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Here are this week’s must-reads:

+ “You’re never going to be able to do it all by yourself, but you’re not supposed to. The good news is that his providence can always provide for our dependance, his sufficiency perfects our poverty, and all of this bears fruit in the most beautiful and authentic experience of Divine intimacy. Remain in him. Remain dependent.” — Friars of the Renewal

+ Pray more this Lent! Join us for an online Lenten Retreat! It begins on March 2nd! We have 5 speakers and 20 talks total — that’s 4 talks for each week of Lent. You can meet our speakers and see all the topics they’re covering here.

+ A prayer for all marriages & families: There are so many unseen challenges and sufferings that couples and families endure, so we need to pray for all marriages — for our own, but also for the marriages of our families, friends, and communities.

+ “We’re either formed or deformed by the world or God. What are you going to choose to let form you?” — Jackie Mulligan

+ “If God is good, why do we need to pray?”

+ “The Lord wants us to bring our requests to Him, even if they seem a bit out of the ordinary or even childish. He wants us to have the humility to bring to Him all our desires and wants. Sometimes, those intentions can be quite serious and it might appear as though the Lord isn’t answering them. Pray anyway. Bring those intentions to Him anyway. Never stop. The Father always hears our prayers and answers them in the way that is in line with His will. Do we have the faith of these two women? Do we have the courage to bring the Lord our deepest desires? Do we trust that He will answer us? Let’s ask for those graces today and may we never stop sharing our hearts with the Lord.” — Fr. Tom Pringle

+ Embracing Joy After a Dark Season

+ “The human heart is not shaped like a valentine heart, perfect and regular in contour, it is slightly irregular in shape as if a small piece of it were missing out of its side. The missing part may very well symbolize a piece that a spear tore out of the universal heart of humanity on the Cross, but it probably symbolizes something more. It may very well mean that when God created each human heart, he kept a small sample of it in heaven, and sent the rest of it into the world, where it would each day learn the lesson that it could never be really happy, that it could never be really wholly in love, that it could never be really whole-hearted until it rested with the Risen Christ in an eternal Easter.” ~ Archbishop Fulton Sheen

“Is love really just a choice?”

+ “Our love-relationship with Jesus often can follow the pattern of other expressions of human love. At the beginning, it’s a love full of consolation which makes spending time with and making sacrifices for the beloved sweet and even easy. Then time passes, duties are added, what once was novel becomes mundane, and the giving and receiving of love don’t flow as easily as they once did… life happens and a few years or decades down the road, the emotion has waned, fatigue or discouragement set in, and that which was a “love-thing” becomes a “duty-thing.”

“And so the Lord beckons us again, “Return to your first love. Repent. Come to me again with a heart full of longing. May your prayer be fueled by the flames of desire not the fading embers of duty. Leave behind your distractions. Choose me again. Choose the better part. You have never ceased to be my beloved, can I still be yours?”” — Poco A Poco Podcast

+ “Consistency is the key to lifelong love. Consistently encourage. Consistently show kindness. Every day, make investments of time and effort into your marriage.” — Stronger Marriages

+ A new podcast on marriage & family life: Pre-Cana with the Pope (St. John Paul II). Check it out here. Here’s an excerpt about what it’s all about: “Each week we will ask St. John Paul a question about marriage and family life and we’ll find the answer by diving into JPII’s writings, homilies, and speeches. We’ll reflect on our own experience of marriage and family life and share how we’ve integrated JPII’s wisdom into our lives.”

+ Being Intentional Looking For How Our Husbands Show Us Their Love

+ “Romantic love is nice. Romantic love can be really good. But without a foundation of true, authentic love, romantic love remains a surface-level attraction. It stays hollow; it will eventually collapse. True love requires both giving and receiving.

“It’s a gift of self that expects nothing in return. It’s a gift of self the seeks the highest [eternal] good of another in every circumstance—which might mean setting boundaries & saying no.” — Megan Hjelmstad

+ “You don’t need a finished product at the altar. You’ve got a lifetime for that.” –Kristin LaValley

+ “The Eucharist is the sacrament of the presence of Christ, who gives Himself to us because He loves us. He loves each one of us in a unique and personal way in our practical daily lives: in our families, among our friends, at study and work, in rest and relaxation. He loves us when He fills our days with freshness, and also when, in times of suffering, He allows trials to weigh upon us: even in the most severe trials, He lets us hear His voice.” – St. John Paul II

+ “How after praying for a miracle for my addicted loved one, I learned to “Let go, and let God””

+ Suffering, illness and death are not defeat

+ “When all your efforts feel futile and leave you disappointed and empty, Jesus wants to be close to you. Every day the boat of our life leaves the shores of our home to go out into the sea of daily activities; every day we try to ‘fish in deep water,’ to cultivate dreams, to carry out projects, to live love in our relationships… But often, like Peter, we experience the ‘night of empty nets’ — the night of empty nets — the disappointment of working so hard and not seeing the desired results.”

“The Lord loves to surprise us, he stated. He loves “to get into the boat of our lives when we have nothing to offer him; to enter our emptiness and fill it with his presence; to make use of our poverty to proclaim his wealth, of our miseries to proclaim his mercy.” — read here

+ “I thought about Mary’s fiat and how she ‘let it be done.’ She didn’t force it to be done.” — Jackie Mulligan

+ Conflict in Marriage & Greater Intimacy with Jesus

+ “The sense of art is to explain that God is always there, but the decision is man’s. If man wants to touch God he will need to stretch his finger, but by not stretching the finger, he can go his whole life without seeking it.” The last contracted phalanx of Adam’s finger represents free will”. Freedom is God’s basic gift to humanity. It was given to us that we freely search or respond to Our Creator’s invitations to be one with Him. Saint John Paul II reminds us that human Freedom is not absolute but Freedom with responsibility. In fact one free when one is able to make choices that connect one with God. Let’s stretch out our fingers and connect with Our Creator that He may recreate us and make us significantly new.” — Fr. Evaristus C. Asadu

+ 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 all about the Beatitudes, what they tell us about who God is, and what they mean for our lives.

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