How to Pray the Angelus (The Angel of the Lord)

Are you familiar with the Angelus? Traditionally, Catholics pray the Angelus three times a day: 6am, 12pm, 6pm. Some Catholics pray the prayer just at noon, which is great too.

How to Pray the Angelus

Image by karigamb08 (2016) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

This prayer is so beautiful and would make a great personal novena. If you are looking to sneak in some prayer into your busy schedule, this would be a great prayer to start with.

The Angelus

The Angel of the Lord declared to Mary: And she conceived of the Holy Spirit. 

Hail Mary, full of grace…

Behold the handmaid of the Lord: Be it done unto me according to Thy word. 

Hail Mary, full of grace . . . 

And the Word was made Flesh: And dwelt among us. 

Hail Mary, full of grace . . . 

Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray

Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord.

Amen. 

Precious Blood of Christ

Yikes! Before July hit, I remembered that this devotion was coming up. Then, July started, and continued, and I just remembered yesterday – nearly halfway through the month – that it is the month of the Precious Blood of Jesus. :/

Precious Blood of Christ

Image by seostar (2014) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

It is such a lovely devotion and it is not too late to participate. Here is my original post about the devotion that offers a little history and some suggestions in honoring Our Lord’s suffering.

“The Glory of God is Man Fully Alive”

“The glory of God is in man fully alive.”  — St. Irenaeus

That quote is from Saint Irenaeus whose obligatory memorial we celebrate today. It is a powerful reminder of what God wants for you.

God wants us (YOU) to be “fully alive!” He doesn’t want you to just get by or to live a reactive life. He wants you to live a life of joy, peace, and confidence. When you live a fulfilling, faith-filled, and joyful life, you give God glory! That doesn’t mean a life without difficulties or challenges, but it does mean that God is with us no matter what.

"The Glory of God is in Man Fully Alive"

Unfortunately, sin exists and robs us of living a life that is fully alive. When we sin or live a life of sin we rob ourselves of God and we rob God the opportunity to shower His grace on us.

Some people thing that the 10 Commandments and the precepts of the Church cramp their style or that they are “good people” so the rules that don’t apply to them. That is completely not true. God gives us the commandments and the precepts of the Church so that we can live in true freedom – not the “I can do whatever I want” kind of false freedom.

But guess what, God loves us so much that when we do sin, we can make things right with Him through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Confession the gift where we can confess our sins, receive forgiveness and grace and begin to life a life that is fully alive once more! You don’t have to wait for Advent or Lent to go to Confession either. You can receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation on any given Saturday (or by appointment).

I encourage you, if it has been a while since you have been to Confession (or have recently committed a mortal sin), to get to Confession. I promise you, you won’t regret it. 🙂

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P.S. If you are looking to live a fuller, more intentional life, and can use some accountability, let’s chat to see how I can help you.

We are Half Way Through the Year. How is it going?

Can you believe that we are half way through 2017? I can’t believe it is June 1st already! It is crazy how time is flying by so fast. I think it is a good time to take a look at how things are going and revamp some things.

It is funny how everyone makes goals and plans in January just to abandon them a couple (or few) months later. But, the thing is, every day is a chance for a new beginning – and so is every month or quarter. So let me encourage you: If you have made plans or goals in January that haven’t planned out, take a little time to create new ones or to tweak the old ones. Don’t be discouraged and think that it is all down the drain. It’s not. God gives us the gift of each new day and new chances to start over. He is so good!

Every Day is a New Beginning

For me, this year is definitely not panning out like I had planned at all. In some ways, I feel really behind, but in other ways, I feel like I am growing and evolving, which is a good thing!

My word for 2017 is courage. I thought that meant doing certain things for growing my business but it has turned out to be more personal. It was a tough school year for my son, especially academically, and we had to navigate and adjust to the challenge. It wasn’t easy but we got through it! On top of that, Andrew had a lot of activities and events – as well as other events in our family – which forced me out of my introverted self and into the world a lot of the time. I am learning that challenge (and change) can be a good thing.

Business wise, it has been interesting too. I haven’t spent much time on my writing website like I had expected, but at the same time, I have been growing and changing Simple Catholic Living in ways I didn’t expect. For starters, I joined a coaching mentoring program and I am now beginning to offer personal life coaching! This is definitely out of my comfort zone but also something that has been in my heart for a long time. It is my greatest desire to help women live purposeful and enriching lives (however that looks like for each person) and I think coaching will be a wonderful catalyst for that.

I’ve also created a Catholic Encouragement and Accountability Group on Facebook! It is free, of course, and I hope for the group that it becomes an active and safe group for like-minded Catholic women to support each other in our faith and lives. Now, I have to confess, that I have been absent from the group the last few weeks because I was away twice, finishing up Andrew’s homeschooling, and torn in many different directions. However, now that things are calming down, I plan to do Facebook live videos, challenges, themes, and more. Soooo, do consider joining the group and participating in the fun!

