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Looking for a way to deeply enter into Lent and figure out what God is calling you to give up or do to show your great love for Him? Then you've come to the right place!! Our oldest teen wrote an astounding reflection that will truly stop and help us come closer to Our Lord. Although written with teens in mind, I gained a lot from reading it, and I think any adult would benefit greatly!
This reflection presents a dual purpose: an exceptional examination of conscience and a plethora of unique ideas for offering during Lent. Ideally, it would be great if you could take your time going through it to be sure to hear God's voice speaking.
Also, to aid in your time of prayer, you can click on the links to the right for inspirational Lenten music.
May your Lenten journey be filled with revelation, hope and peace!
Dear Lord, as I enter into this time with You, please open my heart to Your will. And, as I take this walk with You, help me to understand what You are saying to me and help me to be open to the workings of the Holy Spirit.
O Holy Spirit, come into this place and fill my heart with the desire to know, love and serve You on a more spiritual and deeper level this Lent that I ever have before. Give me the courage to place myself into Your hands to discern how I should atone for my sins with abstinence and prayer this Lent. Lord, I love You. I know that You desire my heart to become one with Your most Sacred Heart. Please help me to unite my will to Yours this Lent. I ask this through Christ our Lord, in unity with the Holy Spirit. Amen.
As You were on the cross during Your last moments, You cried out, “I thirst!” I know that You were not thirsty in the way that we are thirsty. This thirst was for the souls for which You came here, to earth, to die for. You died for me. You gave Yourself up as a Lamb to the slaughter so that I would be saved. When thought about like this, I realize how simple - how black and white - this is. And I wonder, “How can I repay this gift?” How can I, a simple human, repay this gift to You, our Lord, who died for me! Remember that because there is no time in heaven, my prayers and sacrifices can help relieve the pain that You felt while being crucified. So, I ask this now. I ask how I can console Your heart on the cross, despite being so easily tempted into sin. I am like Peter when Jesus said to him, “This night before the cock crows, you will deny ever knowing Me.” Please give me the strength to do Your Will.
Lord, I ask you how I can atone for my sins and, by doing so, grow closer to You during this Lent? Where in my life can I make a change for the better? What can I do to make reparation for the sins I have committed? What are You calling me to abstain from that may or may not be a sin? What will make the biggest difference spiritually in my life?
Have I neglected to love You, Lord God, with all my heart, soul and mind? Do I really love You above all things or have I made other things - money, clothes, sports, TV, music - more important? What has distracted me from loving You? Do I spend all of my time with my friends or at parties, desperate to gain their approval and acceptance? Should I spend more time with You, Whom I know will love me no matter what I do and will raise me up when things go wrong? How can I console Your heart that so deeply longs for a relationship with mine? Can I develop my relationship with You by giving up time with my friends in exchange for time with You? Are You calling me to come visit with You in the adoration chapel? Or are You calling me to come to Mass more than once a week? Maybe even daily mass? Would this help strengthen our relationship, Lord?
Do I make time each day for prayer? Or do I only pray when I need something? Do I praise and thank You? How can I manage my time better so that I can strengthen our relationship? Could I decide to do my homework instead of watching that extra episode? Would that give me more time to give to You, my Jesus? Could I then spend that time in prayer, learning to love You, whom I have neglected? Could I set a reminder on my phone for a time that I know I can spend in prayer? Can I make a daily commitment to enrich my prayer life? Are You calling me to say a Divine Mercy chaplet or Rosary every day? Could I sign up for a daily email to meditate and reflect on the day? Could I spend 10 minutes reading the Bible every day?
Do I have trouble with taking Your Name in vain or swearing? Are You calling me to reflect and overcome this habit during Lent? Could I make a conscious effort not to swear? Have I denied You or the Church in public? Do I need to give up listening to music with foul language or immoral subjects? Are there other triggers that I can avoid that will keep me from being tempted to swear? Are You calling me to start keeping a journal? Would this help me to channel my frustration and anger that may be causing my lapses in self-control?
Am I keeping Sundays holy? Am I coming to Mass weekly, or do I decide not to? Do I pay attention during Mass by praying and singing, or do I just go through the motions? Do I leave early? Are You calling me to participate whole-heartedly during Mass this Lent? Could I come a bit earlier to spend a few minutes preparing myself for Mass? Could I decide not to leave until after the priest has descended the altar? Or after the last song is done? Do I have trouble paying attention during the readings? Are You calling me to begin to pray through the readings by writing down how You spoke to me during them? Could I decide to take something from the homily to heart instead of zoning out? Do I fast from food for an hour before receiving Your precious body and blood? If I don’t do this, could I set a reminder on my phone to one hour before Mass to remind me?
Am I greedy or jealous? Do I resent my friends’ or others’ success? Do I send angry texts to people whom I am jealous of? Are You calling me to think before typing? Do I nag my parents into buying something for me? Are You calling me to give up shopping this Lent, or to refrain from buying something for myself this Lent? Are You calling me to use the money that I usually spend on myself for someone else? Should I donate the money to the Church or give it to people who I know need it? Do I complain about the things that I do have? Are You calling me to give up complaining this Lent? Could I replace the words I use to complain by thanking You instead?
