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4/3/18 8:36 A
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Alleluia!


Take time to THINK...It is the source of power.Take Time to READ..It is the fountain of wisdom.
Take time to PRAY..It is the greatest power on earth. Take Time to LOVE and BE LOVED..It is a God-given privilege.
Be FRIENDLY, It is the road to happiness.. take time to LAUGH..it is the music of the soul.
Take time to Give it is too short a day to be selfish.. Take time to DO CHARITY..
it is the key to heaven.
I live in El Paso, TX


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4/1/18 8:45 A

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Alleluia!

Today's Readings

Acts 10:34A, 37-43; Colossians 3: 1-4; John 20: 1-9

Reflection for Today

Like a mother after a long, hard labor all can disappear in a moment: the Crucified One is Alive!

Never before, no one could imagine.

Is there any pain, any suffering, any trauma that cannot be overcome by the Risen One!

Even today I don’t fully appreciate how overwhelmingly, amazingly awesome is this fact.

Prayer for Today

Jesus I believe You Rose from the dead! Help me to fully live my life with this knowledge too wonderful for me. Help me to share this Truth in all I say and do and live. Help me to Love because truly that is forever and ever who You are. Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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3/31/18 1:43 P

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A Sabbath Rest

Today's Readings

Suggested readings: Lamentations 3:1-9, 19-24; Psalm 31:1-4, 15-16; 1 Peter 4:1-8; Matthew 27:57-66 or John 19:38-42

Reflection for Today

On the seventh day God rested. On this Saturday, Jesus, God and man, is in the tomb. He descended into Hell is our common English translation of the Creed. Better translated, “He goes to the place of the dead.” He sets those free who have died and are judged worthy to enter Heaven.

He has opened the Kingdom. Yet on earth, His body is in the tomb. Stunned, grief-stricken, depressed and disbelieving are His friends and followers on earth. Much like we are when we have lost a loved one or friend. Perhaps a tragic or unexpected death of one close to us.

What can I do to help? Sit and listen. Offer time.

When I feel this total loss, what is the best antidote? Pray. Then find someone else to help. Give of my time. The Lord often provides people for us to help.

Prayer for Today

My Lord and My God, help me when I’m stunned, grief-stricken, depressed. Help me to offer myself to others who are themselves at a loss, alone, rejected, feeling untouchable. With You there is no one who is beyond Your Love and care. Amen.

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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3/30/18 2:40 P

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Good Friday

It's Friday morning now. I highly doubt any of them woke up that morning thinking, “Well this is Good Friday,” or, “This is going to be a good Friday.” They had expectations of Jesus, but I'm pretty sure none of them expected Jesus to die on a cross some Friday afternoon. I don't think that was what they expected. That was unexpected. And, you know, they're afraid, they're anxious, they were hiding. And, Jesus was laying down his life for you and me.

So I guess the question becomes, you know, “What are you and I going to lay our lives down for?”

I look around at Dynamic Catholic. It's, I guess, around a hundred full-time employees now, and the great majority of them have moved from different places across the country. They've taken their kids out of school, and they've moved their families, and they've made enormous sacrifices to lay down their lives for this Mission.

I look at The Ambassador's Club. I've never seen anything like it, you know? I've never seen anything like a group of people who say, “You know what? Yes, I'm going to do something, large or small. I'm going to be part of this group of people who are setting out to do this great work.” It's inspiring to me. I see people giving ten dollars a month who can't afford to give ten dollars a month.

Life. It's about laying your life down for something that's bigger than you. It's about laying your life down for something that will outlive you. It's about laying your life down for something that's more important than all the noise we hear in the culture every day.

So what are you going to lay your life down for? Because until we answer that question, we haven't really started living.

Control. I'm always worked up with worry and anxiety, grasping at control. At night, the worries I've been suppressing throughout the day start boiling over, and I start imagining worst-case scenarios. I start asking myself questions like, “Did I lock the back door? Did I turn the stove off? Are the batteries in the fire alarm still working?” And on, and on.

And so, I climb out of bed, and I go check the back door, and I go check the stove, and I get back into bed, close my eyes, only to turn the nightmare back on.

As a wife and a mom, I'm hyper-aware of all that could go wrong in a day, and all that I have to lose. But the truth is, my grasping for control . . . It's an illusion; it's air. But I just keep grasping at it out of fear. And fear is not faithful.

God wants me to trust him, completely. And the only way I can do that is if I learn to take life one moment at a time. Commit to prayer. Be open to his presence around me and within me. And make the best decision possible, in that moment, and in the next moment. And I've got to let the rest go.

So, I am sacrificing fretting over control—and the time that I waste fretting over control (or the illusion of it). You'd think it wouldn't be that difficult, but it is the hardest thing I will do today. Please pray for me.

What sacrifice is God calling you to make at this time in your life?


FOCUS

All love involves sacrifice.


ACT

Spend time today reflecting on Jesus’ sacrifice for us on the cross, and determine what sacrifice God is calling you to make at this time in your life.


PRAY

Jesus, through the cross, strengthen my resolve to make the necessary sacrifices to serve the mission you have for me.

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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3/30/18 1:39 P

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Beyond Belief

Today's Readings

Isaiah 52:13 -53:12; Hebrews 4:14-16, 5: 7- 9; John 18:1-19:42

Reflection for Today

No Mass is said anywhere in the world on this day. No meat eaten, fasting, for those of proper age. No one could have ever imagined that God would become a human person like us, live in a human family, like us, and then allow Himself to die the worst death imaginable like too many poor people died. No one would have ever written such a story, thought such a thought, believed such an event could ever, would ever occur. Yet it did.

A disaster, I have come to accept, which I created. My sin is what caused this Crucifixion. Yes, I’m born with original sin, but if Adam and Eve were not the first to sin, I have no doubt today that I would have sinned, without the help of a serpent. Just like I fall today on my own, I certainly am disobedient. Jesus you died for me!

The Cross today represents my sins and my redemption. I have a lot to meditate upon and a lot to be grateful for and a lot to try to do better.

Prayer for Today

Jesus, Thank You for asking Your Father “to forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.” Even when I know what I’ve done, I know You died today to accept my contrite heart and afflicted spirit. Help me to better accept and share Your forgiveness and mercy and love. Amen.

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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3/29/18 10:38 A

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Thanksgiving

Today's Readings

Exodus 12: 1-8, 11-14; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; John 13: 1 - 15

Reflection for Today

Eucharist means Thanksgiving. We also call our worship service the Sacrifice of the Mass, which comes from Jesus offering His Body and Blood both at the Last Supper, which we celebrate this evening as Holy Thursday, and by His physically offering His Body and Blood at Calvary. How completely Jesus gives of Himself to you and me, holding nothing back.

Anytime you or a loved one might be sick in mind or body, there is an opportunity to “offer it up.” This offering is to make up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ – our sufferings, your suffering in mind, body and spirit. Your free will to join with Jesus on His Cross is all that is lacking. Our participation is joining with Jesus. (Colossians 1:24) The more we join with Him, the more we are able to give to others, spiritually, physically, emotionally. St. Mother Teresa gave all by humbly serving the one in front of her. “Do little things with great love,” she’d say and any of us can do the same.

Prayer for Today

Jesus, You gave all and deign to stay with us to this very day. Help me to love You more every day in Your Blessed Sacrament. Help me to share You with others more by offering all I can today by joining You in every joy and pain in my heart. Amen.

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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3/28/18 9:32 A

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The Opportunity Clock

There were a lot of banned words in the Kelly house growing up in Sydney, Australia, with my seven brothers. Hate was one of them. It was a word that just was not acceptable to be used. My mother and my father just did not tolerate the use of the word hate. There were a few of them—maybe half a dozen of them.

And so hate hasn't played a role really in my life, or in my vocabulary. But there is one thing I hate. And that is waking up to an alarm clock. It's disturbing. It’s alarming. I mean, who even came up with the idea, not to mention the name?

You know, in the book, I talk about, “Alarm suggests fright, fear, chaos, confusion, and looming catastrophe.” Well that's a great way to start the day, isn't it?

I hate waking up to an alarm clock. So I renamed it. It's an opportunity clock. The alarm clock goes off every day; it's an opportunity clock. And in many ways, that's our first moment of victory or failure in the day. It's the first moment of freedom or slavery, you know? Because how often do we just slap the snooze button? We just had our first failure of the day.

But every morning that opportunity clock goes off, you've got another day. You've got another day—and there's a lot of people who don't. So when that opportunity clock goes off each morning, we should be bounding out of bed, ready to go out into the world to love, to give, to serve, and to spread the contagious joy that God is constantly trying to fill our hearts with through every aspect of our spirituality.

I hope you never, ever, wake up to an alarm clock ever again.

When I was a little boy, I used to love waking up and sneaking downstairs before anybody else got up so I could have some time to myself to read or make breakfast before the day started.

And I love to do the same thing now as an adult. I like to wake up before anybody else. Before I check my phone, before I talk to anybody, I use that time in the morning to work out, read, write, pray, or even get some chores done before the day begins. And it really makes a difference in my day—it changes it for the better.

Something I do every single day is make breakfast. And I sit down, for a few minutes, to eat breakfast. Just having those few minutes, even if I've had the most frenzied of mornings, really changes my day for the better.

So that's how I enter my day slowly. How do you enter your day slowly?

FOCUS

Enter your day slowly.

ACT

Brainstorm with someone close to you about ways to enter your day more intentionally. Then commit to keeping that habit even after Lent is over.

PRAY

Jesus, fill me with calm and build my reflective self.

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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3/28/18 8:41 A

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Even in Darkness There is Light

Today's Readings

Isaiah 50: 4-9; Mat. 26: 14-25

Reflection for Today

Is my life important? Is what I have done worthwhile? Have I made a difference? At any age one may reflect on these questions. How much more difficult to answer when those closest to me have rejected me. When I lose a job or maybe a friend or a relative, by death or by a falling out. It can only be worse when someone close to you also conspires against you. Where may I plant my feet? Maybe the answer is to plant my knees on the floor in prayer.

Prayer for Today

Jesus, when those around me ignore me, reject me, work against me, let me rely totally on You. Let me take my loneliness as an opportunity to fellowship even more with You. Lord in Your great Love answer me. Amen.

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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3/27/18 11:01 A

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Traitorous Tuesday

Today's Readings

Isaiah 49: 1-6; John 13: 21-33 36-38

Reflection for Today

Have I wasted my time? Has my life amounted to anything? Even if one or more of my closest friends has turned against me, how bad can I be? If you’ve experienced such, you can be shaken to the core. Your whole world can be upside down.

Christ calls us to love everyone, even when we don’t feel loved. When Jesus was rejected He still gave Himself. He accepted the pain that I should have suffered for my sins. What might I suffer or take on or accept as rejection? I might think I deserve it or maybe not or maybe the truth is in between. No matter, if I may take my pain and rejection and join it with Jesus and keep on doing the good I know I can do, the Lord will always bring forth good fruit.

Prayer for Today

Jesus, when I am alone, feeling rejected and abandoned, have no one to turn to, You are there. You have experienced worse. Help me to unite my feelings with yours and to carry on. Help me to do the Will of My Father in Heaven. Help me to help others as I would help You. Amen.