Therefore, even though I didn’t get the writing or publishing done that I thought would have been completed by now, I am giving myself grace. I am doing my best to let God lead and direct me, even when it means my plans go out the window. 😉

Now it is your turn. I would love to hear from you. Is 2017 shaping up the way you expect? Is it better than you expected or have you been thrown a curve ball or two? How will you tweak the rest of the year to make it what you want it to be?

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Memorial Day

I want to thank all our troops (and their families!) who have sacrificed so much for our freedom. During your festivities, please take a moment to say a prayer for them. Don’t forget those who are still mission in action or prisoners of war. May God’s mercy be on them all.

Happy Memorial Day

Should Your Teen Watch “13 Reasons Why?”

13 Reason Why is a Netflix T.V. series based on the book by Jay Asher. It is about a teenager who commits suicide and leaves behind a series of tapes explaining  why she made the decision to end her life.

Should Your Teen Watch "13 Reasons Why?"

Talk about this series has been going on all over the place, online and offline. There has also been some questioning and debate as to whether it is appropriate for teens, and if so, how young is too young?

In full disclosure, I have not personally watched the show, nor do I plan to watch it. It is not the subject matter, per se, that is the problem; it is the graphic nature of the show that keeps me away. Still, I think I have read enough and talked to enough people to lay out some pros and cons so that you can come to you own conclusion as to whether the show is appropriate for your teen or not.

PROS

1. It Explores  Important Topics

Over the last few months, I have been hearing about suicide more and more. It feels like it is becoming an epidemic of sorts. In fact, I recently heard of an eight year old who took his own young life because of bullying. This is heartbreaking. It needs to be discussed and the underlying reasons behind the suicides needs to be addressed. People must learn the warning signs and get those in danger some help!

Each week of this series is centered on one tape and one reason why the young girl decided to kill herself. And in doing so, it touches on other important topics such as bullying, rape, etc. These are things that must be talked about and we must help our young people find ways to deal with them in healthy ways.

2. The Characters?

Truth be told, I had a hard time coming up with another positive, other than the fact that it covers important topics. I decided to add the characters as a “pro” because several people have told me that they found the characters to be relatable, if not stereotypical. Other people have told me that the characters are too stereotypical and not really relatable at all. Go figure. I guess you will have to make up your own mind with this one. 🙂

CONS

1. There is no mention of God

Yes, this world has become so very secularized that God is taken out of almost every area of life, especially T.V. Thus, it is no surprise that it is the same here. I mention it here, though, because faith (or lack thereof) colors a person’s perspective and that is particularly true for people who contemplate suicide.

Life with faith is still difficult but a life without faith is near impossible. God doesn’t promise a perfect, easy life, but He does promise us heaven. And He does promise us a life where He is with us every step of the way. When a person of faith faces difficulties, hopefully he or she can lean on God and get the help to work through those problems.

Therefore, when a person doesn’t have faith, they don’t have that layer of support. They don’t always know who to turn to for help because they feel alone. I know for myself, before I turned to the Lord, when things were hard, life became very, very dark. I turned in on myself and there were times when suicide was an attractive choice. (I do thank God I didn’t make that choice!)  For a person without faith, every little thing can get compounded in the mind and internalized by the person.

I get the sense, from people I’ve talked to, that this is similar to the girl in the show. Even when she went for help she felt misunderstood and there is  no faith baseline to guide the girl.

2. It is Very (Too) Graphic

It shows everything. Many adults that I talked to had to turn their heads during the rape scene and the suicide scene in particular because they were just too “in your face.” One woman I talked to said she wasn’t sure if she was going to watch the last episode or not because she didn’t want to watch the suicide scene.

3. It is one-dimensional.

A couple of moms that I talked to mentioned that, although the show covers important topics, it is superficial. It doesn’t go in depth, especially in regards to the girl who killed herself. One mom in particular said that there is no discussion about the girl’s mental state or any kind of mental illness that came into play in regards to her decision. Apparently, this is also an issue with several mental illness and suicide prevention groups.

My Recommendations

1. Watch the Program Yourself First

Only you can decide whether or not your child is mature enough to handle the nature of this show (or the book). If you do decide to let your teen watch the show, feel free to fast forward during the graphic scenes or skip specific episodes altogether.

2. Watch the Program WITH Your Teen

Even if you think your teen can handle the show without you, please watch it with her. They may have questions, or they may not be able to handle some of the situations as much as you may think.

3. Talk about each episode

Don’t just watch the show and leave it at that. Ask questions. Go deep. Even if your teen is hesitant, don’t shy away from discussing what is going on and why they are going on. Talk about the characters’ reactions to various events. Talk about the mindset of the individuals, especially the young girl who committed the suicide.

One other note: be prepared to let your teen react the way she/he reacts. Your teen may open up and share things that may surprise or shock you. Say a prayer to the Holy Spirit and allow him to work/speak through you to your teen. Who knows, maybe this series – and the discussions that flow from it – may wind up being a time of growth for you and your teen (and strengthen your relationship with each other)!

Have you watched the series? What do you think about it? Have you let your teen watch the show? Why or why not? Please share in the comments. I am truly interested in other’s opinion about this series. More importantly, I am very interesting in learning how this series may (or may not) help our young people sort out the complicated issue of suicide.

