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Here are this week’s must-reads:

+ “We cannot assemble with the Church without entering a family relation. We cannot be Jesus’ brother unless Mary is our mother. The Church is the “assembly of the firstborn” (Hebrews 12:23). She is mother of the firstborn.” — Scott Hahn

+ What 5 Saints Did for Lent

+ “In prayer you become one with the source of our true light—Jesus himself.” —St. John Paul II

+ “The Enemy wants you to think you’re wasting your breath. I want to encourage you to pray and keep on praying. Prayer does make a difference. A life-changing, mind-blowing, earth-rattling difference. We don’t need to know how. We don’t need to know when. We just need to kneel confidently and know the tremors of a simple Jesus girl’s prayers extend far wide and far deep.” — Lysa Terkeurst

+ Resting in Prayer

+ “Start before you’re ready:” Sometimes we all go through seasons of feeling like we shouldn’t bring our messiness to prayer. Or our deep pains of hurt. Or even our anger, or doubt. Maybe we feel embarrassed or ashamed to bring these big feelings to prayer. But it’s exactly what the Lord wants us to do. He wants us to bring whatever mess, whatever burdens we’re carrying or whatever darkness we’re walking through, and He wants us to share it with Him. We’re not meant to hold these alone, to wade through these waters as best as we can by ourselves. Our Father in heaven wants to offer His presence to us in all of these hard moments… if only we can make that one, small turn towards Him, inviting Him in. It can start with one small conversation, one small prayer. 🙏🙏🙏

+ “Your spouse will not fulfill you. Only Jesus can🙏🏼 Getting married doesn’t mean you stop needing the love of Christ to fill you everyday. YOU NEED the love of Christ to fill you everyday to love your spouse everyday.” — JenessaWait

+ “What is it like loving someone with mental illness? How does mental illness change the dynamics of a marriage? How can you love a spouse well while in the depths of suffering with mental illness? Can a marriage be successful when facing mental illness? We bring these questions to St. John Paul and gain practical and spiritual insights for growing our marriages in the midst of the storms that come with mental health struggles.” — Two Become Family podcast, “PreCana with the Pope”

+ The Reason Jesus Went Into the Desert

+”Jesus has won the grace for each of us to go to the Father in prayer, precisely when we least believe we are freely loved, to see how the Father sees us, to hear how He speaks to us, and to experience how He loves us in that moment. Jesus suffers when we fear to approach the Father, who is longing to embrace us. He deeply desires to see us receive the love that restores us to our dignity. He would rather risk being rejected by us than cheapen His love, downgrading it to some-thing we could earn. He wants so much more for us. The experience of the gift of His love cannot be reduced.” — Sr. Faustina Maria Pia

+ “Penitential fasting is obviously something very different from a therapeutic diet, but in its own way it can be considered therapy for the soul. In fact, practiced as a sign of conversion, it helps one in the interior effort of listening to God.” — St. John Paul II

+ What forgiveness is and is not

+ Hearing the Lord’s Voice in Your Life: “I can’t say enough about rooting your life in prayer. Once you begin to respond the invitation to pray, you never want to go back to the way in which you once lived.. Prayer is designed to fill us up, we’re designed to pray. When we practice other forms of meditation that are not rooted in the person of Jesus Christ, we can’t be filled up, we empty out and yet we need to be filled up like never before. When we want to encounter Christ in a deeper way, we need to carve out that time. We need to come to know His words, relying on His words, pulling those words in difficult times. Just as I mentioned, John 14:1, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” I love to go to Jeremiah 29:11 where it says, “I’ve given you a future of hope, not of woe.”

“When we are feeling like we need a dose of just encouragement, strength, perspective, turn to the words of Jesus. He does tell us that He is the way, the truth and the life. And we are able to follow Him for He is our shepherd. But being rooted in prayer, being rooted in the scripture, knowing His voice is how we’ll come to encounter Him.” — Emily Jaminet

+ I shared little corner in our dining/living room here. 💜 I love to have little mementos of our Faith just tucked away in every space. Something I glance at when passing by. Something that guides my thoughts even for just a second there. Like this space: we’re in the desert right now but we’re not alone in our desert. Jesus is with us and we have Our Mother to call on for her prayers and comfort.

+ “More than anywhere else, the home is the place where children learn the most important lesson: how to pray. Home is a sanctuary; it is the domestic church that unites us to the universal Church.” — Therese, Lovely Lady Linens

+ 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. This week’s reflection is about growing in hope that the Lord is working and preparing us for heaven, even if it’s in unseen and mysterious ways.

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