Archive for February, 2016

February 29, 2016

An Extraordinary Opportunity for Grace

We are on the cusp of the half-way point of Lent, and also today we have arrived at the vigil of the first day of a truly astonishing opportunity for grace.Floodgates of Divine Grace

March 1st marks the first day of the 33 day Marian Consecration that will consummate on this year’s Liturgical celebration of the Feast of the Annunciation (which must be moved from its ordinary March 25th date this year -due to Good Friday- all the way to the day after Divine Mercy Sunday). For the past several weeks, Fr. Gaitley has been travelling all over my diocese giving talks on what an awesome opportunity this is – and my Bishop, Edward Scharfenberger, is asking the entire Diocese to do this Consecration. 

Now there is so much grace to be received in these 33 days, I cannot even begin to fathom it. This set of 33 days encompasses much of Lent, the Holy Triduum, the entire Octave of Easter, the Divine Mercy Novena (the most important and powerful Novena in existence) and above all, Divine Mercy Sunday:

  • The day about which Our Lord said: “I am giving them the last hope of salvation; that is, the Feast of My Mercy.” (Faustina’s Diary, paragraph 956)
  • The day about which Our Lord said: “On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces… On that day all the divine floodgates through which graces flow are opened.” (Ibid., 699)
  • The day on which each and every Catholic may easily receive a true second Baptism (remission of all sin and punishment) merely by being in a state of grace -implying having done one’s duty to go to Confession – and receiving Communion. (Ibid., 300, 699, 1109)

It also encompasses the Solemnity of St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, and the heavenly birthday of the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta. It encompasses both fasting and feasting. And let us not forget that this is taking place during the extraordinary and unprecedented Jubilee Year of Mercy in the midst of ever hastening and intensifying Signs of the Times.

Many are even speculating that The Warning could very well be on this Good Friday or Divine Mercy Sunday. As for me, I do not know nor do I even have an opinion on this timing; but how can we go wrong by spiritually preparing sufficiently so that we are ready if indeed it is?

The graces are there – objectively and with certainty: in incomprehensible superabundance. But what we ourselves appropriate from these graces is dependent upon our subjective disposition.

God is not going to magically zap us with grace– that is not the point of this Time of Testing; we must rather do our part. Should we not, therefore, ensure that we are truly in spiritual “high gear,” in the most powerful way possible?

I don’t suppose I need to instruct anybody here on how Our Lady is the quickest, easiest, and surest way to Our Lord; and how 33 Day Consecration is perhaps the most powerful means of devotion to Our Lady. What is more, the Annunciation is the best day to consecrate yourself to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Why? Not only is it the greatest event in the history of creation, but St. Louis de Montfort, the Father of 33 Day Consecration, also insists that this is the best day for such a Consecration because it is also the day that God Himself, as it were, consecrated Himself to the Blessed Virgin Mary. That is to say, it is the day on which He entered her womb and subjected Himself entirely to her. Therefore it is most fitting that we do the same on this day.

Now this 33 day consecration is an awesome opportunity in and of itself, but I wish to present to you two additional practices to exponentially increase the spiritual fruit borne to the point that, I haven’t the slightest doubt, you will be Living in the Divine Will – that is, infinitely exceeding in Sanctity even Spiritual Marriage – if only you do them and do not actively and intentionally oppose grace:

Combine this aforementioned Marian Consecration with a daily reading from the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Kingdom of the Divine Will, and a daily reading from the Hours of the Passion (up to the Triduum).

This is not just some spiritual regimen I dreamed up. Providence has arranged this:

First of all, it is no mere coincidence that, of Luisa’s many thousands of pages of revelations, these two works are the ones that have already had the Moratorium lifted on their promulgation. It is Providential because, while all of Luisa’s writings are incredibly powerful, these two works stand out for their unparalleled ability to very quickly and easily allow readers of them to build up enormous treasures in Heaven, receive the Gift of Living in the Divine Will, grow in the Gift of Living in the Divine Will, and prepare the ground for the Universal Reign of the Divine Will. Indeed in general, it is beyond question that the two greatest devotions are devotion to Mary and devotion to the Lord’s Passion. So too, when it comes to the Gift of Living in the Divine Will, the greatest way to receive it is through these two paths.Jesus and Mary

But the Providential nature of what is now upon us does not end there:

