Tuesday, March 3rd starts the second week of our 33 Day Preparation.
Below is the Preparation for this:
KNOWLEDGE OF SELF
The next 7 days will be to examine the knowledge of self. The days break down as follows:
13th day - St. Luke – Need for Prayer
14th day - Imitation of Christ – Obedience of a humble heart
15th day - St. Luke – Need for Penance
True Devotion to Mary – Need of Mary in order to die to self
16th day - True Devotion to Mary – Prayer
17th day - Imitation of Christ – Judgment & Punishment of sinners
St. Luke – Account of Stewardship
18th day - St. Luke – Unprofitable Servants
Imitation of Christ – Suffering
19th day - St. Luke – Spirit of Children
KNOWLEDGE OF SELF
We live in very busy lives. Our minds are divided with so many thoughts that often times good things that we learn are forgotten or rarely considered once we have learned them. We are so wrapped up in the business of everyday life that we do not take the time to think of things that are important such as what we are, where we are, why we are, where we come from, where we are going, why we are going there, etc. What are we? We are creatures of God. Where are we? We are living in God’s world of mercy. Why are we? We are because of the infinite goodness, mercy and love of God; we are created to love Him. Where do we come from? We come from nothing. Are we going to be saved or damned? Some will be saved because they will have done the Will of God on earth; some are going to be damned because they will refuse to do the Will of God and thus do their own will.
We are creatures of a good and loving Creator. We are made by this good God for Himself. We are placed in a world where God has an enemy; but in a world where Jesus dwells, though in a hidden manner. We are placed here with every means of defeating our enemy; but some people care not to use these means and are easily seduced by him; others fight for a while and then grow tired and give way; some fight one day and not the next, others basely desert God and go over to His enemy. Some however, fight bravely and perseveringly and defend not only themselves, but others from the snares of Satan.
We are in a world where we may be very happy, but where many of us, through our own fault, are not happy. We have grand heavenly riches at our disposal. We have means daily and hourly of increasing our happiness in heaven and earth. We have only to acknowledge that “every good gift and every perfect gift is from our Good Heavenly Father. There is literally no end to these graces, the precious gifts God bestows upon us are given to us so long as we give glory to Him. We must remember that when they are given to us, it is to better ourselves and others for His Kingdom. They are never given to us because of any good found already in us – we are merely empty vessels or should try to be empty for Him. There is absolutely nothing God will not give to us since He has already given Himself to us through His Only Begotten Son Jesus. Yet how is it that we still find ourselves discontented and unhappy in this world?
It is because we have not yet given up ourselves. We have not made ourselves empty vessels. We have not cast away self-love. We are called to turn our whole selves to God but we are so engrossed with ourselves. We are so bent upon keeping our mind upon ourselves and those around us. We busy ourselves with matters that do not concern us, without the intention of doing good This makes us of the earth or earthly.
Our lives might be beautiful under the most commonplace circumstances. When we think of religious cloisters, we think of dedicated souls to God. Many times we might have the temptation-“If only I could go live as a monk away from the world”. This is stated not to demean the religious life for it is a calling above the world but we have not been called to that life. God’s Will for us is to live in the world as His laity. We must find holiness in our daily lives but we sigh over our lives, and return to our accustomed work in the same earthly spirit as before, when we might return to it with a determination of making our lives heavenly, of living to give glory to God, of living upright in His presence, of walking before Him, striving for perfection, of imitating our holy God by being holy in thought and word.
Let us think of the angels and how they fell away during their trial and soon were in Hell. They had fallen from a holy place – Heaven. Our place of probation on this earth is not so very different from theirs. Now that Jesus has come into this world taking our human nature as well as His Divine Nature, we can no longer say that the angels in the heavens, during their time of probation, were nearer to God, more closely united to Him than we are. No, and let us carefully consider this truth. Jesus is found here in our tabernacles – the source of all grace. Also, Mary, the Dispenser of His Graces, is extremely eager to make all of us saints if we just seek her help. We just have to will to make our lives holy and they will be holy and pleasing to God. The life of a Religious is holy because their sanctity consists in fulfilling the Will of God. We too can attain that holiness in the state to which God has called us. We simply need to endeavor to be determined to make every effort to allow God to unite Himself with our soul by the means He has afforded us.
