Consoling the Heart of Jesus - A Do-It-Yourself Retreat

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Brother Michael Gaitley, MIC
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  • Consoling the Heart of Jesus: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat
  • Easy, do-it-yourself retreat
  • Unique and inspiring
  • Overcome the fears you have of surrendering to Christ

Endorsed by EWTN hosts Fr. Mitch Pacwa, SJ, and Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR, this do-it-yourself retreat combines the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius with the teachings of Sts. Therese of Lisieux, Faustina Kowlaska, and Louis de Montfort. The author, Br. Michael Gaitley, MIC, has a remarkable gift for inspiring little souls to trust in Jesus, The Divine Mercy. As Danielle Bean, editorial director of Faith & Family magazine, puts it, "The voice of Christ in these pages is one that even this hopelessly distracted wife and mother of eight could hear and respond to." Includes practical helps in the appendices.

Excerpts from an interview with the author:

Why not give up chocolate, and why take on Consoling the Heart of Jesus?

Giving up chocolate is easy. My retreat is even easier. OK, seriously, as soon as Ash Wednesday pops up on our radar screens, we're all starting to feel a bit guilty because we still haven't decided what our Lenten sacrifice is going to be. And, if you're like me, you'll probably still be deliberating about what you're going to give up come Holy Week. (Laughs). So, last year, when I was pounding out one of my many "final drafts" of my book, I had the bright idea of asking my friends and family to read the retreat as their Lenten sacrifice. They loved it. They were off the hook. And they gorged themselves with chocolate all Lent long. Actually, I needed their help, because I wanted to find out if the retreat really worked.

So did it?

It did, and does. More on that later. But almost all of them wrote back to me that making the retreat was so much more effective for their spiritual growth than some arbitrary sacrifice, like giving up chocolate. With this in mind, I decided to make the release date of my book just in time for Lent, 2010, although - and this is important - this retreat is not just for Lent. It's for anytime.

How, exactly, does your retreat work as a Lenten sacrifice?

Traditionally, Catholics make a three-fold Lenten sacrifice: (1) prayer, (2) fasting, (3) almsgiving. People who purchase this retreat and make it during Lent would fulfill their Lenten sacrifice completely. It works like this:

Prayer: My book is a do-it-yourself retreat. A retreat is time of more intensified prayer. Bingo. People who make this retreat, have fulfilled that part of their Lenten sacrifice.

Fasting: We often think of fasting in terms of bread and water, and that's all well and good. (So long as we're not talking chocolate.) However, fasting can also be from things like television, Internet, or whatever else we may be tempted to waste time with. So, those who make this retreat - I suggest - would "fast" from routine recreations and devote their time to the spiritual reading of the retreat.

Almsgiving: Of course, during this time of economic crisis, money is tight for most people. In fact, actually going on a real retreat - that is to say, a retreat that requires travel and accommodations - might break the bank. While my retreat is only $14.95, that's still a sacrifice for a lot of people. But that's kind of the point. By purchasing Consoling the Heart of Jesus, people give up money to help support the Marians in our efforts to spread the message of The Divine Mercy. So, almsgiving is covered, too - and one will even have a little money left over for jelly beans ... er, I mean chocolate.

OK, so someone buys your retreat, and they're ready to start. Then what? How does the retreat work?

A few points. First, the method of the retreat is not meditations, in the traditional sense. In other words, this isn't a retreat manual where you get points for meditation and then run off to the chapel. Instead, the retreat itself contains the meditations, and one goes through them as spiritual reading. It's really quite simple: You make the retreat by reading - in a prayerful spirit, of course.

Second, the retreat can be made individually or in a group. Some people like to digest spiritual insights by talking about them with spiritually minded friends who read a chapter or two of the retreat and then get together to discuss what they've read. Other people prefer to go one-on-one with the Lord, and that's all right, too.

Third, the retreat can be made over the course of one weekend or over a longer period of time that fits with people's schedules.

Brother Mike, you just said your retreat can be made in a weekend, but I'm looking at this 430-page book and I'm thinking, "Who the heck can plow through such a brick in one weekend and call it a spiritual experience?" Answer that, Chocolate Man.

Felix, didn't I say this book is perfect as a Lenten sacrifice? Actually, the retreat only comprises about half the book. The other half is "bonus" material that's meant to be read after the retreat is over. That bonus material includes a compilation of quotes from the Diary of St. Faustina that reinforces themes from the retreat and is meant for later spiritual reading. There's also a "little soul" version of St. Ignatius's "Rules for the Discernment of Spirits." So, basically, people who buy this book are getting three books in one! Kind of like their Lenten sacrifice, you know, three in one - and chocolate on top of it all.

  • 8.4 x 5.5 x 1.1 inches

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Reviews (11)

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  • 5 Jul 8th 2020
    Haven’t read yet

    Excited to read

    Mia Wendt

  • 5 Mar 5th 2017
    Consoling the Heart of Jesus

    I love this book!!! I love the cover!! The author is great! It's as if he is with me having a chat. He writes with humor. This is a great way to "go on a retreat". It could be read in a few days but I'm taking my time and savoring every word. I've bought so many books from The Catholic Company and I'm enjoying all of them. This one here is a treasure.

    Carol Beaudoin

  • 5 May 7th 2015
    Consoling the Heart of Jesus

    I'm only half way through this book, but it has already helped me move my heart to a space where I do want to pursue consoling Jesus in his sufferings. It is gently written, and an easy read, though there is much from page to page that I stop and think about. Very rich.


  • 5 Mar 26th 2015
    Consoling the Heart of Jesus

    The Hearts Afire books are wonderful. This book and also 33 Days to Morning Glory give concrete and very manageable ways to gain in trust for Jesus and Mary and to ask for Jesus' Divine Mercy. My faith and understanding of Jesus' ways has grown and become part of my daily life due to these books and Hearts Afire program.

    Carole Smith

  • 5 Mar 19th 2015
    Consoling the Heart of Jesus

    While I have not read very far into this book, what I have read has been very uplifting and significant. The author has a way of writing that makes his words come alive and it feels as though he is speaking right to you as the reader.

    Johnell Young

  • 5 Mar 24th 2014
    Consoling the Heart of Jesus

    Excellent reading Michael Gaitley is a very knowledgeable author.

    Barbara Hegele

  • 5 Dec 9th 2011
    It made my friend so happy

    I gave this retreat book as a birthday gift for a friend. He LOVED it! I would and will be giving it as a gift again.


  • 5 Apr 3rd 2011
    Great Book!

    I bought numerous copies of this book for friends after I read it! It is a great individual retreat guide and we are also using it in a group prayer setting. Very simple, informative and easily understood. It would be great if it came with a workbook or blank pages to write reflections.


  • 5 Dec 23rd 2010
    Perfect for a First Retreat

    I was just reminded how beautiful this book is by a question posted on a Catholic internet site asking about how to make a first retreat. This is a perfect recommendation.

    Patti Day

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