Prayer Life

Good morning ~

A few days ago my daughter was talking about the upcoming debate season, and how she didn’t want to debate against anyone from a school that has a repuation for really great debators. I told her that I think she has it backwards – that we need tough competition so we can really test our own mettle.

This conversation came to mind when I was reading in the Catechism about the human virtues. Section 1804 states:

“The moral virtues are acquired by human effort. They are the fruit and seed of morally good acts;”

We get better at them as we practice, and in turn are rewarded with “… ease, self-mastery, and joy in leading a morally good life.”

We practice what might be hard, but we get better and better until we become masters.

How boring would it be if everything were easy? Where is the adrenaline of the challenge, and the joy of triumph?

Have you ever thought about how you have grown as a person, and celebrated the development of your virtues? And I don’t mean in a cocky, proud way, but in a way to acknowledge how far you’ve come in your faith journey as to give yourself some encouragement that you can do hard things.

Big changes can come over very long periods of time – so long that you might not even notice it.  While I know I have a long way to go, I’ve come a long way from where I’ve been. 

I can do hard things (given enough time and tough life lessons), and by the grace of God I continue to work on sharpening my human virtues every day. It might feel like it’s as slow as a little stream polishing a stone, but there is change in my heart.

Love and prayers,
+Megan

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This last weekend we ended up at St. Mary of the Lake Catholic Church in White Bear Lake, MN when we went to Minnesota to visit family. I love going to Mass at different parishes whenever we’re out of town.

For weeks and weeks – or it could even be months by now (I’ve lost track) – I’ve been praying for direction, and praying that I could actually hear God when He speaks to me – because sometimes I feel like His subtlety is lost on me.

This weekend at this particular church, after I had spent so much time asking for answers, Father said in his homily “whatever you do, do it with great love.”

And it struck me like a ton of bricks. The phrase echoed in my brain and tears welled up in my eyes.

“Do it with great love”. 

Whatever you do, do it with great love, and your actions become a constant prayer. That’s how we can pray constantly all day, every day – by acting with love.

Love & Prayers,
+Megan

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Would you mind praying for lukewarm and lost souls today?

I’m feeling a bit on edge. And I can’t shake it. I know fear is not of the Lord, and I’m turning to prayer for solace.

A friend of one of my children has lost faith. I recognize that we all go through different seasons in our life, and that questioning one’s faith can actually be a call to dig deaper into the questions that arise.

But it still scares me.

It scares me because I fear for this child’s soul (because in my mind anyone under 30 is child I need to look out for). It scares me because of the influence they might have over my own child. 

All this fear is of unknown – not knowing what role I fill, unsure about what to say/do. 

What do we know? We know God is Love. We know he sent us His Son. He gave us the sacraments.

What can I do? I can pray, I can ask for prayers, I can see this as an opportunity to grow closer to my own child as we talk through what’s going on.

So now I’m tampering my fear with 1) What I know, and 2) What I can do, and leave the rest to God. 

This also reminds me to start another Divine Mercy Novena.

Thank you for your prayers!

Love,
+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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I know the depth and breadth of our Catholic faith can get overwhelming.  There is always something more to learn or uncover.

Prayer, history, Saints, Catechism, traditions… when I stop and think about the mountain of information that faces those coming to our church via RCIA, I have to admire them. Even if these wonderful souls are intimidated by all of that, they press on because of the Eucharist.

The other day I was feeling sorry for myself because I had taken on too much. I was falling behind on serving my customers well and being a great mom to my children because I was being stretched in other directions. 

In the midst of all of this I found myself in Mass on Sunday morning feeling completely disconnected. Noting that I was relying on a feeling (which we’ve talked about here before), I prayed.

I didn’t even know how to start… Should I ask for something? Be grateful? I ended up just having a flow of consciousness prayer – laying it all out there. What was frustrating me, how I was disappointing myself, expectations that were left unmet.

