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Here are this week’s must-reads:

+ “Life is hard, but what a blessing the Advent season is to our family. In the midst of our pain and grief and hardship, we know the love of a Savior who came down to earth and entered into suffering on our behalf.” — Cranberry Tea

+ “The celebration of Advent is possible only to those who are troubled in soul, who know themselves to be poor and imperfect, and who look forward to something greater to come.”—Dietrich Bonhoeffer

+ “I was thinking about how, after the angel departed from Mary, she would have had to simply trust that what he said was true… In our own lives, we are often called to trust beyond what our senses can prove. This advent, I invite you to find silence where you can rest in the love of the Father… Let all the plans and shopping and noise fall away… Like Mary, trust that God is working in your life—that even when when you are confused and hurting and lost, Jesus has already claimed you as his own. Marvel at the love of a God who would enter creation as a vulnerable baby, who would go into the depths of our darkness and suffering and sin to conquer it. Let this Advent be a time of trust and hope, for Emmanuel has come—God is with us!” — Tianna Williams

+ Let me tell you about a time when Jesus was a Good Shepherd for me…

+ “She had prayed for 40 years for the power to forgive. Because she knew that, by that act, she too would be set free. Of that day she would later say: “Forgiving him liberated me.” — K.V. Turley

+ “By his own will Christ was dependent on Mary during Advent: he was absolutely helpless; he could go nowhere but where she chose to take him; he could not speak; her breathing was his breath; his heart beat in the beating of her heart…. In the seasons of our Advent – waking, working, eating, sleeping, being – each breath is a breathing of Christ into the world.”- Caryll Houselander

+ “Do not neglect prayer, no matter how busy you are.” — Bl. Guiillaume Joseph Chaminade

+ This month, we celebrate 11 years of Pray More Novenas!!! 🙂 I shared the story of how Pray More Novenas came to be here.

+ “Walk cheerfully and with a sincere and open heart as much as you can, and when you cannot always maintain this holy joy, at least do not lose your trust in God.” — Padre Pio

+ The difference between joy and happiness: “Happiness is that temporary sweetness while joy is a longer-lasting warmth that changes things. The joy that we get to know during Advent is that longer lasting warmth that changes things because we know Jesus is coming (and has already come), and with Him, all the pains and trials and crosses in this life are more endurable. So when I see these decorative signs that shout JOY… I remind myself that for us, this Joy is about the warmth and nearness of His presence.”

+ “Just like the cold can move you closer to the fire, hard things can move you closer to God.” — Ann Voskamp

+ “Give us this day our daily bread.” God will give us what we need for today. No need to start thinking of what we need for tomorrow — when we get there, He’ll be there too, giving us our daily bread.

+ “The Devil will always try to define you by your sins. He places sins in front of your face to torture you and make you feel too ashamed to turn to Christ’s mercy. God draws sins to your mind so that He can heal you from them. He doesn’t want to torture you, He wants to forgive and love you. He defines you by your identity as His child. Never be afraid to go to Christ and confess your sins, Catholic Pilgrims. No sin is greater than His mercy and He longs to heal you.” — Amy, Catholic Pilgrim

+ 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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