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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3/26/18 2:56 P

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When you wake up in the morning, what are your expectations of the day? You know, consciously? Subconsciously? If you think about it, most people . . . Well first, they don't think about it. And second, if you could take a tour of their subconscious, you'd discover that most people have a subconscious expectation that things will go relatively smoothly. And I don't know if you've noticed, but they tend not to. Why? Because life is difficult. When you realize that, when you accept that, you approach things in a completely different way.

Life is difficult. There are problems. There are problems that we expect, and there are problems that are unexpected. And there's not like, okay, you're going to have this many problems in your life, and then you're going to be done. Or, you're going to have this much difficulty in your life, and then you're going to be done.

You look at some people’s lives and you think, “Wow, she's had a really difficult life.” And then you might look at somebody else's life and think, “Wow, he sort of had an easy life.” But we have no idea. You have no idea what's going on inside of me right now. And I have no idea what you're struggling with right now, or what you've struggled with throughout your whole life. What I do know is that life is difficult.

And so, it's important for us to remind ourselves that life is difficult. It's important for us to realize that the difficulties of life are opportunities to grow.

Every difficulty in life is an opportunity to grow.

Every difficulty in life is an opportunity to grow in virtue.

Every difficulty in life is an opportunity to grow in character.

Every difficulty in life is an opportunity to become a-better-version-of-yourself, more perfectly yourself.

Every difficulty in life, at some level, is a blessing.

Life is difficult, and that's okay, unless we want to continue in the delusion that life isn't difficult. Because if we want to continue in the delusion that life isn't difficult, then we're going to find ourselves pretty unhappy, pretty quickly.

Ethan Avina

In music, certain notes, when played or sung together, sound like they were made for each other. When you have notes that don't sound well together, don't sound like they fit, that's called dissonance. Ironically, some of the best music comes from dissonance. It leads to something good and something beautiful. This same principle has followed me all throughout my life.

There was a point when I took a new position in the Chicagoland area. I had always wanted to live in Chicago—two of my greatest friends lived there. I remember I moved in to my studio apartment on a Thursday, and that following Monday, one of my friends left for seminary on the East Coast. It seemed that within a month, that other friend let me know that he was going to be quitting his job and teaching English in Taiwan. I had not expected that to happen, but I leaned into being there on my own, and God led me to some great opportunities.

I was invited to sing with one of the choirs in my parish, and before I knew it, I was conducting the high school choir at the parish, and I was extremely involved with the youth programs. They didn't realize, but I had always felt a calling to work with youth and within sacred music at some level.

So I went from not knowing anybody, to meeting some of the greatest people—greatest friends I could have ever asked for. And it even led me to my wife. I knew that God had great things in store for me, I just had to embrace the dissonance. Through the dissonance in my life, I learned that God has a great path set before me, and I just need to be open to it.

Where is the opportunity in your life?



Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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3/25/18 11:11 P

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The Procession Begins

Today's Readings

Isaiah 50:4-7; Phil. 2:6-11; Mark 14: 1 – 15:47

Reflection for Today

Isaiah prophecies about Jesus and about you and me: we are suffering servants. We don’t turn our backs on those who fight against the Truth of Jesus. Never easy. If you don’t go to any other liturgical service between today and Easter Sunday, which you should make every effort to do, you walk the entire Passion today.

In suffering with Jesus, we may offer all of our sufferings. In offering our sufferings, we share in the sufferings of all others. For every woman today who is pregnant, has scheduled an abortion, has had an abortion, all those in torment and pain, we suffer too. We pray with Jesus “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” translated, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (MK 15:34). My God, My God... begins Psalm 22, which ends knowing the Lord is near, the Lord will deliver you and me and many we know; together we will praise the Lord to people yet unborn. You also know this death, every death, does not end life but passes us over unto Eternal Life.

Even in suffering and death, unite with the Lord and you will be more than healed, more than satisfied, you will be overjoyed.

Prayer for Today

My Jesus who suffered for me and because of me, let me join my sufferings, and the sufferings of everyone I know especially the babies in the womb, their mothers and fathers, with you on Your Cross for our salvation and the salvation of the world. Amen.

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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3/21/18 1:19 P

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As a parent, I look around the world, and I think it's a bit of a mess. And I think most parents have concern about the kind of world our kids are gonna grow up in.

My little boy Walter, he's seven, and he's starting to notice the world's a bit of a mess. He said to me the other day, “How did it . . . How did the world get like this?”

The reality is the world gets to be a bit of a mess when people don't do their missions—when people don't fulfill their missions. Human beings were made for meaning. We can't live without meaning. We're also made for mission. God made you for mission. I don't know what your mission is. Our missions evolve and change over time—it's not like God gives us one mission for our whole life, necessarily. But I do know that when people don't fulfill their mission, when people turn their backs on God and the mission he's inviting them to, the world becomes a mess.

So as you think about your mission, I think there's a theme that I've noticed that I'd really encourage you to think about: great things happen when your talents and your passions meet the world's—people's—deep needs. What are humanity's deep needs at this moment in history? Or, what are your parish's deep needs at this moment in history? How do your talents and abilities and passions connect with the deep needs of the people and of this time? Because there's an explosion of mission that happens when those two things come together.

It's helpful if we have thought about it, and prayed about it, and talked to God about it, and said to God, “Hey God, what mission are you calling me to at this time in my life?” Because if you turn to God with that question, that question will change your life. That question changes the world. That question cleans up the mess that even Walter notices at seven years of age.

My mission is to know Jesus better every day and help my wife and kids to do the same. To do this, we gather each night as a family to pray or do a devotional or a Bible study. What my wife and I really want is for our kids to remember that Jesus is the foundation of our home, and that a relationship with Jesus is the most important thing in life.

More than anything else, we try with our lives and our example to reflect the love of Christ for our kids. As Saint Paul says, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”

Our actions often speak louder than words, so we try to live in a way that others can see Christ in us each day. Our goal is to be able to bring the love of Jesus to every family, every person we meet, every person we talk to, and that our kids can do the same—and that we may be a good example for them.

Please pray that we will be able to live out this mission!

What is your mission?

FOCUS

The explosion of passion and purpose takes place when unique abilities and needs meet.

ACT

What is your mission? Take a few minutes to write down whatever comes to mind. It doesn’t have to be one thing. It may be many things. Some will be more important than others, but write them all down. (If you have the 2018 BEST LENT EVER Journal, you can use the space provided.)

PRAY

Jesus, guide me to my mission in life. Help me to use the moments of each day to become the-best-version-of-myself by doing all the good things I feel inspired to do where I am right now, by investigating and developing my unique talents and deepest desires, and by listening to the voice of God in my life.

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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3/21/18 12:20 P

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Glory and Praise to You Forever

Today's Readings

Daniel 3:14-20; John 8:31-42

Reflection for Today

Today’s first reading inspires us to go on as we continue the journey to sacrificial love. How many times have we been faced with temptation to stray from the path of God? Yet, our God gives us the grace to turn away from temptation and seek the way back to Him. God will bring us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption through His Blood, the forgiveness of sins.

Prayer for Today

Tender Hearted Jesus, thank you for always remembering me. Thank you for loving me so much that you were willing to die for me. When I am tempted to be discouraged or stray from your path, shine your light of love into my heart so that I will know how special I am to you. Amen.

Let Go and Let God!

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3/20/18 11:04 A

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Nothing will complicate your life like money and things. We have this strange way of relating with both. I know people who are incredibly wealthy and completely detached from it. I know people who are poor or lower-middle class who are absolutely obsessed with money and things, and completely unable to detach from those realities. And I've seen everything in between. I struggle with it myself every day.

The thing about money and things is that they do have this tendency to grab ahold of our heart. They do have this tendency to burrow into our hearts, and they rent space in our minds. And that's a problem. The reason it's a problem is because the space belongs to God.

Money and things: they're slippery things, they're sticky things, they can be real obstacles to the authentic life.

And so, my challenge to you today is to do something that requires you to give until it hurts. Now, that might be giving money, that might be giving things—or a thing. You might have something that you've become so attached to, or there might be somebody in your life who drives you absolutely crazy. For you to come to that person, and love that person, or do something for that person that demonstrates love, and patience, and generosity, you'd be giving, and it would be hurting.

So get on out there, and give some thought today about how you can give until it hurts.

My relationship with money is definitely not the healthiest. I am a very frugal person, and the idea of giving any money away really frightens me. But I love to give all of my works, and joys, and sufferings, and offer it up for others. That's really easy. It's really easy for me to say, “Okay God, I offer up all of these Rosaries I pray, every good work I do. You can take all of these, and I offer it for this person in my life who's suffering.” I can do that. But the minute it comes to giving financially, I freeze up—it's really a struggle for me.

And then one day it hit me: I am so willing to give my spiritual graces away, but I am so unwilling to give my money away. So which one am I valuing more?

It is still a struggle, but, day by day, I am learning that my money was never really mine to begin with; it's all a gift from God, and there is great joy in offering it back to him.

What's your relationship with money?

FOCUS

Money and things have value only inasmuch as we use them to help us become the-best-version-of-ourselves and to help other people realize their full potential.

ACT

Take an honest look at your relationship with money and things. Discuss with someone close to you how you can simplify.

PRAY

Jesus, motivate my actions with the words of St. Teresa of Calcutta, “Live simply so others may simply live.”

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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3/20/18 8:27 A

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Wait for the Lord; Be Strong and Stouthearted

Today's Readings

Numbers 21:4-9; John 8:21-30

Reflection for Today

Today the readings tell us that the Israelites complained against God and Moses for bringing them from Egypt into the desert to die with no food or water. How many times have I doubted Your word, my God, and wandered from your way? How many times have I complained about what I have or did not have?

Many mothers have found themselves many times with no food or water but have learned to trust in the will of God. Through patient, non-judgmental listening and prayer, these mothers realize that on the day of their distress, God heard their cry and answered them.

Prayer for Today

Fount of Life, I pray that I never tire to drink from the water you provide and never take for granted the healing love you provide to me. May I always have a grateful heart and spirit Lord. Amen.

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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3/19/18 2:19 P

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You are my Father, my God, the Rock, my Savior

Today's Readings

Samuel: 7:4-5; Romans 4:13-16-18; Matthew 1:16, 18-21

Reflection for Today

On this feast day of Saint Joseph, the beloved spouse of Mary, we are also sometimes afraid of what is to come and do not fully understand the plan God has for our lives. Like Saint Joseph, we learn to trust in our God completely and when we encounter trials, we know that the testing of our faith produces perseverance. And with perseverance we become complete – lacking in nothing and continuing our journey to receive the crown of life. We have God’s promise.

Many mothers often lack a healthy male role model in their lives. Sadly many have been neglected or never even got to know who their fathers were. That is why the feast of Saint Joseph is a very important day. As we continue to take steps during this journey to sacrificial love, it is important to share with others the happy knowledge that regardless of our upbringing and environment, we have a great spousal and fatherly example in Saint Joseph.

