Consoling the Heart of Jesus is based on St. Ignatius’ 30-day spiritual retreat — that has brought many to a closer relationship with Christ and deepened their own spirituality — along with Sr. Faustina’s Diary of Christ’s Divine Mercy messages. Fr. Michael Gaitley gives the reader a gift of over 150 pages of St. Faustina’s diary covering some of her life with Christ encouraging her, as well as including the prayers of the Divine Mercy. There is a section of extensive references and notes and the book is endorsed by Fr. Mitch Pacwa, SJ, and Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR.
Who can make a 30-day retreat in these modern times? Fr. Gaitley knows that this may sound impossible, but he also knows that we need one, and he figured out just how to offer one through his book. He starts with an introduction to the 30-day retreat and how he transformed this retreat into one of his “do-it-yourself” weekend retreats. Then he goes on to divide the book into sections that are easy to negotiate. The first section is “Laying the foundations”. Here Fr. discusses the desire it takes to want holiness, keeping your eyes on Christ, First things first, and the First Principle and Foundation of the Spiritual Exercises:
Man is created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord and by this means to save his soul.
The other things on the face of the earth are created for man to help him in attaining the end for which he is created.
Hence, man is to make use of them in as far as they help him in the attainment of his end, and he must rid himself of them in as far as they prove a hindrance to him.
Therefore, we must make ourselves indifferent to all created things, as far as we are allowed free choice and are not under any prohibition.
Consequently, as far as we are concerned, we should not prefer health to sickness, riches to poverty, honor to dishonor, a long life to a short life. The same holds for all other things.
Our one desire and choice should be what is more conducive to the end for which we are created.
Fr. Gaitley discusses “The First Principle” and meeting Jesus in the Sacrament clearly in a very down-to-earth style. He also explains how we can console Jesus knowing that He is now happy in Heaven by what is called “retroactive consolation” for Jesus then on the cross in the now and present time.
Part Two of the book is “Overcoming Obstacles to Living the Foundation.” Five obstacles are covered in this section that deals with our fears, our sinfulness, and our weakness. There is a discussion of our sensitivity or insensitivity to our Lord’s heart. He quotes from Sr. Faustina’s diary that Our Lord said to her: “My daughter, your compassion for Me refreshes Me. By meditating on My Passion, your soul acquires a distinct beauty.”
Providing St. Faustina’s diary conveniently in the back of the book helps a great deal as well.