Ten Reminders of God’s Love for You

(I am reposting this because I think we all need reminders of God’s love every now and again. When we are struggling or hurting in various ways it is easy to forget that we are not alone. So, if you are struggling, I hope these reminders will give you some hope and courage. God bless.)

Reminders of God's Love

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This post is dedicated to my Aunt Miriam who passed away a few years ago. She was one of the first people to encourage me to read the bible and to dedicate my heart to Jesus. I loved her so much and still miss her dearly. She loved God and understood His great love for us. She also loved to read her bible and did so faithfully. The Bible is God’s love story to us, so if you need a reminder of how much God loves you, here’s ten of them:

1. “O Lord, your love reaches to heaven; your faithfulness, to the clouds.” Psalm 36:6

2. “With age-old love I have loved you; so I have kept my mercy toward you.” Jeremiah 31:3

3. “The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a mighty savior; He will rejoice over you with gladness, and renew you in His love, he will sing joyfully because of you.” Zephaniah 3:17

4. “As the Father loves me, so I love you. Remain in my love John 15:9

5. “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for his friends.” John 15:13

6. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal live.” John 3:16 (My personal, all-time favorite verse from Scripture!)

7. “What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we are being slain all the day; we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:35-37

8. “For I am convinced that either death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38

9. “I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the holy ones, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!” Ephesians 3:16-21

10. “See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet we are.” 1 John: 31

I pray that you are touched by God’s love today. I pray that whatever you are going through you will have the courage and faith to stay strong. Never forget: You are loved. You matter. Your presence makes a difference in this world!

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10 Scripture Verses for Holy Week

(repost)

In just a few days we will celebrate the solemn liturgies of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter. To help us enter more deeply into these mysteries, here are ten scripture verses to pray over during Holy Week:

10 Scripture Verses for Holy Week

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From this week’s liturgies:

1. Isaiah 42:1 “Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased, upon whom I have put my spirit; he shall bring forth justice to the nations”

2. John 13:26-27 “Jesus answered, ‘it is the one to whom I hand the morsel after I have dipped it.’ So he dipped the morsel and handed it to Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot. After he took the morsel, Satan entered him.”

3. Psalm 69:14 “But I pray to you, Lord, for the time of your favor. God in your great kindness answer me with your constant help.”

From the Seven Last Words of Jesus:

4. Matthew 27:46 “And about three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eli, eli, lema sabachthani?’ which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?'”

5. Luke 23:34 “Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.'”

6. Luke 23:43 “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

7. Luke 23:46 “Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commend my spirit;’ and when he had said this he breathed his last.”

8. John 19: 26-27 “When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son.’ then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. ”

9. John 19:28 “After this, aware that everything was now finished, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled, Jesus said, ‘I thirst.'”

10. John 19:30 “When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, ‘It’s is finished,'”

I choose these verses because they are very meaningful to me; however, there are many other beautiful scriptures applicable for this sacred week to pray over. What are your favorites? Do let us know in the comments.

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Ten Scripture Verses to Pray Over During Lent

(repost: I thought this would be a good complement to Sr. Christina’s guest post. πŸ™‚ )

We are just on the cusp of Lent, and as I’ve said many times before, one of the best things we can do is read God’s word. One of the best ways to do this is to pray the scriptures that are given to us at Mass. The Liturgy is wrought with meaningful verses to encourage us to deepen our understanding of the Lord’s sacrifice, to open and convert out hearts and renew our commitment to the Lord. That is why I am republishing this post of 10 scripture verses:

10 Scripture Verses to Pray Over During Lent

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Here is a small compilation of scripture verses to help get you meditating on the Holy Word God:

1. “Your ways, O Lord, make known to me; teach me your paths.” Psalm 25:4

2. “A clean heart create in me, O God, and a steadfast spirit renew within me.” Psalm 51 12

3. “Return, O Israel, to the Lord, your God; you have collapsed through your guilt. Take with you words, and return to the Lord.” Hosea 14:2-3

4. “Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning; Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the Lord, your God.” Joel 2:12-13

5. “Stop judging, that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.” Matthew 7:1-2

6. “He released Barabbas to them, and after having Him scourged, he handed him over to be crucified.” Matthew 27:26

7. “The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.” Luke 9:22

8. “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23

9. “Jesus wept.” John 11:35

10. “God proves His love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

I can’t resist adding these two more:

11. “Though He was in the form of God, Jesus did not regard equality with God something to be grasped at. Rather, He emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found in human appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even to death on a cross.” Philippians 2:6-8

12. “Judgment is merciless to one who has not shown mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.” James 2:13

What favorite scripture verses do you like to pray over during Lent?