Prayer for Today

My God, help me to understand that when I suffer because of righteousness, blessed are You. Blessed are all of us who dwell in your house, O Lord. May we never cease to praise you. Amen.

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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3/18/18 9:28 P

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O Lord, My God, in You I Take Refuge

Today's Readings

Jeremiah 11: 18-20; John 7: 40-53

Reflection for Today

By the precious Blood of Christ, the Blood of a spotless and unblemished Lamb, we have been redeemed. Even as the waves of death surround me, in my anguish I called to the Lord, and He answered me. In You, I take refuge. Save me from all my pursuers and rescue me.

Many mothers were about to be swallowed up in the world of abortion, a world stained with blood, pain, exploitation, and darkness. But they cried out to God, and He answered them.

Prayer for Today

Dear Jesus, You are my hope. On this day, as I journey toward your sacrificial love, I put my trust in you because I know You are kind and provide full redemption. Amen.

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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Have you ever wished you would hear the voice of God? Have you ever wished you'd hear the voice of God? I know I have. I've had those moments in my life, where I just wish that, that a voice would boom out from the sky—would come down from the clouds—and tell me everything was going to be okay, or tell me what I'm supposed to do next, or tell me what I'm doing wrong.

Yeah, I've had those moments. I've had those moments where I just wished that I could hear the voice of God.

How about you? Have you had those moments? Because in the Gospel this Sunday, we see one of those moments, right? We see this happen. The people are with Jesus, God's voice booms out from the clouds, and he speaks down to the people. And what happens? What happens? Some people say, “Oh my gosh, I heard the voice of God. The angels were speaking to us.” And others, “Nah, I heard thunder. Did you hear thunder? Yeah, I heard thunder. I heard thunder.” They don't believe. They're skeptical.

You know Matthew is going to talk a lot about mission, and how we hear the voice of God, and what God is calling you to do. And I think at the outset of that conversation, we've got to ask: “If you were there,” in this Sunday's Gospel passage, if you were there, and God's voice booms out from the heavens, “which side are you on? Are you with the side with the believes, or are you going to be a little bit skeptical?”

It's up to you. You get to choose. You decide.

FOCUS

God is drawing you closer to him.


ACT

Read today’s Gospel (John 12:20–33), and reflect on what is standing between you and God.


PRAY

Jesus, tear down the barriers in my heart.

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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3/15/18 10:29 A

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March 15: A Path to Self-Mastery
Day 26

When's the last time you intentionally denied yourself of something? At the core of an integrated life is this discipline. And in order to live out this discipline in the moments of the day, we have to learn to deny ourselves. Of course, we live in a culture that is absolutely allergic to self-denial of any form. We live in a culture that says, “Do whatever you want, whenever you want, however you want, as often as you want.” And so, the concept of self-denial, or denying ourselves of something, has been lost in the general fabric of our culture—and so needs to be reintroduced.

Fifty years ago, or a hundred years ago, this practice of fasting or self-denial was practiced much more. It needs to come back into our lives. I think that creates a great opportunity for us to really think about, “How am I going to deny myself on a regular basis so that I don't become a slave to my appetites, so that I don't become a slave to my body, so that I don't become a slave to my impulses?” Because, God wants you free. You're created for freedom.

Are you free? Maybe more important than that, what aren't you free from? Because we're all not free from something. And you know what? It might just be your morning cup of coffee. That might be your thing—that you're not free from your morning cup of coffee. But God wants you free, he wants you completely free, he wants you totally free so that you can live life to the fullest.

Recently a friend and I did this thirty-day food cleanse. We couldn't have anything with sugar, or dairy, or wheat, or alcohol, or beans. And originally, I had done it as a way to reset, to get back into some healthier eating habits, but it ended up being so much more than that.

Every day, I found myself having to say no to something I wanted. Donuts were often brought into the office, and I had to walk on by, ignoring them. My friends and I would go out to celebrate, and I had to turn down the ice cream. I had to think twice about everything I put into my mouth.

The discipline of saying no was really hard. I felt like I was spending countless hours in the kitchen preparing meals or doing dishes. But surprisingly, all of this was really empowering. Every no was like a little win and a battle to become a better and stronger version of myself. The cravings were no longer controlling me. And I found that, more often than not, I was choosing to fast from things because it was setting me free—I was feeling so much more myself and better all around because I was able to say no to something.

So what about you? How do you fast?

FOCUS

Fasting in small ways every day is a simple, sure path to self-mastery.

ACT

Establish a habit of fasting. Deny yourself in small ways throughout the day, fasting from certain types of foods, certain activities, and certain behaviors.

If you’re reading Perfectly Yourself, read pages 134–141 (paperback version) or pages 140–147 (hardcover version).

PRAY

Jesus, liberate me through the discipline of fasting.

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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3/15/18 9:13 A

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Hope in our Lord’s Mercy

Today's Readings

Psalm 51:3; John 9:1-6

Reflection for Today

“Out of the depths I cry to Thee, O Lord, hear my voice... If Thou, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?” (Psalm 130)

In today’s first reading King David admits his grave sin and begs for God’s mercy. He is not arrogant enough to think his past good behavior is enough to put him in a good light now. He knows that he has committed a serious offense. His lamentation is a deep wail of despair, but God hears David’s cry and grants him the virtue of hope, and he humbles himself before the throne of clemency.

A lot of people have experienced severe trials and can fall into despair. Their humble prayers, joined to the prayers of others, reach heaven, and they strengthen the mothers. Our Lord brings them to the light of hope where previous and new sins are forgiven if there is sincere repentance.

Prayer for Today

Dear Lord, help me to reach out, in a spirit of sacrificial love, to those I meet who may be in trouble. Don’t let my timidity or fear define how I respond when others need my help. Give me understanding and compassion and strip me of my selfish ways, because I want to be like you, my God. Amen.

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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3/14/18 8:40 A

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I Will Never Forget You

Today's Readings

Isaiah 49: 8-15; John 5: 17-30

Reflection for Today

Today’s first reading inspires us as we continue the journey to sacrificial love. We are tenderly reminded how much God loves us, even more than a mother loves her newborn child.

Everyday there is a baby born on average nearly every week, so this verse of scripture is quite striking for the new moms to contemplate. A mother is willing to get up at all hours of the night to feed and change her baby. Our God is there 24/7 to listen and answer our prayers, too.

Prayer for Today

Tender Hearted Jesus, thank you for always remembering me. Thank you for loving me so much that you were willing to die for me. When I am tempted to be discouraged, shine your light of love into my heart so that I will know how special I am to you. Amen.

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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3/13/18 9:16 P

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We've been talking about the authentic life. We've been talking about the integrated life and this desire we have for lasting happiness in a changing world—a happiness that is independent of situations and circumstances. And the price of that is discipline. And that manifests in a whole variety of ways, most of which surround self-control.

You know, one of the ways that we are called as Christians to exercise this self-control is through our appetites. We are creatures of appetite. We have all types of appetites that come every day: appetite for food, appetite for drink, appetite for sleep. Many of these appetites are given to us by God as part of his design of us in order to keep us alive. They're survival mechanisms, right? But even something very, very good can be twisted and turned into something very, very damaging or even diabolical.

The reality is that these appetites that we have, they're not going away. There's no making peace with them. We either control them, or they control us. They're either our slaves, or we're they're slaves. There's no middle ground. And so living an authentic life, living an integrated life, requires that we learn to control our appetites. You struggle with some, I struggle with others. I like food, I don't know if you've noticed.

The reality is, we all struggle with something when it comes to the area of appetites. What is it that you're struggling with, and how do you feel God calling you to exercise control over that in your daily life?

Surprisingly, I've discovered the king of my heart through fasting. When I have fasted, I'm always surprised at just (a) how much food I consume, and (b) how often I go to look for something to eat. And I realize how much my appetite controls so much of what I do. And if I'm not careful, my appetite's the king of my heart.

But I found the same thing to be even more true (than food) with my phone. Because when I force myself to take a break or fast from my smartphone, I realize just how distracted I am all the time, how I use my phone as a filler in little breaks during the day, how it makes me anxious not to always be accessible. I'm just always touching that phone. I look around at restaurants, and I realize, hey, I'm not alone in that. I mean, when was the last time you saw two people in a restaurant actually looking at each other in the eye and talking, with no phone, no nothing?

The average American touches the phone more than a hundred times a day. So I'm learning how to fast from that, too. Maybe not have it near my bed at night so I'm not tempted to check stuff at three o'clock in the morning, but actually really rest and sleep. Not to take my phone into meetings or restaurants when I'm with people so that I'll actually pay attention and give them the undivided attention they deserve. Even taking a week off, once a year, from my phone entirely, just to detox my brain and to be completely attached to people. Because I'm hoping to give my full undivided attention, my full undistracted heart—not a distracted heart, my full heart—to be able to love people. And more importantly, to be able to do the same thing for God.

What's the king of your heart?

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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3/13/18 3:57 P

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Do You Want To Be Well?

Today's Readings

Ezekiel 47: 1-9, 12; John 5: 1-16

Reflection for Today

In today’s readings water is both a literal and symbolic description of God’s love and the life He nourishes. Without water none of us will flourish.

It is more than a little interesting when we read about the ill man who has been lying beside the pool at the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem for 38 years. Thirty-eight years is a very long time, and Jesus confronts the man with the question, “Do you want to be well?” Instead of answering yes or no, the man attempts an excuse as to why he has been hanging around the pool for so long. Jesus ignores the faulty excuse and heals him anyway, without the use of any water.

The man does not appear thankful to Jesus as he freely tells the Jewish authorities who it was that cured him with the instruction to pick up his mat and walk during the Sabbath. In essence the man is rejecting the Living Water.

Prayer for Today

Fount of Life, I pray that I never tire to drink from the water you provide and never take for granted the healing love you offer me. May I always have a grateful heart and spirit Lord. Amen.

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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3/12/18 10:39 A

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I think there's a real distinction between responding and reacting, you know? And of course, animals react. Something happens to an animal and an animal just reacts, because animals are not responsible. What does that mean? They're not response-able. They're not capable of response. They're not able to respond. The way they're made, the way they were created . . . They react. Whereas human beings . . . We're responsible. We're response-able. We're able to respond. We're capable of response. But very often we just react to things.

As we grow spiritually, one of the things that I think we notice in very real and practical ways changing in our daily lives is we react less, and we respond more. And the difference is we take a beat. Think about something like temper. We've all got temper, right? I used to have a horrible temper as a child, in my teens particularly, especially around sport. I don't think anyone close to me today would say, “Matthew has a temper.” I think the reason isn't that God clicked his fingers and said, “Oh, we're going to give Matthew a temper when he's a teenager playing soccer, but not a temper later in life.” The reality is that our spirituality actually lengthens the fuse.

So if you think about a bomb, and you think about the fuse . . . You light the fuse, and then when the fuse gets to the bomb, the bomb explodes. God wants you to grow in discipline. He wants you to grow in virtue. He wants you to grow in character. As you grow in all of these things, your fuse gets longer, and longer, and longer. As your fuse gets longer, you're able to respond to people and situations in a very, very, very different way than if you don't have that discipline, if you don't have that virtue, if you don't have that awareness.

