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Here are this week’s must-reads:

+ “Are You Fully Alive?… To be fully alive is not equivalent to the modern notion of “living life to its fullest.”  When many people talk about living life to its fullest, what they really mean is that we should indulge in as many pleasures as possible, pamper ourselves, and just be comfortable.  Not that there’s anything wrong with pampering ourselves once in a while, but that’s not exactly what St. Irenaeus meant. To be fully alive means enjoying a deep friendship with the Lord, the effect of which is a life of virtue (faith, hope, love, charity, justice, fortitude, prudence, and all the other virtues). 

And living virtuously has a beautiful reward: in the depths of our souls we experience the fruits of the Holy Spirit for which we all long (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, generosity, faithfulness, self-control).” — Catholic Exchange

+ “Jesus, I want to love You, but sometimes I don’t know how. Sometimes I don’t know how to put my will and desires aside so I can focus solely on Yours for me.
I become so intensely focused on my feelings and emotions, worried about my happiness or getting answers, that I don’t see your Hand even though it is so clearly before me. I want to Love You Jesus, fully and without hesitation. Show me how to Love You.” — Catherine

+ I don’t like the saying, “Everything happens for a reason.” I can’t imagine myself saying that to one of my loved ones in their deepest pain — that’s just not how I comfort the people I love. But. Sometimes, saying it to myself — rather, *imaging it* myself about the pains *I* suffer… Sometimes that makes the weight of these burdens just a little lighter.

I don’t always have an easy time believing it — seeing how there could be a reason for this or that. But today as I imagined the chains on Peter — and the time he spent with them on, I thought about what that time was like for him. I asked questions like, “Why — why did he have to be in this situation?” The Lord must have had a reason for allowing Saint Peter to have those chains kept on for however long he did, and I’d like to believe He has some special purpose for our chains too. We may not know it now or in five years or ever, but I’d like to try to live like that—like there is some special purpose for this time, here and now, because living like that actually does make the weight and burdens a little lighter for me.

So again, we may not know the “why” for our suffering, but another question we can ask and pray through is, “How and where? How should I live in this season, just as it is, and where do you want me to go from here, Lord?” Because maybe someday, He’ll break those chains and ask us to follow Him on to the next thing, and the work we did in this particular season — how we lived — may very well prepare us for that. — here

+ “We cannot understand the role of suffering in the Christian life unless we first know the role of victory.” — Catholic Revival Ministry

+ “This week, we will: Begin our days with the One who made the sun rise. Yes, there is a lot going on and always much to do; however, before we grab our phones or let our minds reel, we will sit back and remember this: We are LOVED…” — Cleerely Stated

+ “In my own journey I have learned to trust most those who have suffered. Those who have kissed the cross because this kiss changes the way you see the world, the way you see and relate to others.⁣ And one of the biggest reasons I am grateful for my crosses is because it creates an intimacy with both stranger and friend that wouldn’t have existed if my life were easy.⁣.. Suffering is the universal language. And so is hope. And as you are suffering and hoping I want you to know that I see you.” — Kristine

+ “Grief does not equate to a lack of faith.” — Sarah Rose

+ The Healing Christ Wants for You with Sr. Miriam James Heidland

+ “John the Baptist preached, “He must increase; I must decrease.” This is how we are to identify, and this is how we hope others see us. Our life, quite simply, is not about us. It’s about Him. God is not just the main thing, He is the only thing. Of course the Canticle of Zechariah isn’t really about John. John isn’t even about John. It’s all about Jesus.May it be so with us. May we be all about Jesus.” — CFR

+ “Are we Jairus or the woman? Each believer is at once both. Like Jairus we fear loss and the risk of what we have. Like the woman cured of the flow of blood, we need relief from the present pains and sufferings we bear. Furthermore, like Jairus, each believer assents with the mind. Arguing our way into faith, believing in the intellect that Christ will save. But like the woman, our intellectual assent occurs only because of the movement of the heart, an act of the will, a choice.” — Fr. Briscoe

+ “Our happiest times are those in which we forget ourselves, usually in being kind to someone else. That tiny moment of self-abdication is an act of true humility: the man who loses himself finds himself and finds his happiness.” — Fulton J. Sheen

+ “When the word home comes to mind, it will surely mean something different for each person. But I hope you know this, whatever stage of life you are in, whether you’re in your “forever home” or something temporary, remember that home is more than a house. The work you are putting into your home which goes beyond decorating, is the most important work you could be doing. The friends you invite over, the conversations that happen, the time spent with your children, the cooking, the cleaning all make our house a home. Don’t be discouraged by your home today. Maybe it’s not exactly how you want it to look right now, but I promise you’ll get there. (Slow, intentional design right? 🙌🏻) So enjoy today, enjoy the process of making a house a home and give yourself props for putting in the real work that goes into making a home!” — ClareandCollettehome

+ 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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