Do I use my words to hurt people in real life or on social media in order to make myself feel better? Do I spread rumors or lie? Do I cheat on tests or plagiarize? Do I let other people do my homework? Are You calling me to be honest and do my own work this Lent? Could I study more? Should I make more time to spend on important things like school and You? Do I waste time by procrastinating? Are You calling me to give up procrastination for Lent? Could I decide to do my homework instead of watching another YouTube video? Would that give me more time to give You, my Jesus? Are You calling me to give up Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or another social media platform? Are You asking me to give up all social media? Could I decide not to use electronics on certain days or times? Could I put a limit on the amount of time I spend online? Could I give that extra time to You, Jesus, or my family? Could I give that time to the Church or my community by volunteering? Is there a ministry that You want me to participate in this Lent? Are You calling me to visit elderly relatives?
Am I violent in my words or actions? Do I set a good example? Do I get angry and lose my temper? Do I hold grudges? Do I play violent video games or watch violent movies for the thrill? Could I give these things up to please you? Could I, instead, watch the Passion or another movie on the suffering of the saints?
This Lent, are You calling me to work on a specific virtue? Do I need to learn prudence? Do I say inappropriate things? Are You asking me to be merciful? Do I need to learn to let things go? Are You calling me to work on chastity? Do I think impure thoughts or look at impure images? Do I dress immodestly? Could You be calling me to give up “dressing to impress?” Am I gluttonous? Are You calling me to give up a certain food or drink for Lent? Is this what Your heart desires? Will giving up a special comfort from home bring me closer to You? Are You calling me to discern my vocation during this Lent? Do I partake of the sacraments as often as I should? Are You calling me to go to confession more often?
As I end this time of reflection with You, is there anything else that You would have me do or offer up?
Lord, in all that I do this Lent, may my love for You be evident and may it console Your Sacred Heart who so longs for me. I love You, Jesus.
The author Fr. James Mallon has been known for this statement. The first time I read it, I did a double take. Scandalous? What? It seems to me that God's mercy and scandal should be pointing in the exact opposite direction. But then I began to think about this crazy concept.
God's mercy. Scandal.
Then it dawned on me, as it probably already has for you.
God's mercy = Scandal
It actually equals it! In our world, God's mercy became such a radical concept. It differed and continues to differ from our human, natural predispositions to mercy. Why? Well, to put it bluntly, God's mercy just isn't fair. At least not in our human-need-for-justice kind of fair.
In my house, every day is a test of fairness. Claims to the lack of it abound regularly.
"She hasn't cleaned as much as I have!"
"I fed chickens two times in a row. It's not fair! It's time for someone else to do it!"
At one time we even had a serious family discussion on why everyone's dishes jobs were not getting completed consistently. One of the kids said that in order to fill the dishwasher, the other person had to empty it. The claim was that the emptying often was not occurring, so the filler couldn't do her job.
Then my husband posed the question: "Depending on the circumstances, why couldn't you do both jobs? We don't want to promote lack of responsibility, but sometimes the reason is beyond control and it would be a great mercy."
I think I could have used a knife to cut through the silence at his question. I didn't have to read their minds to know what they were thinking..."We can't do that because it's not fair!"
However, their faces also revealed a light dawning. What their dad had put on the table was God's mercy. His mercy was difficult, challenging, and completely unfair to our humanness. But that was how they knew the difference.
God's mercy breaks what has become the mold of mercy in this world. And the breaking of this mold is scandalous. And, honestly, for the sake of my soul, I praise God for this scandalous mercy. There is so much undeserved mercy that He gives me every single day.
I would venture to say that His greatest example of this is in showing me that although I could never deserve it, I can someday enter into eternity with Him.
Wow. Can't get more merciful than that!
Sometime this week, let's take advantage of an opportunity to show God's form of mercy to someone.
I pray that God brings one to light and gives us the grace to be a radical example of His love in that moment!
Photo Attribution: https://pixabay.com/en/question-mark-answer-communication-1990155/
Inner healing, physical healing, forgiveness, freedom from addiction, and the cutting of soul ties. Don't these words bring up lots of fuzzy feelings? Well, although you might not doodle bubble hearts of sentiment around them, I hope that these words do promote positive reflection.
Why? Because although our minds may not consider them often, these are topics of which our souls are very aware, recognizing the the pain incurred as unresolved issues and the incredible hope, peace and healing that comes when approached well on a level of faith.
They are also issues that each of us faces, whether we are aware of it or not.
If you were to stop reading right now and look at each topic above, what would come to mind? Better yet, what if you read each topic and came up with one example of healing that is needed relating to each one?
My guess is, you would probably have little difficulty in coming up with a healing that is needed in each category. We are all "beneficiaries" of the fall by our original parents, so our need for healing runs rampant in our bodies and souls.
This being said, of course, we have no need to fear this great disconnect between our wounded selves and our "intended" selves.
