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Here are this week’s must-reads:

+ We’re starting the St. Peregrine Novena today over at Pray More Novenas! We’re praying for those who are suffering from cancer and other chronic or debilitating illnesses, for those who love and care for them, and for all physicians and scientists working towards a cure.

+ “God’s “yes” to them isn’t a “no” to you.”… “God is not holding out on you. His “yes” to someone else is a big and beautiful “yes,” but the LAST thing it is is a “no” to you. It’s not who He is. So lift up your eyes and keep those palms open. Something good is coming. I promise. And if you’re having a hard time believing that, we will hold hope together.” — read more here

+ “You see the lives of other people from the outside in, or honestly- thanks to social media, just the outside. Your own life you know from the inside out, with all the grimy slimy heart details included. Who do you think it’s easier to assume is “killing” it in that scenario? Eh? So, you’re not failing. You’re not behind. You probably aren’t killing it either, but welcome to being human. Nobody is.

“We aren’t in charge, and thank God (literally) for that- amen!? Living with even an inkling of the idea (which is a lie) that we can “wake and slay” will leave us discouraged, defeated, and depressed. You weren’t born to “measure up.” You were born to rely on the One who made you.Your job is to greet the day trusting that there’s enough mercies in it from God to keep you moving forward as faithfully as you are able.So, take a breath. Release your assumptions about everyone else’s life and do what God is asking YOU to do. Keep repenting and believing. Keep cheering each other on, confident that there’s enough room at the table for all of us. Keep running the race YOU have been called to run. Lift your eyes out of your own belly button. Killing it? Nah. But doing the next faithful and beautiful thing? Yeah. That, by God’s grace, we can do. That’s the good stuff.” — Revelation Wellness

+ “In baptism, every Christian has been “sanctified,” and God calls every Christian to persevere in holiness. Yet God calls no one to go it alone. We draw strength from one another, and we are, all at the same time, drawing strength from God. St. Paul emphasizes that we are “called to be saints together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” — Scott Hahn

+ “If we stand with Christ, we will stand for life.” — Sr. Alicia Torres, March for Life Chicago (you can see her speech at 8:47)

+ “John the Baptist understood something about Jesus before many others did. He lets us in on this when Jesus approaches John to be baptized. John’s response is, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” (Matthew 3:14). He reluctantly agrees to baptize Jesus, and when he does, something profound happens. The sky opens and a dove descends over Jesus’ head, and a voice says, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” (Mark 1: 11).⁠⁠ Note that God is not telling people around him that Jesus is his beloved son, as he will do later at the Transfiguration (“This is my son, listen to him!”), but he is speaking directly to Jesus. “You are my beloved Son.” God is affirming Jesus and Jesus’ mission.⁠⁠

Doesn’t this provide you some relief? That Jesus, God’s son, was told these words. Maybe, just maybe, Jesus needed the same reminder of God’s love for him that we need. He was fully human and grew into his call, just as we grow into our holiness. Those words spoken directly to Jesus strengthened his belief that he was fully loved by God—just as he was. Perhaps Jesus needed that same reminder to accept who he was: God’s beloved Son. Perhaps Jesus needed a clear moment of consolation to help him accept who he was and what he was called to do.⁠⁠Take time today to name events or moments that have opened your capacity to accept God’s love for you. Moments that provided a brief glimpse of us as people loved just as we are.⁠” — Becky Eldredge

+ Vatican reveals Pope John Paul II’s last words

+ “Going to weddings when you are already married is different. Because you see the wedding day through the lens of marriage, instead of just wedding as an event. In our case, through the lens of 10 years of marriage.There is a knowing, and a wisdom. I notice their innocence, their “not-knowing”. And it isn’t an ignorance. A bride and groom on their wedding day, in many ways, sign a blank check. They do not know how much this marriage will “cost”. And the remarkable thing about marriage is that they sign it anyway. They place their whole selves, vulnerable, before the other and vow their lives together come what may.It’s inspiring to witness this no matter if you’re single or married 60 years.

“As I looked at them, I couldn’t help but wonder at the life before these newlyweds: the adventures, joys and sorrows. At the same time, the 10 years of my own marriage were before me, just as I remember who I was standing in that place of innocence and “not knowing” a decade before.To witness an exchange of vows, and not just remember our own vows but KNOW in a new way what those vows meant and still mean. Seeing now part of what it “cost”, I felt a new and deeper gratitude for our own marriage, and for my spouse.Because through all our adventures, 2 kids, moving abroad, adopting 1 more, moving back, job changes, joys, challenges and carrying now a new life- I am so utterly grateful that we chose each other. And still choose each other.Van and I both still say, “Marriage is best. We highly recommend it.” — Erin Van de Voorde

+ “Think porn is no big deal? Think again. Even sexy romance novels can desensitize you to real love and make you less satisfied with your spouse.” — Stronger Marriages

+ We all want someone to call us theirs — for them to love us so much that we, in a sense, “belong” to them. That our place is within their embrace and in their hearts. Well, I imagine, the Lord wants this as well — from us. He wants us to call Him ours.

+ “My only ambition is to serve God in the most humble tasks.” — St. Andre Bessette // “Put yourself in God’s hands. He abandons no one.” — St. Andre Bessette

+ “Our challenge is to never overlook his presence and to always trust that he has us right where he wants us. When we ignore, deny, or reject God due to the storms we encounter in our lives, we are following in the spirit of the sin of Adam and Eve. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it, “Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his Creator die in his heart and, abusing his freedom, disobeyed God’s command. This is what man’s first sin consisted of. All subsequent sin would be disobedience toward God and lack of trust in his goodness” (CCC 397; emphasis added). Adam and Eve failed to trust God and his goodness. We begin to think that God has deserted us; we no longer see him present in the midst of our suffering. 

“The temptation to despair is real. Jesus did not call his disciples’ faith “little” simply because they were afraid of the storm; he did so to challenge them to a deeper faith in him, a faith that trusts he is still at the helm of the ship when all seems lost. Love must rule the day rather than fear. Entering into the trust that love demands is a risk that we are all asked to take.

This week, let us allow our vision to see Jesus’ presence with us on our journey. Let us enter the school of trust with a deeply rooted knowledge that he walks with us, even when he seems asleep. Because Jesus’ love defines his motives, he is with us and he is trustworthy, no matter what it looks like out on the stormy seas.” — Fr. Mike Schmitz

+ One of my favorite lines of Scripture was in last week’s Gospel: “He got into the boat with them and the wind died down.” (Mark 6:51) // He does this for us too. 🙏💜 He doesn’t pass us by when we’re scared and when the winds are raging around us. Instead, He comes closer. And He enters the storm with us. We can have comfort in this, we are never alone.

+ If you’ve been thinking about buyige one of the Word on Fire Bibles (they’re just releasing Volume II now!), check out this video I made of the Volume II. Volume I, which covers the Gospels, is very similar 🙂

+ 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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