Fr. Gaitley urges crowd to keep trying and trusting

By Katie Chrisman

Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC, a nationally-known speaker and author, was in the diocese November 3 to 6 to give a talk based on his book, 33 Days to Merciful Love. He gave talks at four locations in the diocese - Pueblo, Alamosa, Durango and Grand Junction. This event was a part of the diocese’s ongoing celebration of its 75th Anniversary.

He used stories and humor to speak about the life of St. Therese of Lisieux, one of the patronesses of the Diocese of Pueblo, and how her “little way” is an encouragement for all on the faith journey now in this “time of mercy.” He emphasized trust and continually trying to become a saint, adding stories about St. Therese’s own brokenness. “Therese teaches us not to be discouraged,” he said.

He recounted St. Therese’s life from abandonment in her early life, how she was bullied in school and how she was often considered a “cry baby.” Even through all her weakness, God removed the stones from her path. “God can cleanse us in an instant,” Fr. Gaitley said.

Therese, like many of the great saints, had a “night of faith,” in the last year of her life. She doubted her faith but clung on with trust. “St. Therese had great insight into the mystery of the heart of Jesus because she was so weak her heart was more hollowed out to receive more mercy.”

He went on to illustrate this point of weakness when he talked about the differences in what Blessed John Henry Newman called “angel saints” and “human saints.” Those angel saints are those frequently read about in books, who are “admirable but not imitable.” Human saints, however, are those who had flaws and weaknesses. Among those he recognized in this category were Saint Peter, who is recorded multiple times in Scripture doubting and denying Jesus and Saint Paul who infamously persecuted Christians before his conversion.

Father Gaitley continued to ask the crowd throughout the talk, “Do you think you could become saints?” He emphasized that, like Therese, if we only keep trying and trusting and recognizing our brokenness that even if we see ourselves as weak, God can and will make us into saints. “God can and will raise us to the height of holiness,” he said.

Fr. Gaitley encouraged everyone to do the consecration of merciful love which can be done after working through his book, 33 Day to Merciful Love. If you missed the dates for the diocesan-wide consecration, it’s not too late to participate on your own. His book can be purchased at www.shopmercy.org.