Back to Basics: How to do Lectio Divina (Pray Scripture)

Praying the scriptures is an integral part of a Christian’s life. How can someone get to know Jesus and the heart of God without reading His Word? And, although it seems like a “well-kept secret” for us Catholics, praying the Scriptures (Lectio Divina) is a long-time tradition within the Catholic Church. In fact, reading/praying the bible wasn’t just for priests or religious, but for the laity as well.

There are many books on Lectio Divina, but the simplest instructions I found is on the Plain Catholic site (used with permission – italics are my insertions):

How to do Lectio Divina

1. “Take up the Bible in your quiet prayer place. Say a simple prayer such as the opening lines to the Liturgy of the Hours: “God come to my assistance, Lord make haste to help me. Glory be…” or “Lord open my ears and steady my heart to hear Your Word,” (I like to pray the ‘Come Holy Spirit’ prayer).

2. Open the Bible to the Gospel readings for the day (or other scripture verses that speak to your heart). Slowly and prayerfully read the passages. Imagine yourself listening to Christ Himself, just as Mary did at His feet.

3. Sit with the Scripture you have just read, listening with the ear of your heart (As St. Benedict called it in he Prologue of the Rule). Do not rush it. Simply move through it gently.

4. At the end of the prayer time, thank Jesus and offer praises to the Holy Trinity; offer up your day to Him. (I pray an Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be…)

The average time for Lectio Divina is 20 minutes (you don’t have to use a timer unless you want/need to). Some days it will take 10 minutes. Other days it will take longer. Give what you can to the Lord and be at peace about it.

When you first begin Lectio Divina, stick with the gospels. They are easier to start with because it will feel more natural to “sit with Jesus’ words and listen to them”. Eventually, you will find the Psalms, Proverbs, and all the New Testament as fertile ground for Lectio Divina.

If you are having difficulty during your prayer time, try to remember that there is no such thing as “wasted prayer time.” If you get distracted, simply offer Jesus that distraction. Do not force yourself into trying to conform what you think they prayer time should look like. Most importantly, do NOT let yourself give into discouragement: instead, do the best you can and give the rest to God.

Listen to the Advice of St. Benedict:

‘LISTEN carefully, my child, to your master’s precepts, and incline the ear of your heart (Prov. 4:20). Receive willingly and carry out effectively your loving father’s advice, that by the labor of obedience you may return to Him from whom you had departed by the sloth of disobedience.

To you, therefore, my words are now addressed, whoever you may be, who are renouncing your own will to do battle under the Lord Christ, the true King, and are taking up the strong, bright weapons of obedience.

And first of all, whatever good work you begin to do, beg of Him with most earnest prayer to perfect it, that He who has now deigned to count us among His children may not at any time be grieved by our evil deeds. For we must always so serve Him with the good things He has given us, that He will never as an angry Father disinherit His children, nor ever as a dread Lord, provoked by our evil actions, deliver us to everlasting punishment as wicked servants who would not follow Him to glory’

Therefore, if you don’t already spend a part of your day with the Lord, reading the Bible and praying over God’s Word, I highly encourage you to do so. Even if you can only find 5 minutes to read the Bible, and pray the Scriptures, I promise you, the time will be well worth it.


REMINDER: I go live in my Facebook group every Monday at 10:35 am EDT and every Thursday at 1:30 pm EDT. I hope you will join me! In tomorrow’s FB live, I will be expounding on this topic and giving more detail on the purpose of Lectio Divina and how to get the most of your time out of praying the scriptures.

PSST: If you are looking for accountability or focused encouragement in growing your spiritual life, I am here to help. Supporting and empowering women is my passion and I’d love to chat with you and see if we would be a fit for working together. Book a call with me here.

Back to Basics: How to Pray

(Happy St. Joseph’s Day!)

“How do I pray,” is a loaded question. Prayer means different things to different people, and God knows there are tons of books about prayer. Even Jesus’ disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray.

Back to Basics: How to pray

So, if you really want to learn how to pray, ask Jesus to give you the Holy Spirit to teach you how to pray! He will teach us to pray, if we keep asking and by showing our readiness by actually taking the time to pray.

Here are three ideas on how to pray to get you started:

1. Liturgical Prayer

The Mass is foremost and central to our Catholic faith. It is so important Mother Church made going to church every Sunday (and special holy days) an obligation. This isn’t to make us feel like “we have to go” to Mass. Mass is the ultimate prayer! It brings us to the Cross, and through the Mass, we sacramentally receive the very body and blood of Jesus. If you want to learn how to pray, take your clue from the Mass and the other sacraments.