As God stands outside of time, He sees the truth: our brokenness, all of our failures and our desperate need for healing. But, at the very same time, He sees our perfected selves, healed and freed from all of the effects that sin has imposed on us. In other words, the Master Creator sees US in our complete form.
There is no hiding, no running away from Divine Love. He knows.
He LOVES. And He keeps on loving.
As we confront failure on a daily basis, perhaps the greatest failure of all is that we don't approach Divine Love enough for healing.
"Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed. Save me, and I will be saved. For you are my praise." Jeremiah 17:14.
The Lord of Life, the Great Healer, wants us to ask Him for healing! He wants us to grow closer to our "intended" selves.
As He did in the gospel of Mark, He waits daily to say this to us...."Your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering."
So, why do we hesitate? Do we think we are unworthy of healing? Do we struggle with believing that healing could even be possible?
Don't falter! Be strong and believe!
Yes, we may be beneficiaries of the fall of man, but the greater reality is that we are the inheritors of the Kingdom of Life, possessing king and queenship under the Lord of the Universe. By this very nature we are not meant to be slaves to the effects of sin, but were created for an eternal life of love, perfection and peace.
Let the Great Healer fulfill His desire. Go to Him with an expectant faith, accepting whatever healing He will ordain to you at that moment.
How exciting it is to grow closer to the person that God created us to be. In the end, our arrival to Perfection will be beautiful and beyond anything we can imagine. What a moment that will be!
Happy St. Valentine's Day!!!!
Looking for a craft to do with the kids today? Here's a video to show you how to make some really cute duct tape flowers!!
As we remember the great witness of love that we find in St. Valentine, let's really focus on loving all of those around us today. Encourage the kids (and ourselves!) to do one good deed for each member of the family.
St. Valentine will be pleased! :)
Remember the ancient hymn lyrics...
Let Love Reign! :)
Have a beautiful and heart-filled day!
Sometimes I just love the honesty of 6th graders! The other day, I was helping out at our parish Edge program for 6-8 graders, and the kids at my table were pondering the Bible passage about the woman who needed three measures of yeast for her leavened bread, considering the connection between it and heaven. During the discussion, one of the girls became suddenly quiet, then, without warning, burst forth with the statement, "I just don't get that we go to heaven forever! It's just so hard to imagine!" This statement was followed immediately by nodding heads and "I know!" by the others at the table.
Previous topic suddenly put aside, we jumped into this new one, and I couldn't stop the excitement building inside of me as the kids expressed their own visions of heaven. They listened attentively as we discussed how the Bible and the Church guide us in approaching this great mystery. Faces that had come into the room bearing that "I'll do my best to listen, but it's been a long day and I'm tired" had become animated with excitement, peppering questions with insatiable curiosity.
It was awesome! Sponges, they drank in the discussion, spitting back out some surprisingly deep thoughts and responses to each other.
By the end of class, those same, tired faces left the room with eyes lit up, thoughts of heaven dancing around in their heads. And mine were right there with them.
Yes, these kids might be in 6th grade. But, their honesty, willingness to listen, and beautiful sense of who God is reminded me of the importance of the Body of Christ, especially as a living reality of the Trinity.
And, as I consider this point in light of the revelation of the telling hearts of many our nation's members regarding our political climate, I am also reminded why Jesus tells us to be like the little children. Such wise, wise words.
As it was when the Israelites were wandering in the desert, our future is in the hands of our youth. And I, for one, am so glad it is!!
Dear Lord, continue to guide our children and the future of Your people back to Your Merciful Heart!
So…Justina's had many requests for this one! We decided that a tutorial of a Chibi Charm about the beautiful St. Therese would be a great idea to share in time for St. Valentine's Day. (The little rose theme?) Both kids an adults would love to create this simple little charm to give away as beautiful, heaven-sent "little" gift of love on the feast day that celebrates the gift of love!
We truly hope you enjoy it, and, if you'd like, take a picture and send it to us for our craft gallery! Each charm is uniquely made, so we'd love to see your artistic creation.
God bless your day, and happy creating!
Since the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes is on February 11th, we'd like to put out a new Lego and Craft Challenge!
Miraculous Lady: Our Lady of Lourdes
Depict a creation relating the story of St. Bernadette and Our Lady of Lourdes!
If you need inspiration, scroll down to the Jan 31-Feb. 6th examples in the Lego Gallery for more incredible examples from last year!
We can't wait to see your creativity!! If you get a chance, take a picture and send it in using our simple submission link.
God bless your day, and happy creating! :)
Last Friday, Julia and Justina from the Teen Take Team went to the March for Life in D.C. Recording their experience via iPhone, they have condensed their footage into a short video trip to give a teen's eye view of what it was like to be with their group on the trip. (And it was quite a bit different when compared to what the media portrayed!)
I really hope you get a chance to watch this positive video - for many reasons. For one, it is truly positive, and for another, it inspires hope for our future! Please share it with other teens!!
Attending was unforgettable for the team, and they would love to encourage other teens to go in the future. Please pass this on to anyone even slightly considering going someday.
God truly bless your day!!
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Let the Fire Fall!
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