You see, last April 4, I consecrated myself to Divine Mercy after reading a book by Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC entitled “33 Days To Merciful Love”. This is about St. Therese of Lisieux and her devotion to Divine Mercy, specifically her consecration to Divine Mercy, also known as her offering to merciful love.
I have read a lot of books about religion and spirituality but all of them combined cannot match the joy and hope that filled my heart after reading this book and doing the consecration to Divine Mercy. This book is truly a life changer!
You see, I never fully and rightly understood what Divine Mercy truly meant until I read this book. I was taught more about God’s justice than His mercy so I grew up thinking that once I screwed up big time (and I did countless times and still does from time to time), God’s justice will always prevail over His mercy even if I have repented sincerely. But all these changed after I read the book. I actually cried several times and even fell on my knees while reading this book, not out of fear, but out of love and gratitude for God’s mercy!
As soon as I consecrated myself to Divine Mercy, I had this strong desire to spread the good news about God`s limitless Mercy but life got in the way so I wasn`t able to do it. Then a few weeks ago, I woke up in the middle of the night and I clearly heard that “voice without a voice” inside me saying “Spread the good news about my limitless mercy to people all over the world, use the skills I gave you”. I couldn`t go back to sleep after as I kept on thinking how I was going to do it. I eventually fell asleep praying that God will show me how.
That morning, when I opened my gmail email account, I saw an email from the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception saying that Fr. Gaitley has written a group retreat based on his best selling book “33 Days To Merciful Love” and that it was available in 2 sets: a Retreat Coordinator`s Kit and a Retreat Participant`s Packet. Oh my gosh! I said to myself, this is it!, this is the answer to my prayer!!
So I ordered the Retreat Coordinator`s Kit and now I`m inviting you to join me and participate in the 33 Days To Merciful Love Group Retreat. I will be running this retreat as the Retreat Coordinator. But my idea is to do it online so I can reach more people.
The 33 Days To Merciful Love Group Retreat consists of Reading, Pondering and Meeting (RPM). I`ll explain these 3 things now so please continue reading.
Reading. What will we read? The book, “33 Days To Merciful Love: A Do It Yourself Retreat in Preparation for Consecration to Divine Mercy”. To make the retreat, each participant will need to read this book everyday for 33 days. The book is short, and the daily reading is only about two and a half pages. That`s less than 5 minutes a day of reading.
As your Retreat Coordinator, I can assure you that the daily reading is easily doable, even if you are not used to reading regularly. Also, the style is simple, straight forward and easy to understand.
Pondering. What will we ponder? Each day`s readings. In other words, through the day, we should reflect on the day`s reading in our hearts.
One practical point: If the goal is to reflect on the daily reading, then it would be a good idea to try to do the daily reading sometime in the morning or the night before. This way, you`ll have the whole day everyday, to ponder the day`s teaching.
Another practical point: the 33 Days to Merciful Love Retreat Companion is a powerful aid to pondering. Each day, it provides questions to answer that are meant to help us ponder the reading from the retreat book.While we should try to answer all the questions each day, we shouldn`t look at it as a burdensome homework assignment or as a quiz. So please don`t panic if you don`t get through all the questions. They`re simply aids to pondering.
Problem: What if I missed a day or two or three? If you`re worried that you will miss one or some of the days of the reading then your consecration won`t count, please be assured that you can still make the consecration. But I encourage you to make up for the days of missed reading because the daily teaching tends to build on the previous days.
Warning: People who prepare themselves for consecration to Divine Mercy will likely experience temptations to stop their preparation for the consecration. Yet, I encourage you to persevere. The 33 days is a journey that will surely have its ups and downs.
Meeting. This is where this group retreat will differ as we will be doing the weekly meeting online. Usually, a group consisting of 5-6 people will meet in a certain place (a church meeting room, a partipant`s residence, the retreat coordinator`s home, etc.) once a week for 6 weeks to watch a 30-minute or so video by Fr. Gaitely that illustrates the key points of each week and keeps them simple and livable. Then there will be a 45 minute sharing among the group members.
But since I`m inviting all email subscribers of St. Joseph`s Site to participate in this retreat and they are spread all over the world, then our meeting place will be online. I am creating a website, MercifulLoveRetreat.org, where I will be posting Fr. Gaitley`s video each week. There are 6 videos altogether and each week, you will get access to these videos. Since we cannot do a face-to-face group sharing, you can tell us about your experiences or ask questions in the comments section. You can also comment on other people`s comments. I will devote a lot of my time monitoring and approving the comments and will answer all your questions if needed.
I plan to start the retreat on October 12 so you can make the consecration to Divine Mercy before the Year of Mercy ends on Nov. 20, 2016.
If you`re interested in participating in this retreat, you will need 2 things: (1) The book, 33 Days To Merciful Love: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat in Preparation for Consecration to Divine Mercy, and (2) The 33 Days to Merciful Love Participant`s Packet. The Packet includes the following:
- 33 Days To Merciful Love Retreat Companion
- Prayer of Consecration to Merciful Love Prayercard
- Episode 2 of DVD excerpt from the program Divine Mercy in the Second Greatest Story Ever Told
- 8.5 x 11 full – color Consecration to Merciful Love Certificate
- St. Therese Card (limited edition card with photograph of St. Therese)
The cost of the participant`s packet is relatively inexpensive, US$29.95. You can buy it online at the Marian Father`s website. Here is the link to order:
If you already have the book, then it will only cost you US$19.95. Here`s the link to order:
You can end the Year of Mercy in the most powerful way – and I believe, along with the Marian Fathers, that is to consecrate yourself to Divine Mercy in a group. Why are groups so important? Because they can change the world. Jesus began with a small group and they went on to set the world afire with the good news of salvation in Him. We can help change the world. Really! Let`s help change our hurting world for the better. Together, we can do it!
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org once you ordered the Participant`s packet so I can include you in our group`s list.