7 Easy Ways to Live Liturgically in Every Season

Liturgical living does not have to be extravagant–just intentional.

I love to see all of the creative ways that people live liturgically. The decorations, treats, crafts, and celebrations fill my heart with joy! If you have the means to go all out like this, definitely go for it, but if this isn’t realistic for you, then that’s alright!

In the hustle and bustle of life, it’s so important to celebrate the liturgical year. We celebrate and remember holy days and solemnities to remember what God has done for us and to look forward to our eternal life with Him. When we celebrate the lives of the Saints, we see examples of holy men and women, we recognize what God has done in their lives, and we find encouragement to live our faith radically.

Sometimes life is overwhelming and difficult, and sometimes we’re in seasons of life when liturgical living is best done in simple ways. Fortunately, we can live the liturgical calendar without breaking the bank or going overboard. There are little things that we can add to our daily routine that will remind us of the Church’s special days. With a little creativity, these tips can be applied to any liturgical season or holy day that you can think of.

1. Food
Don’t let the phrase “feast day” make you think that you have to have an actual feast! No one is stopping you from taking the extra mile and making a three-course meal for special solemnities and feast days, but many days and seasons in the liturgical year can be celebrated well with simple meals.

Seasons of preparation like Advent and Lent can have simple meals in anticipation for Christmas and Easter, when we’re likely to share delicious meals with our loved ones. Saints who served the poor can be celebrated with small or meatless meals. I think it goes without saying that days of fasting make meal planning simple enough.

Make a family favorite meal that reminds you of whatever you’re celebrating. It could be grilled chicken for St. Lawrence’s Feast Day, a birthday cake for the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or crepes for St. Joan of Arc’s Feast Day.

2. Clothes
What we wear influences our mood and how we go about our day. Dressing up can be an easy and simple way to celebrate holy days and remember Saints on their feast days.

To start, you can match your attire to a liturgical season’s color. Wear green for ordinary time, purple for Advent and Lent, red for Pentecost and the martyr’s feast days, etc. For our first Divine Mercy Sunday as a married couple, Nathan wore red and I wore blue. I personally love wearing blue for Marian feast days. Mama Mary is often portrayed wearing blue, so blue outfits give a simple nod to her on her many special days.

To kick it up a notch, be creative with patterns, jewelry, accessories, and more. Do you have a shirt with roses printed on it? That would be perfect for St. Therese of Lisieux! Do you have heart-shaped earrings? Those would be lovely for the Sacred Heart of Jesus or the Immaculate Heart of Mary!

Our clothing can also be a great way to evangelize! If someone complements your outfit, you can explain the special occasion that you’re dressing up for!

Don’t feel like you have to shop for a new outfit for every celebration. Take a look at what you already have and be creative with it! Last Pentecost, I didn’t have anything red to wear, so I wore a dark pinkish-purple dress because that was the closest thing to red that I had.

3. Decorations
The home is the domestic Church, so the art and decorations within it should remind us of our faith. Similar to how parents might practice toy rotation with their children to enrich their playtime, sacred art that can be “rotated” throughout the liturgical year. This can be done to decorate for the different liturgical seasons and to keep things fresh in your home. Lent is probably the easiest decoration-wise, because you can go minimal with your decorations!

If you’re in the market for new sacred art, search for Catholic artists on Etsy and Instagram. You’ll find unique and unbelievably gorgeous art, décor, and home goods, and you’ll support small businesses!

If you’re on a tighter budget or living simply, homemade decorations are so lovely! Make watercolor paintings, write Bible verses on letterboards, or make flower arrangements or wreaths. The possibilities are limitless, and process of making decorations can even be part of your liturgical living experience.

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4. Music
For lack of better words, music can really set the tone of your day and of whatever season you’re in. You could listen to hymns, praise and worship music, or even secular music that helps you celebrate the liturgical year.

You can find playlists for liturgical seasons or feast days, or make one of your own! There are tons of playlists on Spotify that are great for liturgical living. I personally love the playlists that Be A Heart makes for feast days and liturgical seasons. Like making your own decorations, making a playlist can be a fruitful part of liturgical living. Gather your favorite Advent or Lent hymns, or collect songs that would be perfect for a holy day or a Saint’s feast day.

Listen to your songs or playlists at home or on your commute to work to get into the spirit of the season. You can also add music to your time in prayer by singing, playing an instrument, or just listening and contemplating each song.

