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Good morning, ~

Last week I was talking to my spiritual director about protecting myself as I continue to strive to grow closer to God. She sent me the prayer below in the mail (like old-school snail mail and I loved it!).

Spiritual warfare is no joke. We might not recognize it when it happens because the symptoms can be explained away as just being part of every day life – feelings of lonliness, anger, confussion; sickness or repeated injuries; distracted from prayer or Mass; or even being alienated from those around you.

I don’t know how to tell the difference, but I do want protection. So alongside the prayer to St. Michael, this is now part of my morning routine:

Put on the Armor of God

The Helmet of Salvation
Thank you, Lord, for my salvation. I receive it in a new and fresh way from You, and I declare that nothing can separate me now from the love of Christ and the place I shall ever have in Your kingdom.

The Breastplate of Righteousness
And yes, Lord, I wear Your righteousness today against all
condemnation and corruption. Fit me with Your holiness and purity—defend me from all assaults against my heart.

The Belt of Truth
Lord, I put on the belt of truth. I choose a lifestyle of honesty and
integrity. Show me the truths I so desperately need today. Expose thelies that I am not even aware that I believe.

The Shoes of the Gospel of Peace
I do choose to live for the gospel at any moment. Show me where You are working and lead me to it. Do not let me become slack in my walk.

The Shield of Faith
Jesus, I lift the confidence that You are good against every lie and every assault of the enemy. You have good in store for me. Nothing is coming today that can overcome me because You are with me.

The Sword of the Spirit
Holy Spirit, show me specifically today the truths of the Word of God that I will need to counter the snares of the enemy. Bring them to mind throughout the day.

Finally, Holy Spirit, I agree to walk in step with You in everything—in all prayer as my spirit communes with You throughout the day.

Love and prayers,
+Megan

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Hi ~

The other day I noticed I was holding back in my prayer. I was neither expressing everything I was feeling and experiencing, nor asking for everything I needed or wanted. 

(Even typing this, the word “wanted” feels really heavy.)

I was “cleaning up” my life before coming to God in prayer, much like I do on Facebook. I wanted to appear generous, sensible, put-together, and “good”. 

Did I think I was going to fool Him? Or was it just habit because, you know, Social Media? Or was it because I didn’t think I was worthy? Or perhaps I thought I was bothering God with trivial things?

Each of these probably contributed a bit in their own way, but upon reflection, I also thought that if I were to ask for and recieve a gift from God – a literal answer to my prayer – that there would be an obligation that came with it, as if His gift would come with strings attached.

And because I didn’t want to deal with strings, I didn’t want Him to put me outside my comfort zone, I’d rather not have a prayer answered.

As we say here in South Dakota… Uffda.

So I’ve written myself a note in my prayer journal to explore “obligation” in the coming days and see what God is trying to tell me. I’ve learned over these last couple of months of expanding my prayer time that when I find resistance, that’s probably where I need to dig deeper. 

Love and prayers
+Megan

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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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Thank God you were called in the first place.

Today I want you to simply think back across the last week to a time where you were answering God’s call. Maybe you didn’t even know you were doing it at the time. 

Here’s a few hints as to when that occurred:

1. You choose grace over anger – You know those times where it would be really easy to get upset, (like when they mess up your order at a restaurant, or your child spills their milk across the dinner table) and instead you smiled and extended grace. That feeling of peace and joy? That’s the result of you saying “yes” to God’s call to grace.

That inner experience of peace, joy and energy is Hint #1.

2. You received a sacrament  – Perhaps last week was a rough one and all you were able to eek out was Sunday Mass. That’s a great place to start. You were in the physical Presence of Jesus Christ – Body, Blood Soul and Divinity!  How awesome is that?!

3. You were an example – It’s starting to warm up here, and preparing my garden for plants (which won’t be ready to go in the ground for another 6 weeks) is a large, looming task. This weekend I did a lot of hard work without complaint because I want my daughters to see the joy gardening can bring. No amount of talking or handing over a book to read can replace the examples I set for them.

What examples have you laid out for those around you (including strangers) that “show off” the beauty of your faith? Even something as small as  picking up a piece of litter in the parking lot counts.

****

Sometimes we hear God’s call and don’t respond, sometimes we act on His call without even knowing we’ve been spoken to.  Take just a minute to recognize where you have answered His call this last week, and offer a prayer of gratitude for being called in the first place.

Love to all,
+Megan

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Do you need a little spiritual nudge? Has there been something on your mind that you haven’t had a nice long conversation with God about?