So I have to be honest, my fuse is not as long as I'd like it to be. I mean, I've always considered myself a pretty reasonable guy and that my fuse is generally pretty long. But then there are moments in life that really show me how short my fuse really is.

For example, recently my wife, Jessica, and I went on an international trip. We landed, and we went to baggage claim to get our bags. My bags came out, but her bags were nowhere to be found. I remember thinking I just couldn't believe it. I mean, what kind of operation were these people running, right? Well, that was my reaction, anyway. I mean, I was so frustrated at the airline.

So we walked to the lost baggage claim. Jessica decided to stand in line while I waited about twenty feet away and just kind of watched this entire thing unfold in front of me with the rest of our luggage. Three people were in front of her. Each one seemed to have and convey my same sense of frustration. So upon getting to the front of the line, I'm assuming that Jessica is going to convey that same sense of frustrated emotion. But she doesn't. Instead, she smiles ear to ear, was incredibly kind and hospitable, and even got the attendant to laugh. I mean, the two connected so well that the amazing attendant went above and beyond and found her luggage in no time.

You know, watching this unfold in front of me, I was really given a gut check about my initial frustrations and about the length of my fuse.

How about you? How long is your fuse?

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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3/12/18 8:18 A

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There Shall Always Be Rejoicing and Happiness

Today's Readings

Isaiah 65: 17-21; John 4: 43-54

Reflection for Today

Even amidst a long hard journey toward sacrificial love it is good to remind yourself why you are participating. Today’s two readings bring promise and hope that on the other side of this journey, we will find peace and rest. God desires the very best for us, and even if we do not experience earthly pleasures now there will be heavenly treasure to come.

Prayer for Today

Heavenly Father, help me keep my eyes on the prize: eternal life with You! Let not my heart be troubled when the journey gets hard and my steps grow weary. Amen.

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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3/11/18 3:03 P

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In this Sunday's Gospel, we get to hear the most famous verse in all of the Bible: John 3:16.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him might not perish but have eternal life.”

This verse is so popular that we see it on athletes’ eye black, right? . . . At sporting events, and on signs, and that sort of thing.

It's been said that this one verse is like the entirety of the Gospel condensed down into one verse. It's the entirety of the Gospel, the entirety of the Bible, the whole history of salvation, condensed down into one verse. And I think the beauty in the verse is in its simplicity. I think that's the beauty of this verse. I think that's why it's so attractive and why it's so popular. It's just so clear, and it's so simple, and it's so straightforward.

This week in BEST LENT EVER, Matthew's going to talk about . . . He's going to ask the question, “Why do we complicate things? As humans, why do we have this tendency to complicate everything?”

I complicate this verse. John 3:16—it's a simple verse, but I complicate it. You know, the verse says, “For God so loved the world that he sent his only Son,” and I complicate it. I think, “For God was so obligated to love me (because he's God and it's his job) that he begrudgingly sent down his Son.” The verse says, “For God so loved the world that he sent his only Son, that whoever believes in him might not perish but have eternal life.” And I say that if I can prove to God that I'm good enough by jumping through the right hoops and convincing God that I love him enough, then maybe I'll skirt by and just inch my way into purgatory.

I complicate this verse. I complicate the Gospel. I don't take it at face value. I don't take it at just the simple message of love that it is. I complicate it.

What about you? How do you complicate the Gospel?

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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Whoever Lives the Truth Comes to the Light

Today's Readings

2 Chronicles 36: 14-16, 19-23; Ephesians 2: 4-10; John 3: 14-21

Reflection for Today

John the Evangelist spends quite some time in his gospel writing about light and darkness. It is because he wanted to make sure that those who heard his message knew that Jesus is the Light of The World and that His Light casts away all darkness.

It is sad when individuals put more faith in the power of darkness than in the power of Jesus’ light. There is no reason to fear anything when you have the Light of Christ.

Our friends and family come from many religious (and sometimes no religious) backgrounds, but nearly all have a spiritual belief in God and a trust that God will help them. The concept of light and darkness is easy for them to grasp because it is very tangible. Shut out all the lights in a darkened room and you are not able to function as well. Once light is added it is easy to see things clearly. So, too, with our spiritual life. We can resolve problems more easily when we shine Jesus’ light on them.

Prayer for Today

Jesus, You are the Light of the World. Keep me close to you especially when the world tempts me away from your light. As I begin a new week and journey toward your sacrificial love, may my steps be more enlightened by Your Word. Amen.

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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3/10/18 1:56 P

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So if in order to become perfectly ourselves, to be the person God created us to be, and to live the life God created us to live, the key is living an authentic life (living an integrated life, which means aligning our beliefs and our actions), and that out of that comes this massive explosion of happiness, and fulfillment, and satisfaction—and way beyond happiness, a deep joy that nobody can take from you . . . If all of that is true, why don't we pay more attention to it? If all of that is true, why aren't we actually obsessed with living an authentic life? Why aren't we obsessed with living an integrated life? The answer is because it requires something of us. And what is required of us is discipline.

The great happiness myth of our age is the idea that you can be happy without discipline—that you can do whatever you want, and that by doing whatever you want, that is a path to happiness. And of course it is not. It may be a path to instant gratification. It may be a path to momentary and passing pleasure. But it is not a path to lasting happiness in a changing world. It's very, very important that we we understand that, because your heart, my heart . . . we're not yearning for moments of pleasure. We're not hungry for instant gratification. What we're really yearning for, what we're really hungry for, is lasting happiness in a changing world.

That's the promise of the Gospel—the first part of the promise of the Gospel. The second part of the promise of the Gospel is happiness in eternity with God forever. That's what God wants to give you. He wants to give you a joy that is independent of situation or circumstances. Anyone can be happy when things are going well. God wants to give you a joy that nobody can take from you. And that . . . wow. That's something worth opening our hearts to, opening our minds to, opening our souls to.

It's honestly hard for me to think of any area of my life that doesn't need discipline. In some areas, it needs some serious work. In other areas, I'm doing alright. And it's in those areas that I can see the tremendous value that comes from discipline. But that wasn't always the case.

When I was younger, I was extremely suspicious of any kind of ritual or routine. You know, how could you put some kind of a cold system around the most important things in life? Do authentic relationships come from a formulaic pattern? And especially in my spiritual life, anything that felt forced or obligatory felt fake. I never wanted to pray, for example, unless my heart was truly in it, unless I felt like doing it. Why would God want some kind of empty ritual? As it turns out, I never really felt like praying, and it led to a stagnant and inconsistent prayer life.

Over the years, God has taught me to really see how powerful routine can be. For example, every morning on my way to work, as I head out the door, I say “I love you” to my wife and kids. And that's great on the good days, but on the bad days, that's when it can really be the most powerful. You know, maybe my wife and I have had some kind of an argument and I just really don't feel saying it. But I say “I love you” anyway because I know that feeling angry is temporary, but in that moment, it's a routine that reflects the deeper, truer relationship that I have with my wife. And when I think about that, it puts discipline in an entirely new light. You know, when I act out what I feel like doing in the moment, that's really shallow, that's what's fake. But when I live with discipline, when I live out the routine, that's when I'm living the more authentic, better-version-of-myself that I want to be.

So how about you? What areas of your life need discipline

Let Go and Let God!

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If Today You Hear His Voice, Harden Not Your Hearts

Today's Readings

Hosea 6:1-6; Luke 18: 9-14

Reflection for Today

The simple message for all of us today is to humble ourselves.

As we have come to you for mercy, in the greatness of your compassion, we need to be washed from guilt and of our sins. We need God to cleanse us and never forget that everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself, will be exalted.

Prayer for Today

Dear Lord, on this day, the 33rd anniversary of Good Counsel, we thank you for allowing so many lives and souls to be saved. We thank all of the staff and volunteers during these past three decades for creating a life-affirming environment in each residence, and we thank each mother who entered and who chose life. Please continue the work of Good Counsel for many more years, and allow forgiveness to be at the heart of our journey toward sacrificial love. Amen.

Let Go and Let God!

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The Lord Our God is Lord Alone!

Today's Readings

Hosea 14: 2-10; Mark 12: 28-34

Reflection for Today

There are so many ways to look at today’s first reading. We often hear, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” It stands to reason that if we do not love ourselves we cannot love our neighbors. Not selfish love, but God’s self-giving love.

If we do not have the life of Christ in us and are living sinful lives, it will reflect on our relationships with others. We cannot give what we do not have.

We also cannot love God the way we should unless we know Him and really know His love for us. It is through knowing this love that we are then able to grow in love and love Him as we should. Only His love allows us to do this.

Most people who come forward for healing from abortion are filled with self-loathing. They cannot even begin to look at their abortion experience until they first begin to know and experience the love of God for them. It is only through the light of trust in that love, often manifested through others, that they feel safe enough to examine such a horrific act. It is the means to heal and to forgive themselves and others who may have been involved, which then allows them to freely love their neighbor.

May each of us who have experienced the mercy of Christ show that same mercy to others so they too may love as Christ does.

Prayer for Today

Merciful Jesus, help me experience with new eyes the impact of your mercy as we continue our journey toward your sacrificial love. Help me to always reach out my hands to the needy and to the poor. To love you, my Lord, with all my heart, and my neighbor as myself, is worth more than any sacrifice. Amen

Let Go and Let God!

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When you have a big decision to make, who do you talk to? Whose advice are you looking for when you got a big decision to make in your life? Very often, where we do have big decisions to make, we ask just about everyone who knows just about nothing about just about anything what they think we should do, which is a mistake of colossal proportions. Not that these people are not good, not that they don't love you, not that they're not interested in you, they're simply unqualified to help you answer the question that you're trying to answer. They lack the knowledge, they lack the context, they lack the history necessary to really help you make the decision that you need to make. Which is why God's given you this voice within you, this calm, gentle, but firm voice within you (which we call conscience) to help you make decisions.

I can't think of a time where I did what my conscience was encouraging me to do and I ever ended up regretting that. I can't think of a time, in my whole life.

You want to live an authentic life? Start listening to your conscience. The more you listen to it, the stronger it gets. The more you obey it, the more you live with it, the more you partner with it, collaborate with it, the stronger it gets. And the stronger it gets, the easier it is to hear.

To live an authentic life, to know you're living an authentic life, to know that you're doing your best—not that you're perfect, but to know that you are working very, very hard to live an authentic life—is an amazing thing. And it's a reward unto itself.

What I believe is based on my lifetime of experiences, decisions, challenges, sufferings, and joy. My beliefs keep my life in perspective. They check my actions and influence the way that I live my life.

Here are some of my beliefs:

I believe that God is faithful.

I believe that I am meant to be truly happy in this life and the next.

I believe that everyone wants to love and be loved.

I believe the Catholic Church provides all the answers we need to understand life.

I believe that God's dreams for my life are bigger and better than the dreams I have for myself.

I believe in the importance of giving people the benefit of the doubt.

I believe in the beauty of loving my family, imperfections and all.

I believe in letting things go and letting the past be the past.

And I believe in the power of a good deed, simple “hello,” and random act of kindness.

What are your beliefs?

Let Go and Let God!

