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Here are this week’s must-reads:

+ “The saints took these words of Jesus seriously. They believed that they would find “happiness” by putting them into practice in their lives. And they realized their truth in everyday experience: despite their trials, moments of darkness and failures, they already tasted here below the deep joy of communion with Christ. In him they discovered the initial seed, already present in time, of the future glory of God’s kingdom.” -St. John Paul the Great

+ “Sometimes the best thing we can do in prayer is to simply show up. If you feel like you can’t bring something to prayer or if you have nothing to say, don’t let that hold you back. Just go. Let Jesus do the rest.” — Karen May

+ “By habitually thinking of the presence of God, we succeed in praying twenty-four hours a day.” — St. Paul of the Cross

+ “This is your identity: you are the beloved daughter. It is not conditional on what you do, what you say, what you think, where you are in life. It is pure love.” — Sr. Mary Madeline Todd

+ “In a world where our value is often measured by… Our accomplishments, Our physical beauty, Our material wealth. The state of our home. Our children’s successes…vIt’s time to take a step back from it all. None of these things are an inherent definition of our identity. NONE of these things determine our WORTH. And while we can…we SHOULD…be grateful for the many gifts God gives us, they only scratch the surface of who we truly are and who God created us to be. No matter how much money you make, no matter the number on the scale, no matter what school you went to… it is your identity as a DAUGHTER OF GOD that is the FOUNDATION of your worth. Let me say that again. The world’s measurement of your success is NOT your identity. Your WORTH is found in God’s definition: A unique, gifted, amazing DAUGHTER of GOD, beautiful inside and out. Forget what the people say. Who does God say you are?” — Leah Darrow

+ “ In loving Christ, we love our spouses. By loving our spouses, we serve Christ and find heaven on earth.  This is the mystery of marriage that St. John Paul II reveals. The way that we treat the people around us here on earth is how we treat Christ. For married couples, that means that your spouse’s face is for you the face of Christ the Bridegroom.  St. John Paul II’s feast day today is an apt occasion to make an act of love that will “keep the lamp burning” in our own marriages. Here are a few ideas to get you started!” — Aleteia

+ When You Feel Overwhelmed by Your Spouse’s Struggles

+ “There is no evil to be faced that Christ does not face with us. There is no enemy that Christ has not already conquered. There is no cross to bear that Christ has not alreasy borne for us, and does not now bear with us.” — St. John Paul II

+ “Whether you experience the loss of a child, a parent, or a friend, I pray that you are okay with feeling grief. It is a completely natural and normal part of the healing process, and grief can look like something else entirely from one person to another. ” — Maggie Kim

+ “Friends, today in the Gospel passage, we see Jesus’ mercy toward the blind man as a hallmark of his ministry. Jesus comes as healer, savior, inaugurator of the kingdom. He is the embodiment of hope. Jesus wanted to connect human suffering to the very source of life and health. The energy of God pours through him to the needy. Now, I realize a question may be forming in your mind: “Well, why doesn’t he simply cure everyone then?” The answer is obviously wrapped up in the mystery of God’s will, but the important point is this: Jesus is healer in many senses, but ultimately in the sense that he heals us from sin and death, not only physical maladies. What appears historically in Jesus is an eschatological anticipation, a hint and foreshadowing of what is coming in God’s time and in his everlasting kingdom.” — Bishop Barron

+ Three things to help a friend going through something tough…

+ Meet Sandra Sabattini, a newly beatified 22-year-old

+ “God is sending me to spread the Gospel and heal the wounds of hearts in pain,” this was his life’s mission which he fulfilled from the beginning of his priesthood.” — About Bl. Jerzy Popieluszko

+ “Messenger of Truth:” Jerzy Popieluszko, a polish priest who courageously confronted the tyranny of communism and ultimately gave his life in defense of truth.

+ “God has made himself familiar to humanity. That God became a man, Jesus Christ, means that God has become familiar to humankind; his way of relating to my life, to that desire for happiness that he gave me in creating me, is expressed in a perceivable familiarity: I am led, enlightened, sustained, checked, forgiven, I am the object of mercy, embraced as by a father and a mother, as by a bride or a bridegroom, as a friend embraces the friend of his heart.” — Luigi Giussani

+ In the Gospels Jesus says: “If anyone would come after me, he must take up his cross and follow me.” So we ought not to be surprised by pain. He also said, “Come unto me all you who find life burdensome..take my yoke upon you.” A yoke is a shared burden. He is on one side and you are on the other, and with your pain, you are part of His mission. That’s why Paul said in Colossians that he could rejoice in his pain because it is a way of joining forces with Christ for good (Colossians 1:4)…. I propose as a hero for these weeks a man who may help us understand the value of pain, Dr. Takashi Nagai.” — Monsignor Richard Lopez

+ 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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