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Here are this week’s must-reads:

+ “You cannot see entirely God’s Plan for you. The uncharted ocean is before you, as you toss in the narrow cabin of your suffering; but the Divine Pilot is bringing you to port.” — Archbishop Fulton Sheen

+ “On a Sunday in April 1944, a prisoner in Germany took out pen and paper and wrote a letter to his friend. He was in prison for resisting the Nazis, and he confided to his friend the great question that had been occupying him in prison. Not worries about his future, or strategies for the resistance, or political ideas, but another question altogether: “Who is Jesus Christ for us today?” The prisoner’s name was Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He was a chubby, bookish, kindly Lutheran pastor from a fairly secular family background, but who became, as a young man, more and more convinced that this question — “Who is Jesus Christ for us today?” — was the central question in life, whose answer determines everything else we think and do.” — Called to More

+ “Listening and responding to God’s word in the Sacred Scriptures must be at the heart of our efforts to unleash the Gospel. One who is in love desires to know more and more about the beloved. Since all Scripture speaks of Christ, immersing ourselves in the Word is a way to deepen our initial encounter and grow in our relationship with him.

God’s word is “living and active”; it renews our minds and changes us. The more grounded we are in Scripture, the more we are able to understand God’s marvelous plan and to see the events in our lives with the eyes of faith.” — Unleash the Gospel

+ Try this the next time you read Scripture! Something that can change your entire perspective with Scripture is the tone with which you read it. Are you reading it from the perspective of a voice that condemns you and offers you no redemption or are you reading it from the perspective of a voice that loves you dearly — that would go to the ends of the world to find you, and that is continuously inviting you back into His arms?

(Sidenote: know there are a lot of factors that can impact how you read Scripture — wounded relationships — absent or harmful fathers, trauma or abuse, suffering and unrelief. That makes sense — that those pieces of your past and heart may make it difficult to hear the Father’s loving tone. Let me affirm that for you, if that’s something you experience.)

The next time you’re reading Scripture, try this: read it aloud. Even if it’s to yourself. Hear yourself saying the words. And then think of someone you love dearly — someone you will always show up for, someone you would offer forgiveness to if they asked it with sincerity and contrition, someone you would sacrifice for. And then read it again, like you’re reading it to them. I think you’ll notice a difference– maybe just a small one, but it’s this change of warmth, of invitation. 💜🙏

Let’s try it: “Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart; for I am gracious and merciful” (Joel 2:12-13). — listen or read here

+ “God and silence are great friends. We need to listen to God, because it’s not what we say, but what He says to us and through us that matters.” — Mother Teresa

+ “Even though we cannot always see it, the seed of prayer will bloom in love, sometimes when we least expect it.” — Julianne Stanz

+ Obedience leads to life and discipline leads to freedom. // A few years ago, I was listening to a retreat speaker talk about forgiving those who have hurt us, but her advice works for any desire to grow in virtue, like obedience.

She recommended praying for help in forgiving that person… And if that was too hard, to pray that you would *want* to forgive that person. And if that was too hard, to pray that you would *want to want* to forgive them.

This advice has served me well with so many things. 💜

So back to obedience. We can start by praying for help in growing in obedience. And we can backtrack from there: Lord, help me to *want* to be obedient. Lord, help me to *want to want* to be obedient. Little by little, we can get there.

+ “After successfully tempting Adam and Eve, God tells Satan that the woman’s “offspring will strike at your head, while you strike at their heel.” Christ’s foot on the head of Satan’s. But, what’s interesting is that offspring is in the plural. Mary brought forth Christ, her offspring, but through His Sonship with the Father, and our adoption as Children of God through our baptism, we are, also, the offspring that bruises Satan’s head.

Every time we fast, every time we give alms, each time we enter into prayer, every Mass we attend, we bruise his head; we tread on him. And so, with Christ’s strength and grace, we, too, can overcome temptation.” — Amy, Catholic Pilgrim

+ “Sinners are in the Church, but they do not embody the Church. For them, the Church is a hospital for healing — so they can be made into saints.” — Scott Hahn

+ “If we wish to serve God and love our neighbor well, we must manifest our joy in the service we render to Him and them. Let us open wide our hearts. It is joy which invites us. Press forward and fear nothing.” — St. Katherine Drexel

+ St. Perpetua & St. Felicity: “. These two women – Christian wives and mothers – valiantly faced an earthly death so as to win the crown of eternal glory. Their witness left an impact on not only their children but the Church as a whole. Their suffering was not in vain but a testament to the importance of the eternal.” — Array of Hope

+ “We should refer all our problems, whatever they are, to God, just as we say in the Divine Liturgy that we ‘commend our whole life to Christ our God.’ We leave everything to You, O Lord. Whatever You will. Let Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. The person who belongs to Christ turns everything into prayer. He makes both difficulties and tribulations into prayer. Whatever happens to him, he begins, ‘Lord Jesus Christ…’ Prayer is beneficial for everything, even for the simplest of things…” – St Porphyrios

+ “God’s plan for marriage is for a couple to treat each other with love, respect, and dignity, and to model His unconditional love for us.” — Stronger Marriages

+ “This is part of the deep drama of marriage: the constant call to “die to yourself” for the sake of your loved one.” — Alice von Hildebrand

+ 15 recipes for Friday during Lent

+ The first Friday of the month is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. ❤️🙏 Here’s a beautiful prayer for today: “O most holy Heart of Jesus, fountain of every blessing, I adore You, I love You, and with a lively sorrow for my sins, I offer You this poor heart of mine. Make me humble, patient, pure, and wholly obedient to Your will. Grant, good Jesus, that I may live in You and for You. Protect me in the midst of danger; comfort me in my afflictions. Give me health of body, assistance in my temporal needs, Your blessing on all that I do, and the grace of a holy death. Amen.” — listen to it here

+ 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 & Catholic home decor. This week’s reflection is about the nearness of God and our necessity for His Word.

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