Category Archives: Our Lady of Good Counsel

Preparing for Marian Consecration

DSCN7477

Fr. Steve Mateja decided to lead a bunch of us at Our Lady of Good Counsel in a 33 day retreat, ending in a Mass on the feast of the Presentation of the Lord tomorrow where we will consecrate ourselves to Mary. Our retreat started on December 31st, and I joined on that day while attending the Mass for Mary, Mother of God. However, since our celebration lasted through midnight, I technically began the retreat a day late. ๐Ÿ™‚

What is Marian consecration? Basically, it is giving all of yourself to Mary. You are entrusting yourself to Mary, in the same way that Jesus entrusted Mary to John (the beloved disciple) and John (standing for all of humanity) to Mary at the foot of the Cross. This consecration is to be a whole-hearted giving of self. Nothing should be held back from the blessed Mother.

In the past, I haven’t had or felt a strong connection to Mary. I’m sure she’s a great saint and an amazing woman. Clearly. But I just didn’t have a great relationship with her. And I was still working on my relationship with the Trinity. These relationships are always capable of further growth. I just feel, in my personal journey, that it is time to reach out to the Blessed Virgin.

As I was participating in the retreat, there is a day where we are reflecting on what this consecration means and we are told, “When we fully consecrate ourselves to Mary, we lose the unconditional right to distribute the value of our prayers and good actions to others.”

This took me aback for a moment. Because I’ve always been “in charge” of my prayers and intercede for others routinely. Does this mean that I can’t pray for specific other people any more? What am I agreeing to?

Luckily, Fr. Michael Gaitley, who wrote this retreat, anticipated my questions and answered them in the next couple paragraphs. Basically, you can still pray as you always do, but you leave it up to Mary as to the direction of the efficacy of your prayers. So, if I fast and pray that the spiritual benefit of that fasting will be applied to person X, I give Mary the authority to re-direct that spiritual benefit to person Y of her choosing, who may be in more need of that spiritual gift.

Why is this okay?

First, because Mary always makes the good things that we give her more perfect. So, whatever meager spiritual benefit someone may receive from my efforts will be increased at the hand of Mary, if I give them to her. This makes sense on a couple different levels. What son would refuse a request made by his mother? And surely a son who is perfect would not refuse his mother. So Jesus would not refuse a request made by His mother, Mary. Also, in James, we learn that the prayers of holy men are especially heard by God. The holier one is, the more efficacious one’s prayers. And who is holier than the woman who was born without sin, lived without sinning, and is now reigning in glory in Heaven with her Son?

Second, Mary is never outdone in generosity. “If we are so generous as to give her the right to distribute the grace of our prayers and good works, she will surely be especially generous to our loved ones. In fact, she’ll take even better care of our loved ones than we ourselves can.” This reminded me of a (traumatic) section in the book, “The Gift of Faith” where we were told to have no attachments, including attachments to people we loved. We are to give them over to God and trust in Him entirely, giving Him everything that we are, all that we have, and everything that we hold dear.

This is a hard thing to do. For me in particular, it’s not so hard to give *myself* wholly to God and submit to His Will; He can do with me whatever He wants. I don’t care so much for what happens to me, but I care everything for those I love. To give them, wholly, to another, is difficult.

But what am I worried about, though? That Mary or Jesus would love them less than I do?

Clearly, this worry is unfounded. And so, I’m going into this consecration tomorrow with all of my reservations put to rest. I do not enter into things lightly and have a keen desire to live with integrity. So, when I promise something, I mean it. Fr. Gaitley tells us that Marian consecration is a serious commitment, and I intend to do my best to live that out.

Everything will change tomorrow, because after the consecration, she will live in my heart and I will live in hers.

Please pray for me.

OLGC Science Fair

My Name Tag for Today's Science Fair

Today, I got to judge the 7th and 8th grade projects for the Science Fair at Our Lady of Good Counsel School. They were so cute! Sometimes, the kids added some commentary, in addition to the presentation of their experiment. This was probably my favorite:

This project was both interesting and boring.

Some of them really surprised me with how advanced they were in their projects: both with the creativity of their hypothesis and the technical sophistication of the experiment. Others were more basic, or didn’t think of all the variables that an adult would think of. But overall, it was a great effort by all of the students.

Some of them may be picked to display their experiments in Detroit in a regional competition.

Good luck and God Bless!

Epiphany

This is the first Epiphany Mass in four years in which I did not cry. Four years ago today, my godmother, Pat McDonald, died and went home to Jesus. While I am happy that she is no longer sick and suffering, the selfish part of me misses her quite a bit.

It is also rather fitting that today, on Epiphany, I would celebrate Mass at Our Lady of Good Counsel, with Fr. John, who was her spiritual director and a good friend of us both. At one point in her illness, she was no longer up to serving at Mass at St. Anastasia as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. With the additional prompting of our pastor, Fr. JJ, I agreed to take her spot on Team 1.

Last summer, I signed up to me an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion at Our Lady of Good Counsel as well (I’m a parishioner at both parishes). I’m only called to be a minister there about once every month and a half. As it happened, today was one of those days. Not only that, but for the first time since the summer, Fr. John was the priest celebrating Mass. And! It was the first time that I got to distribute the Body of Christ (as opposed to the Blood of Christ). AND! I was assigned to stand next to Fr. John while doing it. ๐Ÿ™‚

My red sweater fit in nicely with all the poinsettias on the altar and the red trim on Fr. John’s white chasuble. ๐Ÿ™‚ Not that that matters, but it was a nice detail.

I was so joyful up there, handing Jesus to people. I’m sure I was grinning ear to ear the whole time. LOL!

It is Masses like this where I never want to leave. I just want to stay there in the company of Jesus and my friends forever. God willing, this will happen soon! ๐Ÿ™‚

Here is Pat, taken on a trip to the Holy Land, overlooking Jerusalem.
Pat McDonald, Overlooking Jerusalem, Gallicantu Area
I love you!