Monday, March 27, 2017

Rejoicing in Suffering

Rejoicing in suffering has to be one of the most difficult things in today's world. Joy and suffering seem like oxymorons. Yesterday we celebrated Laetare Sunday, the Fourth Sunday of Lent. That word "laetare" or "rejoice" does not seem like it fits with Lent either. Lent is a time of penance and fasting, and the Scripture passages throughout the Masses of this season are filled with mention of man's exile on earth. We can see by this Laetare Sunday, which occurs right in the middle of the Lent season, that the Church is telling us to look ahead. To look beyond the immediate pain and suffering and focus on its purpose.

To rejoice in suffering means to understand the purpose of suffering. It does not last forever and it is not an end in itself. If we understand suffering in relation to being united to Christ on the Cross, then we will willingly suffer everything God sends--Who only sends suffering so that our souls may be more intimately united with Him and bring a great many souls with us. This can only be accomplished by taking one day at a time--or rather one moment at a time as St. Therese said, "If I did not simply live from one moment to another, it would be impossible for me to be patient. I look only at the present, forget the past, and take care not to think too much of the future."

When suffering seems to engulf our lives, we need only look at a crucifix to know that God understands everything we are going through. There is nothing we will suffer that Christ has not already suffered. He has taken every pain, every sorrow, every heartache with Him of each individual person to Calvary. If we unite those everyday sufferings with Christ's then they take on infinite value because God is infinite. It is the lack of acceptance of suffering that really makes us suffer. If we accept and embrace God's will, we will be content with whatever happens to us.

Let us renew our vigor during this second half of Lent by accepting and even rejoicing in our trials because we have been counted worthy to resemble our Savior on the Cross.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Book Signing!

Hi Readers! I am having a book signing in Nashville, TN because Handmade Catholic Shop is a proud vendor for IHM Conferences! You will be able to view all our handmade products, and I will be signing books as well. 

Come to Aquinas College on March 25th from 12pm-6pm! Our booth will have a free raffle. It is a great opportunity particularly for homeschooling families and those who would like to learn more about this great method of education. I spent all my high school years with Seton Home Study School, and I highly recommend it! I learned so much about all different subjects, especially the Catholic Faith, and the program was very preparatory for college. 

There are so many methods of education, but when it can be kept in the home it is very formative. Receiving education amidst your family and from your parents growing up is so valuable. At the same time, so much can be learned just by reading books and articles on your own time. And even more can be learned through personal experience and getting through tough times in life. But, I am especially grateful for all those high school and college writing assignments because it helped a lot for becoming an author! 

Visit: for more information about the TN conference. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Celebrating Birthdays

One thing that always bugs me is when people are depressed about their birthday and turning a year older. Growing a year older is a chance to look back on the previous year and thank God for the gift of the life He has given us and the graces that accompanied us amidst the sorrows and joys we have experienced. Birthdays are so special and unique and only come around once a year. They are particularly meaningful for those who are celebrating that person because a birthday is a day to thank God for the gift of that person's life.

I absolutely love birthdays and celebrating them! Birthdays are very important because we are given a chance to celebrate someone who means a lot to us in our lives--someone who has touched people's lives in ways they may never have imagined. It is the day we should really appreciate that person and show we care by spending time with them, giving gifts, and enjoying laughs over a great cake.

Granted I can understand someone not liking all the attention and fuss that a birthday can bring (but why not? ;) It is the one day a year that you don't have to make food or wash dishes or do all the usual chores that more often than not someone will pick up because it's your special day.

So next time you groan because your birthday is here, stop and think that it gives your family and friends the chance to celebrate YOU and rejoice in all the wonderful ways you have blessed them in their lives!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Three Hail Mary's

Still on the fence with what to do for Lent? Were you over ambitious about what you could reasonably do? Are you suffering a lot already and don't want to add too much? Here is a great simple devotion that has extraordinary merit: the practice of the Three Hail Mary's. The Church has always praised devotion to Our Lady as one of the surest ways to grow in our spiritual life and enter eternal life. St. Alphonsus Liguori said: "A devout servant of Mary shall never perish."

In the 13th century, Our Lady appeared to St. Melchtilde, who was praying for her intercession at the hour of her death. In this vision, Mary asked St. Melchtilde to pray three Hail Mary's morning and night. Each Hail Mary would honor God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost respectively. Our Lady promised in turn to comfort her at the hour of death. 

Words of Our Lady: "The first Hail Mary will be in honor of God the Father Whose omnipotence raised my soul so high above every other creature that after God I have the greatest power in Heaven and on earth. In the hour of your death I will use that power of God the Father to keep any hostile power far from you. The second Hail Mary will be said in honor of God the Son Who communicated His inscrutable wisdom to me. In the hour of your death I will fill your soul with the light of that wisdom so that all the darkness of ignorance and error will be dispelled. The third Hail Mary will be in honor of God the Holy Ghost Who filled my soul with the sweetness of His love and tenderness and mercy. In your last hour I will then change the bitterness of death into divine sweetness and delight."

Pope St. Pius X approved this devotion to recite morning and evening three Hail Mary's in honor of the three great privileges the Holy Trinity granted to Our Lady with this simple prayer to conclude: "O my Mother, preserve me from mortal sin during this day (night)."

"To any soul who faithfully prays the Three Hail Mary's I will appear at the hour of death in a splendor so extraordinary that it will fill the soul with heavenly consolation." ~ Our Lady to St. Gertrude the Great

Have a prayerful Lent!

[Source: Our Lady of the Rosary Library]