The Cardinal Arinze podcasts I mentioned in my previous post are produced by the Apostolate for Family Consecration. This is a wonderful ministry seeking to strengthen families in our Catholic faith. They have numerous programs and resources to support your family vocation. As we see the evil that besets the world it is easy to become discouraged. Yet through this apostolate the Church militant is strengthened family by family.
I have a rather ambitious suggestion for Lent. The Apostolate for Family Consecration is all about dedicating your family to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through Mary:
You are about to enter upon the most powerful spiritual adventure for you and your family in your pilgrimage of faith on earth. That adventure is following Pope John Paul II on the journey to union with God through Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary, in union with St. Joseph.
Early in his life, Pope John Paul II made his Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary according to the formula of St. Louis de Montfort. This union with Jesus through His Mother has been the guiding force for his priesthood, episcopate and papacy, giving him the strength and wisdom to have led the universal Church into the Third Christian Millennium of hope. Pope John Paul II is an inspiration to us all at this crossroads in history, and we believe his teachings will go on until the end of time.
This is a four-step process. First there is an online video, The Message of Hope, you watch as a family. Secondly you enthrone an image of the Holy Family in your home. The video, Holy Family image and the ceremony are all available at the consecration web site. Now comes the ambitious part:
Step three is a 40-day family retreat. While you can do this anytime during the year, the Apostolate for Family Consecration will begin a world wide webcast on February 20. Each day there will be a reading and reflection. You can find the podcast on iTunes. Just search the iTunes store for “family consecration”. You can also purchase a book from the family consecration web site for a written version of the retreat. On day thirty-four you make your formal consecration. The remaining six days reflect on this commitment.
Step four is a commitment to life-long faith formation. We can never become complacent in our faith and think we are “good enough”. We must constantly push ourselves to spiritually grow and develop. Go ahead and get started on steps one and two so you will be ready to begin step three on February 20.
Imagine the power of thousands of Catholic families praying together for forty days. It can be life-changing and world-changing.
UPDATE: My family and I just completed the first step, watching the video Message of Hope. If there was any doubt about the value of Family Consecration before we watched the video, we are definitely on board now. Give it a try!