2. Devotionals or Prayer books

If you are struggling the pray, going through a dry spell, or just can’t find the words, use a devotional or prayer-book. There are A LOT of them out there, any of which are scripture based. There are many that are written by the saints. Really, there are so many kinds of devotionals out there that one is bound to resonate with you. And, don’t forget the Bible! Praying the scriptures is a wonderful way to pray and I will be devoting a whole post (FB Live) dedicated to Lectio Divina (praying the scriptures.

If you don’t want to use a book, you can pray other traditional prayers such as the Rosary, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, or Hail Holy Queen.

3. Use a Formula

There really isn’t a formula, per se for prayer but you may have heard of the acronym ACTS. ACTS stands for Adoration, Contrition, Thanksgiving and Supplication. If you look at the Our Father, the prayer Jesus gave to His disciples, it has elements of these in the prayer. (For the interest of time and space, I will leave it to you to pray through the Our Father Yourself and pick out the elements).

This acronym gives a balanced way for praying. Do you notice that adoration, contrition, and thanksgiving come BEFORE supplication? So often, the majority of our prayer consists of asking for things – things for ourselves and things for other people. But, that should be last.

The majority of our prayer should consist of adoring God and praising Him, showing sorrow for our sins and the sins of others, and thanking Him for all the blessings and graces He showers upon us daily. Only then should we petition Him for our needs.


REMINDER: I go live in my Facebook group every Monday at 10:35 am EDT and every Thursday at 1:30 pm EDT. I hope you will join me! Today (Monday), I will expound some more on today’s topic of how to pray and sharing a couple more ways to pray. Be there!

PSST: If you are looking for accountability or focused encouragement in growing your spiritual life, I am here to help. Supporting and empowering women is my passion and I’d love to chat with you and see if we would be a fit for working together. Book a call with me here.

Back to Basics: Obstacles to Prayer

Did you ever notice that when you want to start something, a hobby, a diet, an exercise program, etc., things start to magically get in the way? It is like the obstacles just come out of thin air! This can be true when embarking on a regular prayer schedule.

So, In yesterday’s Facebook Go Live, I talked about what these obstacles are and gave some suggestions on  how to overcome them. Here are three of the most pressing obstacles I’ve come across.

Some obstacles we face include:

1. Discouragement

When we pray and don’t seem to get the answer we want or we don’t think God is answering us quickly enough, we can become discouraged. Or, maybe we feel lie our prayer is not effective and we want to give up. Don’t!

God’s ways are not our ways and we need to trust that God knows what He is doing. God always answers us, even if the answer is no. And, prayer is always effective. As humans, we have a habit of basing a lot (too much) on emotions but God is above our emotions. He wants us to go beyond the need for “signs” and “miracles” into a deeper connection of the wills.

2. No time

I think the number one reason people neglect prayer is because they don’t think they have the time. However, the truth is, the busier you are, the more you need to be grounded in prayer. And, truth be told, if I can give a little tough love, we all make time for the things that are important to us. It is a matter of priorities and finding the time.

3. Temptations

Temptations are all around us. I remember when I was young and being told to “rebuke the devil, the flesh, and the world” in order to resist temptations. Unfortunately, there are many people who don’t believe the devil is real. They think he is a myth. The devil is real and the last thing he wants is for us to pray and turn to God, so it is important that we are aware and vigilant against his wiles. The flesh is where laziness, gluttony, and pleasures come in. The can seduce us away from the desire and will to pray. Finally, the “world” tries to steal us from God and prayer. It bedazzles us with the show of glamour and riches and living a “wild” lifestyle – a lifestyle away from God. We must keep watch and not let today’s society lure us into its snares.

(To be clear, money and riches, in and of themselves are not evil. They are neutral. It is the inordinate desire and pursuit of them that can become evil if we lose site of God and His plan for our lives.)

How to Overcome Those Obstacles

These (and other) obstacles to prayer may seem insurmountable but they aren’t. All is possible with God, including working through those obstacles. Here are some suggestions to help you:

A: Be patient: Overcoming obstacles won’t happen overnight. Every day, take what steps you can to work through your prayer difficulties and don’t allow yourself to get annoyed or bothered by the obstacles you face.

B: Persevere: Don’t give up! Just because we don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel doesn’t mean it isn’t there! Again, slow and steady wins the race, so do your best to pray every day, trust in God, and know that your efforts will produce fruit.