In the revelations of Jesus to Luisa, the Hours of the Passion, there are 24 Hours of the Passion; hence, 24 separate readings. These begin with the 5pm Hour on Holy Thursday with Our Lord departing from His Blessed Mother, and end with Our Lord’s burial at the 4pm Hour on Good Friday. If, along with beginning our Marian Consecration on March 1st, and in the spirit of Lent, we read one “hour” each day (the readings correspond to one hour of Our Lord’s Passion, but do not actually take a full hour to complete: they are only several pages each on average), then we will finish the Hours of the Passion precisely as the Holy Triduum begins; for there are exactly 24 days from the start of this consecration (March 1st) to Holy Thursday (the first event depicted in Luisa’s 24 hours of the Passion). This allows for Good Friday itself to be set aside for a re-do (even if it must be significantly abridged) of the entire work. Recall as well that Our Lord promised that He will grant the salvation of a soul for every word of these Hours we prayerfully read

And in the revelations of Our Lady to Luisa, the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Kingdom of the Divine Will, there are 31 days; hence, 31 separate readings. This was designed for the month of May, but can be used any time, and it will correspond perfectly with the month of March (for it too has 31 days). March, though not a month traditionally attributed explicitly to the Holy Virgin, nevertheless really is her month just as much as or more than any other; for it is the Month of the Annunciation, which as I have already said is by far – with no close second – the greatest event in the history of creation. It is the month during which she acquired her greatest title -the greatest title possible for a creature- a title which, for all eternity, shall remain singularly hers: Mother of God.

Now this leaves us with four more days until the Consecration Day itself: the perfect amount of time for an abridged Consecration to the Divine Mercy, as explained by Fr. Gaitley (in his book that was just released, 33 Days to Merciful Love). He teaches four primary steps: 1) Trust, 2) The Little Way, 3) The Offering to Merciful Love, and 4) Darkness. With this configuration, step 3, perfectly Providentially (for it is the step in which we fully give ourselves to the Divine Mercy), falls on Divine Mercy Sunday itself. While I do not in the least wish to dissuade anyone from reading Fr Gaitley’s wonderful book, I will nevertheless be presenting my own abridged version of these four steps, so that they can fit into our regimen on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th of April, respectively, and so that anyone who cannot get their hands on a copy of this book does not miss out on these graces, which might just never come again. I will be summarizing Fr. Gaitley’s four steps as 1) Trust, 2) Love, 3) Mercy, and 4) Veil.

Although I do not yet have these four steps summarized, I will be sure to have them available before they become necessary (April 1st, that is); so just check back here (DSDOConnor.com) at that point to download/print them. Alternatively, you can simply replace your readings of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Kingdom of the Divine Will (which will end March 31st) with an equally sized reading from St. Faustina’s Diary. Feel free to just say a prayer and open the Diary up randomly, trusting the Holy Spirit to direct you to the passages He desires you to see.

How beautiful it is that everything is fitting together like a perfectly designed jigsaw puzzle! I wanted to make this as easy and accessible as possible for everyone (not to mention completely free and online). So I’ve gone ahead and made a PDF file specifically for each day. Here they are! You can simply come back here each day and click on the appropriate PDF, or if you’d prefer to download and/or print the whole thing at once, here is the entirety in one PDF. (Please don’t be scared by the number of pages: the page count is quite deceptive due to page sizing which was out of my control. In ordinary book print this would probably amount to less than half of the page count of this PDF file – so, if you print it, you might even want to set it to print “two per page”).

These prayers apply to each of the following days for the Marian Consecration from St. Louis de Montfort and therefore are not included in each one (to save your printer some ink):

Finally, if you are stumbling upon this in the middle of March: don’t worry. Just start late! Those late to the vineyard receive the same payment.