P. S. In case you want to print these verses to pray over them, I created a .pdf file to make it easier for you. You can print it here, no opt-in required. πŸ™‚Β 10 Scripture Verses to Pray Over During Lent

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Ten Ways to Get The Most Out of Lent

(repost)

As you know this week is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. I *LOVE* Lent. I do. Really! Lots of us cradle Catholics find the fasting and sacrifices of Lent a drudgery. Others ignore Lent altogether. Not me. I see Lent as a mini New Year. A new beginning and another chance to re-charge the batteries in my relationship with the Lord.

10 Ways to Get the Most out of Lent

Here are some ideas for you to spend your time this Lent. (Btw, if you read my “Making Advent Meaningful” post, you’ll notice some of the suggestions are the same. That’s because there are some things – like the Mass and rosary – that are worth being reminded of again. πŸ™‚ )

1. Daily Mass. Since the Eucharist the the “source and summit of our faith”, it stands to reason that daily mass should be on top of our Lenten “to-do” list!

2. Adoration. Next to the mass, adoration is the next best thing – especially if you are unable to make it daily mass for whatever reason. More and more parishes are offering at least monthly or weekly exposition and adoration (and some have perpetual adoration) of the Blessed Sacrament, so try and snag a half hour each week if you can!

3. Stations of the cross. The Stations of the Cross is a beautiful way to remember the passion of the Lord. Again, most parishes have Stations of the Cross once or twice each Friday of Lent. If you can’t make it to church, you can get some beautiful pamphlets for next to nothing and pray they them at home with your family.

4. Forgive. Through Jesus, our sins are forgiven and so that we may receive mercy. One of the best (and hardest!) ways to show gratitude for the Lord’s goodness is to forgive those who have hurt us – especially if the transgression was grievous. Just as hard, ifΒ  not even harder, is forgiving ourselves. Or sometimes we hold on to grudges and anger, even when we can’t remember how a particular person has hurt us! If you see yourself in any of these scenarios, maybe you can pray the Lord opens your heart to forgiving someone who has hurt you, or praying that He will help you forgive yourself? Even the prayer that He helps you to WANT to forgive would be a great start…

5. Pray the Liturgy of the Hours. The morning and evening prayers of the Liturgy of the hours are always beautiful, but especially during the Lenten season.Β  It is the official prayer of the church, and when you pray the Liturgy of the Hours, you are united will all the faithful around the world who are praying it with you!

6. Go to confession. It’s called the Sacrament of Reconciliation now, but whatever you call it, there’s no better way (besides the mass!) to prepare for Easter. There will be (or should be) many Penance services around your diocese, so you should be able to find one that fits in your schedule.

7. Watch the Passion of the Christ. Yes, watching the Passion of the Christ is painful. It’s in your face. It renders us speechless. And it should. What Jesus endured for our sake wasn’t “touchy feely” or a walk in the park. It was ugly, but our sin in even uglier, and sometimes we (I) need something like this movie to remind us (me) just how much Jesus loves us and was willing to endure for us.

8. Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Who says you have to wait for the Divine Mercy Sunday Novena to pray the chaplet? It’s a short but perfect prayer for Lent. I also try and read parts, if not most, of Saint Faustina’s diary during Lent, too.

9. Pray the the Scriptures. Next to participating in the Sacraments, there is no better way to deepen our relationship with the Lord than Scripture.Β  Spending as little as five minutes a day with His Word can transform your life. (New to reading the Bible? Read this guide on how to pray the Scriptures.)

