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Here are this week’s must-reads:

+ Jesus’ condition for discipleship: “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” (Luke 9:22) How do you do that on a daily basis? I’m always looking for concrete, tangible ways to follow Him — I think a lot of us look for that, because we want to follow, we want to do it, but sometimes the path doesn’t feel so clear. Maybe that’s when we’re in the desert and the sand and the wind make it harder to see Him. Here, then, let’s pray: Help me remain with you, Lord Jesus. Help me walk with you. When I don’t understand, help me to see and to stay with you, Lord.

…. But really, guys, how are you denying yourself, picking up your cross and following Jesus each day? I’d love if we could share some ideas… Here are some that come to mind:

+ Making the Lord a priority right when we first wake up: prayer time, time to read the daily Mass reading, daily Mass, listening to the Bible-in-a-year podcast
+ Prioritizing scheduling prayer time or Mass before everything else
+ Serving those nearest to us — whether that’s our husband, family, friends, or co-workers. Looking at their needs and trying to fill those before considering fulfilling our desires. Cooking for them — making their preference for dinner instead of our own. Spending time with them. Reaching out to people we haven’t spoken to in a while. Checking-in on the people we care about.
+ Cutting down on complaining
+ Accepting sufferings with more surrendering and more trust that the Lord is with us
+ Praying for God’s will and not just what we want in the intentions we continue to bring to Him

…. What else comes to mind for you? Feel free to share that here 🙂 The comments have some good ideas!

+ “…before the day overwhelms you, come close & feel His love over all of you. Let His love words shape your world today… Today’s gentle Soul-talk : ‘Whenever I feel like I’m losing my way — I will open His Word. His Word shows the Way.’ Reading His Word is not about getting Him to love you… but about getting yourself to the place where *you can hear Him tell you He loves you.* Start in that place today, the place where you open His Word & hear Him tell you He loves you. Don’t try to face the day, until you’ve sought the face of God.” — Ann Voskamp

+ “Jesus gives all to those who surrender all.” – St. Bernadette Soubirous

+ “The remarkable thing, however, is that sitting in the presence of God for one hour each morning—day after day, week after week, month after month—in total confusion and with myriad distractions radically changes my life. God, who loves me so much that he sent his only son not to condemn me but to save me, does not leave me waiting in the dark too long. I might think that each hour is useless, but after thirty or sixty or ninety such useless hours, I gradually realize that I was not as alone as I thought; a very small, gentle voice has been speaking to me far beyond my noisy place. So, be confident and trust in the Lord.” – Henri Nouwen, You Are the Beloved 

+ “Altars are places where things are transformed. Bring your memories and wounds to the altar.”

+ “Have you ever heard of consolations and desolations? Consolations are the voice of God speaking within you. These thoughts are life-giving. They fill you with hope and peace. Even when you’ve done wrong, the consolations of God are encouraging, helping you turn back to his love and his mercy. Desolations are the voice of the evil one, trying to insert his tricks into your mind. These thoughts bring fear, anxiety, confusion, despair. They make you feel hopeless and oppressed. Desolations tempt to distance you from God and distract you from your vocation. But what do we do when desolations occur? Because they can be the most tricky of lies… (read more here — it’s a great read).

+ “So, if you find yourself already starting to compare what you’re doing with what someone else is doing this Lenten season, stop. The Evil One loves when we compare ourselves to others – especially in the realm of spiritual practices. Instead, focus on you. Focus on what the Lord is specifically inviting you to do this Lent. Don’t get discouraged if you fail. Pick yourself up and start fresh the next day. Go to confession, if need be. On the flipside of that, if you’re doing well, don’t boast about it. Instead, pray for those who are struggling. Y’all, we can’t do this spiritual life alone. We need each other. Rather than comparing ourselves to what others are doing, let’s pray for each other this Lent so that we can rejoice together at Easter.” — Fr. Tom Pringle

+ Scripture Verses to Pray During Times of Anxiety

+ I prayed the Rosary with Jill from Many Hail Marys last weekyou can still pray it with me after the fact here!

+ “The truth of who we are, what we have become, what we have done, what we have failed to do is necessary because without such a reckoning we would remain in the dark place of denial, and in that dark place, we would languish in misery. But this reckoning is meant to bring us out of the darkness, not deeper into it. Lent, if it is observed rightly, is a spiritual passage that can culminate in forgiveness and in the possibility of a second chance.” — Fr. Steve Grunow

+ “When are you free? You are free when you’re willing to do what God wants, Before the Infinite, only before the Infinite is man free, detached from himself. When you are like this, you’re immediately ready to feel and meet the needs of others.”
Luigi Giussani

+ “Each follower of Christ will face the same three enemies until the end of his life. These three enemies are the world, the flesh, and the devil…”

+ I met my husband eleven years ago! 🙂

+ Lastly, here’s what’s featured in this week’s Catholic Wife, Catholic Life NewsletterI share these every Monday and they always include: two gluten-free recipes, a reflection & prayer based on Sunday’s Mass readings (this week, it’s about overcoming shame), and links to budget-friendly fashion & home decor.

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