God has given us wonderful examples of many saints living in the world, having the most ordinary duties and yet were favored by Him with His love and were united to Him in a remarkable way. Of course, there is not a better example than Mary. She is such a means of grace for us in so many ways by not only being the Dispenser of those graces but also by being a model of God’s grace. She did not hurry and scramble through life and miss its dignity and beauty. She let God’s grace penetrate every aspect of her life and make it beautiful. Think of how the sun in the sky, when it shines upon even little places, how it makes everything beautiful. We are called to let the sun of God’s Presence be ever before us, and we will walk through life with His light surrounding us. We are not called to do extraordinary things but to lead simple, humble lives. Not that the extraordinary lives of some saints are not to be admired; they are to be admired; they give great glory to God. We are not all called to do extraordinary things yet we can find that same love and peace they found in accomplishing God’s Will and accepting what it is God is calling us to. Everything around us seems commonplace and ordinary but we are ourselves – extraordinary. We are called to be temples of the Living God. We tend to miss the extraordinary that is around us. God lives within us! Let us sit quietly in the Presence of God and with our good angel at our side, and with Mary Our Mother, and ask God to show us His Goodness.
Let us think over what we are and where we are and why we are living as far as God will reveal to us the reason of our creation. If we knew true happiness; if we understood the gifts of God; if we realized the goodness of God in creating us; in placing us in this world of mercy; in destining for us a glorious eternity with Him, in our happiness in being members of His Church, in living in the midst of priceless treasures of which the Church is the custodian and which she gives to her children through the hands of Mary – how different we would be! If we realized more especially the Real Presence of Jesus with us! Yes, He is ever with us, Our Lord and Master, God made Man. The Dear Lord who walked the streets of Jerusalem and whose tender Heart throbbed with love – is with us still! His Heart beats with the same undying love for men, and sadly the fact is that so little love Him in return. We have all we can desire since all that is desirable may be obtained from God by prayer. He desires to show us mercy – He desires we should be saved and live with Him for all eternity. May we ask Our Holy Mother Mary to intercede for us in showing us who we are and where we are going. May she give us the graces to be faithful to Jesus for all eternity.
Below is a list of questions for our reflection during these 7 days of trying to acquire “Knowledge of Self”.
This is just a little help aid – taken from the book, “According to the Effects of Holy Communion and the Eight Beatitudes” by Fr. Lawrence G. Lovasik, SVD
Continue to read out of the Preparation Book and/or "True Devotion to Mary". Also try to fit a rosary in along with the prayers given.
May we keep each other in prayer.
I am sorry for not posting this fast enough - been crazy busy but if you are to renew your Consecration to Jesus through Mary - It began yesterday - Feb. 20th - March 25th. This is also a great way to make Lent special as it will run through most of our Lenten days. (You can still begin late - just read the material from the previous day (s)
I will post the preparation by the week for you to follow if desired. The Feast of the Annunciation is the date that St. Louis DeMontfort recommended to make this Consecration. It is when Jesus became incarnate in the Most Blessed Virgin Mary - therefore - it is a great day to offer ourselves to Jesus through Mary.
You will need the book "True Devotion to Mary" by St. Louis deMontfort and the Preparation book. I will post the links below in order for you to find them. You can also find PDF available to make it easy on the computer without a book.
During this entire 33 days we are asked to spend some time reading, meditating on a certain passage and praying. This is broken down into four sections:
12 days – Withdrawing from the World
7 days - Knowledge of Self
7 days – Knowledge of Mary
7 days – Knowledge of Jesus
The book “Preparation for Total Consecration” is our guide as to what each day proposes. The guide can be found at the back of some "True Devotion to Mary" books as well but I have posted a PDF link below. We can add readings from “True Devotion to Mary” as we are allowed in our daily lives. It is proposed that we not only say the prayers in the book but try to add a Rosary and if possible – Daily Mass (for extra graces).
It is also recommended that making a good Confession before we begin the 33 days and just before the Consecration date would afford us a deeper commitment and more grace.
There are other methods but I encourage the use of St. Louis deMontfort (and so does the Old Rule of Carmel). It is in the Old Rule that this consecration draws us closer to Jesus through Mary and so is encouraged. You can find this Old Rule on this website. I will post a link below to help you navigate.
The first week starts on Feb. 20 which is this Weds. The first 12 Days is to divest ourselves of the World. This is to understand the conflict that the world gives us. We need to understand the enemies of the Church which are: the devil, the world and the flesh. Contrary to modern ideas - the world is an enemy! This is a new idea for some and it may even be neglected in some forms of Consecration because we have integrated the ways of the world with our religious beliefs causing us to be mediocre which is repulsive to Our Lord. Therefore, St. Louis deMontfort gives us perennial Truth! Times change but the Truth NEVER CHANGES! God's ways yesterday are God's ways today - contrary to popular belief.
THE FIRST TWELVE DAYS
WITHDRAWING FROM THE SPIRIT OF THE WORLD
The meditations should be made in the presence of Our Lady. We should start these 33 days off by asking her to show us each day what it is we are trying to discover on this journey. The spirit of the world is opposed to the Spirit of God. It is critical to be serious about this section because the more room we clear in our souls, the more room the Holy Spirit has to fill it.