5. Activities, Projects, and Fun
When you select activities and things intentionally, almost anything can be considered liturgical living! You could even set aside April 27 to do chores around your home to celebrate the Feast of St. Zita! This one requires a little more imagination, but that’s the fun of it! Below are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Do a service project to celebrate Saints like St. Teresa of Calcutta, who spent her life serving others.
  2. Make a donation to a religious order or a nonprofit, or donate clothes or food to celebrate Saints like St. Francis, who gave up his wealth.
  3. Volunteer to teach or help children to celebrate Saints like St. John Bosco, who taught young boys.
  4. Go on a hike or a nature walk to celebrate Saints like St. Kateri Tekawitha, who walked 200 miles to a Christian community.

6. Prayer
Not only is prayer a simple way to live liturgically, but it’s also fruitful. When you’re intentional with your time in prayer, you’ll improve your interior life, and you can use it as an opportunity to pray for your intentions.

A simple way to pray around the time of Saints’ feast days is through novenas. Taken from Pentecost, where the apostles prayed for nine days before they received the gift of the Holy Spirit, novenas are nine (or more) consecutive days of prayer. You can end your novena on a certain Saint’s feast day for their intercession. I prayed Padre Pio’s novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus one time, and it was so fruitful. I’ll have to tell you about it sometime.

Every month of the year has a special devotion, so you could easily add something extra to your prayer life each month. January is dedicated to the Holy Name of Jesus, so you could pray the Divine Praises every day in January. November is dedicated to the Holy Souls in Purgatory, so you could pray St. Gertrude’s prayer for souls in purgatory every day in November.

7. The Mass
I would venture to say that the Mass is the best way to live liturgically because the Mass IS the liturgy! No matter what else you have the time or resources to do, if you’re going to Mass regularly, then you’re living liturgically!

Be sure to go to Mass on Holy Days of Obligation. You can check a liturgical calendar or with your diocese to see which days are Holy Days of Obligation. If you’re able to go to daily Mass, you can go to celebrate the feast days of your favorite Saints. This is a great way to celebrate them because the Mass is a heavenly celebration, and all of the angels and Saints are present there.

Stay radiant!

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Homemaking while Working a 9 to 5

Is it possible to be a homemaker and work a full-time job? This is what my life currently looks like, and I’m doing my best!

My primary role in my life is that of a daughter of the Lord. I try to know, love, and serve God in everything that I do. He called me to the vocation of marriage, so my secondary role is Nathan’s wife. Loving him is God’s plan for my life, and I can love God through loving Nathan.

Some wives are called to be full-time homemakers, and some wives work full or part-time jobs. My husband and I both work so that we can support each other. Working a 9 to 5 definitely takes a lot of time and energy, but I understand the beauty and importance of homemaking, so I want to give as much of myself to my home as possible.

In the (almost) nine months that I’ve been married so far, I’ve been able to figure out how to navigate working and homemaking together. I’ve found a couple of ways that I can make my home while I work a full-time job, and they’re surprisingly simple once you incorporate them into your routine.

Be intentional with time
I used to mainly do housework on the weekends, but that would leave me burnt out and take away all of my time to rest.

Recently, I learned how to manage my time so that I can take care of things around our home in addition to working. I’ve found that I can do some homemaking things both before AND after work. I do smaller chores and prep work in the morning, and I take care of the bigger things at night. Before I go to work, I sweep the kitchen floor and put away the dishes that have been drying overnight. After my husband and I cook and eat dinner, we do the dishes, clean up the kitchen, and throw a load of laundry in the washing machine.

I still do chores on the weekends, but I save Saturdays for more involved projects, like decluttering an area of our home, changing the sheets, or cleaning the bathrooms. Because Sunday is a day of rest. I don’t do anything “extra” on those days beyond washing the dishes, a quick tidying up of a room, or other things that just need to be done every day.

Organize chores and be particular about it
I used to love looking at chore charts and schedules on Pinterest, but when I tried to use them, they never worked for my family. Instead, I made my own chore schedule that was realistic and suited my family.

Our chore chart is divided into daily chores, weekly chores, monthly chores, and quarterly chores. I outlined daily chores that my husband and I would do every morning and evening. Our weekly chores are extra chores that we do every week, but we plan it in such a way that we only have to do one extra chore a day. Our monthly chores are things that we do once or twice a month. We declutter an area of our home during a certain week of the month, and we change and wash the sheets every two weeks. Our quarterly chores are done on certain months of the year, and those are bigger things that don’t need to be done often.

