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In Luke 10:27 we are told “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

“Heart”, “being”, “strength” and “mind” cover a lot of bases. What is left to NOT love God with?

Nothing. We are to hold nothing back from Him. 

Even if we think we have nothing, we still have the breath coming out of our lungs. We are to use that breath to love God. 

And yet, this still does not hold a candle to the perfect love He has for us. 

You are loved. You are cherished. 

Love to all,
+Megan

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Yesterday while waiting in line at the bank, I overheard one woman ask another about her faith life, starting with “If you died today, do you know where you would go?”

That question made me uncomfortable for a few different reasons – and it wasn’t even directed at me.

But clearly this woman was much better at a few Spiritual Works of Mercy than I am. She started conversations with no less than 3 different people while I was waiting, and in each of them she was trying to bring the message of Christ our Savior to her listeners.

With that in mind, I went home and looked up the Spiritual Works of Mercy (because I certainly can’t name them all from memory). 

Being the introverted Midwesterner that I am, I can say with certainty that the first 3 give me anxiety because they involve putting myself in front of someone who may not want to hear what I have to say, and saying it anyway. 

The long and short of it is – take a look at the list below. What opportunities do you have in the next 72 hours to perform 4 of these 7?

To instruct the ignorant.
To counsel the doubtful.
To admonish the sinners.
To bear patiently those who wrong us.
To forgive offenses.
To comfort the afflicted.
To pray for the living and the dead.

The point of these Works is to alleviate others’ spiritual suffering, not to metion how they please God as you become a means of spreading grace.

Love to all,
+Megan

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First of all, I wanted to tell you that I really appreciate that you take the time to read my posts. These Tuesday posts especially have a little part of my heart in each one.

And it’s often the Tuesday emails that I get a lot of responses from, mostly good feedback, but occasionally from someone who has a lot of hurt. 

I used to react very defensively (and sometimes I still do), but mostly I just pray for them because there seems to be an absence of grace or the presence of pain. For whatever reason – whether they read my email at a bad time, it brought up something the reader doesn’t want to acknowledge as a weakness in themself, or they somehow feel attacked – they hit the “reply” button and express their pain.

My heart goes out to these people. I pray they find the comfort they need.

These situations make me turn the mirror back on myself.

When do I act out with frustration instead of grace?

There are times when I’m itching for a fight, and it’s so easy to take someone’s words out of context and twist them into something I can be offended about. 

Then I can really let ’em have it! But that never helps. 

It’s like I’m expecting it to be a release valve to let some pressure off, but instead I just end up feeling worse – sorry that I hurt someone, mad at myself (but trying to justify it), angrier than I was before.

Thank goodness we have God. Thank God for the sacraments. Only He can perfect us. Only he can justify us. 

As humans we are imperfect. We can try to extend grace to one another, we will fail, but we should always try again.

Love to all,

+Megan

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Why are you holding back?

Do you ever look around at the people in your parish and identify those who you think are REALLY holy… I mean like WAY holier than you think you are capable of?

Any maybe you watch them with a bit of admiration tinged with jealousy?

Why is it so easy for them to be so comfortable with God?

Well… who said it was easy?

And is that what’s holding you back?

Fear. 

Fear is not of God. 

We are told “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much.”

Our faith is a gift. We have been entrusted with it.

This is my thought pattern: Ignorance is bliss. I don’t want to know how short I’m falling of true communion with God. Because if I had that deep knowledge, He would ask something of me that would be very hard. The more of His gifts I accept, the more responsibility I will have, and it might be really hard.

Sheer terror. 

What I need to keep reminding myself over and over (and over), is this: Sure, from the perspective of where I’m at now, that might seem scary. But how God will strengthen me and prepare me for what He’s going to ask of me will make me capable.

Think of it this way: As a little kid – like 6 or 7 years old, I’d watch the varsity basketball team play – heck even a middle school team play – and watch with awe at how well they could dribble and shoot.  But by the time I got to middle school, dribbling and shooting wasn’t that hard.

What I’m saying is that no one should hold back from diving in head first into their faith and activly seeking a greater bond with God. 

Don’t let fear hold you back. Embrace the coming challenge knowing that you have the Power of Heaven at your side.

Love to all,
+Megan

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There are 2 things I want to address:

1) The gifts God gives us

2) The opportunity to use these gifts

I spent this last week in Arkansas with my FIRST Lego League robotics team that I coach. We’ve had a pretty successful group these last couple of years thanks to the kiddos’ blend of creativity and talents.

But…

We had been working for this competition for 9 months…. 5 months before even qualifying for the event. The kids knew their stuff inside out and backwards. 

But…

Going in to those judged events I was so nervous for them. They had God’s gifts, they developed those gifts and applied them to their robotics.

But…

Would they be able to embrace the opportunity in front of them?

This doesn’t apply only to a whip-smart group of Junior High kids. We are given charisms (aka spiritual gifts). The more we use them, the more opportunities arise to use them even more.

Be on the lookout for the opportunity. Only a portion of us are called to use our words when we spread the Word. The rest of us are called to use our creativity, wisdom, prayer, healing (or other charism) to spread God’s love.

