The Consecration.

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This started as a curious flicker in my heart to go deeper. I wanted to give Jesus a huge romantic gesture (as one does for the King of their world). My good friend Kelsey had gone through this solo-retreat before, and recommended it to me. So when the desire in my heart came for me to really do something for Jesus, I decided on this little book.

Written by Fr. Michael Gaitley, this book takes you into the life and theology of Saint Therese of Lisieux. You get the opportunity to really study her way to Jesus, The Little Way. I don’t really want to say more about the consecration itself, because it is a treasure to be discerned and truly prayed with in order to know if you’re called to this consecration.

What even is a consecration? Great question. I wasn’t familiar with the tradition of consecration until this past year. A consecration, in our terms, is to dedicate something to a higher purpose. In my case, to dedicate myself to a higher purpose. To devote myself to getting to Jesus a certain way, while allowing Him to actively guide my life and my journey to holiness.

This book, 33 Days to Merciful Love, is a consecration to Divine Mercy. The Divine Mercy of Jesus Christ. It’s simply a way to devote yourself to Christ using St. Therese’s “Little Way” as a road map. The saints have always done a great job of teaching me how to get closer and closer to God, but St. Therese has had a special pursuit of my journey. She’s been looking at my trips along my walk to Jesus, and knew I needed to be little. Just as she was.

I encourage you to look into consecrations: to learn about them, talk to people about them, maybe even do one. Look into the lives of the saints. They are saints for a reason, and they each had their special and unique way of getting straight into the heart of Jesus.  And that’s what we’re called to do now, today, here.

This book has changed the love I had for Jesus into a true romance and dependence. Thank you St. Therese for being my best friend and truly showing me such a big piece of your life.

Check out 33 Days to Merciful Love, and Story of a SoulSt. Therese’s autobiography.

Befriend a saint. Learn about their life. See how they decided to fall in love with Jesus Christ. Maybe do the same. And in the process, you will learn more about yourself than you expect.

The Novena Story. One Year Later.

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St. Therese gave me red roses. She gave me six bouquets of red roses spread across the chapel to show me God’s vocation for my life: marriage. The bottom picture is my status on Facebook about the work of God on September 11th, 2016. One year later, I decided to revisit the place I originally saw these roses from my novena.

Before I get into that story, here’s what happened one year ago today. When I returned to college August of 2016, I was ready for the school year. I had never had a boyfriend, and I was ready for whatever God’s plan was for me. As I was talking to my campus minister, Fr. Patrick, he asked a group of leaders who was going to be a nun. I had never seriously considered the consecrated life, because I had assumed I would be a wife and have a family. After thinking about this possibility, I told Fr. Patrick that I wanted to dedicate September to discerning the consecrated life. He helped me create a prayer schedule and guided me through the differences of these vocations (thanks again, Fr. Patrick you’re the best). I had been speaking with some of my sorority sisters for a little bit about St. Therese. It kinda weirded me out because three girls had separately talked about her novena, so I decided to check it out and asked Fr. Patrick if I should discern my vocation through this nine day prayer. The St. Therese novena is very popular and known for having a question answered through a specifically colored rose. I always knew, if I prayed it, I would ask for red roses to mean marriage and for white roses to mean consecrated life.

I went to The Farm with Fr. Patrick and as we were checking out what we picked up at the cash register, he brought my attention to the single red rose sitting by the cash register. He then looked at me and said, “I think you’re supposed to pray the novena”. So I began on September 2nd, and went about my days. In the middle of the novena, I saw roses at my church in front of the statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe. It was a bouquet of wilted, crumpled white roses. When I looked at the statue of Mary, she was holding a single red rose bud in her praying hands. Interesting, but I was still awaiting the final day of the novena: September 11th.

It was a Sunday, and I went to visit The Farm to show my friends the beautiful stations walk and the chapel I had never been in before. As we walked up the hill, I got excited to see if St. Therese had put any roses in the chapel. We walked inside, saw that there was Eucharistic Adoration being held, and sat in our pews. As I looked up before I knelt, there they were. Six beautiful bouquets of red roses surrounding the alter. I instantly started crying and felt so so happy and warm and joyful. Something I felt and had hoped for regarding my vocation had always been true. I felt so reassured to know that what I felt God had planned for me was the right path. He had put it on my heart since a very young age to pray for my future husband, and in the moment I saw those roses, I felt so comforted as He told me those prayers had been going to my future spouse all along. I thanked St. Therese, I thanked God, and I got even more excited to meet my future husband.

Fast forward to one year later, today, September 11th, 2017 . . .

I arrived at The Farm this morning around 9:30 am and walked up the hill to the chapel. Along the way was the Stations of the Cross walk represented in bright white statues. I huffed and puffed up the hill as I snapped (probably too many) pictures. This year, I wasn’t expecting roses. I wasn’t praying a novena, and I just wanted to go back to where it all began. As I walked in the chapel, there was no Eucharistic Adoration. There was no one with me. But there were roses. Some were yellow, some were white, but every single one of them were half red. They had red on the ends of each petal, sitting in the same position as they were a year ago. I decided to sit down, get out my journal, and figure out what God was trying to tell me this year.

