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Archives for December 2015

It’s a new year — a Year of Mercy! Time for #5FirstSat4Mary! Try the First Saturdays devotion!

It’s a new year — a Year of Mercy! Time for #5FirstSat4Mary! Try the First Saturdays devotion!

This Saturday I’m planning to complete my five month-long devotion to Mary by making the First Saturdays.  Honestly, the biggest problem for me was clearing my calendar to do this faithfully. I had made the 5 First Saturdays many years ago, and was invited to do it again by Fr Andrew Apostoli, after he heard my confession at a conference I attended. I want to thank him for his encouragement to do it, even though it took me a while to follow through. But taming my calendar for the Lord’s business, not my own agenda, has deep benefits.

It’s a great way to start the new year — a way to enter more deeply into the Year of Mercy that began recently on December 8th and will continue through November 2016. If you’ve never made the five first Saturdays, you can begin this week! Here’s a previous post from me that offers the background on the devotion, given to us from Our Lady of Fatima. I write about my previous months here: first, second, third, and fourth.

The benefits are spiritual in nature. This devotion is a call to prayer (via Mass and the Rosary), and a call to conversion and a deeper turning away from sin (via monthly confessions), and a chance to offer reparation for the sins committed against Our Lady’s honor and goodness. The benefits of this devotion is that it calls many Catholics to develop the habit of monthly confession — an important emphasis of Pope Francis in the Year of Mercy —  and adds more Masses and Rosaries to their year. That means more graces to live by!

#5FirstSat4Mary

I’ve been garnering support on Facebook and Twitter from friends and peeps who are joining in this devotion with me. You can use the hashtag #5FirstSat4Mary to share the love. Feel free to use my banner photo or the one in this post as well. I created them for this effort. Remember, you can start on any first Saturday. Why not this Saturday, January 2?

Do it for Mary.

Among Women Podcast 201: Witnessing to Your Faith in the Year of Mercy

Among Women Podcast 201: Witnessing to Your Faith in the Year of Mercy

In the new year, make a resolution to share your faith more! Listen here.

AW-1400x1400-logo-300x300Pope Francis has proclaimed “an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy as a special time for the Church, a time when the witness of believers might grow stronger and more effective.”

This podcast is devoted to offering tips for sharing your faith story and being a better witness for Christ in the Year of Mercy. Joining me is Catholic blogger Nancy Ward who has designed a new DVD-based seminar “Sharing Your Faith Story.” Together we look at ways to proactively share our personal witness in formal and informal settings. Be listening for tips on finding witnessing opportunities in the coming year.

Also profiled is Blessed Victoria Rasoamanorivo, a 19th century church leader from Madagascar who survived persecution and suppression of the church in her time.

Listen to this episode of Among Women.

The Light of Christ — The True Light — Beckons Us to Burn For Love!

The Light of Christ — The True Light — Beckons Us to Burn For Love!

“The True Light
…was coming into the world.
…to all who received him, who believed in his name,
he gave power to become children of God…”

(John 1: 9, 12)

We are to burn, to be consumed, as hot wax closest to the candlelight.

For four weeks in Advent we burn down the violet and rose candles. We read the Scriptures beside them. The candles mark time. They illuminate. They burn down.

We observe the wax next to the flame being slowly transformed by the heat and light. It is liquefying. It is giving up its original form, and changed into something new. It is drawn up and consumed when it is one with the light and flame… only then does it become energy and pure light. Only then do we understand the deep cry of the Advent herald, John the Baptist. “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:33).

A more recent messenger described this holy tempering of candles and Christians…

“There is a peaceful, reticent, but constant shining. This is giving light at the cost of one’s own substance, so that one is consumed in the process. Anyone who wants to comprehend Christ’s message of light… must comprehend this one thing: the mission, the duty to shine, to draw others, to seek, to heal, to do good at the cost of one’s own substance…” — Fr. Alfred Delp, SJ.

(This is from Fr. Delp’s sermon from Candlemas, Feb. 2, 1941. He was a Catholic priest and martyr imprisoned and executed by the Nazi regime in 1944.)