C: Get Help: You don’t have to try and deal with the obstacles you face alone. Get yourself an accountability partner, spiritual director, or life coach that you can trust and use that person to help you work through any issues or situations that get in the way of you having a consistent and fulfilling prayer life.

Whatever your do: I encourage you to fight through the obstacles of prayer head on. Ask God for the grace to help you overcome the obstacles to prayer. He will! And, I will pray for you. May God Bless you!


REMINDER: I go live in my Facebook group every Monday at 10:35 am EST and every Thursday at 1:30 pm EST. I hope you will join me!

PSST: If you are looking for accountability or focused encouragement in growing your spiritual life, I am here to help. Supporting and empowering women is my passion and I’d love to chat with you and see if we would be a fit for working together. Book a call with me here.

Back to Basics: Types of Prayer

We are going back to basics again and reminding ourselves about the different types of prayer that are available.

Back to Basics Types of Prayer

There are many ways to pray to suit our every need. There are some who prefer to pray with with others and those who like to pray alone. If you find that prayer is becoming “boring” or monotonous, maybe trying a different type of prayer will motivate you and “shake things up” a bit.

Vocal Prayer

This is the most common and used type of prayer. Vocal prayer is when we say the Hail Mary, Our Father, Glory Be, etc.

Vocal Prayer is also when we just speak from the heart. For the most part, Catholics aren’t great at spontaneous prayer (I’m not!) but we should work at this. Previously, I mentioned that prayer is a conversation with God and part of that is talking to God openly and spontaneously.


Aspirations are very short prayers, usually one word or sentence, that allow us to lift up our hearts to God briefly. “Jesus, I love You.” “Jesus, I trust in you.” “Jesus.” “Lord, have mercy.” “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I love you. Save souls and unborn children.” These are all examples of an aspiration.

Communal Prayer

Obviously, communal prayer is when two or more people come together to pray. For example: Going to Mass, celebrating the other Sacraments, prayer services, bible studies, spiritual direction, etc.

Private Prayer

As the name implies, private prayer is prayer that we do alone. 🙂 This can include vocal prayer, meditation, and/or contemplation.


Yes, journaling can be prayer. In fact, having a prayer journal is a great way to deepen our prayer life. Rather than chronicling our day or stresses, etc., with prayer journaling, we write out our heart to God through freewriting or writing letters to God. Or, you can get creative and write God a poem, a song, draw him pictures, etc. It may make prayer something fun for you, too.

Spiritual Reading

My favorite type of spiritual reading is Lectio Divina, or praying the scriptures slowly and letting the words penetrate your heart.

However, there are many other books that can be read in a prayerful way, especially ones that offer meditations and reflections.


Meditation is very similar to mental prayer. You take a small passage of scripture or spiritual concept (for example: heaven) and spend some time  quietly thinking about it. You take the place of a character (s) of the bible passage or you think deeply about the concept. (For example, what is heaven like? What does it mean to be with God in heaven, etc.)

This is how the Catechism of the Catholic Church (2705) describes Meditation:

Meditation is above all a quest. The mind seeks to understand the why and how of the Christian life, in order to adhere and respond to what the Lord is asking.”


With contemplation, which is often seen as similar to meditation, goes deeper. Whereas, with meditation there is thinking involved, but with contemplation, you “let go and let God.” You (try to) empty you minds and hearts of all that is not God and let Him love you and fill your soul.

Here is how the Catechism of the Catholic Church (2724) describes contemplation:

Contemplative prayer is the simple expression of the mystery of prayer. It is a gaze of faith fixed on Jesus, an attentiveness to the Word of God, a silent love. It achieves real union with the prayer of Christ to the extent that it makes us share in his mystery.

Normally, although God can do what He wants!, contemplation is an advanced form of prayer and comes forth from time spent in meditation and other forms of prayer.

Ultimately, prayer is all about God and our relationship with Him. There are those who never achieve deep meditation or contemplation and there are those who achieve an extremely deep prayer life within a short time. It boiled down to God’s grace and our willingness to respond to that grace.

Prayer is also a gift from God. Only the Holy Spirit can inspire us to pray, to help us to pray, and to be faithful with prayer. The Holy Spirit teaches us how to pray and gives us the ability to pray. Come Holy Spirit!


REMINDER: I go live in my Facebook group every Monday at 10:35 am EDT and every Thursday at 1:30 pm EDT. I hope you will join me! Tomorrow I am going to talk about the obstacles to prayer and how to overcome them. DIFFERENT TIME: ABOUT 2:00 PM EDT. (My son has his homeschool book club and it may run late again.)