I try not to do anything more than our daily chores on Sunday to keep it a day of rest.

Plan meals strategically
I LOVE to cook, and if I had the time, I would make sourdough bread, cook a big beautiful dinner every night, and bake to my heart’s content. However, as Nathan and I settled into a routine, we knew that some dinners have to be simpler than others.

Some of our meals are simple, and some are more complex throughout the week. Some weekdays are busier than others, so we plan our meals accordingly. On the days when we can come straight home from work and we don’t have anything else planned, we try new recipes or make dinners that take more time. When we have meetings, classes, errands or other things to do after work, we cook meals that call for a few ingredients and are usually done in less than an hour.

We like to plan our meals for the week during our family meetings on Sundays, and then we do our grocery shop on Tuesdays. Keeping a recipe binder is really helpful for us. We use one to organize our go-to recipes, make our meal plans, and follow while we cook.

Be okay with an incomplete to-do list
It took me a long time to realize that the world will NOT explode if I don’t do everything that I had planned to do in a day. Even now, I’m still learning to be at peace with that.

Both at work and at home, I’m tempted to beat myself up if I don’t complete my daily to-do list. (To be honest, sometimes I set myself up for failure by putting too much on my list in the first place.) Either way, I remind myself that I’m only human and there’s only so much that I can do in a day.

I think about St. Teresa of Calcutta and how she said “God doesn’t call me to be successful. He calls me to be faithful.” This quote helps me to remember that I’m a beloved daughter of God and that my worth doesn’t lie in my productivity. It seems like it always comes down to the concept of doing little things with great love. No matter how many tasks I address in a day, as long as I do them with a loving heart, God can make them holy.

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Remember the “why”
Living my vocation as a wife is one of the best ways that I can know, love, and serve God. Therefore, making my home is a beautiful way that I can love my husband and God.

My job working for a nonprofit is another way that I can support my family because my income is helpful to us. I enjoy my job, but at the end of the day, I work a 9 to 5 because it’s how I support my family.

Homemaking while working a full-time job gives me the best of both worlds. I get to take care of my home and make it lovely, and I get to have a career. Both of these roles require service from a loving heart. It’s easy to see how a homemaker serves her family. Working for a nonprofit, I serve my community, but it also gives me an opportunity to serve my family. I try to approach both homemaking and working with an intentional mindset, remembering that this is where God is calling me right now and doing as much as I can with what He gives me.

Stay radiant!

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How We’re Preparing for the Sacrament of Marriage

Later this month, Nathan and I will be in my home parish, surrounded by our friends and family, and united in the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. We’ve been looking forward to getting married since we started dating, and now that we’re in the final days of our engagement, things are becoming more and more real by the day.

Marriage is a milestone that I’ve been excited to reach for as long as I can remember, and after getting married, my life will never be the same. This might seem daunting at first, but it’s a change that I’m excited to make because it means that I’ll get to spend the rest of my life with Nathan, the one who my soul loves.

Like any major transition or big life event, getting married takes time. While actually getting married will happen rather quickly at our Nuptial Mass, Nathan and I have been intentional about getting ready for marriage. We’ve been spending a lot of time planning our actual wedding, but we’ve also been devoting lots of time to preparing ourselves and each other for the Sacrament. Among booking vendors, selecting decorations, and tasting cakes, here’s what else Nathan and I have also been doing before we say “I do.”

Nathan and I have made praying together an important part of our relationship almost from the start. While we were dating, we prayed together sporadically at first, and then more regularly as our relationship progressed. When I lived in Washington DC, we prayed together every time he visited me. Before we said goodbye, we would sit down to thank God for our time, to intercede for each other, and to ask Him to guide us in our relationship. We’ve also been going to Mass together more often, and we’re talking more about faith in our everyday conversations.

As important as praying with each other is, we also make time to pray individually. We pray for ourselves and for each other, especially now that we’re engaged. While we were dating, I would pray for Nathan and I would pray that I could love him the way that he was made to be loved. I still do this now, but as we prepare for marriage, I pray that I can be a holy wife and that he will be a holy husband.

