This Sunday marks the 15th anniversary of 9/11. That tragic day of events in our nation’s history brought about “Breaking News,” heightened security, uncertainty, much sadness, and most importantly, the loss of precious human life as nearly 3,000 people died and another 6,000 + were injured. We continue to pray for the living and deceased victims as well as the family members and friends left behind. The events of 9/11 by radical Islamic terrorists as well as some of the most recent events of civil unrest in our country due to (gun) violence, racism and disrespect for authority (i.e. police officers) are rooted in hate and anger. There is a great opportunity right now for our Church, our nation, and our world to respond with mercy, a vital ingredient needed at this critical time that can help with God’s grace to bring about forgiveness, reconciliation, peace, and healing that is so dearly needed.
Last weekend, we celebrated the canonization of a great saint of mercy for our times in St. Teresa (1910-1997), also known as Mother Teresa of Calcutta. As the founder of her religious order, The Missionaries of Charity, she was a woman who performed daily acts of mercy for the poorest of the poor in the slums of India and backed it up also with merciful words of Christ. Mother Teresa once said, “What is my thought? I see Jesus in every human being. I say to myself, This is hungry Jesus, I must feed him. This is sick Jesus. This one has leprosy or gangrene; I must wash him and tend to him. I serve because I love Jesus” (Source: http://aleteia.org). While we may not be called to care for those who suffer from gangrene and leprosy, God does call us daily to perform “small acts of mercy with great love” (as Mother Teresa used to put it) to those He puts in our midst.
One well-known, living person who has been an instrumental and global witness of mercy in both word and in deed too is Pope Francis. He declared this year to be an Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. But that will soon come to an end. The Year of Mercy began on December 8th, 2015 which celebrates the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, and it will soon conclude on November 20th, 2016. So the question we may ask is, “how can we finish this Year of Mercy well from a spiritual standpoint?” One answer to that is through a prayerful reading of the text, 33 Days to Merciful Love: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat in Preparation for Consecration to Divine Mercy. This book title might sound familiar, because back in May I promoted the book, 33 Days to Morning Glory which finished with a consecratory prayer through Mary’s intercession. 33 Days to Merciful Love is authored by Fr. Michael Gaitley MIC, the same author as 33 Days to Morning Glory. Rather than focus on the Marian, spiritual giants of St. Louis de Montfort, St. Maximillian Kolbe, St. John Paul II, and St. Teresa of Calcutta in 33 Days to Morning Glory, 33 Days to Merciful Love will focus on the spirituality of merciful love by St. Therese of Lisieux (France) over the course of four weeks. Week one is titled, “What is trust?” Week two is about “The Little Way.” Week three is “The Offering to Merciful Love,” and week four is “Into The Darkness.” The final five days consists of a synthesis and review followed by a Day of Consecration.
When does 33 Days to Divine Merciful Love start? It will start on October 19th and will conclude on Nov. 21st, the memorial of the Presentation of Mary, in which the consecratory prayer will be led by Fr. Sal and recited out loud as a group for those who have participated in the prayerful reading of the book all along. That will take place also on Monday, Nov. 21st after the 9am Mass at St. Joseph. Again, the Year of Mercy ends the day before on Sunday, Nov. 20th… good timing 🙂
Where can I purchase the book? You can go to any Catholic bookstore to buy it, or you can purchase it online either at thedivinemercy.org, ignatiuspress.com, or amazon.com. Since this is a do-it-yourself retreat that does not begin for another five weeks (Oct. 19th), I recommend when you receive the book, that you read the “Introduction” from pages 15-24. May your retreat be blessed!
In the Merciful Love of Jesus Christ,