As we start this new series on growing in real, practical intimacy with our God through the hands and model of our Mother Mary, we will spend a good bit of time on five classic works from the Mind of the Church: “The Practice of the Presence of God” by Brother Lawrence, “He and I” by Gabrielle Bossis, “Time for God” by Fr. Jacques Philippe (a summary of St. John of the Cross and St. Theresa of Avila on mental prayer), and “My Ideal: Jesus Son of Mary” by Fr. Emil Neubert (which is an extraordinary synthesis of DeMonfort, Kolbe and Chaminade) and “Divine Mercy in My Soul” by St. Faustina. There are many other exceptional spiritual classics (Imitation of Christ, Story of a Soul, Fire Within, etc.), but these five cover all the critical topics in a readable and accessible fashion for today’s person in our saturated culture of evil and they connect perfectly to the Great Jubilee Year of Mercy!
We will connect these works to the “Greatest Grace” in 2000 years, which God has given through His Mother in order to cause the Triumph of her Immaculate Heart (her formal recognition as the Unique Cooperator in our Salvation and the Mediatrix of all Grace, as well as the Advocate for and the individual Mother of all People and the Mother of each Nation); the Full Release of Divine Mercy through the Illumination of Conscience; and finally the New Pentecost where we will live with God’s Will as Mary did for some time on earth. The specific Grace which causes these three attributes/actions of God’s Divine Will, which is Love and Mercy Itself, is the Flame of Love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which was given for all through Elizabeth Kindelmann and is fully approved by Holy Mother Church.
This Grace calls down God’s Divine Mercy on all, but especially on all those who have fallen away from Christ, and most significantly on those whose obstinate rejection of Christ jeopardize their eternal salvation. Because ultimately God desires that all be saved for eternal life and pass the test of Love, and many will only pass that test by one final outpouring of Divine Mercy! God wants those who love Him to participate in this saving Grace! We are now called in an unprecedented way to participate in this extraordinary work of Divine Mercy by consciously and actively engaging each and every day in “Reparatory Sacrifice and Suffering”, especially Fasting! Sacrifice is what we choose to give of ourselves with God’s Grace; Suffering is what God chooses to send us in His Infinite Wisdom! Sacrifice can and does take many forms, but the most important is how we spend our time….do we spend this precious gift on ourselves…or on God? Do we put on the mind of Christ and live solely for Him? Or do we give ourselves partially, and continue to live primarily for ourselves by desiring what we want and thinking for ourselves in a human way?
Ultimately, this is the choice we are given once we experience the great Gift of conversion, recognizing that only Christ can save us from our pride and sinfulness. We then embark upon the new life given through the Grace of the Sacraments. Most of us choose the broad way and not the narrow way, and our lives are only modestly changed in order to avoid mortal sin or we at least confess it quickly if we stumble. But once we make our Consecration to Jesus through Mary, we are renewed in a special way in the extraordinary Grace or sharing in Divine Life we received at Baptism. We are given a renewed hunger for our Lord in the Eucharist, but even so, we are still mired in subtle pride and selfishness, oriented towards our comfort and our way. We give more, but still we are mostly selfish…..UNLESS we choose to LIVE our Consecration each day and choose a life in complete union with Mary as she chose complete union with Jesus. This is her role! This is what God so desires of us. This is a Gift which must be begged for through the power of the Holy Spirit! And it begins with a commitment to live in the Presence of God at all times during the day where we mentally seek to adore Him within and converse with Him throughout the day as a real person present to us within, and we further commit to at least 15 minutes of deep, mental prayer each and every day!
To put out into the deep of mental prayer and the daily presence with God in all that happens requires two things: desire and trust. We never stop asking and we never give up…it is solely in the getting up each moment and trusting He will do it for us! Let us begin with this prayer: “Lord, this is truly impossible for me, but with You, desiring with Your own desire and trusting solely in You, I will succeed in practicing Your presence and entering into mental prayer each day with You for 15 minutes! And so we begin together in unity under the mantle of our sweet Mother and we will not fail! If we labor and trust in her Name and the Name of her Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we can NOT fail! Fiat!