As we prepare for our marriage, we genuinely enjoyed taking our Pre-Cana classes online. Otherwise known as marriage classes, our Pre-Cana classes have been teaching us so much. We deepened our understanding of marriage as a Sacrament and the grace that it constantly outpours. Additionally, we learned practical things to remember throughout our marriage, like communication, decision-making, and how to deal with important life issues together.

Nathan and I have always talked about our futures, and now that our wedding is just around the corner, we constantly talk about our future together. It’s fun to dream up our lives together, but we’re also tackling decisions to be made together. Our Pre-Cana classes have prompted us to have conversations about where we want to call our forever home, how to budget our money, and when to start a family.

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Throughout our engagement, I’ve been thinking about the difference between our wedding day and our marriage. It’s no secret that planning for a wedding is completely different than preparing for marriage. Our wedding day will come and go, but after Nathan and I say our vows, we’re united for life. While my wedding dress, the food, and the venue are all nice things, what we’re most looking forward to is our marriage that will last for the rest of our lives. For the past several months, Nathan and I have been praying for both our wedding and our marriage. We pray that our wedding day goes well and that we’ll be joyful no matter what happens, but more than that, we pray for a marriage that will last a lifetime.

As Nathan and I prepare to be united in the Sacrament of Matrimony on December 18, we’re praying that our marriage will be a holy one and that we’ll spend the rest of our lives bringing each other closer to the Lord. Please join us in praying for our marriage during these final days of our engagement!

Stay radiant!

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How I bring my faith into my office

The Lord has been leading me through some big changes and beautiful blessings lately.

My year of service with Franciscan Mission Service ended in late July. This time serving in Washington DC was an unforgettable experience filled with so much growth. Shortly afterwards, He lead me to my new job.

In August, I became the new Development and Communications Coordinator of a nonprofit on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, and to say that God has been good to me is an understatement. He gave me a job that I truly enjoy and feel fulfilled in, not just a job that utilizes my skills and interests. I’m working for a Christian organization with a mission that I can lend my heart to. Even today, I still find myself thanking Him for giving me this job.

Of course, working for this nonprofit is very different than working for Franciscan Mission Service. It’s in Maryland instead of Washington DC, I’m working more with communications than with development, and Habitat is Christian, but not Catholic. As I settled into my new role at this new nonprofit, I’ve found a few ways in which I can incorporate my Catholic faith into my job.

How I bring my faith into my office
How I bring my faith into my office

1 Praying with the daily Mass readings
I tend to get to work pretty early, so I spend the extra time before my day begins reading and praying with the daily Mass readings. I keep my Magnificat in my work bag so that I can read the Mass readings each morning, and I have the Spiritual Communion Prayer written down so that I can pray it every morning.

2 Reading Blessed is She’s devotionals
After praying with the Mass readings, I love to read the Blessed is She devotionals that I get in my inbox every morning. They help me to delve deeper into the Mass readings, and they help me to apply them to my own life. It’s inspiring and encouraging to read about other holy women who are pursuing the Lord and striving for Sainthood from various vocations and walks of life.

3 Listening to hymns and worship music
I rarely work in silence, and when I do, it’s uncomfy to me. While I work, I love to listen to my Jesus Jams playlist on Spotify and also Mass hymns. Listening to hymns and praise and worship music lifts my thoughts to God, and it also helps me to dedicate my work to Him.

4 Decorating with Bible verses
When I got this job, I was so excited to have an office of my own! I still have a lot of decorating to do, but the first things that I put in my office were some decorations with Bible verses on it. I keep a decorative prayer card on my shelf that reads “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. ~ Proverbs 16:3,” which reminds me that all of the work that I do is for God, and I keep my favorite Bible verse, Psalm 34:5 on my wall.

5 Keeping Tiny Saints on my keychain
I’m obsessed with Tiny Saints! I have so many of them, and I change the ones that I have on my keychain for their Feast Days or Liturgical seasons. Not only do they make me smile when I look at them because they’re so cute, but they remind me that they’re in Heaven praying for me.

6 Using Sacrifice Beads
Work is work, and it isn’t always fun. When I have to do something that I don’t want to do or when something “inconveniences” me, I pull a Sacrifice Bead and offer it up.
in the grand scheme of things, I know that these crosses are small, but I still let Jesus enter into my little sufferings, and I find joy in knowing that they bring me closer to His Heart.

