What follows is a summary of Marian Missionary spirituality. To learn more about the practical aspects of how you can become a Marian Missionary, see the Three Levels of Commitment.
A Spirituality to Become Saints
The Marian Missionaries of Divine Mercy provides a spirituality for priests, religious, and most especially, laypeople. Even more specifically, it’s geared toward those who want to become saints but who may see themselves as too weak, broken, and sinful to ever hope to achieve great sanctity.
An “Easy” Time to Become a Saint
Drawing upon the testimony of St. John Paul II that “now is the time of mercy,” the Marian Missionaries joyfully embrace this special moment of grace, a grace that accords with Romans 5:20: “Where sin abounded, grace abounded all the more.” At the heart of this abounding grace is the good news that, in a certain sense, God is making it easier than ever before to become great saints, especially through the teachings of the main patrons of the Missionaries, namely, Saints John Paul II, Thérèse of Lisieux, Faustina Kowalska, Mother Teresa, and Maximilian Kolbe.
Through an Encounter with Tenderness
Inspired by our patrons, the Marian Missionaries feel called to a great sanctity that is not fundamentally determined by ardent spiritual labors. Rather, first and foremost, this sanctity is the fruit of discovering the incredible tenderness of the Heart of Jesus, a tenderness beautifully depicted in the original Image of Divine Mercy. It’s the fruit of a daily encounter with that tenderness, where our great misery meets God’s greater mercy. It’s the fruit of a firm commitment to love others with the same tenderness that we ourselves have received from the Lord. Finally, it’s the fruit of our trust in the power of Divine Mercy to transform us into great saints, into living Images of Divine Mercy.
Facilitated by Mary
Of course, as Marian Missionaries of Divine Mercy, the Immaculate Mother of God has a special role in all of this. She’s the one who, with her Spouse, the Holy Spirit, helps pull aside the veil that prevents us from seeing the goodness and tender mercy of God. She’s the one who obtains for us the grace of the Holy Spirit to repent of sin and then to believe, accept, and trust in Divine Mercy. She’s the one who, therefore, obtains for us the joy of the Gospel, which is the fundamental spiritual attitude of every Marian Missionary of Divine Mercy.
Formed by 33-Day Retreats
Now, this summary of the Missionary spirituality gets fleshed out and becomes something concrete and real through the books that you see above. Because those books are so important for understanding and embracing the spirituality, let’s briefly look at what they’re all about.
Admittedly, there are a lot of books in that image above. So where do we begin? Well, while one can read them in any order, here’s the ideal sequence. First, start with 33 Days to Morning Glory. That book is about Mary and, at least implicitly, her Spouse, the Holy Spirit. But it doesn’t end with Mary and the Holy Spirit. They bring us to a personal encounter with Jesus in his mercy, which is what 33 Days to Merciful Love is all about. But it doesn’t end with Jesus, either. Jesus brings us home to God, our Father, whom we get to know in 33 Days to Greater Glory. More specifically, relying on the Gospel of John, that book highlights the greater glory of the Mass that brings us through Christ, with Christ, and in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, into the communion of love that ends with God our Father and embraces us even now.
In summary (and this is what the forthcoming book 33 Days to Mary, Mercy, and Community is all about), you might say that the Marian Missionary spirituality really comes down to three things. You guessed it: Mary, Mercy, and Community.
Now, if you want to go more deeply into the spirituality, you’ll also want to read the books at the bottom of the image above, the books that correspond to 33 Days to Morning Glory (Mary), 33 Days to Merciful Love (Mercy), and 33 Days to Greater Glory (Community). You may also want to participate in the Hearts Afire Programs, which cover the various books through the experience of small group community. (See AllHeartsAfire.org.) Finally, because a spirituality is best communicated not through books and programs but by those who strive to incarnate its ideals, we invite you to come visit the vibrant community of Marian Missionaries at their headquarters in Lee, Massachusetts, which is just down the street from the National Shrine of Divine Mercy in Stockbridge. (To schedule a visit, contact us at info@MarianMissionaries.org.)
A Missionary Commitment
Now, to actually become a Marian Missionary of Divine Mercy requires something more than a spirituality found in books, small-group programs, or a specific community. It requires a concrete commitment to that spirituality. Such commitment, after initial formation is complete, actually makes a person a Marian Missionary of Divine Mercy. Because such commitment is so important, let’s now look at the Three Levels of Commitment within the Marian Missionaries of Divine Mercy, which gives structure to the community.