Jesus is the light of the world. We are called to imitate him. (See John 8:12, Matthew 5: 14.)

As you enjoy the candlelight around your Christmas table, let its witness call out to you: The True Light beckons! Be drawn to the light and the flame! The time for transformation is while the flame is lit! Don’t be afraid to be aflame for Jesus’ sake – his is the eternal light we seek and desire!

Let us become malleable and molten before the light of Christ!

“… the LORD will be your everlasting light,
and your God will be your glory.”

(Isaiah 60: 19)

Merry Christmas!

 

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You’ll find this reflection and more, captured in my latest Among Women podcast, Espresso Shot #4.

AW CHRISTMAS BANNER

 

 

Third Sunday of Advent Music – “Ready the Way”, by Curtis Stephan

In this video, the artist/composer talks about the meaning behind the song for a few minutes. If you just would like to hear the song, skip to 5:26 in the video. I’m liking this one because of its simplicity… I can just sing it as I go through my day.

Books for the Catholics on Your List: 5 Keepsakes, 5 Classics, & 5 Good Stories + Bonus suggestions

Books for the Catholics on Your List: 5 Keepsakes, 5 Classics, & 5 Good Stories + Bonus suggestions

What kinds of books do I like to read, and what makes a good Christmas present?

I like keepsake kinds of books, I like spiritual classics, and I like a good story…

I’m offering this list to see if there’s something on it that might be of interest for your Christmas shopping needs.

(I also mention this with full disclosure, as stated in my sidebar, that any purchases made via the links on my blog will directly benefit this apostolate and keep Among Women up and running.)

Keepsake books

The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: New Testament

Great Bible Study aids in this volume… love it!

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Divine Intimacy: Meditations on the Interior Life  

A book to pray with. Powerful meditations.

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Queen of Apostles Prayer Book

Another good book to pray with, great prayers from the saints in here alongside classic prayers.

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Jesus, Present Before Me – Fr Peter James Cameron, OP

The perfect companion to bring to adoration, or to use before or after Mass.

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Benedictus – Day by day Meditations by Pope Benedict XVI

A good primer on the mind and heart of this Pope.

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Spiritual Classics

The Reed of God  -Caryll Houselander

One of the best books on Mary, ever!

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Introduction to the Devout Life – St Francis de Sales

If you’ve never read a spiritual classic, De Sales is the place to start!

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Story of a Soul – St Thérèse of Lisieux (study edition)

Here’s the book that turned a young 24 year old woman into a Doctor of the Church.

It didn’t hurt that she was a saint either!

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Divine Mercy in My Soul – The Diary of St Maria Faustian Kowalski

Get to know the Divine Mercy in the Year of Mercy!

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God Alone – A collection of the writing of St Louis de Montfort.

(This includes The Love of Eternal Wisdom, True Devotion to Mary, and Secrets of the Rosary, among others.)

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Good Stories 

The Screwtape Letters – by C.S. Lewis

Many have heard of this book, but how many have read it. Anything by C.S. Lewis is a gift!

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Witness to Hope – The autobiography of John Paul II – By George Weigel

Powerful chronicle of the life of this new saint!

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The Greatest Salesman in the World – Og Mandino

I read this when I was a teenager. I still love it. There are tangential Christmas themes too!

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In This House of Brede – Rumer Godden

A great novel. Timeless.

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The Well – by Stephanie Landsem

One of the newer writers out there, with a great read that gets behind the eyes of the Samaritan woman.

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BONUS: Books that I have contribute to (mostly for women readers), plus a link to my book, Blessed, Beautiful, & Bodacious.

BONUS 2: My favorite journals are the larger sized (7 1/4″ x 9″) hardcover bound journals by Peter Pauper Press

BONUS 3: I recommend Catholic Digest Magazine – yes I write for them, but a great periodical for the home!

BONUS 4: I recommend the Magnificat – this daily devotional for Mass, plus meditations, articles, and morning and evening prayer.

Among Women 200: A Special Edition Celebrating “200”!

Among Women 200: A Special Edition Celebrating “200”!

Whoooooo!  Among Women reaches the milestone of 200 Episodes!

