Monday, December 27, 2010

Book Review: Consoling the Heart of Jesus

Consoling the Heart of Jesus - Prayer Companion
by Michael E. Gaitley, MIC
Stockbridge, MA: Marian Press, 2010

"Consoling the Heart of Jesus: Prayer Companion" by Father Michael Gaitley is a purse or briefcase-sized book designed to be a "simple guide to living Consoling spirituality." This small book is a companion volume to the longer "Consoling the Heart of Jesus" do-it-yourself Ignatian retreat book. A reader wrote to Father Gaitley. She carried the 430 page book everywhere she went and asked for a smaller book that contained the major prayers and ideas. He was happy to comply.

I have not read the longer volume. Nevertheless, I found this prayer companion easy enough to understand and benefit from. "The core of Consoling spirituality is a compassionate response to Jesus in his sorrow." In his encyclical letter Haurietis Aquas, Pope Pius XI teaches "we can and ought to console that Most Sacred Heart which is continually wounded by the sins of thankless men." Fr. Gaitley presents the various ways to help console Jesus, especially accepting our suffering, praying for souls, and turning over our weaknesses and sinfulness to Jesus. Perhaps the most important component is to trust in Jesus.

As the title suggests, a good portion of "Consoling the Heart of Jesus: Prayer Companion" is devoted to self-examination and prayer. It contains a detailed examination of conscience, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, the Divine Mercy Novena, as well as several other helpful prayers. This small book is a very useful introduction to consoling spirituality.

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