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Father Michael Gaitley Zoomed into Benedictine College’s Leadership Class Monday, Jan. 18, to give students a talk that combined insights from his newest book, 33 Days to Greater Glory, about love of the Father, with a method of examination of conscience he shared in his books Consoling the Heart of Jesus and 33 Days to Morning Glory.
In 2013, the popular Marians of the Immaculate priest visited campus after Abbot James Albers consecrated Benedictine College to the Blessed Virgin Mary. He helped lead hundreds of students to consecrate themselves to Mary that year and has returned frequently ever since.
Father Gaitley’s examination of conscience method uses the acronym B.A.K.E.R. (review the day’s Blessings; Ask for grace to see your sins, Know where your sins “Kill” Jesus; let his mercy Embrace you; Resolve to do better).
Here is some of what Father Michael Gaitley told the college audience on Monday.
The Importance of the Examination
1: “For St. Ignatius the examination of conscience is one of the most powerful spiritual exercises a person can do outside of the sacraments. He believed that if you put into practice the examination of conscience you could learn to see God in all things, by reviewing the blessings in your life.”
2: “Spend most of your time in your examination of conscience on the blessings you received that day. Was it a conversation? Something you read? Something you saw in nature? Think of anything that‘s true, good, beautiful, any touch of grace.“
3: “My life before age 20 was a blur. If you never reflect on your life, it just flies by. When I started my examination of conscience, renewing the blessings in my life, it slowed down, in a good way. Research has found that this is what people most regret. … their life was a blur. In philosophy Socrates said the unexamined life is not worth living. This is what Ignatius discovered about the Spiritual life.”
Don’t Listen to the Devil
4: “The problem is that the devil is very good at getting us to doubt God’s love for us. Ask Adam and Eve.”
5: “Instead of turning to the merciful Father, we hide when we sin, just like Adam and Eve.”
6: “Allow the Lord to embrace you with his divine grace. Satan likes to take your sins and shove your face nto them and not let you up.”
See the Father All Around
7: “In order to recognize the Father we have to develop eyes to see the Father by reviewing the blessings he sends us.”
8: “Jesus in the Eucharist is a very concrete expression of his love for us, but so are the blessing we receive each day — God’s providence. Stop and notice them … He loves us in everything. In him we live and move and have our being.”
9: “When God the Father sees that someone is recognizing his blessings, the more he gives, and you start seeing them all the time.”
10: “Like he says to Jesus, the Father says to us: ‘You are my beloved.’ He never stops saying to us ‘You are my beloved’ in the blessings he sends.”
Two Bonus Quotes
“Ignatius says : ‘God is always laboring to speak to us in all things.’ He is wanting, desiring, straining to speak to his beloved children.”
“The boring life is the life when we’re not seeing God. If we aren’t seeing God, our life is just boring. Remember when you were a kid, and everything was interesting? You could stare at a leaf. That is the reality of a Christian life.”