I found comfort in knowing that God just wanted my presence at that moment. I didn’t have to go find another saint to be inspired by, I didn’t have to decipher the meaning of a paragraph in the Catechism or read the writings of St. Benedict.

I just had to be present at Mass.Thank God for the sacraments. Thank God for the grace we receive in Confession and in the Eucharist. 

He’s not adding to my burdens. Our relationship is not meant to be a mental exercise. 

We are welcome at His feast, we can lay our burdens down and find rest in Him.

Love to all,
+Megan

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I think I’m doing a disservice to my kids…

Last week I was invited by a dear friend to attend a rosary get-together. I don’t know if I’d call it a “club”, it was simply a gathering of her friends to pray the rosary and eat dinner together.

I had never been to anything like this before, and it was wonderful.

Outside of a church, praying in public is not something I’m used to. 

Yes, we pray before meals, I pray in my car, but that’s about as “public” as it gets for me.

It occurred to me that I even avoid “getting caught” praying when I’m praying at home… and what a disservice this has been to my children.

Sure, we talk about prayer and Catholicism – they’ll  have 13 years of Catholic education under their belts by the time they graduate – but my natural inclination for privacy has made it harder for me to set an example of what prayer life could look like.

So the challenge I have for myself this Advent is to put myself in more scenarios where I can get “caught” praying.

Pray for me 🙂

Love to all,

+Megan

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My house has gnomes. There is no other explanation.

“Mom – I can’t find my <fill in the blank – it could be anything from shoes to sunglasses to homework>!!”

“Have you looked in <insert the most logical place it would be>?”

Yeah. It’s not there.”

Guess where the lost item is found? It magically re-appears in the exact location where my sweet, intelligent child has already looked.

We all know that a physical object like a book can’t become invisible and then reappear – that’s crazy talk, so that leaves gnomes as the only logical explanation.

It could also be that it’s the difference between “seeing” and “looking”.

It struck me the other day when I was driving along, listening to and praying along with the rosary, that I’ve heard the message to “See Christ in others” too many times to count.

And yet, I don’t recall the last time I saw Christ in someone else.

It occurred to me that I’m probably very lazy about the whole thing. I’m expecting Jesus to grab my attention, and not have to actually LOOK for Him in other people.

There’s a huge difference!

“Seeing” something has a connotation of grabbing our attention and causing us to notice it.

“Looking” puts the onus on us to become active participants in our surroundings and how we interact with other people.

Personally, looking for Christ in other people – especially those who really get under our skin – doesn’t come naturally. Even after I contemplated all the opportunities I had that day to find Christ in others, I forgot to look for Him when I came face-to-face with others.

It’s hard to remember to look!

So here’s my action plan to build the habit of looking for him: wearing a reminder on my wrist.

It doesn’t have to be an ugly rubber band that explicitly says “Megan — for pete’s sake you need to remember to look for Jesus. LOOK FOR JESUS.” (In my head the band is yelling at me and is in a frenzied state of frustration at my forgetfulness.)

Instead a simple saint bracelet will do. I don’t wear jewelry very often, so once I placed the intention of it being a reminder, the coolness of the metal and the extra noise clicking on my desk when I put my wrist down was a gentle reminder to see Jesus in whoever I was currently with.

Let us know in the comments: Do you have to remind yourself to see God in others?

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"I'm not Catholic Enough."

This was a core belief of mine for a long time.

I'd sit in church and look around me, and allow myself to be intimidated by those who seemed to know every nook and cranny of the catechism, every mystery of the rosary, and exactly where all the holy days of obligation landed on the calendar.

Not being "Catholic Enough" was quite a heavy chip on my shoulder. I felt I couldn't volunteer as a lector or teach a Sunday school class.

Four years ago when we were faced with the decision as to if we were going to take DiscountCatholicProducts.com on as our own baby, this belief caused me to be scared of my customers.