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Return to Me with Your Whole Heart

Today's Readings

Jeremiah 7: 23-28; Luke 11: 14-23

Reflection for Today

Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart, for I am gracious and merciful.

We see the face of God everywhere. Help me to show mercy, Lord, to all whom I meet – beggars and sinners. Let me be attentive to their cries; let me hear them and bring them back to you. Let me always remember your words, “What you did for the least of my children, you did unto Me”. Let us sing joyfully to the Lord, the rock of our salvation.

God is our refuge and our strength, ever present in our distress. Our mothers turn to our God, and although fearful, are not shaken, because God is ever present in our midst.

Prayer for Today

Lord, You are the salvation of all people. Hear my cry and my distress and deliver me from them. God, save me by your name, by your power, defend me. Hear my prayer and give ear to the words of my mouth. Amen.

Let Go and Let God!

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3/7/18 5:39 P

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The Agony in the Garden

“Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said to them: ‘Whom seek ye?’ They answered him: ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ Jesus saith to them: ‘I am he.’ And Judas also, who betrayed him, stood with them. As soon therefore as he had said to them: ‘I am he; they went backward, and fell to the ground. Again therefore he asked them: ‘Whom seek ye?’ And they said, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ Jesus answered, ‘I have told you that I am he. If therefore you seek me, let these go their way.’” (John 18:4–8)
When Our Lord was arrested, He did two seemingly contradictory things. On the one hand, He spoke in such an authoritative voice that His listeners fell to the ground. On the other hand, He stooped to pick up Malchus’ ear, severed by Peter’s sword, and reattached it to the man’s head. He Who terrified also consoled. The same One Who speaks forcefully replaces the severed ear. Is there not some teaching here?

Our Lord is always infinitely good. He was good to those who sought Him that night as Jesus of Nazareth, and also good when replacing Malchus’ ear. If we desire to be good, we should learn to imitate Our Lord’s goodness. We should learn from Him that there are moments when it is necessary to know how to energetically hurl the enemies of the Faith to the ground, as well as to know when it is necessary to show compassion to those who want to hurt us.

Why did Our Lord say, “I AM He”? Was it only to physically shake those who wanted to arrest Him? Why do such a thing when He would, a little while later, voluntarily give Himself up? The reason is that if He spoke so loudly to the ears, it the hearts.

We do not know if those men ultimately profited by the grace they received, but the fear they certainly felt when falling at the sound of the Master’s voice was just as valuable as when that same voice shouted, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?”

Our Lord spoke loudly to the ears. Though they fell to the ground, the same voice that struck the bodies and deafened the ears raised the souls that were prostrate by opening the ears of the spirit that were deaf. Sometimes it is necessary to speak forcefully in order to heal.

Let Go and Let God!

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Today's Readings

Deuteronomy 4: 1, 5-9; Matthew 5: 17-19

Reflection for Today

The US Marines adopted the phrase Semper Fidelis, which is Latin for “always faithful.” It is not a bad motto for anyone, inside or outside the military.

In today’s gospel Jesus lets us know that He is faithful and has fidelity to all of His Father’s commandments that were passed on through the ages.

Rules are important for all of us to follow but sometimes we may not understand why certain rules are in place and if they are really necessary. This is when fidelity and trust come into play. We need to trust God even when we do not understand. His rules, His commandments bring us and our environment peace. When we break His commandments and His law the result is chaos.

Prayer for Today

Dear Jesus, teach me to practice more fidelity to You particularly when I may be confused or unsure why I need to act in a certain way. May I constantly be inspired by Your Divine Mercy so I will know that as I practice fidelity I am progressing on the journey to your sacrificial love. Amen.

Let Go and Let God!

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3/6/18 8:47 A

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How Many Times Should We Forgive?

Today's Readings

Daniel 3: 25, 34-43; Matthew 18: 21-35

Reflection for Today

Are we perfect? Of course not. I as human as you are, but I have the opportunity to teach a lot of souls about forgiveness and I get a lot of practice myselfs! Perhaps it is most difficult to forgive when the same situations are repeated. A person is continually late, a bedroom or bathroom is continually messy, and promises regularly are ignored. These can produce stress-filled environments and the need to exercise forgiveness.

It should be pointed out that both parties need to be receptive for forgiveness to take place and that can be a challenge. But just as Our Lord regularly forgives us, we, too, need to be ready to forgive others on a regular basis.

Prayer for Today

Dear Lord, to You I call, for you will surely heed me; O God, turn your ear to me; hear my words. Guard me as the apple of your eye; in the shadow of your wings, protect me. Allow forgiveness to be at the heart of our journey toward sacrificial love. Amen.

Let Go and Let God!

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3/5/18 8:03 A

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No Prophet is Accepted in His Native Place

Today's Readings

2 Kings 5: 1-15b; Luke 4: 24-30

Reflection for Today

How do we push away God? That may seem like an odd question, but in light of both of today’s readings, perhaps we should give it some thought.

Sometimes God may give us some advice in the silence of our heart that we are not inclined to act upon. We know best, or we do not want to appear silly in front of those who know us, so we dismiss God. We push Him away.

Because many times receptivity to growth (emotional, spiritual or otherwise) occurs when you are not in your native place.

Prayer for Today

Dear Jesus, You always challenge us with your pure thoughts, and we thank you that you are patient with us so that we do have an opportunity to cast aside our pride and humbly follow you. Help me take a few extra steps today as I journey toward your sacrificial love. Amen.

Let Go and Let God!

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3/1/18 10:12 A

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Blessed are they who hope in the Lord

Today's readings

Jer 17:5-10; Luke 16:19-31

Reflection for today

Blessed are they who have kept the Word with a generous heart.

Trust in the Lord, your God, with your whole heart, your whole mind, your whole Spirit. He will not disappoint. Do not be like the rich man, dressed in purple garments and fine linens, and not care for your neighbors, and like Mary, they trusted God to deliver them from their fears. Reach out to all of God's children in their time of need. Be like the tree planted near running water and prosper in God's love.

Prayer for today

My God, see that my path is not wicked and lead me in the way everlasting. Cleanse me from every taint of wickedness that my gifts may be pleasing to You. Test me, O God, and know my thoughts. See that my path is not wicked, and lead me in the way everlasting. Amen.

Let Go and Let God!

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Holy Nobody.......me.

I do need to look inside myself today..

emoticon emoticon


Take time to THINK...It is the source of power.Take Time to READ..It is the fountain of wisdom.
Take time to PRAY..It is the greatest power on earth. Take Time to LOVE and BE LOVED..It is a God-given privilege.
Be FRIENDLY, It is the road to happiness.. take time to LAUGH..it is the music of the soul.
Take time to Give it is too short a day to be selfish.. Take time to DO CHARITY..
it is the key to heaven.
I live in El Paso, TX


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Practice What You Preach

Today's Readings

Isaiah 1: 10, 16-20; Matthew 23: 1-12

Reflection for Today

It may be upsetting when famous people take a strong position on an issue, but then act in a manner that contradicts that position. Such people are generally called hypocrites, and Jesus calls such people to task in today’s gospel.

God calls us to have humble hearts, and as part of our journey to sacrificial love, Isaiah encourages us today to pay attention to the orphans and the widows and all those who are living on the edge of society, struggling to survive.

It may surprise you that folks are very quick to volunteer to help others who are disadvantaged and struggling. Many folks know what it is to “hit rock bottom” and to be down to their last dollar. Having projects and volunteer opportunities for people to help others, especially if they are unable to work. In this way they are taking attention away from their own problems, instead performing a work of mercy toward others, as Christ teaches.

Prayer for Today

Dear Lord, allow me to look inside myself today and discover the inconsistencies. Give me the courage to acknowledge how I may say one thing and act in a different way. Let my words and deeds be one as You are one with the Father and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Let Go and Let God!

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2/25/18 2:53 P

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This Sunday we hear the familiar story of the Transfiguration, right? We've all heard this story before. There's so much that we can dig into, but one of the things I always wonder about when we hear this story is, what about the other nine apostles—the other nine who didn't get to go up on the mountaintop?

You hear so many times in the Gospels about Jesus going off with Peter and James and John in particular. It's almost like Jesus was playing favorites a little bit or something. And I always wonder . . . as they're coming down from the mountain, after they've seen Jesus transfigured, and they've seen this amazing thing, Jesus says to them, “Don't tell anybody. Don't tell anyone.” Do you think that included the other nine? Jesus says, “Don't tell anyone until after I've been raised from the dead.” And I always wonder . . . did Jesus raise from the dead and then Peter was like, “Hey, you know, we were on this mountaintop and this happened, and we saw this, and . . .” If you're one of the other apostles, what do you think about all that? Do you believe him?

St. Thomas didn't believe his fellow apostles when they said Jesus was raised from the dead—not at first. Do you think they believed what happened on the mountain?

Somebody once brought up to me the idea of a “holy nobody.” A holy nobody. A holy nobody is somebody who is striving for holiness, and no one ever notices. They're not some saint in the sense that everyone knows their name and knows what they did. They're not the head of some great ministry. They don't get any sort of attention for what they do. These are the people who just quietly live a holy life and don't ever really get recognition for it.

Now, I always wonder . . . if you're like a St. Bartholomew or St. Jude or one of the other apostles that just doesn't get much attention in terms of hearing about them in the Gospels, were they kind of like the original holy nobodies?

This week Matthew's going to talk about who we are and who we're going to become. And a big part of that is what we really want. And I think this Sunday's Gospel gives us an opportunity to ask “What do we really want? What do we really want from God? You know, do you want to be on the mountaintop? Do you need that? Or would you be OK with just being a holy nobody?

Let Go and Let God!

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This Sunday is the start of the second week of Lent. We still have five more weeks to continue our journey through the desert toward the oasis that is Easter and the Resurrection. Lent is a time to step away from familiar routines and see life from a new vantage point. It’s a chance to look inside our hearts and step outside our comfort zones, a chance to give God the space to reshape us in his image. The more focused we are during the journey, the greater our joy will be when Easter arrives.

Let Go and Let God!

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2/24/18 4:29 P

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Repentance

Today's Readings

Ezekiel 18: 21-28; Matthew 5: 20-26

Reflection for Today

Our journey toward sacrificial love brings us to another Friday, a day when we abstain from meat and other earthly pleasures. Each Friday is an opportunity to reflect upon our sins as we think about how we may repent from our past and choose life for the present and future.

Ezekiel and Matthew make strong cases for repentance and give us hope that it is not too late to turn our life around. Similarly, we must also heed the warning that we can also backslide and fall out of a state of grace.

Repentance and forgiveness often go hand in hand. Many people struggle with repentance because they will need to forgive loved ones who have hurt and abandoned them. The cross is very real for them because they are doing their best to carry it.

Prayer for Today

Forgiving Jesus, on this Lenten Friday help me to carry my cross with patience and courage. I may stumble and fall as I try to repent from my past but it is okay. I trust you will help me up and together we will continue to walk. For if You, O lord, mark iniquities, who can stand? With You is forgiveness and plenteous redemption. Amen.

Let Go and Let God!

