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Here are this week’s must-reads:

+ The Mary, Undoer of Knots Novena began yesterday! You can absolutely still join in today or anytime throughout the rest of the novena if you’re interested 🙂 I’m sharing the history here, behind the infamous Mary, Undoer of Knots painting — which includes a major answered prayer for a married couple through the intercession of Mary, Undoer of Knots. Watch here.

I included many Mary, Undoer of Knots pieces in this week’s newsletter — be sure to scroll all the way down to see pictures of everything that was included this week. A New Benefit When You Sign Up: Everyone who receives & now signs up for the newsletter will also receive a free downloadable image of Our Lady of Czestachowa (the one I have here) that you can save and print to place in your home. ❤️ You can sign up here.

+ “You don’t have to earn God’s love. But, like Mary, you do need to submit to it… Being holy doesn’t consist in completing a whole bunch of pious practices, but in being united to God so closely that his light transforms you. God’s favorite thing about you is that you are his. He made you with a personhood and a mission uniquely your own. The holier you are, the fuller of his divine life you are, the more you will become the person he made you to be. You don’t have to earn God’s love. But, like Mary, you do need to submit to it. Don’t act for a place of love. Act from a place of love.” — Kate Vicknair

+ Taking captive the thought that God loves others more than He loves you: I think this is one of those things that at some point, many of us have thought or said to ourselves. But it’s incredibly damaging — to us, in our relationships with our friends and families, and in our relationship with God. Let’s take this thought captive today, recognizing that it’s not the truth. And instead, let’s turn towards the truth and receive God’s love & everything else He wants to send us today. Here’s a short excerpt from Fr. Mike Schmitz about this topic.

+ “When I wrote about this the other day, someone asked how. Practically, how do you content yourself with the present moment when it’s so far from what you’d wished?That’s a big question. And it’s probably going to look different for everyone. But for me, it’s a lot of repetitive prayer. I cry. Often a lot. And, voice shaking, through the tears, I say, “Jesus, I love you more.” More than my dreams, more than my sorrow. “Jesus, I choose you.” Again and again and again. Because I can’t make myself feel delight. I can’t make myself glad at the parts of my life I would so eagerly change. But I can remind myself that He is good, even when life isn’t. I can be grateful for who he is, even when everything else seems awful. I can curl into his embrace and weep and know that I’m held. And that begins to soothe the ache, calm the waves, and leave me with something akin to delight.” — Meg Hunter-Kilmer

+ “The hurts from our past impact our marriages more than we realize. But God brings those wounds to the surface so he can heal us and bring us to an even deeper love.” — Dr. Edward Sri & Beth Sri

+ Marriage Advice from Sunday’s Gospel Reading: Showing “I love you”

+ “A strong marriage is created during challenging times. It’s not always fun, but if you put in the hard work, great things can result.” // Gratitude is a powerful force in marriage. Be thankful for your spouse. Consider it a great honor that they chose you and still choose you each day. Thank God for all you’ve come through together and for all the blessings in your life.” — Stronger Marriages

+ “Our friends’ attitude about marriage are often contagious. If your friends are always complaining about their marriage, soon you’ll be tempted to start complaining about yours. Try hanging out with friends who have a healthy marriage. It makes a big difference.” — The Naked Marriage Podcast

+ How to Offer it Up & Two Morning Offerings You Can Use

+ “When St. John Paul II’s mom passed away, his dad – who was a soldier in the Polish army – took him on a pilgrimage to a shrine in Kalwaria. There, he showed John Paul II (Karol Józef Wojtyła) an image of Jesus’ Mother and said, “You have lost your mother. But you will never lose this Mother. She will always be with you.”

And that’s something that John Paul II took with him for the rest of his life. He had this relationship with the Blessed Virgin Mary to lean on, to receive love and support from, especially after he lost his father as a young adult. And when he became the pope, his episcopal motto was “Totus tuus,” which translates to “totally yours.”

I love to remember John Paul II’s dad’s words: You will never lose this Mother. She will always be with you. ❤️ What. A. Comfort. And what a gift too to have saints who show us how to live, and live out our faith, in a world full of suffering – particularly such personal losses. We’re not left to figure this out all on our own — many have gone before us, and we can takeaway something beautiful or inspiring from each of their stories.” — here

+ “We have to step towards the pain. The only way is through. If we look at the Cross, if we look at Jesus, the only way to Easter is to die on the Cross. The only way to the Resurrection is Good Friday, and we need to find that Good Friday in our life. Jesus is going to bring so much beauty out of it.” — Made in His Image

+ “A woman by her very nature is maternal – for every woman, whether married or unmarried, is called upon to be a biological, psychological, or spiritual mother – she knows intuitively that to give, to nurture, to care for others, to suffer with and for them – for maternity implies suffering – is infinitely more valuable in God’s sight than to conquer nations and fly to the moon.” — Dr. Alice von Hildebrand

+ How to Have Faith in the midst of Grief

+ “A cross loses half of its weight as soon as it is fully accepted.” — Bl Edward Poppe

+ “Once we are aware of our weakness and admit it openly, then we can have full confidence in God’s aid.”

+ The Unseen Holiness of Mothers

+ 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. 

Those who sign up for the newsletter now also get:

+ a 25% off promo code to use with The Catholic Company! 
+ a 15% off promo code off $40 purchases with Telos Art.
+ A free download of this black & white Our Lady of Czestachowa image.

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