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I find that when I offer my work and surrender my day to the Lord, I’m more likely to be productive, to find joy in my work, and to remember Him in what I do. God is never outdone in generosity, so by inviting Him into our work days and offering our work to Him, He blesses us with more than we realize.

Stay radiant!

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An Administrative Ministry of Presence

Ministry in a Non-Profit Setting
At Franciscan Mission Service, we learn and practice a ministry of presence. As lay volunteers and missioners, we make relationships our first priority. While the projects and work that we do are important, we care most about encountering our brothers and sisters in Christ. Joining Franciscan Mission Service has helped me to be fully present with whoever is right in front of me. I learned to grow in empathy and humility as I look for Jesus in everyone I encounter.

My year of service with FMS involves serving as a DC Service Corps volunteer. In this program, my mission is domestic instead of overseas. As I serve as the Development Associate for FMS, I assist with several facets of non-profit management. My position involves fundraising initiatives, donor relations, and grant writing. From 9-5, I spend my weekdays working in the office or from home, so sometimes I forget that I’m a volunteer. 

I look at myself and at our lay missioners serving overseas, and I sometimes feel inferior. They have tangible ways of serving, and their ministries change lives. They carry out the ministry of presence every day, and I sit at my desk in the office and wonder how I can possibly live the ministry of presence. Conversely, I sit at my desk, look at the work that I do, and notice that I embody the ministry of presence just as much as our missioners.

An Administrative Ministry of Presence
An Administrative Ministry of Presence

Gratitude-Filled Letters
One of my favorite things to do in the office is write thank you letters to our donors. I type their names and addresses into a template, print the letters, and when our executive director signs them, I mail them. It’s a simple task, but I love it because I get to see firsthand how many people support FMS. It brings me joy to see so many people supporting our organization and our lay missioners during their time on mission. Because of them, we can accompany orphans, the elderly, survivors of abuse, prisoners, and asylum-seekers every day, and because of that, I craft our thank-you letters with so much love and gratitude. Although I’m not the one who signs them, I leave a piece of my heart with each one.

The Impact of Appeals
A long-term project of mine involves the Mission Cooperative Program, or MCP, which allows dioceses and archdioceses to partner with organizations and religious orders that focus on mission. I spent my first weeks at FMS researching dioceses and archdioceses and writing them letters of request, asking them to consider us for their 2021 mission appeal cycle. During this project, I learned that mission appeals aren’t just about money. When we visit parishes, we educate parishoners about missions and show them that lay people can serve overseas. They gain a deeper awareness of missions and inspiration to serve. 

In 2018, a girl in college heard one of FMS’ mission appeals at her home parish. Because of this, she felt inspired to apply for the overseas lay missions program, but after some discernment, she applied for and accepted a position with FMS’ DC Service Corps instead. That girl was me, and now that I’m part of FMS, I understand the importance of mission appeals and how they can impact lives.  

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Service Through Work
I can’t deny that the lay missioners and I have completely different missions, but although I’m staying in the country and working a 9 to 5, I’m still finding ways to serve with a ministry of presence. Inspired by St. Thérèse of Lisieux, I’m finding new ways to offer the gift of myself and do little things with great love. 

Because I’m doing a year of service, I always remind myself that I’m not just working, I’m serving. I look at the other volunteers/associates in my office and I remember that our workplace is our ministry site. The things that I do in the office, no matter how big, small, interesting, or mundane, have lasting impacts. Helping FMS as an office associate allows the organization to run efficiently and supports our overseas missioners as they serve poor and marginalized communities and work for peace, justice, and hope.

Stay radiant!

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How God Healed My Broken Heart

Him and the Heartbreak
“I don’t think this is working out,” he said as he stood in the rain outside my apartment.

I met him on an English department trip to Canada the summer before our junior year. We talked all summer, and we made things official the weekend before the fall semester started. Leading up to that moment, I had told him about my faith. I told him that I love Jesus more than anyone or anything, that I want to get married and have lots of babies someday. Finally, I told him that I want to wait until marriage. Although he didn’t share my faith, we wanted to date each other anyway. He was kind, he was funny, he was a great cook, he was smart, he loved music and musicals, and at the time, he loved me.

After two months, he broke up with me. He must have changed his mind about being fine with dating a Catholic girl, or maybe he never was. I thought we wanted the same things, but as it turns out, that wasn’t the case. Of course, all of this is okay, but in the moment, it broke my heart. Although I’m sure this wasn’t his intention, he left me feeling inadequate, empty, and unworthy of love. I cried that night until my head was sore and my voice was hoarse.