God told me to slow down. For some reason, I had a song that continued to play in my head as I was at The Farm. It crept back into my head this morning as I sat there in that tiny chapel, packed with statues, and prayer cards, and roses. The song is called, “Bring Your Love To Me” by The Avett Brothers. God was telling me to bring my heart to Him, always. I have a habit of taking non-Jesus related songs and relating them to our savior. This one in particular reminded me over and over of a message from Christ. As this tune played in my head, I knew the significance of the roses. They were essentially half and half so God could tell me to only rely on Him. I had been so caught up in finding a new boyfriend, or discovering my future husband that I put God on hold for the time being. After coming out of my first relationship, I was ready for God to tell me who was to be next in my life. Rather, He had been telling me – it was Him. It has always been Him, and I vow to my future husband to always put God first in our relationship. No matter your vocation, God is first.

Bring your love to Him and it will be held tight, protected, and cherished. Today, I learned that our lives can only improve when they’re handed over to God. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by trust-falling into the arms of your loving creator. As Saint Therese of Lisoux once said, “Our Lord has deigned to make me understand that by simple obedience I shall please Him best.” May Your will be done, Lord. Your beautiful, exciting, rewarding will.

 

Holding suffering and holding joy.

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Those hands that held Jesus’ head when He was a baby. The hands that helped Him put His clothes on before He went outside. The hands that made food, poured water, washed His body. Those hands that hugged Him and wiped His tears.

The Monsignor who had the vision for this Marian statue told us he wanted her hands to be ready to take on anything. To receive any burdens.

The hands that wiped away her own tears, watching her Son be killed. The hands that held His broken and bloody body. The hands that were passed on to be taken care of. The hands of a mother.

This past February I was encouraged to open my hands up when I was being prayed over. To be able to receive more from God. When I saw these hands my first day of my internship this summer, I knew I was witnessing God’s promise being fulfilled in my life.

When Mary opened her hands and her heart to receive what God wanted for her, she gave birth to the Savior of the world. Along with pain. When I open my hands, I desire to give Mary’s yes to God. The hands holding suffering, and the hands holding joy. 

My prayer for myself and for you is that you open your hands. No matter what that means for you and Jesus, I pray that you are open to the happiness that comes with following truth as well as the pain that comes. We are handling imperfect humans, ourselves included, which means there are glory stories and there are dark times. Open your hands to receive it all, God wants to show you every side of glory.

When you sign up for Jesus.

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When you sign up for Jesus you sign up for truth. You sign up for love. You sign up for prayer and time dedicated to a relationship with God Himself. You sign up for a lot of adventures. You sign up for joy and belonging.

You also sign up for rejection, mockery, and exclusion from the world. This can come in any form to any degree, but if we are called to be the Body of Christ, we are called to be beaten. But what an honor it is to suffer in the name of truth. To carry a cross alongside our Savior.

This study from Endow goes into Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI’s encyclical on the beauty of marriage and life. It was not very popular because of its truth on the dignity in intimate relationships and God’s hand in procreation. I encourage you to look into the mission of Endow and to study what the successors of Christ have written, inspired by the Holy Spirit.

We sign up for a sometimes difficult life, but truth is well worth being counter-cultural.

“If I were not a Catholic, and were looking for the true Church in the world today, I would look for the one Church which did not get along well with the world; in other words, I would look for the Church which the world hated. My reason for doing this would be, that if Christ is in any one of the churches of the world today, He must still be hated as He was when He was on earth in the flesh. If you would find Christ today, then find the Church that does not get along with the world. Look for the Church that is hated by the world as Christ was hated by the world. Look for the Church that is accused of being behind the times, as our Lord was accused of being ignorant and never having learned. Look for the Church which men sneer at as socially inferior, as they sneered at Our Lord because He came from Nazareth. Look for the Church which is accused of having a devil, as Our Lord was accused of being possessed by Beelzebub, the Prince of Devils. Look for the Church which, in seasons of bigotry, men say must be destroyed in the name of God as men crucified Christ and thought they had done a service to God. Look for the Church which the world rejects because it claims it is infallible, as Pilate rejected Christ because He called Himself the Truth. Look for the Church which is rejected by the world as Our Lord was rejected by men. Look for the Church which amid the confusions of conflicting opinions, its members love as they love Christ, and respect its Voice as the very voice of its Founder, and the suspicion will grow, that if the Church is unpopular with the spirit of the world, then it is unworldly, and if it is unworldly it is other worldly. Since it is other-worldly, it is infinitely loved and infinitely hated as was Christ Himself. But only that which is Divine can be infinitely hated and infinitely loved. Therefore the Church is Divine.”

– Fulton Sheen

To learn more about this study, you can find Humanae Vitae here.

To explore the mission of Endow, you can read about them here. They have many different studies on multiple church teachings.

Intercede for me.

