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Here are this week’s must-reads:

+ The Novena for Marriage & Family starts today! I’m sharing the prayers every day on my IG and Facebook. You can also join us in praying through Pray More Novenas!

+ Common worries when praying a novena

+ St. Augustine, a prodigal son, reminds us all that none of us are too far gone or too lost for the Lord to forgive us and embrace us if we turn towards Him. There are many saints who have “been there, done that” — who have struggled with the same sins we struggle with, who have given in to temptations, and who also found forgiveness and a new life with Christ. More here.

+ “Many of us are familiar with the first conversion story of St. Augustine, the moment when he left his decadent life of pleasure, riches, influence, and power in pursuit of a life of holiness.  St.Augustine had it all according to the standards of this world but his heart was restless until it finally rested in God and returned to his Catholic faith. 

“However, not many of us are familiar with his second conversion.  His second conversion is very meaningful for living our everyday Catholic life and persevering in our struggles as disciples of Christ. In St. Augustine’s second conversion, he becomes aware of his own weakness, frailty and need of God’s ongoing grace and healing. Even after leaving his worldly pleasures and becoming a priest and bishop, St. Augustine realizes that he still struggles in many areas. He still found himself lured by the passions of the world, and struggled with sins such as lust, gluttony, comfort, pride, and vanity. When St. Augustine returns to Carthage in North Africa and preaches to the people there, he said: “Whoever thinks he can do it on his own, doesn’t understand himself or Him whom he seeks.”Dr. Edward Sri

+ “God indeed knows everything about everything, so he is aware of what we need before we ask; but like a good parent, he delights in receiving our tearful requests—even if, like a good parent, he does not always respond the way we would like him to. And God, as the unmoved mover, can never be changed by our prayer; but through whatever is good and right and true in our prayer, God is already praying through us.” — Bishop Barron

+ The Spiritual Meaning of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Name

+ … We can try to limit suffering, to fight against it, but we cannot eliminate it. It is when we attempt to avoid suffering by withdrawing from anything that might involve hurt, when we try to spare ourselves the effort and pain of pursuing truth, love, and goodness, that we drift into a life of emptiness, in which there may be almost no pain, but the dark sensation of meaninglessness and abandonment is all the greater. It is not by sidestepping or fleeing from suffering that we are healed, but rather by our capacity for accepting it, maturing through it and finding meaning through union with Christ, who suffered with infinite love….” – Pope Benedict XVI on Suffering in the Context of Our Hope

+ “You might say that I didn’t have a choice about who died first. You would be correct. But I do have a choice in how I respond to this situation, and I’ve chosen to accept Ann’s death as God’s will for us. I’ve chosen to thank God for giving me this opportunity to die last and to endure all the suffering that goes with it, much of which is still in the unknown future. I’m grateful that she never had to suffer the pains of being a widow. It makes me feel good to think about it in this way. “I’m happy to take care of it for us dear!” — Henry Cordonnier

+ “The nature of giving is best illustrated in the life of Our Blessed Lord, Who one day was approached by a leper who asked for healing. The Gospel tells us that Our Lord stretched forth His hand and touched the leper. Jesus could have healed without the touch, as He healed the servant of the centurion at a distance. Why, then, in the face of one of life’s greatest miseries and a disease from which the healthy often recoil, did the Lord cure with a touch? The Son of God Made Man touched the leper in order to annihilate distance between the Giver and the receiver, between the Lover and the beloved, to prove sympathy by contact, to identify himself with the woes of others.” — Archbishop Fulton Sheen

+ “The image of Our Lady of Częstochowa shows that Mary is not “a distant queen that sits on her throne,” but is rather “the Mother who embraces her Son and, with Him, all of us her children. She is a true mother, with a marked face, a mother who suffers because she truly carries in her heart the problems in our lives. She is a close mother, who never loses us from her sight; she is a tender mother, who holds our hand on the path of daily life.” — Pope Francis Our Lady of Częstochowa, pray for us!

(This black and white image of Our Lady of Częstochowa is a free downloadable you receive when you sign up for my newsletter on Patreon — more info at the bottom of this post!)

+ “Similar to the scars on Jesus’ resurrected body, (the scars on Our Lady of Czestachowa’s face) remain as a reminder of the suffering that is endured before achieving the heavenly reward.” — Philip Kosloski

+ Your Marriage is Your Primary Vocation

+ “A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.”Ruth Bell Graham

“Forgive immediately and focus on the future rather than carrying weight from the past. Don’t let your history hold you hostage. Holding onto past mistakes that either you or she makes, is like a heavy anchor to your marriage and will hold you back. FORGIVENESS IS FREEDOM. Cut the anchor loose and always choose love.” — Deacon Greg Kandra

+ “Prayer is the way we live our covenant, and so every prayer changes something. It changes us because it intensifies our relationship with God.” — Scorr Hahn

+ “Prayer allows us to invite God into not just our own brokenness but also into the brokenness of others, to do His healing work. Saint Monica stands as proof of the power of love and tears, and above all persistence in prayer.” — Sarah Christmyer

+ “Your fiat, your acceptance of God’s will could look like an unexpected job that delights you, one you never thought would be a fit. It could be carrying the cross of physical suffering, one that teaches you empathy and compassion. Your surrender and watchfulness to what God is asking of you will yield closeness and intimacy with Him so you will not hear, “I do not know you” (Matthew 19:13). What would staying more awake to His will look like for you right now?” — Nell O’Leary

+ “The Crucifix on the wall, the pictures of Our Lord and His Mother – the loveliest you can afford – the little shrine with lights and flowers – these unceasingly speak to your little ones of God’s love and His Beauty, preparing them for that friendship with God, that willing, personal submission to Him that is true freedom and happiness.” – Dominican Nun, Australia

+ 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. 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 for the newsletter now also get:

+ a 25% off promo code to use with The Catholic Company! 

+ a 15% off promo code with House of Joppa
+ a 15% off promo code off $40 purchases with Telos Art.

+ a 15% off promo code with The Little Catholic
+ A free download of this black & white Our Lady of Czestachowa image.

When you sign up, you also get access to all past newsletters!

You can sign up for the newsletter here.

You can sign up for the newsletter here.

When you sign up, you also get access to all past newsletters. // Monday is the best day to sign up if you’re interested because it’s the only day that the prices of everything featured is guaranteed to be under that $60 threshold.