A 33 Day At-Home Retreat with Jesus & Mary
“33 Days to Morning Glory” by Michael Gaitley is a series of 33 short, two- or three-page reflections on how devotion to Mary can bring us closer to Jesus and help us become more like Him. It is the perfect selection for an “at-home” 33 day retreat.
The intention is for the book to culminate in what is called “Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary,” which you may choose to do, or not do, after working through the book. Reading the reflections in the book will be beneficial and enlightening whether you choose to go through with the Consecration or not at the end.
What is Marian Consecration?
Marian Consecration is, very basically, an act of giving Mary full permission to complete her job of helping us to become more like Christ. As the author points out, it has been said that “going to her and giving her permission to do her job is the ‘surest, easiest, shortest, and most perfect means’ to becoming a saint.”
Marian Consecration has been highly endorsed by many saints, notably including St. Pope John Paul II. This book helps to prepare the reader for Consecration, and provides the prayers and instructions for making the consecration at the end of preparation.
Why Use This Book for Marian Consecration?
The original book on Marian Consecration was put together by St. Louis de Montfort about 300 years ago. It is lengthy and complicated, and it can be difficult to get through (I tried and failed a few years ago). ’33 Days to Morning Glory’ is a more approachable means of learning about, preparing for, and making Marian Consecration.
’33 Days’ explores the writings and lives of four saints who had a strong devotion to Mary: St. Louis de Montfort, St. Maximilian Kolbe, Blessed (Mother) Teresa of Calcutta, and St. Pope John Paul II. The book uses the teachings and examples of these saints to help us apply Marian devotion to our own lives and to help us see how Marian devotion can, and does, bring us closer to Jesus.
The Structure of the Book
There are, not surprisingly, 33 days of reflections in this book, broken up into four weeks plus a few days at the end for review. Each week the book focuses on one of the four saints mentioned above.
Each day’s reflection is short and to the point. Almost all of them are about two pages long. My wife and I read these aloud together each night, and it was completely do-able (we have tried reading books aloud together before, and this is the first one we have actually completed).
When to Read This Book
Obviously, you can start reading this book any time you like. The book does, however, recommend a series of starting dates to line up your reading so that the Marian Consecration at the end of the retreat occurs on a Marian feast day.
A couple of notes on that.
First, if there is a long gap between when you want to start the book and when the next suggested starting date hits, go ahead and start it anyway. I have always found that if I put something off it will never happen, and this is probably true for most people.
When my wife and I started the book we were in one of these gaps in time. The next suggested starting date was more than two weeks away, but I had a hunch that there would be days when we, for one reason or another, would not get around to our reading. I was right. We ended up making our Consecration on the recommended feast day after we missed our reading on two weeks’ worth of days sprinkled in throughout the 33 days,
Second, I recommend starting at least a day ahead of the 33 day schedule to go through the introductory reading. It will teach you about Marian Consecration and its history and merits much more fully than we will approach here. There are about thirteen pages of introductory information.
Recommended Reading Dates
Below are the various reading dates that are suggested, with the final day of each period being the Consecration and Marian feast day.
January 9 – February 11 (Our Lady of Lourdes)
February 21 (20<sup>th</sup> on non-leap years) – March 25 (The Annunciation)
April 10 – May 13 (Our Lady of Fatima)
April 28 – May 31 (The Visitation)
Varies – Saturday after Corpus Christi (Immaculate Heart)
June 13 – July 16 (Our Lady of Mt. Carmel)
July 13 – August 15 (The Assumption)
July 20 – August 22 (Queenship of Mary)
August 6 – September 8 (Nativity of Mary)
August 10 – September 12 (Holy Name of Mary)
August 13 – September 15 (Our Lady of Sorrows)
September 4 – October 7 (Our Lady of the Rosary)
October 19 – November 21 (Presentation of Mary)
November 5 – December 8 (Immaculate Conception)
November 9 – December 12 (Our Lady of Guadalupe)
November 29 – January 1 (Mother of God)
December 31 – February 2 (Presentation of the Lord)
A Word of Warning
Beware: if you make Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary, the mother of God might really start putting you to work for her son’s mission 🙂
Saint John Paul II called his Total Consecration a turning point in his life, and his papal motto (“Totus Tuus” – “Totally Yours”) even comes from the writings of St. Louis de Montfort.
Maybe you are familiar with Greg and Jennifer Willits, who are known for their Catholic podcasts and radio projects, as well as the organization Rosary Army. Their ministry came as a result of Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary.
The same week that my wife and I made our consecration we were unexpectedly started on a path that led to us moving hundreds of miles away to take a new job working for the Church. Was this as a result of the Consecration? It certainly feels like it.
Where to Find the Book
This book has really taken off over the last couple of years and is not difficult to find. Amazon carries it (Here) and it should be available in most local Catholic book stores as well.
Have you read “33 Days to Morning Glory,” or do you plan to? Share your thoughts, your journey, or the fruits of your Consecration in the comments section below!