It’s none of my business, I don’t want to know your answer, but I felt compelled to ask.

This week, when the Spirit moves you, stretch your spiritual muscles a bit. 

I have a little booklet you might find some guidance or comfort in. It’s meant to help you  “tune one’s inner attention to the presence of the Lord.” You can find it here.

Love and prayers,
+Megan

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Where’s the FIRE!?

Maybe it’s because we’re setting record low temperatures this week, maybe it’s because our water heater died last night, but I am compelled to talk about lukewarm faith today.

Because then I get to talk about fire (and I’m really cold right now).

I was recently going through a marketing exercise, and asked what the villain is that our company fights against. Obviously Satan is the easy answer. 

But when I dug down to it, what really gets me fired up, is fighting against Spiritual Apathy, aka Lukewarm Faith.

I remember when I first found the term “Lukewarm Faith” when I was praying my first Divine Mercy novena. There’s an entire day dedicated to praying for those suffering from lukewarm faith.

(…and I say “suffering”, but many people don’t know that they are suffering when they’re lukewarm. It’s a paradox.)

It struck me so much because that was me. That IS me. I battle lukewarmness cyclically. 

I am drawn to Catherine of Siena’s famous quote “Be who God Meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”

Every time I find myself circling the drain of inspiration (Inspire = “In Spirit”) , I start looking around at how I’m using the gifts God gave me, and it becomes pretty obvious that I’m not using my  God-given talents, and instead trying to be/get/accomplish something that is outside what God has planned for me.

I have a few different remedies I turn to:

1) Brute Force – This is where I set aside a half hour in my day, bust out my rosary, and follow that with a conversation with God. Ending with 5-8 minutes of just listening. 

2) Seek Knowledge – The wealth of tradition and history of the Church ensures there are always books I haven’t read, whether about a saint I can relate with.

3) Confession – I’ll be hounding you about this all Lent 😉

4) Lectio Divina – Digesting a specific passage of the bible prayerfully.

What do you do when you find yourself getting spiritually lazy?

Love to all,
+Megan

Maybe it’s because we’re setting record low temperatures this week, maybe it’s because our water heater died last night, but I am compelled to talk about lukewarm faith today.

Because then I get to talk about fire (and I’m really cold right now).

I was recently going through a marketing exercise, and asked what the villain is that our company fights against. Obviously Satan is the easy answer. 

But when I dug down to it, what really gets me fired up, is fighting against Spiritual Apathy, aka Lukewarm Faith.

I remember when I first found the term “Lukewarm Faith” when I was praying my first Divine Mercy novena. There’s an entire day dedicated to praying for those suffering from lukewarm faith.

(…and I say “suffering”, but many people don’t know that they are suffering when they’re lukewarm. It’s a paradox.)

It struck me so much because that was me. That IS me. I battle lukewarmness cyclically. 

I am drawn to Catherine of Siena’s famous quote “Be who God Meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”

Every time I find myself circling the drain of inspiration (Inspire = “In Spirit”) , I start looking around at how I’m using the gifts God gave me, and it becomes pretty obvious that I’m not using my  God-given talents, and instead trying to be/get/accomplish something that is outside what God has planned for me.

I have a few different remedies I turn to:

1) Brute Force – This is where I set aside a half hour in my day, bust out my rosary, and follow that with a conversation with God. Ending with 5-8 minutes of just listening. 

2) Seek Knowledge – The wealth of tradition and history of the Church ensures there are always books I haven’t read, whether about a saint I can relate with.

3) Confession – I’ll be hounding you about this all Lent 😉

4) Lectio Divina – Digesting a specific passage of the bible prayerfully.

What do you do when you find yourself getting spiritually lazy?

Love to all,
+Megan

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Good morning  –

First of all — let’s just agree to NOT mention all the typos in Friday’s email. Not my best work.

I’m going to plow ahead and talk about a practice that a dear friend turned me on to. 

We were at a Catholic Women’s group and she began our group prayer with “Come Holy Spirit.”

She let the words rest, and she repeated the words: “Come Holy Spirit.”

Once again she left just a bit of silence settle and prayed one more time “Come Holy Spirit”.

From there she continued with leading our prayer. 

This opening took no longer than ten seconds (I don’t think – I wasn’t timing it), but the effect was enormous. In nine words the mood of the room shifted as we remembered our purpose for gathering and centered ourselves around the presence of God. 

I’ve started using this in my little prayer pockets during the day. I’d like to hear the effect this has on your prayer life once you try it out.

Love to all,
+Megan

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