PSST: If you are looking for accountability or focused encouragement in growing your spiritual life, I am here to help. Supporting and empowering women is my passion and I’d love to chat with you and see if we would be a fit for working together. Book a call with me here.

Back to Basics: Prayer Space

Heads up: In TOMMOROW’s* Facebook live (12:30pm EDT), I will be talking about they whys and hows of setting up a prayer space.

I will cover:

What is a prayer space?

What if I don’t have the space/room for one?

Is having a prayer space essential?

How do I set up a prayer space?

And more…

So, join me tomorrow in the Catholic Women’s Prayer and Encouragement Facebook Group!

*My husband is home today (yay!) and he isn’t the most quiet so I am going to go live tomorrow when he is back to work. 🙂

Back to Basics: Silence

Out of the Mouth of Babes

I will never forget the day Andrew “shh-ed” everyone in Church. 🙂 He was four or five-years-old at the time and we were still living in Ohio. We had come back to New Jersey for a visit and were in Church for a First Holy Communion.

While waiting for Mass to begin, a lot of people, including some family members behind us, were talking. Hearing the chatter, a person would think that there was a party going on, rather than a Church service about to begin. All of a sudden, Andrew stands up, turns around, and says,

“Shhh! We are in Church!”

Then he turned and sat down.

The people sitting around us were quiet for a moment and then began giggling and talking about how cute and funny Andrew was for what he said. It was adorable and cute, however, I think they missed the point.

Ding, Ding, Ding

Don’t get me wrong here. I’m NOT condemning anyone, or saying that it is wrong to talk in Church, or that we should go back to the days of absolute silence in Church. I’m just as guilty as everyone else when it comes to talking in Church sometimes.

However, have you noticed just how LOUD our world has become, both literally and metaphorically? We are constantly bombarded with TV, radio, social media, news, and other noises. So much so, in fact, that we don’t even take some time before the Sacred Liturgy to compose ourselves and prepare our hearts for meeting the Lord. On top of that, we also live very busy lives running here and there, taking care of family, and fulfilling our many obligations. These are all great things but when we talk, talk, talk, and go, go, go, it becomes impossible to listen. More importantly, it becomes almost impossible to hear God speak to us.

God WANTS to speak to us. He wants to heal us and minister to us but He can’t do that if we don’t take the time to settle down and tune in and listen for His voice. More than that, we NEED to spend time in silence in order to recharge our batteries and fill up our souls. We all know the saying, “we can’t give what we don’t have.” If we don’t take the time to fill our souls, listening to God in the silence of our hearts, we will burn out.

Prerequisite for Prayer

That’s why I really want to encourage you to find a way to make time for silence. Believe me, I know you are busy, but if you can get up even 15 minutes earlier to spend in silence (and prayer), I guarantee it will make a difference in your life.

Ultimately, we need silence in order to be successful with prayer. Sure, it is possible to pray when there is noise. We are called to pray at all times and, naturally, most of the time there will be some sort of background noise; however, it is absolutely essential to regularly block out some time for silent prayer. I strongly encourage you to consider to take up the battle for silence!


REMINDER: I go live in my Facebook group every Monday at 10:35 am EST and every Thursday at 1:30 pm EST. I hope you will join me! Tomorrow, I will be talking about the prerequisites for prayer AND the two types of silence you should strive for.

PSST: If you are looking for accountability or focused encouragement in growing your spiritual life, I am here to help. Supporting and empowering women is my passion and I’d love to chat with you and see if we would be a fit for working together. Book a call with me here.

Going Back to the Basics: What is Prayer?

What is prayer? Why is it important?

Back to Basics What is Prayer

If you are new to being a Christian, or more specifically, new to being a Catholic Christian, these are important questions.

If you are long-time Catholic Christian, they are equally important questions!

Prayer is the absolute foundation of the Christian life. It is how we encounter God and allow him to enter into our life.

Therefore, as we are now in the 3rd week of Lent, we are going to start focusing on prayer: the what, the why, the how and when, and even the where.

Today, in my weekly Go Live (in my Catholic Prayer and Encouragement Group) I am going to focus on defining prayer and reminding us on why prayer is important. So join me in the group this morning about 10:35 am EST.


Living With Cerebral Palsy

March is National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month. This is an important subject for me because I have Cerebral Palsy. Just like so many other things, there are a lot of misconceptions about CP so I am going to re-share the post I published last year about my experience in growing up with this condition.


(I will also be doing a personal Facebook Live on Saturday, March 3, 2018 at about 10:30am EST about my experience with CP, as well. I hope you will join me.)

