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Here are this week’s must-reads:

+ “Love isn’t about the butterflies. It’s not just an emotional feeling. Love is action, and you can show love through acts of service. If you love someone, you must sacrifice for them, as Jesus sacrificed for us. You must serve them. You must work to fulfill their needs. You must put them before yourself. When this gets difficult, just look at the Cross for perspective.” — CarryYourCross

+ “Will you take a selfie and think “Dang it, that’s me. And I ain’t afraid to share it because I’ve worked HARD to find her”? Or will you notice the undereye circles, facial asymmetry, or extra few pounds? This is something I struggle with often.

Pictures at a distance? No problem. But ones up close highlighting I’m not what I was are hard to publish without grimacing a bit. But here’s the thing. I’m learning to recognize the hesitation to own my story and replace it with remembering how far I’ve come. What if you did the same? In the words of Alessia Cara, your scars are your beautiful. And every single time your insecurities tell you otherwise, don’t even give them the time of day. Recognize and replace that crap with what is true.” — Ashley Stevens, Mountains Unmoved

+ “Looking at the wounded body of Christ, St. Josephine Bakhita knew this man understood her pain and trauma.”—Meg Hunter-Kilmer – Speaker, We pray that we too can find healing and empathy through Christ’s suffering and that we always remember God’s ability to triumph in even the most difficult circumstances. St. Josephine Bakhita, pray for us!” — Ave Maria Press

+ ‘As long as the baby is healthy’ is an expression that needs to change, say special needs moms

+ “Oftentimes, being human means being in a place of hurting but still hoping. Hoping doesn’t mean we ignore reality. No, hoping means we acknowledge reality in the very same breath that we acknowledge God’s sovereignty. Our hope isn’t tied to our expectations finally being met in our way and in our timing. Our hope isn’t tied to whether or not a circumstance or another person changes. Our hope is tied to the unchanging promise of God. We hope for the good we know God will ultimately bring, whether the good turns out to match our desires or not.” – Lysa Terkeurst

+ “Love does not stay idle.” —Catherine of Siena

+ “Winter will pass and unending Spring will come with abundant goodness that far outweighs the harshness of the storms.” — The Joyful Leap

+ Support Your Mental Health this Lent: Mind, Body and Soul

+ “TEN THINGS I wish I could tell my ten-years-ago mom self about Lent…”

+ “This past Sunday, our priest spoke about mental illness, depression, loss and grief from the pulpit. The book of Job, amiright? I have sat with Fr. Tom’s words all week. How often do we gloss over the hard stuff because we are afraid of feeling even more alone? More isolated? More unloved? If only we allowed ourselves to enter into suffering and sit with it awhile. Let the slow work of God transform us and heal us.” — Kathryn Whitaker

+ “We sometimes think, “oh that little thing we did wasn’t that big.” I assure you, it is. There’s nothing quite like suffering that reminds us how willing people are to help carry the cross. While the thickness of grief over losing my dad is still very new, I wanted to share kind things people have done for us that are absolutely shining the light of Christ into our broken hearts…” – Kathryn Whitaker

+ “Human existence is fragile as clearest ice. You think you can step sure and steady, but how many times do we slip, or the surface cracks, and all we can pray for (in that endless instant before we hit bottom) is a soft-enough place to land or shallow-enough depth to push up toward safety? I would prefer if the coldest weeks that edge on death did not also bring blinding light and softest sunsets. Life would be easier to bear without the heartache of contradiction, a thousand juxtapositions of joy and grief. But here we are. Together, all of us. Edging across the same slippery ice. I cannot know if beholding beauty and pain at once makes any difference, but it feels like it might. Holy tension holds more mystery and invites us, even now, to be not afraid.” – Laura Kelly Fanucci

+ The Pray More Lenten Retreat begins next week!

+ 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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