Some well-intentioned woman would call in and very heatedly describe to me exactly how we were pushing satanic rosaries on our customers (we weren't). My immediate reaction was to take down whatever the offending product de jour was and lose a night of sleep worrying about how much I didn't know.

All of this insecurity and fear had backed me into a reactionary mode. The worst part was that I was completely cut off from reaching out to God to build a stronger relationship with Him.

So what did I do? I took a plunge into re-catechizing myself starting with the adult education classes offered at my parish. And on the first night, I stepped into class, looked around, and thought to myself "These are the Catholic-est of the Catholics. I'm the dumbest one in the room."

I swallowed my pride and asked every question that came into my head - no matter how stupid I thought the question. I needed the answers. I couldn't live in fear of the phone ringing and be unable to answer questions about why there are differences in pyx.

And you know what, some of my questions were dumb, but they led to further discussion and opened up doors and windows to topics I didn't even know I had questions about.

Do I know it all now? Oh heck no. And I never will - but I'm comfortable with that now. What I discovered is that the Catholic-est of the Catholics don't know everything either, and even better than that, they are warm, loving, beautiful people that are doing the same thing as me: reaching for heaven.

The feeling of not being "Catholic Enough" has nothing to do with the people who surround you in the pews. It's a level of confidence issue - an inability to articulate exactly why you believe what you believe.

If your parish doesn't have adult education, or you just want to get started NOW on boosting your Catholic Confidence, we can help you with that.

Step 1: Confession - because GRACE!! The grace you receive from confession will help you leaps and bounds in your faith journey.

Step 2: How can you still be Catholic? - This book addresses many of the social issues the Church is criticized for. I admit that I'm not 100% in lock-step with the Church on many issues, but I usually find that those are the areas where I'm not well educated on the Church's true teachings of the topic. This book can help start you down the path of understanding.

Step 3: Pick a devotion or new method of prayer and stick with it for a month. May I suggest a Marian consecration or learning about the Divine Mercy? Both are life-changing.

Confession - Its Fruitful Practice walks you through making a good confession and WHY. This very thorough but small book



How can you still be Catholic? Cradle Catholic Christopher Sparks takes the question head on, addressing an array of controversial issues and offering the same answer given by St. Peter 2,000 years ago: "Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life"



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Have you ever thought about your spiritual goals?

If you’re anything like me, you may have physical fitness goals, retirement goals, project goals… so many more goals.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that you and I probably have the same Ultimate Goal: Get to Heaven. (Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think I am.)

And, if you’re still a little like me, you may not ever thought of having a spiritual goal you wanted to work on… something you can attain in the next 30-90 days or so.

Why not? We’re taught goal-setting at work and at the gym and at school.

I think part of the issue is that it’s so easy NOT to think about. You don’t see your spiritual condition hanging over the top your jeans when you look in the mirror, it’s not there when you check your bank balance.

It’s deeply personal and easy to hide – even from yourself.

But really, have you ever paused to thing about setting a spiritual goal for yourself and what that would entail?

What is it that I would want to accomplish? Here’s the first 3 things that come to mind for my personal goals:

  1. Better Prayer Habits
  2. Make confession a regular habit, not just Christmas and Easter
  3. Attend Daily Mass at least once per week

In the coming weeks, our blog posts will be dedicated to sussing out the best spiritual goals, and making progress towards achieving them.

+Megan

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100 years later, we can still learn from Our Lady of Fatima

The miracle that took place almost 100 years ago was the largest miracle since biblical times. Over 70,000 people witnessed the sun dancing. Newspapers – even anti-Catholic ones – reported on the event.

With that in mind, we have 3 challenges for you:

1. Learn the Rosary

Our Lady emphasized the importance of the rosary. I didn’t take up the practice until about a year ago.

If you fall into the camp of Catholics who don’t pray the rosary because it seems boring or unfruitful, try it again.

Just try it. Even a decade at a time while you’re stuck in traffic or taking a shower. Continue reading Our Fatima Challenge: 100 Years Later, Her Message is Still Relevant!

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