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During discipleship I found this prayer through St Joan of Arc’s intercession and I wanted to share it with you all. It makes my heart really happy and gives me hope in the paternal love of the Father, the limitless compassion of the Son, and the ignited friendship of the Holy Spirit.

 

Sit with this prayer. Re-read it. Illustrate it. Tape it on your mirror. Handwrite it and mail it to a friend. Frame it for your mom. Talk about it with your dad. The more we talk about and share prayers, the more our lives become them.

 

Dear Sweet Patron Saint,

I implore you in the name of God

to intercede on my behalf and guide me.

Help me to be strong when people are against me and question my belief in God.

Help me to stand by my faith

and my decisions concerning my faith.

I wish to do only God’s will,

and I beg of you, O Patron Saint,

to help keep me on His true path,

and guide me in His will.

I need friends now, more than ever before,

and I choose God as my first and foremost best friend, above all others.

But I also choose you as a close and special friend to relate to and to talk to.

Please counsel me by any means necessary that is in the will of God to do.

Please let me have the wisdom and understanding to receive his message

and the patience and virtue to listen so that I may understand his word. Amen.

How generous is our God?

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How generous is our God to hand-pick the color of the sky. To give a shimmer to everything gold. To love creation before it was made. To have His place of worship be a home, sturdy and safe. To make sure we know He’s present even when we are on our own. To place us in front of people reaching for Heaven. To tell us that we belong to more than this world, but still make it a wonderful journey. To give us something as simple as the sunrise. To inspire our curiosity help us gain knowledge. How generous is our God to have thought that the world should have our heart exist in it. A place for us for a short time, before going to rest for eternity in Him.

The timelessness of Christ.

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We must never discredit the timelessness of Jesus Christ. He was countercultural when He began His ministry, and He is now. Church teaching is not outdated, truth is not dependent on time. Truth does not live in the past, or change for the future, truth is goodness, life, God, holiness. His heart is here, the wood of His cross is now, the presence of His flesh is present. We do not change His word, because of our world. We change the world, because of His blessed truthful word.

Choosing silence.

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I’ve always felt busy, like there is always noise. Whenever I’m by myself, I usually make sure the silence is filled. If I’m cleaning my room, then I put on a Spotify playlist. If I’m driving in my car, then I listen to music or a podcast. If I’m sitting in front of the Lord, I’m thinking or journaling, or humming when I’m on my own. In fact, silence has almost always scared me.

But Jesus does this beautiful thing where He takes our fears and has the ability to redeem them or explain them. He’s asked me to rest my heart, and to be still in His presence. He’s taught me how silence allows my ears to hear His voice. He’s helped me to recognize the importance of prayer.

Thank You, Lord for allowing us to sit in silence with You. For loving our praises, and blessing our lessons taught in the quiet.

 

Happy Mother’s Day, Mary.

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Hi Mom. Happy Mother’s Day.

Your yes about two thousand years ago changed the purpose of my life. My mom and I will be reading these books to learn more about you, the Queen of Heaven. We know you can hear our songs to you, Mary. Thank you for welcoming anyone’s heart, and directly placing it in Christ’s. We can all learn from you. You were the closest person to the Son of God, wiping His blood, holding His body, suffering for His heart. Take me straight to Jesus, Mother Mary. You’ve given blue a new meaning.

A Message from Him.

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“Maclaine. Look to me. Look at the beautiful creation and community I’ve placed on earth. Look at my people. They want heaven for you. They’re praying for you. They’re saints and they desire for you to join them one day. And look at me. Get lost in the Mercy my eyes narrate. Drown in the reckless and sacrificial love I’ve poured out for you. Understand when I love you so much and want more for you. I won’t stop spilling out my love for you, you just have to unplug your ears and hear my song. I am the King of Heaven, and you, a princess. I died for you. These saints were so inspired by the truth that they dedicated themselves to goodness. I want that for you. I am the vine and you are a branch. You do not live alone. Every goodness is because of me. Rely on me. I love you so. You are not alone.”

Mary in The Dollar Tree.

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I never expected to see Mary in the Dollar Tree. On a rainy day, I ran to the Dollar Tree to pick up a poster for my project. A quick run in, get what I need, and leave. As I walked down the messy office supply aisle, I began looking at the phone cases. Right there, mindlessly placed on a cardboard box was the Queen of Heaven. A statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe was put in between disheveled phone cases, ear buds, and random cardboard boxes. She didn’t belong there. She belonged in a beautiful garden. In a golden beam. In heaven with her most holy Son, Jesus Christ. She’d been dropped, the statue was chipped, cracked, and it wasn’t the prettiest Marian statue I’d ever seen. So I picked her up and promised her a home for a Queen. My devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe started a couple years ago and only recently has it really taken off. But this statue today wasn’t Mary, because she is perfect. Untouched. Beautiful. This statue instead strengthened my heart’s devotion to her holy and gorgeous intercession. She is with me even in a store. But she belongs somewhere better. She continues to find a home in my heart, guiding my womanhood and wrapping me in her mantle.