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Blessed Are We Who Follow the Law of the Lord

Today's Readings

Deuteronomy 26: 16-19; Matthew 5: 43-48

Reflection for Today

Now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

Moses speaks to God’s people that they must observe all the decrees and commandments and walk in the way of the Lord. Seek Him with all your heart and walk upright in the way of wisdom. Then, He will raise us up in praise and glory and be sacred to Him. Love your neighbor and pray for all those seeking the way of the Lord.

When the Israelites obeyed God’s plan they were blessed and there was order. So, too, we are called to live in an orderly manner.

Prayer for Today

Dear Lord, help me to strive to be perfect, as You are perfect. Help me not to judge others. Help me to follow Your commandments and seek You with all my heart. I will give you thanks with an upright heart , I will keep your statutes, do not utterly forsake me. Amen.

Let Go and Let God!

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2/19/18 2:09 P

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Caring for One Another

Today's Readings

Leviticus 19: 1-2, 11-18; Matthew 25: 31-46

Reflection for Today

Throughout much of the Bible we hear the Word of God, in both the Old and New Testaments, exhort individuals to care for one another and to help those less fortunate. God even goes as far as to say that when we do something, good or bad, we ultimately are doing it to Him. Why is that so? Because He is the creator of each and every life.

Some people struggle with the lesson that their actions have consequences, good or bad. Educational decisions may affect future employment opportunities. How well they manage their finances can affect their ability to budget and become self-sufficient.

None of us live in a vacuum. Our actions do matter, and as we go through this journey to God’s sacrificial love, let us be ever mindful how our behavior is influencing those around us.

Prayer for Today

Dear Lord, help remind me today that others are affected by how I go about my daily life and how much or how little I am reflecting your love. Let your Holy Spirit nudge my heart today to be more caring, particularly when my human nature does not want to. Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. Amen.

Let Go and Let God!

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2/18/18 1:29 P

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You know, when I hear this Sunday's Gospel, I can't help but wonder, “What was Jesus feeling?” And at this moment, at this moment in time in his life, “What was he experiencing?”

He's just spent forty days out in the desert, fasting. He's talked to the devil, face-to-face. And he comes back, and he knows that his life is changing. Jesus of Nazareth, the carpenter's son . . . the life he's lived for thirty years . . . that's done. That stage of life is over now. And he says, “Now is the time of fulfillment.” He's going into this time of ministry. And keep in mind, he knows where that's going to end. And if he needed a reminder, he's got John, right? His friend, his cousin, John, who's just been arrested simply for saying that Jesus was coming. And so, he's got this stark reminder of where his ministry is going to end up.

So what was he feeling at this time? Was he nervous? Was he excited? Was he afraid?

This week we are really going to talk about just kind of getting our bearings: Where are we? Where are we now? Where have we come from? And where are we going? And I think this Gospel reminds us to take some time to get our bearings.

You know, Jesus says, “This is the time of fulfillment.” Not forty days ago; not the thirty years previous. Now is his time of fulfillment. I think he wants us to have that present-moment awareness.

So now is the time. Now is the time. Where did we come from? Where are we now?
And where are we going?

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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The Gift of Water

Today's Readings

Genesis 9: 8-15; 1 Peter 3: 18-22; Mark 1: 12-15

Reflection for Today

Though it can vary significantly, a large percentage of our human body is made up of water. We read in Genesis that water can be a destructive force, and in First Peter we hear that through the waters of Baptism we may be cleansed and receive the Holy Spirit. Likewise our actions can be good or evil. Everyone, even Jesus, is tempted by Satan but with God’s help every temptation can be overcome.

Every person is encouraged to grow in her relationship with God. The choice is always theirs, but we explain that the gifts from God come free of charge with no strings attached. All of us are able to drink from the living water, or not.

Prayer for Today

Jesus, You are our Font of Life. Through your pierced side flowed blood and water. This blood and water truly gives life to the whole world and sanctifies us. As we begin a new week in this journey to your sacrificial love, continue to inspire and quench us with your living water. Amen.

Let Go and Let God!

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The Path Will Be Lit

Today's Readings

Isaiah 58: 9b-14; Luke 5: 27-32

Reflection for Today

How many times in life do we ask, “What should I do? How shall I proceed?” These are good questions, but sometimes we are confused or circumstances become complicated. Isaiah today tells us confidently that as we journey to God’s sacrificial love the path will become illuminated and any gloom stemming from discontent will be lifted. In today’s Gospel Jesus calls Levi, a hated tax collector, to follow him. Can you imagine the joy of this outcast being welcomed! Suddenly all that was dark and fuzzy was now bright and filled with clarity. Levi knew what steps to take.

Prayer for Today

Jesus, You are the Great Physician who knows us much better than we do. You know how sick we are and how we can receive healing. As you light our steps on this journey to sacrificial love please humbly point out to us healthy practices for us to adopt that conform with your plan for us. Teach me your way, my Lord, that I may walk in your truth. Amen.

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Meaningful Fasting

Today's Readings

Isaiah 58: 1-9a; Matthew 9: 14-15

Reflection for Today

Isaiah challenges us today to do more than ritualistic fasting by embracing the Corporal Works of Mercy (Feed the hungry, Give drink to the thirsty, Clothe the naked, Shelter the homeless, Visit the sick & imprisoned, Bury the dead). The prophet tells us that as we sacrificially love others we are growing closer to God.

A voluntary service project can do wonders for a person’s emotional disposition as they discover there are souls worse off than they are. It is also important for others to see that their productive efforts do result in a positive outcome to those who are needy. Regardless of how low we think we may be, we can lift up and help someone else.

Prayer for Today

Heavenly Father, today I give up a bit of food so that others may eat. Today I give up a bit of drink so that others may quench their thirst. Today I give up some clothing so that others may be warm. Today I give up some of my time so that others may be comforted. Inspire me not just for today so that I can repeat these practices often as I journey to your sacrificial love. Amen.

Let Go and Let God!

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Take time to THINK...It is the source of power.Take Time to READ..It is the fountain of wisdom.
Take time to PRAY..It is the greatest power on earth. Take Time to LOVE and BE LOVED..It is a God-given privilege.
Be FRIENDLY, It is the road to happiness.. take time to LAUGH..it is the music of the soul.
Take time to Give it is too short a day to be selfish.. Take time to DO CHARITY..
it is the key to heaven.
I live in El Paso, TX


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Today's Readings

Deuteronomy 30: 15-20; Luke 9: 22-25

Reflection for Today

Moses and Jesus have similar messages today, which fly in the face of our limited human reasoning. Our sinful nature pushes us to serve our own interest and not God’s. It is still early in our spiritual journey to sacrificial love, and inevitably we will be tempted to quit; to turn back and not move forward. And that is what makes Moses’ call even more dramatic. You have the ability to choose between life and death.

Prayer for Today

Lord Jesus, I would much rather be doing something else than carrying my cross, but I can see through faithful eyes that as I carry it and lose my will, it is helping me to live a fuller and more meaningful life. Help me persevere as we walk together during this Lent. Amen.

Let Go and Let God!

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found an island with palm trees.. emoticon


Take time to THINK...It is the source of power.Take Time to READ..It is the fountain of wisdom.
Take time to PRAY..It is the greatest power on earth. Take Time to LOVE and BE LOVED..It is a God-given privilege.
Be FRIENDLY, It is the road to happiness.. take time to LAUGH..it is the music of the soul.
Take time to Give it is too short a day to be selfish.. Take time to DO CHARITY..
it is the key to heaven.
I live in El Paso, TX


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God is so patient and loving. I am still looking for work and a place to live starting in June.

Monica
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Fifth Week of Lent

God’s will always lays itself open to the mistakes, the waywardness, the rebelliousness of humanity. In this way, God teaches us, mentors us, trains us. God waits at our side . . . never forcing our response, he is always there, always waiting, always loving.

Today's Word
ACCEPT
God accepts our weakness and failure without ever giving up on his plan for our fullness of life. Do we?




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Fifth Week of Lent

God loves you just as you are. Let God impress you with his love. Even if you feel nothing when you read about God’s love for you, keep believing. One day you will no longer need to believe, because you will know.

Today's Word
KNOWN
"For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known" (1 Corinthians 13:12).



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Fourth Week of Lent

Two weeks from Holy Saturday, the tomb seems already gaping open to receive the body of the Lord into its dark depths. The depths of our own darkness are also open to receive the Lord. To know that Jesus is in the darkness with you and for you is prayer. . . . Nothing goes unnoticed by him. You can hope for peace.

Today's Word
HOPE
Do you hope for too little from God?




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Discerning Wisdom

Today's Readings

Wisdom 2: 1a, 12-22
Psalm 34: The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.
John 7: 1-2, 10, 25-30

Reflection for Today

We are two weeks from Good Friday and our first reading from the Book of Wisdom, though it predates the time of Jesus by about 100 years, does set the stage towards a confrontation between Our Lord and those who oppose Him. Wisdom also bespeaks the blindness that occurs when one is consumed by impurities of the heart. Spiritual blindness can become deadly either for others or yourself as you rationalize vindictive and evil behavior.

“I only read the horoscopes for entertainment, Jody, a Good Counsel mom, shared with another resident at the breakfast table one morning. “There’s no harm in it.”

“Horoscopes are part of the occult,” one of Good Counsel’s residential advisors intervened as she walked by. “The occult is based in evil and adverse to God. It messes with your mind and spirit and does not help you think straight. It’s kind of like giving your soul a bad drug like heroin. It will affect you!”

Prayer for Today

Dear Jesus, keep my mind and spirit only focused on You, and may I not be swayed by other adverse influences that will lead toward the destruction of myself and others. May my heart always seek to emulate Yours. Amen.

Let Go and Let God!

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Fourth Week of Lent

Jesus prayed that the cup of suffering would pass him by, and it seemed that God didn’t answer—Jesus followed the Father’s desire: to forgive, not to retaliate, to love, not to hate.
Jesus bore his cross so you would never be alone with yours.

Today's Word
WITH
"Know that I am with you always, to the end of the world" (Mt 28: 20).




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3/29/17 5:38 P

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Fourth Week of Lent

Day after day, as we expose ourselves to the light of Jesus and his word, something happens inside us. We begin to notice things God says to us, things we feel, things we hear, things we see around us.

Today's Word
NOTICE
What is God inviting you to pay attention to at this stage of your life?




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3/23/17 8:13 P

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A House Divided Will Fall

Today's Readings

Jeremiah 7: 23-28
Psalm 95: If today you hear His voice, harden not your heart.
Luke 11: 14-23

Reflection for Today

“Why do we need to do chores?” Michelle, a Good Counsel mother, impatiently asked one day.

“Because we have ten moms in this house and if no one cleaned and cooked, our home would be a total mess,” Linda, one of our house managers patiently explained. “We all need to live and work things out here, and without guidelines and rules there would be chaos.”

In today’s Gospel Jesus is spiritually challenged by those who do not believe in Him, but He does not back down from the challenge and confronts them with ideas that He hopes will have impact. We, too, get challenged by the words: “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”

Am I gathering with Jesus or am I acting like a lone wolf or free agent doing my own thing spiritually? Perhaps today is an opportunity to see how I may better plug in and be part of His team.

