- 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