How God Healed My Broken Heart
How God Healed My Broken Heart

My Good Heavenly Father
I had dated a lot in high school, but in college, I waited and prepared myself for something serious. Prior to dating him, I was single for about two and a half years. After spending those years of praying for a boyfriend and for myself to become holier for one, I felt like I had lost my chance. I hoped that the next boyfriend I had would be the one God wanted me to marry. As He usually does, God had other plans. I would ask God to help me love my future husband the way that He created him to be loved. I would pray that my future husband was growing closer to God and preparing to meet me and love me. As I prayed, God in His goodness was at work, but He’s full of surprises and He kept me on my toes.

I can’t say that I was mad at God. I didn’t shake my fist at Him and scream through my tears, but I cried while I layed in bed and simply asked Him why. For two months after that breakup, I went to Him like a little girl goes to her dad when she’s hurt. I didn’t want to talk about it with Him, but I needed Him for comfort. Despite giving Him the silent treatment for a while, my Heavenly Father was patient with me. He let me feel sad. He waited until I was ready to let him in little by little.

After this intense and painful heartbreak, I learned that God doesn’t show us gold and give us silver. He gives us good things according to His perfect timing. When he sees that we have something that isn’t meant for us, He removes it, like any good Father does. Of course, this might make us upset, as children often are when they’re told “no.” I thought my boyfriend at the time was the one for me. I realize now that God had someone else in mind for me, my fiancé Nathan. Although I could go on and on about the sweet love story that God wrote for me and Nathan, I have a few more words to write about heartbreak.

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Let Him Be Near to You
Our Heavenly Father doesn’t want to see His children sad, but He’s present with us in our heartbreaks. During times like these, I remember verse 18 of my favorite psalm, Psalm 34, which reads, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted.” We can find comfort and even joy in knowing that God is close to us when our hearts are broken. He lets us rest in Him to find the peace and comfort that only He can give. He’s constantly working in our lives to share His goodness with us.

If you’re struggling with a broken heart right now, know that you’re not alone. Remember that God is always with you and always there to listen, to soak up your tears, and to be your soft place to land. I understand that it doesn’t always feel like God is there. Sometimes He can feel so far away, but from someone whose heart was completely obliterated and pieced back together, I urge you to hold onto whatever sliver of hope, faith, and trust in God you can muster up. He loves you more than you can fathom, and He’ll never leave your or forsake you. As much as you’re able to, place the pieces of your broken heart into His caring and gentle hands and let Him renew it.

Stay radiant!

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The Great Commission and the Holy Trinity: This Sunday’s Gospel 5/30/2021

For the Gospel and other Mass readings for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, click here!

A few days after I came home from SEEK 19, my first FOCUS conference, I sat down to write all of my thank you notes. I fundraised my registration for SEEK, so I wanted to write a handwritten thank you note to all of my donors. I expressed my gratitude, told them about my favorite speakers, and shared how much I grew in my faith during the conference. At the end of every card, I wrote Matthew 28:18-20 under my signature. These verses encompass the Great Commission, and I included it in my thank you notes as a nod to the call that we all should heed as Christians.

There are so many ways that we can take part in the Great Commission. Jesus invites all of us to spread the Gospel and to make disciples of all nations, but we all play a different role in this call. There’s a saying related to mission that goes, “some give by going, and some go by giving,” which explains that those who give financial support help make missions possible. The friends and family who donated so that I could go to SEEK were participating in the Great Commission. Because they gave, I was able to attend a conference and encounter Jesus. On the surface, donating money might seem like a basic way to take part in the Great Commission, but it’s necessary and so appreciated.

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After attending SEEK, thousands of college students and I had gained a responsibility. We left the conference significantly more formed in our faith, which means that we were tasked with using our knowledge to share Christ’s love and to spread the Gospel. This seems straightforward, but there are countless approaches to doing this. For a while, I thought that I would participate in the Great Commission as a FOCUS missionary, but that didn’t work out. Now, I understand that I can share the Gospel as a writer, as a future wife, maybe someday as a mama, and in whatever career God has in store for me. Whatever our calls in life may be, we can always find ways to make disciples of all nations.

