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Here are this week’s must-reads:

+ “During this new year I resolve to begin a new life. I do not know what will happen to me during this year. But I abandon myself entirely to you, my God. And my aspirations and all my affections will be for You. I feel so weak, dear Jesus, but with Your help I hope and resolve to live a different life, that is, a life closer to You.” — St. Gemma

+ Thought this was perfect as we contemplate the new year: “In reality we can count at least seven occasions when sorrow entered Our Lady’s soul. But there was a possible eighth sorrow, and that was living with the fear of what was to come. That can be a heavy cross. Our Lady eighth sorrow was living with Simeon’s sword hanging over her. She lived with fear, but was able with the strength of God to prevent it from immobilizing her. May Mary obtain for each of us the grace of surmounting those fears which occupy a place in the hearts of every one of us and sometimes paralyze us in showing love to God and to our neighbor.” (McCullen, Deep Down Things,p.988)

+ “You are not called to be lukewarm. You are not called to “ordinary” holiness, to simply be another “nice” man or woman, a “good” person. You are called to extraordinary holiness. You are called to be set completely on fire for Him… This year, resolve to do the harder thing. Persevere in a life of deep prayer first thing every morning. End every day with an examen. Resolve to practice ascesis in every area of your life – fasting and make sacrifices for the reparation of sin. Commit to daily Mass as often as possible, and monthly confession at a minimum. Pray the rosary daily, as Our Lady and countless saints have asked us to do. Stand firm against all temptation. His grace is sufficient for every moment, and He is with you always. This year, make holiness your singular resolution.” — The Contemplative Homemaker

+ “Many times God allows it to be hard to pray, simply to school us in applying our wills, to teach us that the value of prayer does not depend on the amount of emotion we can whip up. Many times the saints had trouble getting excited about prayers, but they said them, because prayers were due and their value had nothing to do with how eagerly they went about saying them.” –Mary Reed Newland

+ “We spend so much time worrying about the future and brooding over the past. What a waste – for only the present moment is real, and it is in the present moment that His grace overflows. St. John tells us today’s Mass readings that the world and its enticement are passing away, but whoever does the will of God remains forever. What does God will of you now, in this very moment? It is in this present moment that God meets you – both in the nights of the soul and the brilliant days of joy. This is what is real. Enter the temple of your heart in prayer, and remain recollected with Him there. Worship Him ceaselessly, regardless of the circumstances. Fast and detach yourself ever more from all that does not lead you to Him. Remain dutiful to the demands of your vocation, and serve Him with joy through the needs of your husband, children, and all those you encounter today. God alone is enoughLet nothing upset you,let nothing startle you.All things pass;God does not change.Patience winsall it seeks.Whoever has Godlacks nothing:God alone is enough.” — St. Teresa of Avila

+ “Everything can be prayer, all activity can and should lead us to God, nourish our intimate dealings with Him, from morning to night.” — Scott Hahn

+ “We all have a vocation. We need to believe that God has placed us in this life to fill a special need that no one else can accomplish.” — St. Francis de Sales

+ “Ask God to show you your year as God saw it.”

+ “The need for God never disappears. Those who deny the existence of water are still thirsty, and those who deny God still want Him in their craving for Beauty and Love and Peace, which He alone is.”Fulton Sheen

+ “Through marriage, which is a sacrament of the New Covenant, a hosuehold receives a new family resemblance to God. St. Paul wrote, “For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, from Whom every family in heaven and on earth is named.” Earthly families, then, receive their name. their identity, their character, from God himself. They are made in His image.” — Scott Hahn

+ “If you experience dryness in prayer or a time when you come to Mass and feel like you didn’t get anything out of it, then that’s a good day… That’s a day where you get to choose to love God for His sake and not for what He can do for you.” — Fr. Mike Schmitz

+ “The basic message God wants to convey by a covenant, then, can be stated simply: “I love you. I am committed to you. I swear that I will never forsake you. You are mine and I am yours. I am your father, and you are my family.” — Scott Hahn

+ 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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