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Here are this week’s must-reads:

+ “Answered prayers and unanswered prayers. Fulfillment and loss. Joy and tragedy. It runs and climbs and shouts before my eyes every moment I’m awake. Living in this tension would be impossible, if not for the Cross. When I cast my eyes there, I’m consoled. For I remember God is always with us, working in the brokenness to lead us to life.” — Emily Stimpson Chapman

+ “I’m convinced that we struggle to pray when wounded, not because of the pain itself but because of our beliefs about the pain. Those beliefs can block our pathway to free conversation with God. If you’re in pain and trying to pray about it, consider the following:

God’s love for you transcends all the whys and wherefores—what happened and whose fault it was and how you responded, and so on. Divine Love is most concerned that you turn to God with whatever feelings and experiences you have. Jesus’ first response to wounded people was to heal them; he didn’t go on about how their misfortune was the logical outcome of their bad choices. He didn’t begin with a lecture but with compassion. Sometimes, he saw that the person needed forgiveness as well as healing, and he would say, “Your sins are forgiven.” But FIRST, he tended the wounds. That is how he looks at you now—someone in need of healing and comfort.” — Vinita Wright

+ “Do you think you’ve failed at Lent? Did all your plans go off the rails in dramatic fashion, or did you slowly drop your commitments, one by one? It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if you were perfect at Lent or if you messed it up in a hundred ways. We can’t earn what Jesus does for us, what he has given us, or what he invites us into. Wherever you are right now, whatever mess you find yourself in, God knows all about it, and Holy Week is an invitation to go deeper. To draw closer. To watch and see and remember just how much Jesus loves you. To the end.” — Danielle Bean

+ Guided Prayer: A Meditation on the Wounds of Christ: In this talk, Beth shares a meditative prayer using a Crucifix. She guides us in a prayer over the wounds of Jesus. This is a beautiful way to slow down and reflect on the Lord Jesus Christ’s love for all of us, and to unite ourselves to Him this Lent.

+ Are we generous with the Lord? Mary of Bethany was generous with the Lord — washing His feet with the perfume in today’s Gospel, at that dinner together, and it brought Him joy. How can we be extravagant with God this week? How can we be lavish with Him? How can we abandon practicality in the name of Love?

+ “‘Our beloved Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going to waken him…’ If anything strikes us as final, it’s death, isn’t it? The person’s dead – he’s gone, that’s it, that’s over. But look how insouciantly (casually) Jesus refers to death: ‘Oh, Lazarus, he’s asleep, I’m going to wake him.’ What that is, everybody, is the sovereign authority and power of God. Yes, to us, death looks absolute and final, but it’s not absolute and final to God. To God, it’s a matter of waking someone from sleep – it’s the sovereignty of the Son of God over death… (And) When Jesus sees the people around the tomb weeping, He weeps… He weeps here at the tomb of Lazarus. The Incarnation means that God enters into our human condition – God takes to himself a human nature, in such a radical way, that He thinks with a human mind, he wills with a human will, and he weeps from human eyes. It’s God’s intimate participation in the fullness of our humanity even at this place where we weep in our anguish over the death of a friend. God weeps, God shares that with us… this is God who enters into the nitty gritty, all the particularity and pain of being human. It’s a great comfort…” Yes, yes, it is. 💜(from Bishop Barron’s Sunday Mass homily 3/29/2020)

+ “We are not self-sufficient; by ourselves we flounder: we need the Lord, like ancient navigators needed the stars. Let us invite Jesus into the boats of our lives. Let us hand over our fears to him so that he can conquer them. Like the disciples, we will experience that with him on board there will be no shipwreck. Because this is God’s strength: turning to the good everything that happens to us, even the bad things. He brings serenity into our storms, because with God life never dies.” — Pope Francis

+ On our good days, on our bad days, He is constant and faithful. He is here.

+ Fiat: “Yes to what I fear and cannot comprehend. Yes to what I hear and do not understand. Yes to what is near places now in Your hands.” — A.J. Clishem

This is one of my favorite little poems. It’s also one of those things I try to remember to say when faced with the unthinkable. There are so many beautiful things to meditate on in The Annunciation. I love to remember that, “grace will come at the right moment.” Maybe not before we are called to do x, y and z — but in the very present moment we’re called to do it.

+ 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 being generous with Jesus), and links to budget-friendly fashion & home decor.

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