1. The first apparition at Fatima and the shooting of Pope John Paul II in St. Peter’s Square
both occurred on May 13th at 5 p.m. John Paul II did not consider this a coincidence.
What is a coincidence anyway? Have you experienced any coincidences in your life? Do
you believe, as John Paul II did, that “in the designs of Providence, there are no mere
coincidences”? If so, what do you believe God is saying through such “God-incidences”
in your life? If not, what explanation do you give to others of the two instances being
similar in time, circumstances, or outcome?
2. Mary’s motherly attentiveness to the details of the couple being married at Cana begins
Jesus’ public life with the miracle of the water become wine. The lack of wine has been
described as a symbol of the lack of joy in human life without God’s grace. What human
needs might Mary be attentive to and then bring to Jesus for his miraculous intervention
if she were invited to your home today?
1. Be careful of things that block contact with Jesus, Mother Teresa warns. What are the
things that block you? Make a list of the interior things (worries, life’s past hurts, past
mistakes, or even forgiven sins) and the exterior things (grocery lists, errands, appointments, daily responsibilities — phone conversations!) that interfere with daily one-to-one contact with the One who loves and longs for you eternally.
2. Are you practicing the daily examen (found in endnote n. 73 on pages 187-189 of 33
Days to Morning Glory)? Are you dwelling on daily blessings instead of daily annoyances,
daily opportunities instead of daily difficulties? What do you perceive as interferences with
the regular practice of the daily examen in your life? How can you incorporate it into your
1. Saint Thomas Aquinas says all creation is in a circular motion from God and back to God.
Have you experienced this movement in miniature in your prayer and spiritual life? What
is usually the precursor of your feeling distant from God and then returning to him? What
do you ask of Mary to help you become closer to God for longer periods or more frequently? (see CCC, nn. 2742-2745)
2. Love and trust are always partners. Learning to love the Immaculata takes a great deal
of trust, which involves dependence on her intercession, letting ourselves be led by her,
accepting her direction, speaking our prayers to her directly from our hearts. What
experiences with trust, becoming dependent on someone and taking direction from
him or her, have you had in the past? Do you look forward to these experiences of
dependence on Mary?
1. Part of Marian consecration involves entrusting ourselves totally to Mary so she can bring us to Jesus. And she does so in union with her spouse, the Holy Spirit, in the best way possible. For her to bring us to Jesus, though, we need to let go of always trying to do everything ourselves and from thinking that everything depends on us. Take your best guess at the following questions: What is the first thing I need to become detached from? Will it be difficult to become detached from it? Will it take time?
2.Have you heard the phrase to "offer up" something, either for another person or some special intention? What was your internal response? Did you ask for the grace you need to do this? How will Marian consecration help with this aspect of your spiritual efforts?
This preparation for consecration is similar to Mary's heart pondering. There are no additional hours you need to set aside for pondering, because pondering can be done throughout the day. The readings simply fill and prepare our heart because of your prayerful reading of them. What time of day will you set aside for this reading?
What goals do you have for this retreat that you would like to share with the group?