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Before I share my latest round-up of good reads for ya, we have an announcement! 🙂

Our episodes of Women of Grace with Johnette Benkovic aired on EWTN!

We got to talk about our ministry, Pray More Novenas, with Johnette for five half-hour shows. I didn’t think we would have enough to talk about, but it turns out that we did! 🙂 Johnette is such a beautiful woman — truly a woman of grace, and I thank God that we got the chance to meet her and speak with her. She really inspired me. Her faith is strong. It’s informed. She has the Holy Spirit at work on her show and within her. I can’t sing enough praises about her.

As we left the EWTN studios, I started looking up her books and immediately added this to my Wish List:

Graceful Living: Meditations to Help You Grow Closer to God Day by Day 

Aside from meeting Johnette, what I really liked about this book — enough to put it on my wish list — was that it includes truths about our Catholic faith that I know can help me grow in my understanding of the Church and help me focus my mind on the Lord each day. It also includes stories from the lives of the saints — people like St. Therese of Lisieux and St. John Paul II, as well as personal stories from Johnette. I have always loved reading about the lives of the saints and being inspired by their faith, character and love of our Lord.

You can watch our first episode of Women of Grace here. It looks like you need to be a member on the website to watch the other four episodes.

Now onto the reads of the week for ya…

The Cross of Infertility and How We Can Help
(from my archives)

1 in 8 couples will suffer with infertility. I’m betting that you know someone in your close circle of friends or family that are suffering with it right now. It’s often a silent cross couples carry, but I believe as Catholics that no one is meant to carry their cross alone. So how can you support your family and friends that are suffering with infertility? Or, on the other hand, if you and your husband are suffering, how can you let your loved ones know how they can help? I’ve put together a ton of resources in this post from so many great Catholic bloggers to help you find answers to these questions and more.  You can read that hereLastly, please join me in praying for all couples affected by infertility.

Becoming An Image of the Visitation
by Elizabeth over at Untying Our Hearts

My take: This is a beautiful perspective about how to acknowledge other people’s pain and walk alongside them while they carry their cross; no judgments, and the only question asked is, “How are you doing?”

“Journeying with others means not making judgments on some of their most private decisions. Family planning should not be fodder for casual conversation. Even those who don’t have infertility but have the opposite struggle can be hurt by remarks on family planning. Saying to “fertile myrtle”, the woman with three kids under three who is pregnant yet again, “Was this one planned or a surprise?” can be invasive and potentially a reminder to her of how deeply overwhelmed she is and how much fear she carries about being able to be a good wife and mother with four children so young. Saying to the family with two children undergoing private financial hardships, “So when is the next one coming?” could be a reminder of their deep desire for more children and their harsh reality that they can’t handle another one yet. Journeying with others means accepting their situation as it is and looking at them with concern and love and simply saying, “How are you doing?” (read more here) 

Why did Jesus say, “Father, if it be your will, let this cup pass…?”

We heard this line in a Sunday Gospel right before Easter, and then I saw this question on the “Ask A Catholic Priest” Facebook page. I loved this priest’s answer. It really humanizes Jesus, if that’s a thing:

My take: I’m so moved by this answer because it reminds me that Jesus knows what it’s like to feel fear. There have certainly been times in my life when I didn’t used to think that… that He couldn’t possibly relate to my fears. This proves otherwise. He has experienced fear firsthand, and His response is our guide for how we should respond in those moments as well.

More on Jesus’ experience in the Garden of Gethsemane…

“The Secret to Redemptive Suffering”
by Tom Nash at the National Catholic Register:

Jesus leads the way in modeling this radical discipleship, asking his Father in heaven three times to take away his cup of suffering during his Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, yet always saying submitting his human will to the divine will (Mt. 26:37-44). And so, as we will learn again in the coming days, Jesus appears to be at his ignominiously weakest during his Passion and Death, and yet they paradoxically become the occasion of his greatest triumph—and of our greatest triumph (see 2 Cor. 12:8-10)….

“And so it can be in ours. Sometimes in going through our own “Good Fridays,” we will have special need of the support of friends and family, the spiritual guidance of a good priest or someone else who excels in discernment. Perhaps even the help of a doctor or licensed counselor. In any event, persevere through your trials. Remember that Jesus who humanly experienced the anguish of feeling forsaken by God (Mt. 27:46) is the same Jesus who moments later committed his spirit into his Father’s hands (Lk. 23:46), knowing that the Father will test us to foster our spiritual perfection (see Heb. 2:10; 5:7-10), but he will never truly abandon us. Quite to the contrary. Keep that in mind this Holy Week and beyond.” (read the rest here)

My take: It might be easy to move on from the messages of Lent now that we’re (still) celebrating Easter, but we will all still go through the ebbs & flows of our lives throughout the year and these messages are still entirely relevant. It’s not like our suffering has ended now… so I like to keep these types of readings close by, because Jesus is our model for everything we’re going through on any given day. We only have to look to Him to know how to react and respond.

That’s all for now… Don’t forget that you can follow me over on Facebook for more good reads like these throughout the week!

Happy Easter, friends!!