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Here are this week’s must-reads:

+ “Lent is like a long ‘retreat’ during which we can turn back into ourselves and listen to the voice of God… In this way we will be able to celebrate Easter in truth, ready to renew the promises of our Baptism.” — Pope Benedict XVI

+ “We must never enter into a dialogue with the enemy. Rather, we must enter into a dialogue with the Word of God who desires to speak to us, who desires to lead us and guide us and sustain us and protect us…

In the Garden of Eden, we saw how Eve entered into a dialogue with the enemy and was defeated. Mary, on the other hand, entered into a dialogue with the Word of God and fulfilled God’s plan. She pondered on the angel’s greeting. That word ‘pondered’ in Greek is the word ‘dialogue.’

Jesus never entered into a dialogue with the enemy. In fact, he refuted his proposals by quoting and by claiming the Word of God. He said, “It is written man does not live on bread alone, but from every word that comes from the mouth of God.” You see, friends, God’s Word has to become flesh in our lives.” – Michelle Karen D’Silva, The Pray More Lenten Retreat

+ Mary of Bethany was generous with the Lord – anointing His feet with perfumed oil, at that dinner together, and it brought Him comfort — maybe a small touch of peace. How can we be extravagant with God this Lent? How can we be lavish with Him? How can we abandon practicality in the name of Love? To comfort Him, to love and cherish Him, to walk alongside Him in the desert. I hope you have a Lent that brings you closer to Him. 🙏

+ “I have heard it said that you can look at the Shroud of Turin and you can either see the signs of the passion or the definitive proof of the resurrection, and as Christians, our lives should be like the Shroud of Turin, where people look at us and they see trials, and they see wounds, and they see sufferings and hardships, but they also, at the same time, see that God is working and using it all for good and has triumphed over all of it…

“So my prayer is that we will live our lives as signs of both, and that Lent will be an opportunity for us to enter more fully into the passion so that we can more fully experience the joy of resurrection, and I pray that St. Elizabeth of the Trinity will pray for all of us in that. Thank you.” — Claire Dwyer

+ “Jesus doesn’t go to the cross, so we don’t have to. He doesn’t do these things as a substitute. He goes in solidarity with us as our head to send the Spirit to empower us to do the same. And He calls us to enter into this battle and into this victory.” — Dr. Andrew Swafford

+ “When it comes to entering into Lent, we don’t do it because we think it will make us worthy of heaven… We do it because we believe it’s a response to a loving Father. And we’re trying to respond with love to the God who is love.” — Fr. Mike Schmitz

+ “Prayer joined to sacrifice constitutes the most powerful force in human history.” — St. John Paul II

+ “I have learned to stop asking why, and to start asking what. As Father Jacques Phillipe says, to have “courage” to leave some questions unanswered and ask, “What does God want from me?” Freedom… Freedom in knowing that it’s not my picture, but God’s. Freedom in knowing that God’s ways are beyond us, beyond our understanding. Freedom to know that God will do anything to bring us to him, even break our hearts, because the reward is so much greater.” — Amber VanVickle

+ “It can happen without us even realizing it… this placing our identity in motherhood. After all, it’s our mission. And it’s a good one. One given to us by God. And it’s all-consuming. It cares not for office hours or pay grades or years of experience. It requires our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual attention and sacrifice. This is how we lay down our lives for our friends.

Yet… motherhood is not our identity. Our identity is in the triune God. When we look for our identity elsewhere—even in our good and holy mission—we will, at best, be sorely disappointed, and, at worst, wreak havoc in the lives of the people we love most. Whatever plow we put our hands to, let our work overflow from an unshakable identity that rests in our Father.” — Into the Deep

+ “St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus had such a deep and ardent love of God she developed an exercise of mortification which she called “scattering flowers.” The purpose of this daily practice was to die to herself in even the smallest ways possible to scatter flowers for Jesus amidst the thorns of her life.

These mortifications could look different for each person. Here are some examples of ways to practice this exercise everyday this Lenten Season.

🌷 Rising earlier each day to be in silence and pray.
🌷 Skipping an afternoon snack or tea that you look forward to.
🌷 Turning off your phone.
🌷 Pray a Hail Mary while driving if you become irritated.
🌷 Listening instead of speaking.” — Katie, Sweet Catholic Life

+ “God has a purpose for rest and stillness. Stress and striving stop when we learn how to make time and space to rest in God’s presence.”Better together TV

+ “During these six weeks, I try to create a general atmosphere in our home that makes it feel different than other times of the year. On the morning of Ash Wednesday, after we get back from Mass, the kids and I get to decorating. We put burlap and little cacti and rocks on the mantle above our fireplace. We put a purple tablecloth on our dining room table. A centerpiece made of a crown of thorns… On Passion Sunday, we drape our crucifixes and our little altar table with purple cloth. Since we spend so much time at home, it’s nice for our house to reflect the season. We see Lent all around us.” — Catholic All Year

⭐ Here’s what’s featured in this week’s Catholic Wife, Catholic Life Collection.

I 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! Those who sign up also get 8 promo codes to some amazing Catholic businesses, including 25% off to The Catholic Company.

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