My Life with Cerebral Palsy

Lent and the Process of Ongoing Conversion

All during Lent, I have been talking about them myself, we hear about the necessity of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. However, we don’t hear a lot about why the are so important. They are not the end-all, be-all, in and of themselves. The have a purpose and that purpose is CONVERSION.

Image by geralt (2017) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

What is Conversion?

The literal meaning of conversion is “to turn toward” or  “to turn away from.” In our case, conversion is a turning away from sin and turning toward God.

We sometimes hear about famous people who convert to Catholicism or who have had extraordinary experiences and conversions (reversions” to the Catholic faith. You may have read the conversion story of Scott and/or Kimberly Hahn or other outspoken Catholic convert. Those are amazing and inspiring stories that can absolutely bolster our own faith life.

However, for most of us, our conversion will be a daily, ongoing process. It will be a daily decision and act of turning to Jesus as our Savior in the midst of our daily lives. It is choosing His will over our own and His ways over our ways.

The Struggle

As you know, this not easy. Converting our hearts, souls, and minds to God is a constant battle of letting go, picking ourselves up, and not giving up. We will fall many times but Confession is there to restore ourselves to God. We may fall into routine and boredom, but then we have things like Lent to shake things up for us.

All the prayer, fasting, and almsgiving we do during Lent (and hopefully other times during the year) are the catalysts to conversion. They are the outward exercises that prepare and foster our inside exercises.

We are not Alone

If we ask Him, God will always give us the graces we need, even for conversion! We have the intercessions of the Blessed Mother and the saints. And we have each other. There is a lot in this world ready to tear us down and apart; however, as women we should support each other and cheer each other on as we battle the spiritual life. We need that.

Scripture Verses about Conversion

I encourage you to meditate on a few of the following scripture verses. Memorize them and soak them up in your soul. Let them guide you during your own ongoing conversion this Lent.

Go into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believes and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that does not believe shall be condemned.” Matthew 16:15

But Peter said to them: Do penance, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins: and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit….They therefore that received his word, were baptized; and there were added in that day about three thousand” Acts 2:38,41

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9

Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.” Joel 2:13

There are many beautiful scriptures about conversion that are perfect for Lent. If you have time, you may want to do a little scripture study on conversion. There are several  online concordances that you can use that will help you do this.

Again, I pray that this glorious season of Lent is a time of grace and blessing for you. I pray that you will draw near to our Lord and turn your heart to Him more and more!


REMINDER: I go live in my Facebook group every Monday at 10:35 am EST and every Thursday at 1:30 pm EST. I hope you will join me!

PSST: If you are looking for accountability or focused encouragement in growing your spiritual life, I am here to help. Supporting and empowering women is my passion and I’d love to chat with you and see if we would be a fit for working together. Book a call with me here.

2018 Goals – February Update

After a year hiatus, I am back to making goals. For the added accountability, and hopefully to inspire you with your own goals, I am posting them here with monthly updates. 🙂

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

In that vein, here is my update for February:


1. Read at least one chapter of the Bible each day (On track with this. Just finished Exodus and about to begin Leviticus.)

2. Cut out sugar and dairy for at least 8 weeks (fast Wednesdays & Fridays) (The 8 weeks are over, but now that it is Lent, I am continuing with this. Doing well but cheating on the weekends.)

3. Read one personal book per month (fiction, self-help, spiritual, etc.) (On track with this. Read People can’t Drive You Crazy if You don’t Give Them the Keys by Mike Bechtle.)


4. Go on one date with Michael per month (Thanks to St. Valentine’s Day, we got TWO dates this month. 🙂 )

5. Send Michael (and Andrew) at least one love/text note per week. (On track with this.)


6. Read one book out loud to Andrew per month (On track this month. We read the Explorer – will come back with author – and it was excellent.)

7. Go on a family vacation (Have been discussing this with Michael working out the details and plan.)

8. Pray with Andrew daily (daily devotional book before or after school) (Done in February.)


9. Rebuild emergency fund ($1,000) (Started, finally, but very low.)

10. Save at least $10 per week (Done for February. We were actually able to save a little more most weeks this month.)


11. Launch two courses/programs this year (Still working out the details for these.)

12. Do at least 2 FB lives per month (aiming for weekly!) (For the last three weeks I have done two Facebook Lives per week, so definitely on track this month.)

Have you made any goals for 2018? If so, do share in the comments! I would love to support and encourage you in any way I can! How are you doing with your goals? Do share!