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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

33 Days to Morning Glory

In 2015 33 Days to Morning Glory was passed out on Ash Wednesday at churches across our diocese. The timing was perfect to start the daily retreat leading up to the Annunciation. At the time, it was a pivotal point in my life as I was pondering what was core and realizing that even though it felt counter-intuitive to add in additional layers to my life when I had been working so hard to set career boundaries and say no to some of my career related passions  in order to say yes to more time with family, multiple layers were drawing me deeper into reconnecting with my Catholic faith in a more meaningful way.

I had already been realizing multiple areas of the faith where I either never had a solid foundation or just wasn't ready to grasp concepts that were probably introduced at one point or another. This book made me think about the role of Mary in so many ways I had not yet considered. The introduction says, "what Marian consecration is all about: A new way of life in Christ. The act of consecrating oneself to Jesus through Mary marks the beginning of a gloriously new day, a new dawn, a brand new morning in one's spiritual journey. It's a fresh start, and it changes everything" (p. 20).

I worked my way through each day pondering the ideas. Because it was so new, I could tell I was not fully understanding everything. The Annunciation fell on my spring break when I happened to be miles away from home in Toronto, Canada for a conference. As I sat alone on my hotel bed, I prayed that I could tell there was so much more I had to learn but that I was willing to make the consecration with hope and trust.

Looking back, it is hard to untangle how much of the "changes everything" had to do with my Marian consecration and how much was related to other layers happening concurrently. I do know that having a better understanding of Mary and being able to look to her as a mentor in trying to align my life to God's will has been a game changer for me.

I ended up re-doing the retreat the summer of the same year, leading toward The Assumption. Once again, I found myself away from home on the consecration day. This time I was at our diocesan retreat center for an evangelization and catechesis symposium and sat in the chapel (one of my favorite places). That too was another key point in the year as I had been discerning which direction God wanted me to go and ended up making some decisions that weekend.

In 2016 I did not re-read the book because instead I read 33 Days to Merciful Love. This year I decided to read it again on the February 20th to March 25th cycle working toward the Annunciation. There was so much that made more sense. I could see how the concepts laid a foundation that impacted so much of my thinking, even when it was not necessarily at the surface level to make the direct link between my thoughts and the book until revisiting the book. I could also see how the impact of other experiences between then and now meant that I was different and able to understand at a new level.

The book is starting to get worn, and I anticipate it will be used many more times in my life. I have heard other people testify that their experiences also resonate that it changes everything, but I have not heard specific details. I would be interested to hear more about the experiences behind the statements as I am sure it would inspire a lot of awe and wonder for how God works in our lives.

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