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Here are this week’s must-reads:

+ “God doesn’t need you to write a dozen books for Him or preach the Gospel to fifty thousand people. He doesn’t need you to do anything. He just loves you, for your sake. He thought you up all on His own. You were an idea in His head before you were a baby in your mother’s womb. He loved you then. He loves you now. Your value to Him is not your work or your gifts or your accomplishments. It’s not about what you can do for Him. It’s about your existence. You bring Him joy because you are.”Emily Stimpson-Chapman

+ “Think about St. Paul. This whole famous thorn of flesh. Three times, he begs the Lord to take it away. Three times meaning, like, all the time in Bible speak. So, begging Him to take away this hidden recurring pain. And yet the Lord says, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, My power is made perfect in weakness,’ Which is to say to him, an important prerequisite of real intimacy and closeness with God the Father is that you need to learn to be comfortable having this dangling sense of insecurity as embodied by the thorn of flesh.

“But, you see, hold that thought and compare that to the Blessed Virgin Mary, She rejoices at her nothingness. You see that, for example, in the visitation when she encounters her cousin Elizabeth, and she proclaims that great hymn of praise, the Magnificat, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord,’ And the idea is that, I rejoice in my nothingness because through that, the Lord, who is everything, His glory is magnified through me, And so, again, in contrast to St. Paul, Mary rejoices in her nothingness because in that, God is great. She’s comfortable with being a single drop of water to allow the Lord to be the great abundance of wine.” Fr. Eric Mah, The Pray More Lenten Retreat

+ “In the light of Mary, the Church sees in the face of women the reflection of a beauty which mirrors the loftiest sentiments of which the human heart is capable: the self-offering totality of love; the strength that is capable of bearing the greatest sorrows…” — St. John Paul II

+ “Something really beautiful about how St. Joseph carried out his mission and vocation in life is that he threw himself into it – he dedicated himself to it completely, so much so that you might say he disappeared into it…

Fr. Steve Grunow from Word on Fire Ministries has written: “Perhaps the silence of St. Joseph is his most profound witness. Saints are not celebrities, who leverage every detail about their lives as means to be known and recognized. A saint is someone who in their desire to be like Christ is able and willing to disappear into the mission God gives to them…”

I love to reflect on this. I think many of us can relate to this at times – feling a little like we’ve disappeared into our families and homes, maybe at times feeling insignificant because of hte unnoticed and unknown ways we love and serve our families. But St. Joseph reminds us, like so many other saints do, that our unnoticed love and service to others may be exactly what we’re called to do for a very specific purpose. — read here

+ “When prayer seems dry, and God seems far away, and there are no consolations… and you’re tempted to give up and go away, and do something that seems more productive and “worthwhile” when other things beckon and call you away, stay. Stay so that when He speaks, you are there to hear. Stay with Him this Lent, press close to His heart, ask Him to reveal His voice to you…” — Claire Dwyer

+ “Jesus separates your infirmity from your identity”

+ “Lenten commitments are different from New Year’s resolutions. In resolutions, the goal is self improvement, and while that may be a fruit of our fasting it is not the reason we make Lenten commitments. In Lent, the goal is intimacy with Christ.” — marriedandahouse

+ “Our Lord wants to quench our thirst, like the Samaritan Woman, we need only recognize that we are thirsty and tired. Humbly, Our Lord bears our thirst and meets us at the well. He will offer us living water, water that grants us eternal life, water that pours out from His pierced side. Go to Him.” — Good Catholic Media

+ “A strong marriage usually doesn’t have two strong spouses at the same time. Spouses usually take turns being strong when the other is weak with both being willing to bear their collective burdens together, and God does the heaviest lifting.” Stronger Marriages

+ ““Whether we do a lot of housework or a little of it, whether we keep house only for ourselves or for other people as well, housework forms part of the basic patterning of our lives, a pattern that we might identify as a kind of ‘litany of everyday life.”Margaret Kim Peterson

⭐ Here’s what’s featured in this week’s Catholic Wife, Catholic Life Collection.

I 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 & Catholic home decor. When I’m creating them, I always look up the upcoming feast days and find pieces to complement them so that you can have some examples of how to decorate for the different feasts & Liturgical seasons! Those who sign up also get a long list of promo codes to some amazing Catholic businesses, including 25% off to The Catholic Company.

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