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SpiritualDirection.com / Catholic Spiritual Direction

33 Days to Morning Glory Wk 5 of 7

May 21, 2013 by  
Filed under Book Club, Vicki Burbach

33 Days to Morning Glory Week 5 of 7

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The Intimacy of Devotion

[Let] us try in a special way to come as close as the human heart can come to the Heart of Jesus and try to understand as much as possible Jesus’ terrible pain caused him by our sins and His Thirst for our love…Thank God our Lady was there to understand the-good-portion-picturefully the thirst of Jesus for love. She must have straight away said, “I satiate Your thirst with my love and the suffering of my heart.” – Mother Teresa  

Yes, we can thank God for Our Lady. She teaches us to “be the one” with her, consoling Jesus on Calvary. She helps us to “straight away” say, “Jesus, I satiate Your thirst.” But what exactly does this mean? What does it mean to satiate the thirst of Jesus? Two things: to console Jesus the Head of his Mystical Body and to console him in the members of his body. – 33 Days to Morning Glory, p. 82 (beginning with paragraph six on Day 21)

If our Father’s house has many rooms, I’ve spent an awful lot of time in the library. Of course, that’s always been my favorite room in any house. So it seemed natural, as I stepped into the entryway of my new Home eighteen years ago, to make a bee-line for my comfort zone. I can’t complain. I spent several happy years studying the Word of God. I read the Catechism and quickly found my way into theology, fascinated by authors such as Frank Sheed, John Henry Newman, Louis Bouyer and Hilaire Belloc. Over time, I came [intellectually] to know Christ. And I’m sure that was His plan. After all, in order to be happy with Him in heaven, I must know, love and serve Him on earth, correct? How can I love and serve Someone I don’t know?

Still, in spite of all my reading, I never really got the love part. As a result, the saints and I never quite clicked. And I certainly couldn’t imagine becoming a saint – regardless of the universal call to holiness. I read Story of a Soul and thought, St. Thérèse may be an inspiration, but we have nothing in common.

And devotions? Talk about being out of my league! Between the Devotion to Mary, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Mary’s Immaculate Heart, Divine Mercy and others, I couldn’t possibly pray all the prayers associated with each devotion, and I couldn’t wrap my mind around all the details to understand how they fit together. Rather than explore the maze of devotions throughout the house, I opted to hang out in the library, happy with knowing the Truth, regardless of whether I could actually “live” it.

Perhaps because of the knowledge I’ve acquired – or in spite of it – Mary, the ever-gracious hostess, has taken the opportunity over this past year to lead me out of my comfort zone. Taking me gently by the hand, she guided me out of the library and further down the hall to a magnificent family room. There was a time when I would have been uncomfortable in this room. But thanks to Mary’s encouragement, I’ve found myself reclining comfortably with my spiritual family, (which includes even the “holiest” of saints). In turn, I’ve been met with warmth, joy, encouragement, and an overwhelming sense of sacrificial love. Moving into this room has ignited a new curiosity in me for various devotions that have been introduced throughout the ages.

How did my change of heart come about? I certainly didn’t initiate it. For some reason, unbeknownst to me, about a year ago I felt inspired to give the rosary another try. Not out of a sense of duty, as in the past, but out of a genuine desire to contemplate the gospels. Soon, I found myself praying it more than once a day because, for the first time in my life, I could feel a tangible connection with Jesus and Mary.

I began to notice that praying was much more productive than thinking about how we’re going afford to replace our death-trap of a car or how my religious freedom might be at stake in the current political climate. I wasn’t so much praying for solutions to my problems. Rather, I felt inspired to hand them over while spending my new-found time contemplating something much more worthwhile.

All the details of my transformation would bore you to tears; but suffice it to say that as I was praying the rosary one day, I suddenly had a great desire to hang a picture of the Sacred Heart on my wall. So I did. Despite the fact that I knew nothing about the devotion and had even had an aversion to it over the years (I'll be honest – I was intimidated).

Shortly after hanging the picture – we’re talking days, not weeks – I came across a biography of Saint Margaret Mary (I had no idea who she was until I read the back of the book). Apparently, Our Lord shared with her the message of His Sacred Heart. By Page One, I was hooked, and I have been ever since!

This leads me to the webinar we just hosted Saturday morning, in which we were privileged to chat with Father Michael Gaitley, the brilliant author of 33 Days to Morning Glory. After having read Blessed Mother Teresa’s loaded words above, I began to put two and two together. So I asked Father Gaitley whether there is an intimate relationship between a devotion to Mary and a devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. (There had to be – otherwise, how did the Rosary lead me to His Sacred Heart?) Clearly, Blessed Mother Teresa saw a connection, as evidenced by the passage above.

Father Gaitley answered enthusiastically, assuring me that there was “absolutely” a connection. In fact, he said there is an intimate relationship between all the devotions we’ve received through the years.

Without quoting him, here is the gist of what he said (Note: any error or lack of eloquence are solely the result of my poor memory and lack of communication skills.):

Jesus’ love for us is infinite; but He is constantly wounded by our sins and lack of love for Him. He thirsts for souls and wants us to Love Him and to make reparation for those who have forgotten Him, or turned their backs on Him. This is how we can satiate his Sacred Heart. Unfortunately, many of us didn’t come to Him when He invited us to share in His Sacred Heart. Rather than give up, He decided to come to us Himself, sharing with us His Divine Mercy. Through His Divine Mercy, He wants us to know that His love and mercy are available to everyone, even the greatest of sinners!  

What is Mary’s role in all this? She loves her Son with a perfect love, and is fully united with His Sacred Heart. Mary’s role is to lead each of us to the foot of the cross, so we can experience the depth of His love for each and every one of us. The Miraculous Medal was a gift to remind us that Mary is there to dispense graces to each of us – graces which will help us to love Her son. Graces that will help us to unite ourselves with His Sacred Heart.

What a revelation! These devotions aren’t random means of worshiping our Lord, as I’d always assumed. And they aren’t even simply unique devotions with a united purpose – to unite us with Christ. As I understand it, the truth is even more profound! The many devotions within the Church make up various pieces of the same puzzle, each serving a unique purpose while working together to create one masterpiece of intimacy, orchestrated for our benefit, by Christ, Himself.

 

For Discussion:

1. Is there a particular devotion that brings you closer to Christ?  If so, what is it about it that moves you?

2.  Please comment on your reaction to the passage above.  (I realize I went off on a tangent today – just lost in the excitement of my newfound revelation!)

3.  Open discussion: Feel free to comment on any topic from this past week's reading.

Reading Assignment:  Day 24-Day 30.  If possible, spend much time each day meditating on the reading.

Read more: Previous Book Club Posts

For More Information on the Book Club:  https://spiritualdirection.com/csd-book-club

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About Vicki Burbach

Vicki Burbach is a wife and homeschooling mother of six children ages four to sixteen years who relishes the calm inspiration of spiritual reading amidst the roller coaster of life. A passionate convert to the Faith, Vicki is an avid reader who started the SpiritualDirection.com book club so she could embark with like-minded bibliophiles on a spiritual journey through some of the greatest Catholic books ever written. She is author of the new book How to Read Your Way to Heaven - A Spiritual Reading Program for the Worst of Sinners, the Greatest of Saints, and Everyone in Between. You can also find her at pelicansbreast.com

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