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Here are this week’s must-reads:

+ “Remember those things you did that first won your spouse over? Don’t ever stop doing them.” — Marriage

+ “This cross that I’ve been assigned has increased my empathy and understanding, it has led me to be an advocate for my students who struggle with their own mental health issues, and it has urged me to challenge some of the stigmas that surround mental health issues in Catholic and Christian circles. Not only that, but those who have helped me bear this cross have been to me the face of God, my light in the darkness, my Simon of Cyrenes and my Marys and my Veronicas.” — Caitlin Sica

+ “It’s your wounds that give God access to your heart.” — Father Michael Schmitz

+ Some of my favorite St. Joan of Arc quotes (her feast day was Sunday and I actually found prints with all of these quotes in this week’s newsletter here — you can scroll down to see the previews too):

“Act and God will act”

“Go forward bravely, fear nothing, trust in God, all will be well.”

“I am not afraid. I was born to do this.”

— St. Joan of Arc

+ “Prayer begins by talking to God, but it ends by listening to Him. In the face of Absolute Truth, silence is the soul’s language.” — Fulton Sheen

+ “Taking our cue from the Gospel of John and Fr. Jacques Philippe, we know we have to jump, trusting that God is there for us. Here are some tips to help! Admit your fear. Say, “God, I’m afraid to jump,” and give him your fears about the outcome. Pick something you’re afraid to do (it can be small), and do it anyway. Trust that whatever the outcome, God has a hand in it. Invoke the help of Mary and the saints. Ask a saint to pray for you and intercede on your behalf.” — Dr. Sri

+ “Sharing our lives with others is hard. But good. Family (or community) is the place that iron most perfectly sharpens iron. It’s the place where we become experts in humanity and become formed in our own humanity.” — Friars of the Renewal

+ Patron Saint of Laughter & Joy

+ “There are many many healthy ways to handle conflict and conflict resolution… but one of our favorite strategies is asking for a ‘do-over.’ ⁠⁠If you find yourself in a conflict with your spouse, maybe you say something that was out of line in the heat of the moment… instead of defending yourself when you realize you were wrong, try humbling yourself to the point of saying: “I’m sorry, can we start over?”⁠⁠It may feel funny at first, but trust us when we say this is a very good technique that actually breeds healthy habits!⁠⁠ Remember, it’s NEVER too late to ask for a do-over! Try it for yourself the next time you mess up, and you’ll see what we mean!” — Renew the I Do

+ “Dear brothers and sisters, the Name of Jesus, invoked by our Saint (Joan of Arc, my confirmation saint) until the very last moments of her earthly life was like the continuous breathing of her soul, like the beating of her heart, the centre of her whole life.” (Pope Benedict XVI) May it be the center of ours too… Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. ❤️❤️❤️

+ Fun fact: I love commencement speeches — always have. Here’s an excerpt from one that I heard about four years ago: “To me, my definition of success is my 16-year marriage. Success is my three amazing sons. No matter how cliche it sounds, you will never truly be successful until you learn to give beyond yourself…” One of my favorite poems incorporates a similar sentiment, as it reads, “Just beyond yourself // It’s where you(‘re meant) to be.” (David Whyte) That’s always stuck with me. A reminder in good times & bad, the answer — to pain, to loneliness, to unanswered prayers — is not to retreat into ourselves. The answer is beyond ourselves. “Half a step into self-forgetting and the rest restored by what you’ll meet,” as the poem goes on to say.

+ 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, and links to budget-friendly fashion & home decor.

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