Prayer for Today

Dear Jesus, help me to always put You first in my life. May I always trust in You and never doubt or deny You. Amen.

Let Go and Let God!

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Third Week of Lent

God is laboring within everyone and everything for our salvation. God holds us tightly. He will never let go. Healing takes time. Lent is only 40 days, but we can trust the process no matter how long, no matter how many Lents, it takes.

Today's Word
TIME
Do you think of time as a wall or as a door?




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Third Week of Lent

Some of the most moving stories in the Gospels tell of healing miracles Jesus worked at the request of someone else. Think of the noble centurion who prayed for his suffering slave, or the desperate friends who broke through a roof to bring a paralytic into Jesus' presence. Entrust to the Lord the healing of someone you love. When you have finished, say: “Lord, whatever your plans for this person, I trust you. I pray for the strength and the courage for both of us to follow you wherever you may lead.”

Today's Word
TRUST
Is there a secret fear or doubt that prevents you from drawing near God with confidence?




Let Go and Let God!

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Third Week of Lent

Being ready to forgive means recognizing that behind the other person’s offensive or socially problematic behavior is often a cry to be heard, a pain from the past not dealt with, or a statement about the present not articulated. Forgiveness means I need to hear what is not being said. It means acknowledging my own selfishness, anger, bitterness, negative attitudes, and turning to Jesus to ask forgiveness.

Today's Word
FORGIVE
"Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us."



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Third Week of Lent

Isaiah tells of the healing God wants to bestow, is going to bestow (Isa 19:22; 57:18, 19) on those who acknowledge their faithlessness, those who agree to leave the heights of pride and walk on the low paths of humility.

Today's Word
HEALED
What spiritual ills have you become so accustomed to that they seem to be part of who you are? What will it take for you to seek a cure?




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Third Week of Lent

In today's Gospel (John 4:5-42), Jesus sits at a well in a foreign land. He is tired, thirsty, and alone, and yet ready to offer "a fountain of living water" to anyone who comes to him with openness and trust.

Today's Word
THIRST
What keeps you from drinking the refreshing water Jesus offers?



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Keeping your Heart Open for Listening

Today's Readings

Exodus 17: 3-7
Psalm 95: If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts.
Romans 5: 1-2, 5-8
John 4: 5-42

Reflection for Today

The story of the woman at the well in John’s Gospel gives us an opportunity to reexamine our heart. How many times do we hear the voice of God and don’t respond? The voice of God may come interiorly, exteriorly, or it can come from reading scripture.

“I know God loves me,” Kayla, a 20-year old new mom told her Good Counsel case manager one day. “I was alone and on the street and every night I would pray ‘Lord save me!’ And you know what, He did? He brought me here. When I heard about Good Counsel, I knew God was speaking to me. If I was not listening, I would be living with the wrong people.”

Opening our heart to God can take many forms, but being able to recognize His voice is crucial. We are about halfway through the Lenten season. How have your listening skills been? If you can say that you have not yet heard God’s voice, take some quiet time this afternoon and ask Him to speak to you.

Prayer for Today

Dear Jesus, speak to me in the depth of my heart. It may feel hardened so please gently soften it, and open it so I may more fully accept what You have to tell me. Amen.|

Let Go and Let God!

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Second Week of Lent

Turn toward Jesus and away from the persons or events that have caused you pain. Look into Jesus’ face and see the compassion and strength in his eyes. Jesus has always known your heart’s goodness: a masterpiece of his Heavenly Father. In his eyes you are always worth loving.

Today's Word
GAZE
Just once today, seek to return Jesus' gaze.




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Generosity of the Heart

Today's Readings

Jeremiah 17: 5-10
Psalm 1: Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Luke 16: 19-31

Reflection for Today

“Can we go back to the soup kitchen again?” Cassandra, a Good Counsel mom inquired. “I really enjoyed volunteering there.”

Periodically through the year, Good Counsel mothers are offered the opportunity to volunteer at charitable organizations in their neighborhood. Why? Because it is a chance not only to “give back” to the local community but also to develop an appreciation for the assistance they themselves have received. As an extra bonus, many of our moms actually feel good helping others.

In today’s Gospel, it is interesting that Jesus names Lazarus, who was neglected and left for dead. The rich man, who had an opportunity to assist, remains anonymous. Jesus brings dignity to the poor man who found little notice in the world. To add insult to injury, even while condemned, the rich man belittles Lazarus by suggesting that he come down to the netherworld in order to be his servant.

The parable offers all of us an opportunity to do an interior checkup of our heart. Do we hold on to prejudices that keep us from loving as generously as we can? Who are the people who we may turn a blind eye to? Are there people we pass by on a daily basis that no one is reaching out to? Are they hungry? Mentally ill? Depressed? Struggling with an addiction? Ask Our Lord how you may respond.

Prayer for Today

Merciful Jesus, You always have an open heart to the poor and downtrodden. Please speak to me about how I may better give dignity to those who are at great risk in our world today. May I never see the poor as a nameless person, and may I never be a nameless face to You. Amen.

Let Go and Let God!

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The Son of Man Did Not Come to be Served

Today's Readings

Jeremiah 18: 18-20
Psalm 31: Save me, O Lord, in Your kindness.
Matthew 20: 17-28

Reflection for Today

You may have heard the expression: timing is everything. Certainly the mother of Zebedee’s sons approached Jesus at the wrong time in today’s Gospel, or did she? Jesus uses the opportunity to teach a valuable lesson about human ambition.

Every parent, even those inside Good Counsel’s six pro-life homes, wants what is best for their children. Parents naturally want to see their children exceed their own progress, but Jesus makes it known that the best leaders, especially in His Church, will be those who serve rather than be served. It is a concept that many still struggle with today.

Perhaps you can take some prayerful time today and reflect on your view of serving. It may or may not involve your family life. It can be incorporated in your work, school, parish, or volunteer organizations that you belong to. If you were to take a poll of those you have interacted with, would they say your role was primarily one who served or one who was served?

Prayer for Today

Jesus, Son of Man, thank you for being the Suffering Servant who sacrificed everything for me and my salvation. Open my heart more and more each day so I may come to a fuller realization of what it means to serve You and others. Amen.

Let Go and Let God!

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Second Week of Lent

We agree to leave behind control, security, and the cocoon we all spin around ourselves, protecting our dependence on the very things that are ruining our lives. It is the longest yes because it starts at the beginning and ends only at our death.

Today's Word
YES
Notice how you approach the demands the day brings. Do you bring a conscious "yes" to what you do?




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Measuring Gifts

Today's Readings

Daniel 9: 4b-10
Psalm 79: Lord, do not deal with us according to our sins.
Luke 6: 36-38

Reflection for Today

“You always needed to be careful around Christmas,” Delores says with a smile recalling her many years as a Good Counsel house manager in the Bronx, New York. “If one mother saw that someone else received more gifts than they did, you’d hear about it! And they would get loud. Believe me they weren’t singing Gloria in excelsis Deo!"

Part of human nature is that we notice the gifts and talents we have compared to what our neighbors possess. Perhaps our existence would run smoother if we embraced the slogan: “Life’s unfair!” God creates all of us as unique individuals never to be duplicated. We all have different DNA and fingerprints, and because we have been blessed with different gifts and talents, it is good that we freely share them with others.

As we reflect on today’s Gospel, which states that the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you, let’s be sure that our heart is regularly open in sharing our blessings with others.

Prayer for Today

Dear Jesus, giver of all that is good, encourage me to be grateful for what I have and always open to share it with others. Amen.

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Second Week of Lent

God will lead us from where we know, to where we don’t know. We will be invited to faith in God, who is working within us, burning away every desire, thought, or plan that is not his own. He longs for our deep choice of him.

Today's Word

JOURNEY

In the ups and downs of this day, ask the Lord, "Where are you leading me?"


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First Week of Lent

God came to companion us in our suffering by coming into our midst. In Christ, God learned what our suffering was like. God didn’t tell us what to do to fix this suffering or show us how to sidestep it. He drew near to us.

Today's Word
NEAR
Who needs your nearness today?




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Transfiguring Your Heart

Today's Readings

Genesis 12: 1-4a
Psalm 33: Lord, let Your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in You.
Timothy 1: 8b-10
Matthew 17: 1-9

Reflection for Today

“What do you mean I need an attitude adjustment?” Belinda loudly asked one of Good Counsel’s case managers. “I don’t have a problem with my attitude! You do!”

Very often in life we only see things our way. Our perspective may be one-sided, and this may create some problems as we try to relate to others.

Caught up in the exaltation of the moment, Peter thought there was nothing wrong with making three tents to worship Jesus, Moses, and Elijah, and so God intervenes on behalf of His Son and puts things into proper perspective.

The Transfiguration gives us a small glimpse of Jesus’ glory. It is a foretaste of what is to come, but first there is much to sacrifice including our heart. Are we willing to sacrifice and open our heart fully to Jesus? Transfiguring our heart may mean looking at things, including our attitudes, in new ways and to give preference to others.

Prayer for Today

Jesus, Savior of my soul, renew my heart so I may think more of others and their needs rather than solely focusing on my own. Amen.|

Let Go and Let God!

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Transfiguration Prepares the Way
for the Cross

In the Gospel account of the Transfiguration Jesus takes three of his closest friends with him up the mountain. The event is miraculous! Their savior is speaking with the representatives of the entire faith of Israel – Moses and Elijah. Moses was believed to have single handedly written the Law; Elijah represented all the Prophets. His disciples must have remembered Jesus saying that he came not to abolish the Law and the Prophets but to fulfill. Peter experienced this moment with great awe.

The Transfiguration helped to prepare the way for the coming of the cross. Jesus foretold many times that he would have to suffer and die but his disciples never wanted to hear about it. Peter so belligerently denied that He undergo such suffering that Jesus had to rebuke him on the spot, identifying his mentality with Satan. Peter stands in the first part of this miraculous moment between Jesus, Moses, and Elijah and offers to build tents. In shock he hears the words of the Father. He should be prepared for the coming trial, but we know what Peter will do in the Passion account ...


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I see a lot of shut-ins at my mom's assisted living facility. It's fun to stop and chat with them. I now have some "regulars" and they smile when they see me coming. Such a small thing to bring a little happiness to someone. You and your wife have a great ministry there, Bob. God bless you!

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I started doing that three years ago. This was a reason that I started taking Communion to the shutins in our parish. To some of these people I might be the only outside person they see each week. For holidays, my wife and I always make up a little package of sweets or food or something for them. It enriches my life so much. I have learned so much from them.

Let Go and Let God!

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How is everyone doing? I'm on track and looking for new opportunities each day to spread the love during Lent. The other day at church, one of our elderly parishioners asked me for a hug. She's 89 years old and lives alone and drives in from the country for daily mass. She's lonely. Well, now I hug the stuffing out of her whenever I see her. And as is often the case when we do something for someone else, we benefit as well. There's something special about a hug. emoticon

Edited by: SHAPNUP at: 3/11/2017 (08:52)
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3/10/17 6:52 P

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First Week of Lent

The sufferings that people embrace with God often take on some of God’s immensity and mystery. Christ creates a sculpture of your life, using the illnesses of your body and the sufferings of your mind to chisel the richest details.

