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Here are this week’s must-reads:

+ “Will we have suffering? Will we have disappointment? Will we have discouragement? Yeah. But Psalm 34:18 says, “The Lord is close to the broken-hearted. And those who are crushed in spirit, He saves.” So, He wants to console you, to draw near to you. The Lord is close to the broken-hearted… So, friends, you are so loved by God. You are so precious to Him. He is not indifferent to your suffering. He wants to console you and draw near to you and give you peace.” — Kitty Cleveland, The Pray More Healing Retreat

+ We celebrated 10 years of marriage last week on the feast of our Mother Mary’s birthday. Here are some snippets from our wedding Mass readings that are so good — some nuggets of marriage advice for us all:

1) “Magnify the Lord with me; and let us exalt His name together.” (psalm 34:4)
2) “Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer.” (Romans 12:12)
3) “Love one another as I love you.” (John 15:12)

+ “If a marriage is to preserve its initial charm and beauty, both husband and wife should try to renew their love day after day, and that is done through sacrifice, with smiles, and also with ingenuity.” — St. Josemaria Escriva

From the blog archives — Catholic wives of many years reflecting on Marriage:

1) “IT MAKES US BETTER PEOPLE. If we do it right. If we buy into the philosophy that we should give ourselves completely to our spouse. When I focus on Dustin and not myself, I become better. When he focuses on me, he becomes better. And in that outwardly focus both of us get our needs and wants met. Marriage is about sacrifice and whenever we sacrifice, selfishness is weeded out of us. This is a good thing. The more I give of myself to Dustin, the more blessings I receive in return. In every way, this makes us better: More patient, more kind, more giving, and more loving. That is what true love is; denial of self for the betterment of the one you love. Yet, we are returned the gift when we shower it on others.”

2) “Marriage changes you, but in so many good ways as you leave your individuality behind and transform into one flesh… Love is a choice, and when we said “I do,” we meant it. Daily you make this choice. It wasn’t a one time deal, but rather something that you wake up each morning with the intention to love the other. You also must trust that your husband or wife means it. The vows you say you act out daily, and it is vital for the life of your marriage for you to trust that your spouse meant it and means it.”

3) “It’s refining me, day by day, year by year. Looking back I see that now… What people don’t talk about at a wedding is that you’re not only saying “yes” to a life full of love – you’re also saying “yes” to heartbreak and loss. Life isn’t perfect. But I also know that God carries us through the bad times, and it’s also because of those bad times that we cherish the good times.”

4) “You might have forgotten exactly what it was that brought you together, but it’s still there— find it! I know how hard it can be, but don’t give up! It’s so worth it!”

+ Married Saints: Their Stories & Novenas to Them

+ “Marriage is hard. Actually, maybe that’s not it. Maybe it’s that life is hard, and in marriage you do the hard things together, and sometimes that isn’t easy. My girls and I recently had one of those “what are the essentials in a husband” conversations. They had great thoughts. When asked my opinion, I tried to be as concise as possible… ” (here’s the list, by Elizabeth Foss)

+ “At the very moment of her birth, which would lead to their salvation, the Israelites were still praying for a savior. The birth of this young girl from Nazareth was the most pivotal point in their history to date, but at the time, they were hopelessly oblivious. It was just an ordinary day to them, filled with their normal day to day activities. They continued their work. They pastured their flocks. The children played. The mothers cleaned. They said their prayers, and they were totally unaware that the “prayer of all prayers” had just been answered.

It’s the same in our spiritual lives. We are all hopelessly oblivious to his sovereignty…. We may not see the effects right away and all of the pieces as they occur, but one day, we will look back and realize when all of the catalysts began. We’ll see all of the monumental moments we were blind to and all of the miracles he worked while we washed dishes. We’ll see how his Holy Spirit prompted the key players in our stories to act, and how he worked to give us the very best all along.” — Tina Heinen

+ “I invite everyone to become a trusting child before Mary, even as the Son of God did.” — Pope Benedict XVI

+ How to find meaning in the mundane

+ The Different Titles of Mary

+ “(Mary) was the first woman on earth to ever unreservedly say ‘fiat’ — yes to life, seemingly ill-timed. Yes to death, seemingly final. Yes to resurrection, seemingly impossible. Yes to grief, seemingly insurmountable. Yes to unparalleled glory, seemingly unattainable.

“Yes to God’s will over her own in every instant. To the seemingly contrary freedom of willful self-denial. To the everlasting ecstasy which is the only ultimate and fitting fruit of complete and total surrender.” — Megan Hjelmstad

+ “Do not fear the changes of life. God, whose very own you are, will deliver you out of them all. He has kept you hitherto and He will lead you safely through all things. And when you cannot stand it, God will bury you in His arms. Do not be afraid of what will happen tomorrow. The same everlasting Father who cares for you today will care for you then and every day. He will either shield you from suffering or give you unfailing strength to bear it. He at peace and put aside anxious thoughts and imaginations.” — St. Francis de Sales

+ Why JP II Wanted “The Prodigal Son” to be Renamed “The Merciful Father”

+ “Lord, take me where You want me to go. Let me meet who You want me to meet. Tell me what You want me to say. And keep me out of Your way.” — Fr. Mychal Judge

+ “How do I know this thought is from God?”

+ “Our idea of prayer is almost always related to a need: I need something, so I pray. Instead, Jesus demonstrates a different way of praying … Why did Jesus pray and why do we?” — Fr. Luigi Maria Epicoco

+ “’m sharing this today as a reminder that even if people shoot you down, even if you face rejection, even if you feel defeated and are tempted to give it all up, if you have a dream, keep on pursuing it. Keep on trying. Keep on keeping on until you find your place. Until you figure out God’s plan for you and your gifts. One “no” is never the end of the story. ” — Danielle Bean

+ “Love the house you’re in… Go big and stay home.” — Paige

+ 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 & Catholic home decor. When I’m creating them, I always look up the upcoming feast days and find pieces to complement them so that you can have some examples of how to decorate for the different feasts & Liturgical seasons!

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When you sign up, you also get access to all past newsletters. // Monday is the best day to sign up if you’re interested because it’s the only day that the prices of everything featured is guaranteed to be under that $60 threshold.