10. Fast. All through Lent we will be hearing about fasting. It’s good for the soul. It opens our eyes to the needs of others. it cleanses us of our base passions. But, fasting isn’t just giving up food, or even television (both of which are excellent). This year, why don’t we fast from anger, sloth or any of the other “capital sins” and try to feast on its opposing virtue? (I know my diet has been terribly deprived of patience lately! πŸ˜‰ )

Now, don’t feel pressured to do all of these activities. Remember, the focus is to deepen our relationship with Christ not add on more to-dos! Start out small. Pick one to three activities and focus on those. Lent is not a competition or race to see how much you can do. It is about focusing on a few things and doing them well so that you can focus on growing deeper in your relationship with the Lord, not exhaust yourself.

So tell us, what are your suggestions for making Lent special for you this year?

P.S. For a printable version of this list go here to subscribe. Subscribers, go to your private page to download the list.

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Christ the King

(Repost with some changes)

Christ the King

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Wow! Yesterday was the last Sunday of the Church’s liturgical calendar. It’s hard to believe that we will be heading into Advent next week! Where has the time gone?

“At the name of Jesus every knee must bend in the heavens, on the earth, and under the earth, and every tongue proclaim to the glory of God the Father: JESUS CHRIST IS Lord.” Philippians 2:10-11

Yesterday, the Church celebrated the feast of Christ the King. It is the day that we celebrate and acknowledge the all-encompassing authority of Christ over our lives. To find out more about this awesome feast, go here.

As we transition into Advent, like many of us, I have been thinking about what I want to do to prepare for Christmas this year. In light of today’s feast, here are some questions I am asking myself:

  • How have I grown in my relationship with Jesus this year?
  • Am I growing in trust and surrendering my will to His?
  • In what areas of my relationship with Jesus do I need to improve?
  • How has my prayer life been this year? Am I taking time for the Rosary, Divine Mercy Chaplet and other devotions?
  • Am I actively participating in the sacramental life? Am I fully participating in the Mass? Confession?
  • What can I do this year to make Advent a true preparation for the coming of Christ at Christmas?

As you prepare for the Advent season, I pray that Christ will truly be at the center of your heart, that you may grow in His Love, and that you will be guided by the Holy Spirit throughout the season and always. πŸ™‚

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How to Pray the Scriptures

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.

prayscriptures

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 Mass 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…)

Notes:

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 β€œwasted 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. πŸ™‚

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For reference, you can print this post as a pdf here (no opt-in required):Β How to Pray the Scriptures

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Top 10 Scripture Verses to Memorize with Your Children

Memorize scripture with children

(This post, first published in 2010, continues to be very popular. I’ve added a pdf version so that you can print out the verses to use with your family. The link is at the end.)

One of the things we are doing is trying to memorize scripture with Andrew.Β  We want him to develop a love of scripture, encourage character development and promote growth of virtue. Normally, we make it part of our home-schooling day, but I’ve slacked off a bit over the summer. πŸ™‚

It is a lot of fun learning scripture with Andrew! We make a game of it and we take turns testing each other. He gets a real kick out of “being the “teacher”. lol!

With our home-school starting up again, we are getting back on track. Here some of the scripture verses that we will be working on memorizing over this school year:

1. Colossians 3:20 “Children obey your parents in everything for this is pleasing to the Lord.”

2. Exodus 24:7 “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.”

3. Psalm 111:10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”

4. 1 John 4:8 “God is love.”

5. Ephesians 6:11 “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”

6. Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

7. Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, as it is the wellspring of life.”

8. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave us His only begotten Son; so that anyone who believes in Him may not perish, but may have eternal life.”

9. Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

10. Psalm 107:1 “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good. His mercy endures forever.”

What about you? What are your favorite scripture verses? What favorite scripture verses are you memorizing with your family? Do share in the comments!

(This is linked to Top 10 Tuesday and Works for me Wednesday.)

UPDATE: I made a PDF out of these scripture verses in case you wanted to memorize some (or all) of them with your family. Rather than writing each one out, feel free to print out the PDF here:Β Scripture Verses to Memorize with Children No opt-in required.

What the Catholic Church Teaches about Marriage

The Lord has been putting it in my heart to do a little series on marriage* for a while, and since February is the ‘month of love’ with St. Valentine’s Day and all, I figured now would be a good as time as any to get it going. πŸ™‚

In this first installment, I am going to talk about marriage as a sacrament based on Scripture and the Catechism. Then over the next couple of weeks I’ll talk about what makes a good marriage, loving your spouse and finally a post on submission (which always seems to be a hot topic!). So let’s get started:

Marriage as a Sacrament

Before we talk about marriage as a sacrament, let’s remind ourselves what a sacrament is. According to the Baltimore Catechism, a Sacrament is “an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace.” The New Catechism states this a bit differently, a Sacrament is “an outward sign of an inward reality instituted by Christ to give grace.”