  1. March 1st – March 24th. These days contain: I)St. Louis de Montfort Consecration prayers II)BVM in Kingdom Reading, and III)Hours of the Passion Reading
    1. March 1st
    2. March 2nd
    3. March 3rd
    4. March 4th
    5. March 5th
    6. March 6th
    7. March 7th
    8. March 8th
    9. March 9th
    10. March 10th
    11. March 11th
    12. March 12th
    13. March 13th
    14. March 14th
    15. March 15th
    16. March 16th
    17. March 17th
    18. March 18th
    19. March 19th
    20. March 20th
    21. March 21st
    22. March 22nd
    23. March 23rd
    24. March 24th
  2. March 25th – March 31st. These days contain: I) St. Louis de Montfort Consecration prayers  II) BVM in Kingdom Reading, and III) Divine Mercy Novena prayers
    1. March 25th
    2. March 26th
    3. March 27th
    4. March 28th
    5. March 29th
    6. March 30th
    7. March 31st
  3. April 1st – April 2nd. I) St. Louis de Montfort Consecration prayers , II) Divine Mercy Novena prayers , and III) Divine Mercy Consecration meditations
    1. April 1st  (+at this time, check DSDOConnor.com for the Divine Mercy Consecration part of this PDF or simply read from Divine Mercy Diary)
    2. April 2nd (+at this time, check DSDOConnor.com for the Divine Mercy Consecration part of this PDF or simply read from Divine Mercy Diary)
  4. The Consecration Days.
    1. April 3rd – (Divine Mercy Sunday): Divine Mercy Consecration (Check DSDOConnor.com for this PDF or simply read from Divine Mercy Diary)
    2. April 4th – Consecration to Jesus through Mary

I wish to vigorously encourage at least trying this. I need not repeat how utterly unprecedented and urgent these times are. Serious regimens like these are how we respond! Special Forces do not pick away at the enemy here and there when it pleases them — they attack with ferocity and with strategy, discipline and perseverance. We, as the true special forces of the Church Militant, must do likewise.

I will share that I am committing myself to this regimen, even though it completely overlaps with an undertaking that I may very well be engaged in, which, if God does indeed wind up calling me to it, will likely wind up being the most difficult and exhausting thing I have ever done, not to mention extraordinarily time consuming (I ask you for your prayers). I hope you, too, will consider this Consecration regimen, even if doing to it will be difficult and constitute a true sacrifice. Some tips:

  • Do the readings/meditations whenever you prefer, but if you do it early in the morning it will seem more like a joy and less like a burden.
  • If you need to reward yourself a bit to help make this happen, that’s fine. You can do these readings (meditatively and prayerfully) on your favorite chair, with your favorite beverage, in your favorite room, or overlooking your favorite view. It’s not exactly objectively as good as kneeling in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, but that’s okay! It’s better than not doing them.
  • If you need to do your daily Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet while driving or walking in order to make time, that’s okay too.

It is customary to, at the end of the 33 days, and along with the Consecration to Mary, put on a chain (that, if you please, you may wear for the rest of your life around your ankle/wrist/waist) to symbolize that you are a willing and loving slave of Mary and, in this case, a slave of the Divine Will. I have inconspicuously worn my chain for 5 years, and I know it has been a great channel of grace in my life.

Now I will close my plea to you all to follow this most noble, powerful, and holy path by quoting the man himself, St. Louis de Montfort, in his great Treatise, True Devotion to Mary:

“…the greatest saints, those richest in grace and virtue will be the most assiduous in praying to the most Blessed Virgin, looking up to her as the perfect model to imitate and as a powerful helper to assist them. I said that this will happen especially towards the end of the world, and indeed soon, because Almighty God and his holy Mother are to raise up great saints who will surpass in holiness most other saints as much as the cedars of Lebanon tower above little shrubs. ...These great souls filled with grace and zeal will be chosen to oppose the enemies of God who are raging on all sides. They will be exceptionally devoted to the Blessed Virgin. Illumined by her light, strengthened by her food, guided by her spirit, supported by her arm, sheltered under her protection, they will fight with one hand and build with the other. With one hand they will give battle, overthrowing and crushing heretics and their heresies, schismatics and their schisms, idolaters and their idolatries, sinners and their wickedness. With the other hand they will build the temple of the true Solomon and the mystical city of God, namely, the Blessed Virgin, who is called by the Fathers of the Church the Temple of Solomon  and the City of God . By word and example they will draw all men to a true devotion to her and though this will make many enemies, it will also bring about many victories and much glory to God alone.

Bourguereau-madonnalilies

P.S. To those who joined us online in prayer yesterday, my apologies for the session crash. My internet is extremely reliable and almost never crashes; the fact that it did just that in the middle of our Divine Mercy/Divine Will prayer meeting is a testimony to how much the devil does not want us praying in the Divine Will. Let us not permit him to prevent us.