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Here are this week’s must-reads:

+ “It’s a comfort to me that Mary and Joseph were anxious at times. On my hardest days, when my heart is overwhelmingly burdened with the suffering of those around me, I think of Mary’s heart, pondering, loving, consoling, and—at least once—anxious about her precious Son. Perhaps there is something in your life causing you anxiety, a trouble in your heart that you cannot shake. May Mary’s Immaculate Heart draw us all closer to her Son’s most Sacred Heart, and may we all find solace therein. Amen.” — Bonnie Engstrom

+ The Symbolism of Lilies in Catholicism

+ “The art of living is about holding on to His promises — and surrendering to His plan.” — Ann Voskamp

+ “Think about the Gospel reading of the ninety-nine sheep, (and) the one sheep that goes off into the wilderness. What does that one sheep in the wilderness need that the other ninety-nine, who are at home, don’t? They need a Father, they need a shepherd, they need someone to go after them. So . . . the more I need His strength, the more He gives His strength. The more I find myself in weakness, the more I get His grace.” — Fr. Mike Schmitz

+ A short prayer for letting go of the past:

Father in Heaven, help me to let go of the pains of the past — the doubts, the disappointments, the regrets. Please replace the pain of the past with your peace. Please give me the graces to fully accept it all, to surrender it to you, and to move on… I know you’ve been with me in every moment, help me to remain near to you and to trust that you have a plan for me in this season. I want to loosen my grip — to be okay with not being in control, and to be open to this present moment’s graces and blessings. Send me your mercy and kindness, Lord, and help direct my thoughts to having hope and full trust in You. Amen.

+ “Take the cross off the wall.” It’s not an invitation to take the cross off the wall and put it in a drawer, but to take it off the wall and hold it. Sit w/ the cross. Contemplate it. Speak to Jesus crucified and allow him to speak to you. Jesus says: “I know you. I love you. I thirst for you. I desire to be with you forever.”CFR

+ “When we begin to weigh others’ words more heavily than God’s Word, we begin to rehearse narratives about our lives that may not be true.” — Sally Clarkson

+ Here’s how I decorated our dining table for the feast of the Sacred Heart last week

+ “I entrust struggling families to the providence of God and to the loving care of Mary, the outstanding model of wife and mother who knew the suffering and the exhaustion of following Christ to the foot of the Cross. Dear married couples, do not be overcome by hardship:  the grace of the Sacrament supports you and helps you constantly to raise your arms to heaven, like Moses, mentioned in the First Reading (cf. Ex 17,11-12). The Church is close to you and helps you with her prayer, above all, in hard times.” — St. John Paul II

+ “So, if things do start to come to the surface in your marriage and you notice yourself reacting in ways you wish you didn’t, do not press the panic button. As St. John Paul II has said, the same God who called you to marriage continues to call you in the midst of the trials and difficulties that come up in your daily married life. // Beth: That same God was calling me to go through this difficult, demanding, painful, but truly life-giving processing of healing. Edward: And that same God was calling me to remain steadfast in love, to accompany my wife through the process and do all I could to support her. And that same God may call you to a deeper level of healing—a healing that won’t be easy but will make you and your marriage new.” — Dr. Sri

+ First married couple beatified together at World Meeting of Families: “Among the joys and anxieties of a normal family, they knew how to live an extraordinarily rich spiritual life. At the center of their life was the daily Eucharist as well as devotion to the Virgin Mary, to whom they prayed every evening with the rosary…

“Luigi worked as a lawyer and Maria served as a catechist and wrote several books on education while raising their four children. The couple also organized Catholic marriage preparation courses for engaged couples through their work in Catholic Action. During World War I, the family also assisted the wounded and families facing difficulties. They also financially supported some young people who wished to become priests or enter religious life.”

+ Simple ways to be a more thoughtful spouse

+ “You cannot always depend on prayers to be answered the way you want them answered but you can always depend on God.” — Ven. Fulton Sheen

+ On the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Roe v. Wade was finally overturned. Here are some questions I’ve been asked since Friday, with some responses that I hope are helpful. I shared the same on my blog’s facebook page here (just scroll down a few posts). And here’s a great resource from Live Action for how you can reply to some common pro-choice arguments that you may come across.

+ “The Sacred Heart, the Blessed Eucharist and Love are one in the same thing. In the tabernacle, we find the Host. In the Host, Jesus. In Jesus, His heart. In His heart, Love.” — Ven. Louise Margaret Claret de la Touché

+ Our Lady of Perepetual Help: This is one of our favorite Marian titles and her feast day was Monday. Here’s a short explanation of the icon you often see of her and baby Jesus, with the significance of a very small detail in the painting. Check it out here.

+ Here’s how I decorated our dining table for the feast of the Sacred Heart last 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 & 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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