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!
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.
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.