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Four Spiritual Books Invite Us to Pray With Scripture This Lent

Four Spiritual Books Invite Us to Pray With Scripture This Lent

With Lent less than one week away, many of us are taking time to decide how we want to spend this prayerful and penitential season. What prayers will we say? How will we fast or sacrifice? Where will we give alms? One of my favorite Lenten practices is finding a new spiritual book to read. When we read spiritual books, we are inspired to grow in holiness, and our insights into the Catholic faith are deepened. Spiritual books can include…

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The Kingdom of God is at Hand: Abandoning Our Nets to Follow Jesus

The Kingdom of God is at Hand: Abandoning Our Nets to Follow Jesus

“Then they abandoned their nets and followed him.” (Mark 1:18) The place looks familiar. There is a swing set in the background and a metal merry-go-round in the middle. No one is on the playground, and everything is still and quiet, like that audible quiet one hears when it is snowing. I look around, and there is Jesus, standing in the middle of the playground. His dancing eyes are on me. His smile is full of delight and joy. His arms are…

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5 Simple Ways to Encourage Vocations Within the Family

5 Simple Ways to Encourage Vocations Within the Family

O, God, we earnestly ask you to bless this archdiocese with many priests, deacons, brothers and sisters … At every Sunday Mass, my parish prays two special prayers for vocations. We begin with a prayer for marriage and family, asking St. Joseph to intercede for us. After the Prayers of the Faithful, we pray another prayer that begins with the words with which I began this blog post. It has been a long-standing tradition to pray for and foster vocations…

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Advent Lessons I Learned and How I Can Apply Them to My Ordinary Life

Advent Lessons I Learned and How I Can Apply Them to My Ordinary Life

Two and a half weeks ago, my family and I gathered around our Christmas tree. Excitement and joy mingled with the festive scents of hot coffee, cinnamon rolls, and pine needles. The kids piled their gifts next to them and eagerly wondered what was inside each wrapped box. As I sipped my coffee and breathed in Christmas goodness, I felt grateful. For the first time in forever, I felt like Christmas had arrived and I had arrived with it. I…

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Let Us Adore Him: Embracing the Babe, Embracing the Cross

Let Us Adore Him: Embracing the Babe, Embracing the Cross

As I sit in the Eucharistic Adoration chapel, I am graced with this very visual meditation of the life of Christ. As if the very heartbeat of Christ in the monstrance isn’t enough, today I also get to praise and adore the infant Jesus, who the shepherds worshiped and who the magi traveled far to find, honor, and present gifts fit for a King. There He is before me. In my prayer, I recall how I waited and watched for Him…

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Being Called Beloved: A Reflection on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

Being Called Beloved: A Reflection on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

“And this is the marvel of marvels, that He called me Beloved.” (C.S. Lewis) The warm sun is shining, and there is not a cloud in the sky. I wear a white robe, and I am standing in chest-deep water. It is the perfect temperature—comfortable and refreshing at the same time. I have been following John for awhile, and his message of repentance resonates deep in my heart. I wonder how I can apply his words—“Prepare the way of the…

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Joy to the World! It’s Christmas! The Lord is Come!

Joy to the World! It’s Christmas! The Lord is Come!

I just love Christmas Eve Mass. It is my favorite part of Christmas. I become overwhelmed with joy, as O Come All Ye Faithful announces the beginning of this holy day, this holy season. I cannot help but put myself—and all those weary travelers who are with me in Church—right at the manger scene. It is as if we are following the star of wonder … we are like the shepherds going to see the Baby in the stable … I pray, pray,…

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Rejoice! God is Giving Us Christmas!

Rejoice! God is Giving Us Christmas!

This reflection is the fourth in a four-part series that supplements the free Advent prayer journal I am offering to email subscribers. You may read part one HERE, part two HERE, and part three HERE. *** One more day, and we will be celebrating the birth of Jesus. Ready or not, Christmas is almost here! This Advent, we may have started out a bit weary, a bit sorrowful, a bit worn out. We heard Jesus’ invitation to come to Him for rest, and we rested in…

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Advent Offers a Thrill of Hope While We Wait

Advent Offers a Thrill of Hope While We Wait

This reflection is the third in a four-part series that supplements the free Advent prayer journal I am offering to email subscribers. You may read part one HERE and part two HERE. *** Have you ever felt a little lost? Have you ever wondered what your God-given purpose really is? A year ago, that’s how I was feeling—lost and unsettled about my purpose. Then, an amazing opportunity came my way. It was a dream come true, and I was excited! I was going to…

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Five Simple Ways to Savor the Last 10 Days of Advent

Five Simple Ways to Savor the Last 10 Days of Advent

Ten more days! Are you feeling overwhelmed about getting it all done? Do you feel like there is still too much to do? Is there an internal struggle between getting things done and remaining prayerful and focused on Jesus? This reminder that there are only 10 days until Christmas Day is not meant to make you more stressed out or anxious than you already feel. No, this reminder is to encourage you (and me) to take a breath, to pause,…

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