October 24, 2014

Consecrate yourself to Jesus through Mary to obtain holiness, priest says

Marian of the Immaculate Conception Father Michael Gaitley asks a question on Sept. 20 during the eighth Indiana Catholic Men’s Conference at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown. (Photo by Sean Gallagher)

Marian of the Immaculate Conception Father Michael Gaitley asks a question on Sept. 20 during the eighth Indiana Catholic Men’s Conference at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown. (Photo by Sean Gallagher)

By Mike Krokos and Sean Gallagher

Marian of the Immaculate Conception Father Michael Gaitley admitted he didn’t always want to be a priest.

A native of southern California, he noted that becoming a professional beach volleyball player was his first career aspiration as a teenager.

Father Gaitley said his family did not regularly practice the faith, but his mother had a conversion experience and, a few years later, “a fire started growing in his heart.”

As a young adult, he started reading books about the lives of the saints and later attended Franciscan University of Steubenville in Steubenville, Ohio.

After arriving on campus, he read a book about St. Louis de Montfort and consecrated his life to Jesus through Mary. He began praying more and became open to a vocation to the priesthood.

Still, the college student struggled with trusting that God was calling him to a life of ordained ministry, and whether he was worthy of becoming a priest.

During that time, his father was diagnosed with a serious form of cancer. The college student prayed the chaplet of Divine Mercy many times that his dad would be cured. His dad, “who virtually had no faith,” returned to the Church after his diagnosis and was healed, he noted.

“The Divine Mercy stuff is true,” Father Gaitley said. “I wanted confirmation. I tested it out, and it was true. It doesn’t always works out that way, right, when we pray. In my case, I needed some type of confirmation because I wanted to believe in God’s love. I had real issues with accepting God’s love for me—I thought I was too weak, broken and sinful.”

God couldn’t have confirmed his love for all people in a better way than through his dad, Father Gaitley said.

“What’s amazing for me is that Divine Mercy … went to the black sheep, my dad,” he said, “which is the confirmation of the very thing I was looking for. The heart of Jesus loves the weakest, most broken souls the most because that is the nature of his heart.”

The truth about Divine Mercy, Father Gaitley continued, is “the more weak, broken and sinful [we are], the more his merciful love goes out to us,” Father Gaitley said.

Following lunch, Father Gaitley expanded his reflection from the morning sessions on how consecrating oneself to Jesus through Mary is the “quickest, easiest way to holiness.”

He noted that such a consecration is not a shield against suffering in the life of faith. However, growing in one’s relationship with Mary can change a person’s experience of suffering.

He went on to explain that this was the mission that Jesus gave to Mary in her relationship with his followers.

“Jesus gave us a spiritual mother who is perfect, and who will always be there for us at the moments of deepest darkness,” said Father Gaitley. “That’s what he wanted us to have with consecration to Mary. Just as Mary was to Christ when he was dying on the cross, a drop of consolation in the midst of an ocean of bitterness, similarly he wants her to be for us a consolation in terms of our sufferings. That’s the Marian consecration.” †

 

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