P.S. For the record, my son is 12 so I won’t be letting him watch the show. Of course, that probably doesn’t surprise you. If I’m not going to watch it myself, I am not going to let him watch it. {smile}

Saint Damien de Veuster

Also known as Saint Damien of Molokai, Saint Damien is a missionary priest who spent years caring for people with leprosy.

Image by William Brigham (1889) via Wikipedia, CCO Public Domain (Photo taken shortly before his death)

His Life

Saint Damien (Jozef de Veuster) was born in Belgium in January 1840 as the youngest of seven children. At the age of 13, he was taken out of school to help out on the family farms. His heart, however, was set on religious life and eventually he was able to enter the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

Although considered uneducated, he was ordained a priest in 1864 – two months after arriving at Hawaii. Saint Damien spent the rest of his life serving, caring, and ministering to the people in the leprosy colony of Hawaii. At that time, leprosy was still considered incurable and very contagious so people with leprosy were often ostracized and quarantined off by themselves.

After 11 years or so, Damien discovered that he, himself, had contracted leprosy. He died in April 1889 at the age of 49. He was beatified in 1995 by St. John Paul II and canonized by Pope Emmertis Benedict XVI in 2009. His feast day is today, May 10.

What We can Learn from Saint Damien

One of the things that is  most notable about Saint Damien is that he does not shy away from the marginalized. Whereas most people avoided the “lepers,” Saint Damien embraced them, loved them, and selflessly took care of them. Thus, his life becomes a challenge to us :

Do I (can I) embrace those who others push away or ignore? This can be something as simple as visiting the homebound or elderly. However, it can mean standing up for the unborn by joining a pro-life organization or other type of ministry. Still, it can also just mean being present to our family and taking the time to ministering for their needs!

Another thing about Saint Damien that stands out is his perseverance. Saint Damien suffered much in his life and had to deal with a lot of obstacles and difficulties. However, he never let those difficulties make him lose sight of God’s purpose for his life and he never gave up. He pushed through, trusted in God, and was able to do a lot of good for the people of Hawaii. In this too, Saint Damien’s example is a challenge to us:

Do I let myself get discouraged when I face difficulties or do I trust in God and work through them? It is not a matter of if we will have troubles and problems. It is a matter of when we will have troubles and problems. The important thing is how we respond to those problems. Unfortunately, I don’t always handle problems very graciously. If I am being honest, I don’t handle problems very graciously most of the time. Anyone else or is it just me?! Still, Saint Damien’s example encourages me. I am a work in progress and that’s okay. 🙂

So, let us pray to Saint Damien that he will intercede for us and help us have a great love for every person and to persevere in all of our struggles. Saint Damien, pray for us!

Other Resources

To learn more about Saint Damien, visit these sites:

Catholic.org

EWTN

Wikipedia

 

If You Could Change One Thing in Your Life Today…

What would it be? It can be anything: personal, relational, work/job. What would that ONE THING be?

If You Could Change One Thing

What is ONE THING you can do today – right this minute even – to make that change happen. Or to at least start the process?

**BONUS POINTS and some Accountability if you dare to share that one thing either publicly in the comments or privately through email/message!

You see, Big changes and outcomes in our lives can happen if we take small consistent action, one step at a time. Wishing, hoping, and grumbling only leaves us stuck in the same place but little action steps keep us in the right direction.

Therefore, for the next 30 days, ask yourself what action step can you take today to move forward. Then, after the 30 days are up, savor the progress you have made and look to see what you have accomplished!

So, again: What is the one thing you want to change in your life today? What little step – what concrete action – are you going to take to begin the process of changing that one thing?

 

He is Risen!

Happy Easter! I hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend! We went to the Easter Vigil for Mass and it was beautiful and spent Easter Sunday with my husband’s side of the family.

How was your Easter? I hope it was a wonderful day. BUT, don’t forget, Easter isn’t over. It is just beginning! In the Catholic Church, the Easter season is 50 days. Lent, the penitential season, is 40 days but Easter, the rejoicing season, is 10 days more. 🙂

Therefore, during this glorious time, let the joy of Christ’s resurrection penetrate your heart and soul. 🙂

Resurrection

Image by Didgeman (2015) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

For God So Loved The World…

As we head into the Sacred Tridium tomorrow, I want to encourage you to take some time (even just a few minutes) to reflect on God’s love for you.

For God So Loved the World

It is a powerful thing to realize the deep love that God has for us – for you – and not just in your head but with your heart. GOD LOVES YOU with an infinite love. A love that surpasses all understanding. Jesus suffered horribly and died on the cross for YOU. He wanted so much for you to be with Him, in the Blessed Trinity, for all eternity, that He was willing to do anything to make that happen.

And guess what? It doesn’t stop at the Crucifixion. Jesus rose and has forever conquered death and hell! He did all this for YOU. He wants YOU to have an abundant life! He doesn’t promise that it will always be easy but He will always be with YOU.

May you and your family have a truly grace-filled and blessed Sacred Tridium and Easter!