Today's Word
HARDSHIP
How do you typically respond to the hardships life brings? How is Jesus inviting you to transform your approach?




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Actions Speak Louder than Words

Today's Readings

Jonah 3: 1-10
Psalm 51: A heart contrite and humbled, O God, You will not spurn.
Luke 11: 29-32

Reflection for Today

The prophet Jonah did not want to go and evangelize the Ninevites in order to convert and stop them from doing evil in God’s sight, but he did. It was not an easy task, and it took him three days in order to cover the large city, but her persevered.

How many times are we asked to do something we don’t want to? Usually it is something that can be accomplished much more quickly than three days. If we love with an open heart, we will say yes and follow through. Our actions thus become the important factor.

Today marks one week since we began this Lenten journey. Has God challenged you by asking you to stretch beyond your comfort zone? Have you heard any invitations from anyone to do something good or charitable but have said no to? Perhaps it is not too late to say yes to that invitation. You might be surprised at how your actions can produce some great fruit.

Prayer for Today

Dear Lord, soften my heart today so I may not automatically say no to an invitation given to me in order for Your will to be done. Amen.






Let Go and Let God!

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3/8/17 12:20 P

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So I gave up facebook for Lent.

It wasn't so hard when I was away on vacation, but now that I'm home, it's more of a struggle.

I didn't uninstall the apps on my phone, mostly because I like being able to say "I'm tempted, but I'm choosing not to give in."

It makes me feel stronger.

Just trying to get back into a normal-ish routine right now.

I'm also a lot more zen about my weigh. I didn't realize how uptight I was getting about everything.



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First Week of Lent

Jesus says, “I have conquered the world!” (See John 16:33.) So the suffering due to evil in our lives can be turned into a valuable means of reconciliation between God and us and between us and our brothers and sisters.

Today's Word
TRANSFORMED
What in your life most needs to be transformed? Nothing in our lives is beyond God's power.



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3/5/17 9:39 P

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First Sunday of Lent: Jesus knows even our most inward struggles. He faces them with us.

The Father’s power is good and life-giving. The Father strengthened Jesus to love his enemies while they hated him. Rejection put Jesus on the cross, but it is precisely on the cross that he fulfilled the Father’s need to communicate his love for us and the goodness of his power.

Today's Word
FREEDOM
Today, reflect on the freedom Jesus demonstrated in facing temptation.




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3/5/17 3:36 P

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Saturday after Ash Wednesday: How have these first days of Lent helped you set out on the forty-day journey to Easter?

God is always present to what we are experiencing—not distant, aloof, or impotent, but close and powerful. We really matter to God because we belong to him.

Today's Word
BELONG
Where do you most need to remember that you are known and loved by God?




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3/2/17 10:32 P

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Hello all.
thank you so much for sharing your ideas and your different ways that you will be observing Lent this year.

I have decided to give up complaining this year, and two days in, I am already finding it a struggle! Something tells me it would be easier to give up a type of food or something!
emoticon

I am also going to attend Mass during the week (at least once as I don't at all currently, unless we have a school Mass), attend our staff prayer services every Thursday morning, and go to a couple of Catholic talks at some local Catholic high schools/university.

I am also ensuring I have some quiet prayer and Lenten reflection time each day as well.

cj

What if we woke up tomorrow with only those things that we thanked God for today?


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I did eat meat on Tuesday....bacon, sausage and turkey weiner not much and, I drank a soda...
diet...I don't drink sodas.. emoticon I wen to mass too Tuesday morning..

wednesday I had salmon patty and cheese, apple and oatmeal cookie...not much... emoticon

I give up meat on Fridays and, not just during lent, usually all year.. emoticon emoticon
so 40 days to go...... emoticon emoticon


Take time to THINK...It is the source of power.Take Time to READ..It is the fountain of wisdom.
Take time to PRAY..It is the greatest power on earth. Take Time to LOVE and BE LOVED..It is a God-given privilege.
Be FRIENDLY, It is the road to happiness.. take time to LAUGH..it is the music of the soul.
Take time to Give it is too short a day to be selfish.. Take time to DO CHARITY..
it is the key to heaven.
I live in El Paso, TX


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MARYELLEN301's Photo MARYELLEN301 Posts: 10,106
3/1/17 11:41 A

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Wow Gail! I don't use FB or Twitter, only because I know I'd be hooked in no time! You may find yourself going through withdrawal!

Went to Mass this morning and got ashes. Then helped go through donated books for our soon to be Parish Library. Tomorrow I will go to the morning Bible Study, so I may as well go to Mass before the class. Then I will do First Friday and First Saturday Masses. Add in Sunday, and I will have 5 days in a row! Hopefully Confession tonight, if I remember. That always sneaks up on me after the fact!

ME

Attitude is everything, pick a good one!

"It works if you work it, and it won't if you don't."

ONCE YOU GET THERE....DON'T GET COCKY,
IT'S EASY TO FALL RIGHT BACK DOWN.

Certainly I have a 6-pack. You just can't see it through my soft sided cooler!


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That is a great challenge, Gailitch. I don't have a smartphone, but I think I'll be cutting back on my computer time. It's been sneaking up on me. And I would like to read St. Augustine's confessions this Lent.

I too managed to get to confession before Lent, and Mom and I went to mass this morning and got our ashes. It's important to both of us to wear our ashes all day. A great way to evangelize! When I was working, the inmates would always whisper to me that I had something on my forehead and maybe I wanted to wash it off. A great opening...

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For Lent I uninstalled Facebook and Twitter from my smartphone (which is always with me) and installed the Magnificat Lenten devotion app. I want to make listening to the Lord my focus this Lent and keeping better attention to Him throughout the activities of the day.

On Sunday, I got to go to Confession before Mass and was thrilled to get this start on the Lenten season! Then, this morning, my husband and I went to 6:30 Mass and got our ashes before going to work.

Gail
EDT - Michigan


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2/28/17 11:51 A

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Good luck to the junk food - that's a good one!

My husband and I want to say a rosary every evening through lent and hope to then keep it up.

So 16 days ago I stopped drinking sodas. This is huge for me and I feel great about accomplishing that goal. There are still some days that are really hard for me to not have one, but I've only had 4 days so far that were hard. There were only 2 days where I only had 2 sips of soda.

I did it by still having tea. It's unsweetened tea so I'm not trading on the calories.

So I have been thinking about my lent this year... oh - for the past 3 years, I opted to not give up or do anything for lent.

This year though, I'm contemplating weaning myself off of caffeine (going to decaf tea) or begin my exercise regime w/at least 15 minutes per day at least 6 days a week.

The exercise one will be the most easy to accomplish I think. I say that b/c the tea one will be really difficult b/c I like to stop for tea on my commute to work and I get enough for the entire day. From what I've seen, the only places I can get decaf tea are specialty places or home. I don't think these specialty tea places are either on my route, in the vicinity of my route, or open during my morning commute.

So - I either have to make myself get up and move for 15 minutes or make myself tea.

IDK - why I think making tea would be so hard - well, yes I do. B/c that will change my morning stop habit.

And yes, the exercise thing will be difficult too or else I would already be doing it. LOL.

Hmm... ugh... arg!

I suppose I'll let you know what I come up with. If you have a suggestion that you think is helpful - I'll gladyly read them. :-)

Edited by: BURBANOVSKY at: 2/28/2017 (11:57)
Pray. Hope. Don't worry.
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Yay Tammy! I've given up soda for Lent for the past few years - and sweets and pizza. All my favorite foods. I do well during Lent, but return to them as soon as Lent is over. Wish I could really kick the soda for good.

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MARYELLEN301's Photo MARYELLEN301 Posts: 10,106
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Tammy, Good luck to you! I gave up sodas for Lent about 9 years ago and have never gone back to drinking them. If I have 3 a year that might be an exaggeration! Hopefully your late night eating will be as successful, and maybe even your soda as well!

ME

Attitude is everything, pick a good one!

"It works if you work it, and it won't if you don't."

ONCE YOU GET THERE....DON'T GET COCKY,
IT'S EASY TO FALL RIGHT BACK DOWN.

Certainly I have a 6-pack. You just can't see it through my soft sided cooler!


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www.sparkpeople.com/blog/blog.asp?po
st
=15_unconventional_lent_ideas


here are some lent ideas. i am giving up caffinated pop for lent, and eating after 10 pm. i go to be late and am trying to rework that habit. no late snacks is something i hope to create as a habit that will stay with me after lent,

Tammy, Scarlet Dragons, Time to Bloom
CST


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2/27/17 10:03 A

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My suggestion, AndyinBC, for whatever it's worth, would be to impose a limit to your time on-line, and make sure that you read the good Catholic blogs first.

Good for you on giving up junk food!

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This Lent, I have a few plans .....

My daughter and I plan the read a book by Matthew Kelly called Rediscover Jesus. It is broken into 40 small chapters that we will read daily.

Secondly, I have found an app of the Stations of the Cross that I would like to use on a daily basis for daily prayer. It is called Via Crucis. There is another app called Way of the Cross which is simpler.

On the giving up side, I am going to stay away from my iPad/iPhone games. I am debating giving up Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter as well. That would be a bigger challenge but I have many good Catholic blogs and sites that I like to follow. What to do, what to do?

My other daughter has voiced her concerns over my poor diet of late, so I am putting away the junk food for Lent.

Edited by: ANDYINBC at: 2/26/2017 (19:21)
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I always try to give up something (ice cream this year, at least I think it will be that) and then I try to do something positive as well. Our parish also has a fish fry each Friday and Stations afterwards and I've always done that. The Raleigh Diocese just had their annual Ignited by Truth seminar Friday evening and all day Saturday. Fr. Michael Gaitley was a featured speaker and I bought his DVD set on The Second Greatest Story Ever Told, as well as the book. I will try to read the book. I will donate the DVD set to the parish for our next Bible Study topic.

Attitude is everything, pick a good one!

"It works if you work it, and it won't if you don't."

ONCE YOU GET THERE....DON'T GET COCKY,
IT'S EASY TO FALL RIGHT BACK DOWN.

Certainly I have a 6-pack. You just can't see it through my soft sided cooler!


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I like to do those things, too. I also try to do a special Lenten reading each day and attend Stations of the Cross on Friday nights.

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I found some videos to share:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5y9CBs_
hIU
(sorry, sparkpeople "add a link" feature doesn't work with this link)

bustedhalo.com/video/ash-wednesday-i
n-
two-minutes

this one works, I think
cj

Edited by: CJBAGGINS at: 2/26/2017 (15:49)
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CJBAGGINS's Photo CJBAGGINS Posts: 33,383
2/26/17 3:26 P

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Hello all, fellow Critters!
Can you believe that it is Lent in a few days?

I was praying this weekend for some guidance from the Holy Spirit as to what sorts of things I could do to mark this sacred season.

I like to do some small sacrifices during Lent, as well as begin some good, spiritual practises, and spending time caring for others to a greater degree than usually.

What are everyone's plans this Lenten season?

cj

What if we woke up tomorrow with only those things that we thanked God for today?


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