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Here are this week’s must-reads:

+ “We must make our homes a place of joy, unconditional love, and celebration — these are the most effective weapons we have against the darkness of our day.” — Sally Clarkson

+ “You see Christ as the one who is tenderhearted. And we look at him as the one who suffered everything, suffered more than we will ever suffer and still remains tender hearted. His heart is literally pierced with a lance and his heart receives the sinners who are mocking him and he chooses forgiveness. And He’s showing us, like we’ve said many times in this podcast over and over and over again, how to live.” – Sister Miriam James Heidland, SOLT

+ “Here are 6 admonitions I have jotted down that I think can help a marriage going through a hard season…”

+ The Holy Spirit Novena begins this Friday! Here’s an old post about the novena: Why we need the Holy Spirit in our marriages

+ “Folks, let’s not use the excuse, “I’m too busy to pray” without taking a second to reflect upon whether or not we’re the wrong kind of busy, the busy which is the fruit of an “I’m-in-it-alone” mentality. Because you’re not. Jesus is here. He desires to help. Go to him first. Let him provide. Let him do his work of multiplication of your time, your energy, and your efforts.Remember, you’re not in it alone.Rethink Productive.Go to Jesus.” — Franciscan Friars of the Renewal

+ “What does it mean that Christ’s risen body still bore the wounds of His death? What does it mean that He would bid Thomas to stick his hand in those wounds, a highly intimate act? What does it mean for our concept of death and Resurrection and eternal life – Christ’s and (Lord willing) our own? It suggests, at least, that the “new life” of Resurrection is not simply winding the clock of a person’s life and body back to some pristine, mint, prime condition state.  Resurrection is not about returning to life as though death never occurred, as though the trauma of death and grief are to be forgotten.” — Nicole Roccas

+ “God’s plan for our lives includes embracing the suffering that comes with living in a fallen world — even in the empty, longing arms of a woman who hopes for the good of being a new mother, whether facing complete infertility, the loss of children through miscarriage, secondary infertility, or still living in the single state. Yet, when we embrace God’s plan as the Blessed Mother did, our canticles of sorrow can be turned into Mary’s canticle of praise, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my savior” (Luke 1:46). I can stand here at this point in my life and see how God’s plan has always been better than my own, as he has given us so many spiritual and material blessings. I am further reminded of how good God is when I think about how we were advised to wait to have children when my husband was in graduate school and how we discerned instead to start our family right away. I was blessed with six pregnancies in my 20s, four of them full term, and our third miscarriage was in my early 30s. We did not know we would face secondary infertility in my mid-30s, but God did. He blessed us with children early in our marriage, and I will be forever thankful for his generosity in that. I do not know what God’s plan is for these coming years for our family, but I do know, if I follow him faithfully, he will give my family the graces we need to enter into eternal life with him. And as a mother to seven, four on earth and three already with God, that is all that really matters.” — Susanna Spencer

+ 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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