July 13, 2018 was the much awaited date when Rev. Fr. Michael Gaitley, the famous author of “33 days to Morning Glory” was the guest speaker at the St. James the Great Parish Church. This was among a series of talks Fr. Gaitley had scheduled to give in the Philippines, in response to a call for consecration to Jesus through Mary, at what seems to be one of the most trying times for Catholic Christians in the Philippines.
The first talk of Fr. Gaitley centered on his testimony that “now is the time of mercy”. Discovering this brought us to his life in California and how he realized he was called to priesthood. To prepare him for his Confirmation, he was asked to read about lives of saints and how the life of St. Therese of Lisieux influenced his life in college. He learned that the meaning of life is to become a saint and it was St. Louis de Montfort who said that the “quickest, easiest way to become a saint” is to be consecrated to Christ through Mary.
Fr. Gaitley continued to talk about his faith journey. He recounted the conversion of his father when he was healed by the rays of the Divine Mercy at which time Fr. Gaitley also prayed the whole day on Divine Mercy Sunday. He said that the Mass is the most powerful prayer and the Divine Mercy chaplet is a powerful extension of the Mass, so that when we pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet we also participate in the sacrifice celebrated at Mass.
The second talk focused on the “best story after the Acts of the Apostles, and the second greatest story ever told” where St. John Paul II is the main character. Fr. Gaitley walked us briefly through the history of Poland and the attempt to propagate the devotion to the Divine Mercy through Sister Faustina and her diary. The Jubilee Year 2000 witnessed the canonization of Sister Faustina, the recognition of the devotion to the Divine Mercy, and the declaration of the Divine Mercy Sunday, after Easter Sunday or the Octave Day of Easter.
Fr. Gaitley added that the second major event in John Paul II’s life was May 13, 1981 because it was on this very feast of Our Lady of Fatima when John Paul II was shot but his life was spared to enable him to declare that day as the day of the triumph of Mary’s heart and the triumph of Christ’s Divine Mercy. Even the closing of St JPII’s life came on the very vigil feastday of Diving Mercy Sunday and his last word was “AMEN”.
Talk 3 was focused on the Marian consecration exemplified through the life of St. Maximilian Kolbe. The three qualities of St. Maximilian Kolbe are:
1. His intensity to be able to give the greatest possible Glory to God
2. His mission to inspire others, which he attempted to do through a magazine.
3. His mission to prepare Poland for World War II through Our Lady of Fatima
The essence of the Marian consecration was to “live” the message of Christ when He entrusted our Blessed Mother during His crucifixion when He said “Behold thy Mother”. Fr. Gaitley said that Mary became the mother to all of us but she still waits for us to give her permission to take control of our lives. It is only when we do this do we consecrate Christ thru His Blessed Mother. And when we do this, we will be able to experience the easiest, quickest way to become saints.
Fr. Gaitley stressed that Mama Mary is the power of mercy; she is the new Eve who needs to be consoled too, because she has the power of mercy which will conquer evil and consecrate us to Christ and bring us closer to Him.
Lastly, Fr. Gaitley encouraged us to go through the 33 days towards total consecration to Jesus through Mary, using his book as our guide, because truly, it is the “quickest, easiest, shortest, and the most perfect means” to becoming a saint.