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The Marian Father of the Immaculate Conception priest jokingly called his talk “the Thérèse vs Faustina debate.” He was encouraging students to spend the final days of the Year of Mercy preparing to consecrate themselves to Divine Love in the manner of St. Thérèse of Lisieux and St. Faustina.
The popular priest is author of the Marian consecration book 33 Days to Morning Glory and visited campus in 2013 to help celebrate the consecration of Benedictine College to Mary by leading hundreds of students to consecrate themselves to Mary annually.
This year, he handed out free copies of his follow-up “do it yourself retreat” book, 33 Days to Merciful Love. Archbishop Joseph Naumann is recommending the book for all Catholics in the Archdiocese of Kansas City-Kan. to close out the Year of Mercy, which ends Nov. 19.
Here are ten quotes that help sum up the message of Mercy Father Gaitley delivered.
1: “The power that will change the world isn’t in the media and it isn’t in politics,” he said. “Do you know where the real power lies? It’s in schools like Benedictine College where young people want to become saints.”
2: “While there are many conveniences in the modern world, it is also true that evil has a reach in our day than any other time in the history of humanity. But Romans 5:20 is also true: ‘Where sin abounds, grace abounds even more.’”
3: “Now is the time of mercy! In a time of great evil, God gives even greater graces. It’s a time when God is making it in a certain sense easier to become a saint.”
4: “Trust is the shortcut to becoming a saint — radical confidence in the infinite mercy of God.
5: “All of us have a desire for greatness in our life, but greatness is not based on power or fame or how many Facebook friends we have. It is based on saintliness. Saintliness is what we long for, and when that greatness seems out of our reach, it’s a cross.”
6: “Effort in the spiritual life is absolutely necessary and, in a sense, it’s absolutely useless. If a toddler doesn’t try to climb the staircase, the father won’t help him to the top. But if we try, he will lift us in his compassionate arms and raises us all the way to the top. The Little Way is basically about this: Trusting and trying.”
7: “Even if you fall on your face a thousand million times, you can still become a saint if you keep trying.”
8: “John Henry Newman talks about two kinds of saints. The angel saints and the human saints. Maybe you can’t become an angel saint. Fine. Be a weak, human saint — like St. Peter, one of the all-time greats.”
9: “One of the biggest ways you can be sure you’re going to purgatory is if you refuse to forgive. Give up bitterness, avoidance, the silent treatment, all those things that are signs of lack of forgiveness.”
10: “God’s mercy is like water, it always flows to the lowest place.”
The Gregorian Institute is Benedictine College’s initiative to promote Catholic identity in public life by equipping leaders (the Gregorian speech digest), training leaders (the Gregorian Fellows), defending the faith (the Memorare Army for Religious Freedom), and celebrating Catholic identity (the Catholic Hall of Fame).