In the case of marriage, the outward sign would be the couple – husband and wife – itself. The inward reality, of course, would be Christ’s love for the Church.

As married people, we are a sign to the world of Christ’s abiding love for all people, the people whom He lived, suffered, died and rose again. We are a sign of the unseen heavenly realities of which our lives are directed. This is an incredible truth of our faith!

The Scriptural basis for marriage

You are probably familiar with many of the Scripture verses that relate to marriage, but let me remind you of one of them again. If you can, it may be nice to spend some time praying over this and the other verses during the month.

Genesis 2:21-24So the Lord God cast a deep sleep on the man and while he was asleep, he took out one of his ribs, and closed up its place with flesh. the Lord God then built up into a woman the rib that he had taken from the man. When he brought her to the man, the man said: ‘This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; This one shall be called ‘woman,’ for out of ‘her man’ this one has been taken.’ That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body.

This is one of several Scriptures. I encourage you to read Matthew 19:4-7, Mark 10:7-12, 1 Corinthians 7: 3-5, 2 Corinthians 11:2, Ephesians 5: 22-32, Revelation 19:6-8 for more verses, especially the ones pertaining to Christ and His Church.

What the catechism says about marriage

The catechism (articles 1601-1666) has some beautiful passages about the sacrament of marriage and I hope you will read them. There are a couple of powerful passages, however, that I want to point out:

“”The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.” (article 1601)

“”By reason of their state in life and of their order, [Christian spouses] have their own special gifts in the People of God.” This grace proper to the sacrament of Matrimony is intended to perfect the couple’s love and to strengthen their indissoluble unity. By this grace they “help one another to attain holiness in their married life and in welcoming and educating their children.” (article 1641)

The word covenant is worth noting here. Remember God’s covenant to Abraham? God made an everlasting promise to Abraham. In marriage, a couple makes an everlasting (until death) covenant to each other, before God, which in turn grants them their “own special gifts in the people of God.”

The Purpose of the Sacrament of Marriage

The church teaches us that the purpose of the sacrament of marriage is twofold: to help each spouse to grow in holiness and the “procreation and education of offspring (1601).”

Simple words, yet they aren’t always easy live out! I think that’s why we need the special graces afforded to us in the Sacrament of Matrimony. In the day in and day out of living, we can forget the gift and the grace of our marriage state. It’s worth taking time time to reflect on our special calling once in a while. We need the reminder that marriage, Catholic marriage particularly, is so much more than what the world view of marriage shows us.

Next week I’ll get more practical and will share my thoughts on what makes a good marriage. πŸ™‚

(Linked to Saints and Scripture Sunday)

*Just for your information, I will not be touching on topics such as divorce, marriage vs civil unions, birth control or other “hot” topics related to marriage in this series. I may in the future, but for now, I want to use this series to be an encouragement and support for those who are discerning marriage or who already married and looking to deepen their relationship with their spouse. πŸ™‚

Blessed Are They…

Psalm 1

When was the last time you spent time with the Lord praying the scriptures, especially as a family? Why not start today?

(Image Credit from Pinterest.)

You are Precious (My First Video)

I posted my first video to YouTube recently. It is a little encouragement from Isaiah 43: 1-4. I pray that this little video touches your heart.

(P. S. I look so serious, don”t I! I didn’t mean to, but I was nervous doing my first live video. I was going to re-do it; but, I had already done the video several times so I went ahead and left it as is. πŸ™‚ Hopefully the videos will get better in time.)

Here are the verses written out, in case you didn’t understand my reading of the passage. Again, It is from Isaiah 43: 1-4. I read from the New American Bible, Personal Edition:

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name: you are mine. When you pass through the water, I will be with you; in the rivers you shall not drown. When you walk through fire, you shall not be burned; the flames shall not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the holy One of Israel, you savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in return for you. Because you are precious in my eyes and glorious, and because I love you.”