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Discernment Is Not Checking Boxes

But no matter what we do or don’t do, no matter if we get it “right” or “wrong,” no matter if we figure out what we’re “going to do with our lives” or take every moment in stride, God will be there at our side guiding our path. Our goal in discernment is not to answer all of the big questions once and for all, to check boxes off a list and cast them—and God— aside until we have another question; our goal is to journey with God, to be constantly listening for the call that he has for us, the call to be a disciple of his Son in today’s world. Our goal, above all else, is to live in the moment with God.

—from the book Called: What Happens after Saying Yes to God

Called: What Happens After Saying Yes to God

Mary, a Model of Meditation

May the Virgin Mary, model of meditation of the words and acts of the Lord, help us to rediscover with faith the beauty and richness of the Eucharist and of the other sacraments, which render present God’s faithful love for us. In this way, we fall ever more in love with the Lord Jesus, our Bridegroom, and we go to meet him with our lamps alight with our joyous faith, thus becoming his witnesses in the world.

—from Mother Mary: Inspiring Words from Pope Francis

Mother Mary

The Rosary: Something for Everyone

Think of the rosary as being like the ocean: There’s something in it for everyone, whether you consider yourself a veteran mystic longing to go deeper in prayer with our Lord, a novice struggling to learn how to pray, or someone seeking the Lord’s help, right now, with something going on in your life. The deep-sea explorer and the child making sand castles on the beach can fully enjoy the same ocean while playing at different levels. And this is true with the rosary.

—from the book Praying the Rosary Like Never Before: Encounter the Wonder of Heaven and Earth by Edward SriPraying the Rosary Like Never Before

Our Common Horizon

Just as in each of our lives, we always need to begin again, to get up again, to rediscover the meaning of the goal of our lives, so also for the great human family it is always necessary to rediscover the common horizon toward which we are journeying.… The model of this spiritual disposition, of this way of being and journeying in life, is the Virgin Mary. A simple girl from the country who carries within her heart the fullness of hope in God! In her womb, God’s hope took flesh, it became man, it became history: Jesus Christ. Her Magnificat is the canticle of the People of God on a journey, and of all men and women who hope in God and in the power of his mercy. Let us allow ourselves to be guided by her, she who is Mother, a Mamma, and knows how to guide us.

—from Mother Mary: Inspiring Words from Pope Francis

Mother Mary

Give Mary Your Concerns

Say a rosary today. As you progress through the decades, put yourself in Mary’s place. Ponder in your heart what she sorted through at each event, joyful, sorrowful, glorious, or luminous.  Sometimes, we are too anxious about what’s going to happen tomorrow, next week, or next year to ourselves or our loved ones. We go over our problems again and again in our heads or in conversations with others. Write down your biggest fear and ask for Mary’s help in turning it over to her Son. Then put the note in the place you keep your clothes for the next season so that in a few months, you can see how that prayer was answered.

—from the book Blessed Are You: Finding Inspiration from Our Sisters in Faith by Melanie Rigney

Blessed Are You

St. Isidore, Teach Us to Love the Earth

The distinction between creation and nature is an important one because when we discuss the integrity of nature, especially from the Franciscan tradition, we are really talking about creation, the relationship of the natural world, including humans, to the Creator. “Creation,” therefore, means relationships between the human and nonhuman created order, the place of the human person within that order, and the response of the person to the created order in its relationship to God. Environment is more than nature alone; rather, it is that realm of God’s goodness in the natural world that shares with us humans a deep longing for God.

—from the book Care for Creation: A Franciscan Spirituality of the Earth by Ilia Delio, Keith Douglass Warner, and Pamela Wood

Care for Creation

The Blessed Mother's Love and Care

We can all understand the universal care of our Mother in Heaven for us or, at the very least, the longing for that spiritual motherly care in our lives. The Blessed Mother’s love and care is especially healing for those whose own biological mothers were unwilling or unable to provide authentic self-giving love. Mother Mary loves us all with a pure, selfless, and steadfast motherly love. She tirelessly calls to our hearts and souls. Her utmost aim is to bring us to her Son. Mother Mary’s care is rooted in the Holy Spirit.

—from the book Our Lady of Fatima: 100 Years of Stories, Prayers and Devotions by Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle

Our Lady of Fatima

The Little Visionaries

The Lord often surprises us in his choice of messenger. He uses the humble, the weak, the small. Often, he chooses children to bear his message of hope and peace. In Fatima, he chose Lucia dos Santos, age ten, and her younger cousins, brother and sister Francisco, nine, and Jacinta Marto, seven. These three simple yet faithful children, all from Catholic farm families, were good children from humble backgrounds. Yet, by God’s grace, their lives—and ours—were forever changed. Because of heaven’s designs on their hearts, they all experienced deeper conversions of heart

—from the book Our Lady of Fatima: 100 Years of Stories, Prayers and Devotions by Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle

Our Lady of Fatima

What Mary Teaches Us

When I was younger, it bothered me when Jesus addressed his Mother as “Woman” in the Gospels. This was long before I had grown into my own womanhood, or knew what it meant to be a woman. Now I hear that word in a new light. “Woman,” he calls her. Archetypal, she is not just one woman among many, but the Woman, just as Eve was “woman” at creation. In her very being, Mary embodies all of womanhood’s beauty, goodness, and grace. She is as woman was created to be. She first embarked on the journey of walking with the Savior so the rest of us might follow. She shows us what it means to live as a woman overshadowed by the Spirit. And the first thing she teaches us about womanhood is the only thing we really need to know: God dwells in us. God could have chosen

—from the book Who Does He Say You Are? Women Transformed by Christ in the Gospels by Colleen  Mitchell

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Do You Struggle with the Rosary?

Whatever struggles you may face with the rosary, never walk away feeling discouraged. If your mind wanders, if you don’t feel the fervor, or if you’re very sleepy while praying, remember that the words you are reciting are biblical and holy. Simply pulling out your beads and saying the sacred words is giving something beautiful to God, even if your heart or mind is not as into it as you’d like.

—from the book Praying the Rosary Like Never Before: Encounter the Wonder of Heaven and Earth by Edward Sri

Praying the Rosary Like Never Before