Begin the daily meditation not only in the company of Mary but with the desire to start a new life with Jesus through her. We must wish to give ourselves entirely to her as He did. Mary is longing to make another Jesus of us. It is by the operation of the Holy Spirit that we will have this new life in Christ. We must draw the resolution from each meditation to desire earnestly to be emptied of the evil spirit, the spirit of the world, and our own selfish spirit, that there may be in us no obstruction to God’s Spirit and to being transformed in Christ. Repeating little prayers throughout the day and keeping the presence of God always before us will be helpful.
Throughout the first week, we are to ask Mary to ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten us about what it exactly is that keeps us from her Son. She will expose these things to our mind so that we can renounce them. It is critical that we trust ourselves entirely to God and His grace to accomplish removing the obstacles from our souls. He is more anxious to assist us in overcoming these defects that we are in overcoming them.
It is important to understand that everything is God’s grace. We must understand grace and its value if we are to not be of the spirit of the world. Grace is the life of God in our souls – the more grace – the more God dwells within that soul. We should eagerly seek to acquire and preserve this grace. We can acquire it through practicing His presence, prayers, Mass, spiritual reading, acts of love, etc. We can preserve this grace by staying far from sin and going to Confession often.
“Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build it.” We must have constant recourse to God and not neglect the seemingly smallest grace because the smallest grace is great. We must use all the natural means God has given us in His service but we must remember that it is by God’s grace that we can ever succeed. An example of the spirit of the world would be for one to always look to self or man for the answer or solution instead of God. And even when the answer or solution is given – the world gives the credit NOT to God who is always the giver of all good things.
So our goal during these 12 first days is to come to understand the difference of the world vs. God. The spirit of the world is so a part of our lives that sometimes we do not see where the difference lies.
The passages in the “Preparation Book” will help us to come to understand this. Praying the Litany of the Holy Spirit will give us enlightenment to see these differences.
POINTS FOR THE FIRST WEEK
God bless you in this endeavor. - I will post Knowledge of Self just before this time period begins.
PS - I do not recommend using the "33 Days to Morning Glory". It is an excellent book to help encourage one to make this Consecration as it gives the lives of four that have made it. It is missing some critical steps that St. Louis wants in order for this Consecration to be fruitful. Again, one can read it for inspiration but the Traditional means of Consecration should be pursued.
God bless you through the prayers and intercession of Our Holy Mother Mary!
The Presentation - February 2
Happy Feast Day! This day has so much to celebrate. Here we will talk about the actual event of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple and the Purification of Our Lady in relation to our Holy Communions.
The Jewish law required that forty days should pass from the birth of the new-born son to the Mother's purification and the offering of the child to God in the Temple. Mary and Joseph went to the Temple with Jesus along with two pigeons which was the offering of the poor. That magnificent Temple which was the pride of Isreal where the religious rites and holocausts were offered to God belonged to this Child and the sacrifices were offered to Him.
Mary alone was able to know of the greatness of the Gift which She was presenting to God; and together with Jesus She also offered Herself. If only we too, in imitation of the Blessed Virgin, were able to offer ourselves entirely to God without ever taking back our donation.
I just recently celebrated my 60th birthday. With tears I went on retreat and lamented that I have squandered both time and grace. How much time is left for me? If I had only given MY ALL when I knew to. This is a message for all of us - to give our All - to not be afraid of suffering or sacrifice. To seize the moment and do all we can to save souls and spread the Flame of Love to all with the message of God's hope and love. But we do not think of this and we remain in our poverty consuming our strength without getting rich - rich in God's grace.
Beginning this day of the Presentation-- may all of us at each and every Mass - offer ourselves to the Father through Mary during the Elevation when the priest offers Jesus to the Father. The Presentation occurs at each Mass. We have close to us an infinite treasure from which we can draw a heap of gold with only the trouble of gathering it in union with Jesus and Mary for the world.
Simeon had the privilege of seeing the Baby Jesus and rejoicing that his prayer was answered that he should see the Messiah before God called him home. We are more privileged that Simeon - we receive Him into our hearts at Holy Communion. Simeon only took Jesus into his arms.
As Carmelites -In our union with Jesus in Holy Communion, may we always be mindful that a sword had pierced Our Lady's Heart over the prophesy of Christ's suffering and death on that very day of the Presentation. May we always unite our sufferings with Hers and may She sanctify them and offer them to the Father mingled in the Blood of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. May we not waste another moment - may we live In Jesus through Mary at the Presentation.
Bernadette Porter is a Traditional Catholic, a wife of 42 years with 6 adult home-schooled children and 6 grandchildren. A sincere devotion to Mary, the Mother of God leads me to want to share "The Church's best kept secret" - Mary!