33 Days to Morning Glory had been a powerful experience for me, when I heard about 33 Days to Merciful Love being available for pre-order last year, I ordered a copy right away and then decided to read the book leading up to the Feast of Our Lady of Fátima and just finished re-reading it on the same cycle, leading up to today, the 100th anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady of Fátima.
Even though I was excited for the book, I was worried about another consecration, wondering if it would feel too overwhelming. Nonetheless, Fr. Gaitley put me at ease right from the introduction as he talked about how the concept of Marian consecration and a Consecration to Divine Mercy align with each other and are complementary, rather than two disconnected aspects.
With that worry already set aside, I was instantly drawn in. Having a better sense of the narrative of trust running throughout The Bible through a conversation with my priest back in the summer of 2015 ended up being a pivotal experience for me, so when I started reading 33 Days to Merciful Love and noticed the big emphasis on trust, I took note.
Unlike 33 Days to Morning Glory, rather than focusing on a different saint for each of the four weeks, this time Fr. Gaitley focused specifically on St. Thérèse of Lisieux throughout the book, with some attention to St. Faustina occasionally. The book focuses on: Week One: What Is Trust? Week Two: The Little Way, Week Three: The Offering to Merciful Love, Week Four: Into the Darkness and the last days as review and preparation for consecration. Similar to 33 Days to Morning Glory, the review cycle focused on a day with three key words from each week. I appreciate this way to reiterate key points and tie it all together. I especially liked the reminder from week two with the emphasis on recognizing our smallness and then being persistent with trusting and trying. That is a reminder that I would do me good to hear again and again as it relates to so much in relation to our lives of faith.
As a teacher, I know how common it is to hear teachers lament that students don't know a concept that they should have learned in a previous year only to hear the teachers from the previous year(s) say they did teach the concepts. While re-reading this book there were so many concepts that I felt like I was figuring out through experiences but then realized that the concepts were in the book, that I had exposure to them before the experiences that made me feel like certain truths were becoming apparent to me. The realization of how a book could resonate one year but then make significantly more sense the next year with the time and space of additional first hand experiences to ground the concepts in between helped to confirm the need for on-going investment in spiritual development and the value in re-visiting resources that capture our attention, knowing that with time we change and can understand at a new level.
Now, I am currently reading Fr. Gaitley's Consoling the Heart of Jesus and Praying the Angelus.