Good morning ~

I’ve been reading The Mystical City of God and it is enthralling. It’s the life of Mary as revealed in visions to Mary of Agreda. It’s hard to put into words, but it has tapped into something deep in my soul, so the best I can do is to copy straight out of my prayer journal from the day I read about Satan’s fall.

“My heart is massively moved by an extra iota of understanding of what it means to love God.

“The angels love God so completely, and want to help Him without question or understanding as to the “big picture.” They praise him, take initiative to ensure His will is carried out.

“Like a child begging to be mom’s helper when she cooks – to contribute to her efforts to show love for her family. To be part of something bigger because of the great love and admiration for who she inherently is.

“My mind goes to the time I was helping my dad build the loft in the barn. In his infinite patience, he taught me and watched as I swung a hammer and twisted nails. I put maybe 1% of the nails in, but enjoyed the work because it allowed me to show him my love and be a part of something he built.”

Granted, the book can be very heavy. I made the initial mistake of trying to read it all at once when there is so much to consume in each chapter that I could write all day about single paragraphs.

If you have a quiet half-hour every night or a few times a week, I recommend it. I’m only 100 pages in and there’s a long way to go, but thought prickle up through my day stemming from this book. 

Love to all,

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Deacon used a phrase in his homily this weekend that made me sit up – “active role in your salvation”.

I don’t remember what came before or after those five words. But the phrase stuck in my head and I knew I had to use it in our Tuesday morning email.

“Active” as opposed to “passive”.  What would it look like to have a passive role in one’s own salvation?

I’m imagining someone with either an inflated sense of entitlement, or crippling fear, or maybe simple laziness.

Entitlement because they think salvation is owed to them and thus have to do nothing to earn it.

On the other hand, the fearful person is someone who can’t bring themselves to face God. They are wary of the wrath that they know they deserve. They don’t even know where to start, so they don’t start at all. Salvation is just a thing that will happen… or not. They don’t know and may not think they are even worthy enough.

The third might be the most dangerous. Procrastinating on one’s salvation due to a lukewarm heart or “I’ll worry about it when I’m old and need it” is an active rejection of experiencing the joy of knowing God now. That momentum will be tough to muster when you’re “old and need it”.

Being active in your own salvation can take so many different forms. It’s not necessarily daily Mass, but it could be. It’s not necessarily self-denial, but it could be.

It could also be being kind to a stranger that frustrates you. It could be writing a thank you note. It could be asking someone to come to Mass with you. It could be in creating art that helps others see God through your eyes.

Ask yourself this question this week: How am I an active participant in my own salvation?

Love to all,

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Good morning ~

Yesterday I was reading the Prayer for the Morning in the Magnificat® and as I was reading Psalm 86, it struck me as odd that I’m telling God “All the nations shall come to adore you and glorify your name, O Lord.”

Praising God is a beautiful and necessary part of prayer, but this phrase made it seem like I’m the one reassuring God that the nations will return to Him.

That struck me as really odd.

There is no way I could know the future. It sounds, frankly, like a conversation I had with my girlfriends back in high school: “Don’t worry Rachel. I bet he regrets breaking up with you. He’ll be back.”

Upon meditation over the Psalm, it occurred to me that this is God reassuring us that this nastiness and suffering caused by governments, entities, and people is temporary. It has an end. He is telling us “They will come back to me. There is no need to worry.” 

He is telling us what is to come, and in turn we repeat these promises to remind ourselves, become steadfast in our hope, and praise God.

Love & prayers,

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Good morning  ~

I’m hitting the road later today (weather permitting) for our family’s Thanksgiving gathering. I’ll be praying for you and your safety this week.

I wanted to leave you with a prayer of Thanks today, but I realize that not everyone has a joyful celebration ahead of them this week. Some of us find it down-right hard to be grateful when we’re in the middle of turmoil and personal crisis. 

With that in mind, here’s a prayer I think might fit the bill:

Father in Heaven, I am grateful for this moment in time that I can simply speak to You. Open my heart to recognize all the gifts You’ve provided today, this week, this month, and this year. 

Thank You for the strength You give me each day, for the blessings seen and unseen. Help me recognize Your work so that I can give You praise and thanksgiving. Plant the seeds of gratitude and generosity in my heart so that I might spread Your blessings to those around me.


Have a blessed Thanksgiving,

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Hello ~

There are so many “shoulds” and “have tos” and “gottas” this time of year, I thought I’d slow down a bit and simply take a minute to thank God for the beauty within our faith.

As Catholics, we get to pray with all our senses. The smell of incense, the taste of the Body and Blood, and all the other beautiful elements of art and physical experience we get to experience and use as reminders.

I love the smell of incense in church. It reminds me of my childhood church. It calms my mind and gives the the sense of being home.

But beyond the beauty that we personally experience, there is beauty in the Truth. 

The vastness of our faith can be intimidating, but if instead we look at it with wonder, awe and curiosity it becomes energizing and intriguing. 

All are welcome. God is Love and Mercy. He gives us hope. And that is so beautiful.

Love to all,

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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,

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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

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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,

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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,

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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!


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