It’s important to be curious

First of all… a special thank you to Thomas who replied to last week’s email about recognizing grace by pointing out paragraph 2005 of the Catechism.

(I’m not going to quote it for you here. I’d like for you to get a little curious, go look it up, and maybe even get a little distracted by reading more of the Catechism on your own.)

Reading paragraph 2005 led me to backing up a little bit and reading all of Article 1: Grace and Justification.

Granted – I did not “get it” after the first read through. Or the second. In fact, I’m still re-reading this section over and over so I can wrap my brain around grace and justification.

But the side benefit of trying to intellectually understand these spiritual concepts is a growing curiosity.

You see, I’m a “Try-Hard” (according to my 8th grader, “try-hard” is not a good thing. It’s used as in insult in the halls of middle school.) I keep searching, learning, consuming, trying, asking.

This is all the long way around of saying this: Getting curious leads to learning, and then to action.

So I hope you get curious, learn something new, gain insights you hadn’t had before, and ultimately find yourself in a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.

Love to all,
+Megan

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I don’t remember who told me the first time, but I remember understanding the lesson immediately: Feelings are not reliable. We can’t base our faith on feelings.

So when I talk about recognizing grace, it’s important to put aside any feelings I may have and examine the evidence.

Driving home the other day, I had a recognition of grace in my life. I don’t know why this was different from all the other times I’ve thanked God for the gifts He’s given me, but I had a very sudden realization of the abundance of His grace is my life.

And while, of course, there was a feeling of peace that accompanied this “ah-ha moment”, I felt compelled to examine where those feelings came from.

I’ve been putting a lot of very conscious effort into loving those who drive me nuts – the people around me all the way out to national politicians. As my 18 year-old told me the other day “you have to love them, you don’t have to like them.”

So as I dug into this sudden recognition of grace, it was the realization of how I’ve been able to extend grace to others, and how that ability has been growing steadily over the last few months; how I’ve been able to put aside initial judgement, consider other perspectives, and see the good before being tempted to dig for the bad.

I don’t tell you this because I’m patting myself on the back. Instead, I want to tell the whole world how God has answered my prayers, helped me put in the work and create change in my own life – all in a way that is only possible with His grace.

As I was telling my junior high robotics team last week – if given the chance, extend the benefit of the doubt and give grace to those around you. God will fill your cup right back up to the brim and more.

Love to all,
+Megan

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Embarrassingly, I was out-gifted by my sister last year.

I know, I know. It’s not a contest.

But when the gift my sister gave Mom for Christmas last year brought tears to her eyes, I knew she had “won”.

What was that gift?

A rosary. 

Seriously. The daughter who runs the Catholic website was out-gifted by her sister, who gave Mom a rosary.

I still shake my head at myself for that one, but with a smile on my face.

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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Am I wasting God’s gifts?

In this week full of Thanksgiving, I wanted to give you some food for thought in regards to how we sometimes waste our God-given gifts.

This isn’t about guilt or our shortcomings or “should-ing” on ourselves.

Instead it’s about finding the motivation to do better.

We know when we’re falling short. Just today I procrastinated on this email and didn’t use the gift of time wisely. I fettered away hours with distractions.

The strength to overcome my own bad habits and shortcomings doesn’t come from myself.

It’s the sames reason we shouldn’t be prideful when we fast. It’s not about what I can do alone for myself. It’s the opposite.

God gives us this strength. I find that so comforting  that I don’t have to rely on myself. He is with me.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving.

Love to all,
+Megan

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I love old hymns (“old” meaning what I grew up with in the 80’s)

This weekend at Mass the music ministry brought out an oldie-but-a-goodie: Glory and Praise to Our God.

I haven’t heard that song in years, and it’s been traveling through my brain ever since.

We’ve all heard the phrase “like gold that’s tested in fire” a hundred times.  This time it really stuck out at me.

“In His wisdom he strengthens us, like gold that’s tested in fire.”

In that moment, I understood that the trials in my life are meant as exercises in becoming stronger and sloughing off the weaknesses and sin that keep me from a closer relationship with Him.

How often do I cling to what is meant to be burned away – hold on to my weaknesses as if they’ll protect me from ridicule and failure?

I think it takes a bit of courage to let them burn away. Courage is never easy. If it were easy it wouldn’t be courage.

Love to all,
+Megan

P.S. Way back in the 80’s we had a hymnal that had an orange sunset on the cover (maybe… my memory might be failing me – I just remember it was orange).  It was volume 2 or something like it. I was about 6 years old and I would go to CCD with my mom because she taught it. 

A woman there would play songs from this book on her guitar and we’d sing along.  There was one song in particular. I can’t think of it and it’s been bugging me for a few months now. 

Does anyone know what hymnal this may have been and where I can get my hands on a copy?

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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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We are told to “sing joyfully to the Lord!”

That’s really easy to do when big events occur… like a baby being born, or anticipating your child returning from college.

Even at Mass on Sunday mornings when that one special hymn reaches into your soul and shines a light on your heart, it is easy to answer the call to Sing Joyfully to the Lord!

But during our hum-drum daily routine, we are sleepwalking through spiritual opportunities.

Here’s what I’m NOT going to tell you to do: “just be joyful!”

In fact, we’re not asked to BE joyful, we are asked to sing joyfully. This is deeper than just being outwardly happy. This is NOT “fake it ’til you make it.”

Instead, the joy comes from a trust in God. It’s the willingness… eagerness even, to serve Him.

It comes from knowing His love for us is boundless, and His goodness and kindness are infinite.

By making even just a small pause in your day to acknowledge this truth, that is where your song of joy comes from.

So I’m going to give you a minute here to do just that… ready?

 

Go!

 

Have a blessed day,
+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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