incorporated the Little Way of St. Therese, the True Devotion to Mary of St. Louis de Montfort, and the Divine Mercy as communicated to St. Faustina. These are three of my most beloved devotions. I talked here about the congruence between St. Therese and St. Louis de Montfort.
The other aspect of this book that I am looking forward to, is that I believe it will give me insight into our Holy Father, who of course is a Jesuit and who would have been formed in an Ignitian 30 retreat. Hopefully I will learn enough to share in a later post!
According to St. Louis de Montfort:
1. Profound humility
2. Lively faith
3. Blind obedience
4. Continual mental prayer
5. Mortification in all things
6. Surpassing purity
7. Ardent charity
8. Heroic patience
9. Angelic sweetness
10. Divine wisdom
Worth reflecting on how we stack up against these virtues during these final days of Lent.
One good piece of advice I have received regarding lenten penances (“giving something up”) is to construct your penance around your most troublesome fault. For instance, I have a problem with gluttony. Put a box of gluten-free (a sad necessity for me) cookies in front of me, and I won’t realize how much I have eaten until the box is gone. To try to help control that, I have given up cookies, cakes and candies for Lent.
A person I know wants to get a better handle on his anger. He feels he is sometimes unjust because of his strong emotional reactions. His idea was to keep a journal and note each person he gets angry with. He then writes down either something to admire and appreciate about that person, something he can do for them, or a prayer for them.
I thought that was a nice and creative approach for Lent that very neatly encompasses the true purpose of the liturgical season. If you have some equally creative practices, I would love to hear about them.
After the long somber and penitential season of Lent, it may be difficult to transition to the joy of Easter. Even the apostles had difficulty accepting it. But transition we must, because in the end, it all comes down to the resurrection. We can fast all we want, we can repent of our sins as much as we want (and yes, these things are necessary), but without the resurrection, it would all be for naught.
And we are not called to be a somber and sorrowful people. When we fast, we are not to let the world know. We are called, especially as parents and spouses, to exhibit the joy of the gift that Christ has given us.
Through His sacrifice, Christ has opened up Heaven for us. Yes, we still have to accept His gift. We still have to carry our crosses and enter our own little Calvarys in order to reach that gift. But He gives us the graces we need to do that.
So in spite of our suffering, in spite of our struggles with sin, we are right to be joyful. Our spouse needs to see it; our kids need to see it; and especially the world needs to see it from us as a family. Let them see the truth of the resurrection in everything we say and do. It is our duty and our privilege.
Posted in Children, Culture, Daily Life, Easter, Joyful Christian, Lent, Love, Marriage, Resurrection
Tagged catholic, Easter, Resurrection
Open the windows of your soul, that the fresh air of God’s grace may enter.
Wash your sheets in the Blood of the Lamb.
Throw out the old food of sin and worldly ways, and hunger and thirst for Christ, who is true food and true drink.
Confess your sins, do penance, pray, fast, and give alms.
For the Kingdom of God is at hand.