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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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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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The beauty of Advent.

We had an advent wreath for years that sat as a decoration on our dining room table, but we never lit the candles. Don’t let this happen to you!

Advent wreaths are meant to be used! And here’s how:

At the dinner table after you say grace is when the advent wreath is traditionally lit.

(Remember to have your advent wreath blessed by a priest or deacon.)

Each evening following, begin by praying over your food, praying the advent prayer, and then light the appropriate number of candles. (The candles stay lit until the meal is over).

Week One: 

Leader: O Lord, stir up Thy might, we beg Thee, and come, That by Thy protection we may deserve to be rescued from the threatening dangers of our sins and saved by Thy deliverance. Through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

Week 2

Leader: O Lord, stir up our hearts that we may prepare for Thy only begotten Son, that through His coming we may be made worthy to serve Thee with pure minds. Through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

Week 3

Leader: O Lord, we beg Thee, incline Thy ear to our prayers and enlighten the darkness of our minds by the grace of Thy visitation. Through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

Week 4

Leader: O Lord, stir up Thy power, we pray Thee, and come; and with great might help us, that with the help of Thy Grace, Thy merciful forgiveness may hasten what our sins impede. Through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

So gather the family together and make the Advent Wreath part of your Christmas preparations. It will help you quiet your heart, regain peace amid all the festivities, and focus on the real meaning of the season.

Have a Blessed Day!
​+Megan

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I find in times of dryness of faith that I lean heavily on Mary.

The Trinity, in these times, seems unapproachable or my utter unworthiness is too heavy to overcome in order to accept the Love of God.

That’s when I find myself going back to books like 33 Days to Morning Glory, and I talk much more to Mary during my prayer time, and ask for her intercession.

That book gave me some insight as to why my natural inclination is to reach for our Mother.

In it, St. Mother Teresa describes a vision of Mary and the role she served as helping us to remember Jesus’ presence even when we can’t see Him.

She states: “Our Lady’s role is to bring you face to face with the love in the Heart of Jesus crucified.”

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