This episode features comments & feedback from Among Women listeners! What a blessing to hear from friends of the podcast!

The “Among Women” Guest: Kelly Wahlquist. We discuss her new book Created to Relate — describing that women are 9781616368760_24eb906a-2e06-4426-bfd6-a28629f8f31f_medium“radically” relational — and it helps us evangelize!

Winners of the AW 200 Drawing Prize Packs are announced! They are:

Jennifer Harned, Angie Wolfe, Debbie Quakkelaar, and Felicia Brown-Anderson.

Thank you to all who entered!

Listen to this new podcast!

Find all the archives of Among Women here.

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A recent video from Catholic Match about our podcast:

The Wild Goose… a video series to follow in the coming year

The Wild Goose… a video series to follow in the coming year

Want to grow in the spiritual life? It’s impossible without the Holy Spirit.

I’m excited about this new video series from TheGooseIsLoose.com. It features Fr Dave Pivonka, and is produced by 4PM Media. Here’s the trailer…

All the videos is the series are still to come, but you can watch the first full length video here. (Pray before you do.)

 

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Knots in Your Life? Mary Can’t Wait to Tackle Them! – guest post by Marge Fenelon

Knots in Your Life? Mary Can’t Wait to Tackle Them! – guest post by Marge Fenelon

I almost didn’t answer when the phone rang. I was slammed with work and deadlines looming. But, something nudged me to catch this call regardless.

I’m so glad I did.

On the other end of the line was an old friend I hadn’t heard from in a while. She’d called to thank me for my book, Our Lady, Undoer of Knots: A Living Novena. She’d found it unexpectedly at her parish’s gift shop and snatched up a copy right away. She was really excited.

What she really called about what Day 4 of the Novena – Mount of Olives: The Knot of Hopelessness.9781594716300.jpg.232x

Slipping into tears, she told me that she’d called because she had to let me know how much that chapter meant to her. Unfortunately, she’s facing a heartbreaking, life-threatening, and seemingly hopeless situation with one of her grown children.

He’s lost in all senses of the word.

But, that’s why I describe my friend’s situation as seemingly hopeless rather than truly hopeless. Nothing is ever truly hopeless when we turn to our Blessed Mother under the title, Our Lady, Undoer of Knots.

This devotion, dating back to the seventeenth century, has proven time and again to be exceptionally powerful. For centuries, people have taken the knots in their lives – injustice, separation, confusion, hopelessness, grief and loss, discord, betrayal, envy and pride, or affliction – to Our Lady Undoer of Knots. Once surrendered into her capable hands, the knots become undone and we are released from their snare.

Only, that is, if we’re willing to release those knots to her.

My friend had called to tell me that, by reading my book, she was given renewed courage and was able to release her knot of hopelessness into Our Lady’s hands. She immediately felt a sense of peace and needed to call to tell me so.

That’s exactly how it works. Mary is waiting to take up the knots in our lives the second we hand them over to her. Once in her possession, she works diligently, tirelessly, to undo them, one by tedious one. The knots most likely won’t be done instantaneously and probably not overnight, either. It may take a while, but they will become undone. Mary has that “power” given to her by the heavenly Father.

The difficulty is that we’re often reticent to turn our knots over to Mary because we either stubbornly want to untie them ourselves (we can’t) or because we’ve given up on them.

This is what my friend experienced. The simple act of turning her knot of hopelessness over to Our Lady, Undoer of Knots gave her immediate consolation and assurance that now far more adept hands were working on it.

Do you have knots in our life? Turn them over to Mary. She can’t wait to tackle them!

 

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This post was written by Marge Fenelon. My thanks to Marge for sharing her love and trust in Mary, especially on this feast of the Immaculate Conception.

Marge Fenelon’s newest book, Our Lady, Undoer of Knots: A Living Novena, is part of the celebration anticipating Among Women’s 200th episode. Enter a comment over at AmongWomenPodcast.com to enter the drawing. The deadline to enter is Dec. 9, 11:59pm. You can also purchase the book here.

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Find the latest episode of Among Women here. Look for the 200th episode to be uploaded later this week on Dec. 10.