This is how you bring your faith into your every day life. This is how God’s presence is woven into your daily tasks.

Love to all,
+Megan

PS… the robot kiddos nailed it!

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Travis here. Megan’s taking the week off as she’s headed to the First Lego League Razorback International Championships!

A while back, our priest, Father Kevin, told a story about his childhood that was really interesting to me (he tells lots of great stories of his childhood actually).

Anyway, with this story, he talked about how he was always disappointed that he wasn’t named after a saint. So much so, that he looked towards St. Michael the Archangel for his confirmation Saint; which is partly why we pray the prayer to St. Michael at the end of each mass. Of course, he found out later that he WAS named after a saint, just not one as well-known as others!

This got me to thinking about the Catholic faith and the history of it. I’m a student of history and love doing research on a variety of things. You see, I was raised Lutheran and we don’t have all of these Saints. We don’t learn their history, their struggles and how they overcame them and inspired others to follow Christ. So Father Kevin’s story really seemed to hit home because, well, I wasn’t named after a Saint.

I’ve been doing more research on it and have found some amazing Saints throughout the ages. My favorite so far is St. John Chrysostom. He is the patron saint of Orators and was known for his eloquence – which as a speech and debate coach is probably why I like him so much.

This discovery is something that I continue to find interesting. Magnificat has really helped me with this because each episode has a “Saint Who?” that I’ve learned quite a bit about different Saints who I previously had no idea who they were.

It’s pretty amazing seeing everything that they’ve done over the years and the connections they had to other saints. So if you want to be like me and learn about new saints, there are a ton of resources out there. You never know, maybe you’ll find someone who will inspire you!

Megan will be back next week. Thanks for reading!

Travis

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Sunday evening I drove my daughter into town so she could pick up trash in a park in order to get the last of her required community service hours in for school.

That same day I had passed up the opportunity to pick up a piece of trash in the parking lot at the grocery store. 

I still feel guilty about that.

This scenario has me thinking about the times that we “do good” compared to the times we decline the invitation. Fatigue, reputation, laziness, and apathy all play a role. 

The natural tendency is to want to “get credit” for our good acts, but not to the extent where we’d look weird doing it. (Or maybe that’s just a Midwest thing).  

So I’ll ask you this:

When it comes down to these little opportunities to shine our Christian light on the world – even for just a moment – how often do we say “yes”?

And – What can we do to improve our participation percentage in these moments?

Love to all,
+Megan

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The potato dumplings didn’t turn out so great.

I was responsible for the favorite family dish this Easter: the potato dumplings. Getting the texture just right demands that the potatoes be under-cooked just a little bit.

But I could not for the life of me bring myself to stay inside long enough to watch the pot. The weather was so beautiful. Here in South Dakota we get about 2 days like it per year. The temperature, the sun, the complete lack of mosquitoes….

Long story short, the dumplings weren’t great. The ham was fine.

All this to say …

So much of the time we put pressure on ourselves to do better, to improve something, to make progress.

But on the 7th day God rested. And there is nothing wrong with just soaking in the beauty He created for us, and enjoying the moments filled with grace.

And so I rested. I reveled in the sunshine. I basked in the glory that surrounded me. 

Besides, potato dumplings are better fried up for breakfast the next day anyway.

Love to all,
+Megan

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“Preach the gospel, and if necessary, use words.”

Last week I mentioned that the only legacy you can leave that will last forever is how many souls you help get to heaven.

This was by no means a call to perfection. Instead, ask yourself “What is one thing I can do differently today (or this week) that will allow God’s love to shine through me?”

or

“What knowledge can I seek that will bring me closer to God?” Because if you are closer to Him, your growing love and grace will naturally shine through for others to see.

You don’t have to be out on the street corner preaching the gospel. It’s about using the unique gifts God gave you to reach those who need to hear/see/witness the power of His love.

No grand gestures necessary, just a little bit here and there is fine. 

What matters is that you decide to make a change, and then do it. It doesn’t have to be big. Maybe it’s flashing a friendly smile at your barista at the coffee shop when you usually just grab your cup and go.

Maybe it’s thanking your spouse for something they do all the time to keep your household running.

What is that one tiny shift you can make today that expresses His love?

And then tomorrow you add just a little bit more. Then the next day and the next….

Love to all,
+Megan

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The only legacy you can leave that will last forever is how many souls you helped get to heaven.

Buildings –  even those that have stood the test of time and are iconic to our faith – are temporary.

Intellectual contributions won’t be enough to keep your name on everyone’s lips for eternity. Not even if you’re Plato.

Material riches are as good as dust. Businesses and charities will eventually close.  Bank accounts and treasuries will empty or become worthless.

The only thing you can do to make a permanent difference is help souls get to heaven. That’s it. 

That’s all that matters.

You have 2 jobs: 1) Get to heaven, and 2) get as many souls there as you can.

Love to all,
+Megan

PS – Update on Notre Dame  in Paris:

1- The roof is gone, but the stone arch under the roof is still there.

2- 2 of the 3 rose windows are still in place

3- The main structure is still standing. Notre Dame did not burn down.

4- The relics and sacred objects are safe.

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