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Here are this week’s must-reads:

+ We celebrated the feast of the Immaculate Conception yesterday — and it also marked the 10 year anniversary of Pray More Novenas. Here’s the story of how it all started 🙂

+ Katie Prejean wrote here about how St. Anne was involved in Mary’s upbringing, and I loved this reflection so much: “I can’t help but think of St. Anne today, on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. We celebrate Mary today. Her sinlessness. Her perfection. Her generosity. Her conception And St. Anne (and St. Joachim) are part of that story. Mary learned generosity & gentleness, kindness & compassion, grew in bold faith & radical trust in the home of her parents. That difficult, valuable, strenuous, rewarding work of parenting can’t be overlooked. It’s nonstop, the neeto guide & teach, to snuggle & comfort, to correct & redirect.”

+ From Emily Stimpson-Chapman: “I took a picture. I started to post it on Instagram, but then stopped. I thought of me three years ago and four years ago and every year for so many years before, seeing pictures of little boots lined up on St. Nicholas Eve and crying for the little boots that weren’t lined up in my house.⁣⁣I decided not to post.⁣⁣But then, this morning, as I held one of those babies at 4 am, I changed my mind. Because this was my prayer. For years. Decades, actually. And God answered it. Not late. But in his perfect time. And if you are struggling today and crying today and desperately wanting a little one whose boots you can stuff with chocolate on December 6, I want you to know that God does answer prayers. Sometimes, you do get to hold your prayers in your arms. And they are more wonderful and hard and surprising and exhausting than anything for which you knew to pray. ⁣⁣So, I am posting my picture. And while I sit here in the dark holding my answered prayer, I’m asking God to please, please answer your prayers, too. In his perfect time.⁣”

+ Here’s a Catholic Grief Conference happening online this weekend.

+ “Is Jesus the rock whom we have built our faith upon? Reflect on the ways that we do not have the Lord at the center of our faith. As we continue with the Season of Advent, what are some ways that we can strengthen that relationship?” – Fr. Tom Pringle

+ “Do not give in! The struggle and the fight are worth it. Even though your body is weak, your tears either won’t stop flowing or will no longer fall, and strength eludes you. Get up! Because God is not finished with you. Even in your hardest moments, He has a plan that leads you to the greatest joy:  to be united with Him on the glorious mountain. Jesus looks with loving pity on you—not disdain or arrogance—but with mercy. He will not turn you away, because He knows that nothing is possible without Him. Instead, He always provides a way back to His Sacred Heart. It may be through a miracle or it may be through a trial, but there’s always a way back to Him.” Chika Anyanwu

+ “God walks into your soul with silent step. God comes to you more than you go to Him. Never will his coming be what you expect, and yet never will it disappoint. The more you respond to his gentle pressure, the greater will be your freedom.” – Ven. Fulton J. Sheen

+ “How would your life changed if you believed that God is always up to something good?”

+“I see a fundamental restlessness in our culture. We drift from holiday to holiday, sports season to season, trying to fill the void… As soon as one season or holiday is done, we immediately have to know “what’s next?” That necessary void of silence after any episode makes us uncomfortable and, if we don’t numb ourselves with more noise, the questions inevitably bubble up in our soul: Why am I here? What am I made for? Who am I?” – Bobby Angel, 2013

+ “Every…woman has something in herself inherited from Eve, and she must search for the way from Eve to Mary. There is a bit of defiance in each woman which does not want to humble itself under any sovereignty. In each, there is something of that desire which reaches for forbidden fruit…” – St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)

+ A spouse that will suffer well, wait well, and hope well with you

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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