On the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity, we reflect on the mystery of the Trinity and adore the three Persons of it. Maybe we read the Great Commission for today’s Gospel because the Trinity is at the heart of it. Jesus leaves us with the Great Commission before His Ascension because He wants us all to be gathered in His Father’s love, and the Holy Spirit descends upon us so that we can play our parts in the Great Commission. Maybe right now, you’re not sure how you can make disciples of all nations. If this is the case, root yourself in the Holy Trinity. No matter what role you take in the Great Commission, strive to grow closer to God the Father through Jesus, and invite the Holy Spirit to work through you and bear fruit.

Stay radiant!

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Placing my Job Search in God’s Hands

Chasing my own will
Last year when I was a senior in college, I was filled with anxiety over what to do after graduation. I applied for FOCUS and got rejected right off the bat. I tried to apply for grad school and realized that it wasn’t for me when I was almost done with my applications. I applying for jobs with Catholic organizations and even went on a Saint Paul’s Outreach chapter visit before I ultimately said “yes” to FMS. It was there all along, and I didn’t think to discern it seriously for a long time.

In hindsight, I feel like I was chasing my own will instead of trying to follow God’s will for my life. I definitely was just trying to do something impressive after graduation, whatever that may be. It took me a long time to place my trust in God and put my next chapter into His hands.

Placing my Job Search in God's Hands
Placing my Job Search in God’s Hands

Time for my next adventure
Now, the time that I knew was coming has almost arrived. The end of my year of service with FMS is just around the corner, and it’s about time for me to find my next adventure. If I would have stayed the same anxious young woman, I would be applying for jobs constantly and spending my spare time worrying about what I’m going to do in a few months. Strangely, this isn’t the case for me at the moment.

Maybe it’s because I’m feeling secure in knowing that no matter what, I’m going to marry Nathan and we’ll get to live together in Maryland. With that being said, getting married and moving are two huge transitions, and I haven’t had much mental capacity to think about where I’ll be working.

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God will provide
When I do look for jobs and apply, I do so knowing that my future career is truly in God’s hands. Maybe I’m not worried about my job search because I have other things to focus on at the moment, but I also believe that I’m not worried about it because I know that God will provide. I don’t mean to sound passive and like I’m not trying, but I say this knowing that God is guiding me throughout my job search. As I get leads from friends and search online for jobs, I can feel Him prompting me to give an opportunity a shot or to wait for something else. When I write, I feel like the Holy Spirit works through me to say what needs to be said. Because of this, I can tell that He’s writing through me when I spruce up my resume and craft my cover letters.

As cliché as Jeremiah 29:11 has become, I find myself remembering that God has plans to prosper me. I can trust that God has a plan for me. Whatever God has planned for me, I can trust that it’s good and life-giving. As I end my year of service with FMS and seek my next opportunity, I’m excited to see what God has in store for me and how I’ll make a living in the near future.

Stay radiant!

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Come, Holy Spirit: This Sunday’s Gospel 5/23/2021

For this Sunday’s Gospel and other Mass readings for Pentecost Sunday Mass during the day, click here!

On my first day of work at the office, I learned everything that I had to do. I was responsible for processing checks, writing and sending thank-you letters, and more development and operations-related tasks. At first, I didn’t think that I could do it. I was a little overwhelmed with all of my responsibilities, and I was worried that I would make mistakes and get in trouble. At most of the jobs I had before, I would be treated like I was stupid if I asked a question, so I tried to avoid asking my supervisor questions.

With little confidence in myself, I sometimes wondered why I was there in the first place, but then I remembered that it was God’s plan. He brought me to DC to do a year of service for a reason. All of this was to help me learn, grow, and be a closer disciple of Christ. During morning prayer at work, I would dedicate my day to Him, and when things would get stressful, I would offer it up and ask for His grace.

In hindsight, I see the ways that He sent me the Holy Spirit. When I thought I couldn’t do something, the Holy Spirit and His gifts helped me to thrive. Now I know that I can do hard things, but I can’t do them alone. The Holy Spirit helps me to fulfill God’s will for me and remain faithful to Him. Sometimes, all it takes is a simple Come, Holy Spirit to remember that He’s with me, strengthening me, and giving me what I need to do God’s will.

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After the Resurrection, Jesus met the Apostles where they were. Huddled in an upper room, I can picture them feeling alone without Jesus and anxious about what would happen next. When Jesus came to them, He let them receive the Holy Spirit, which they would be filled with again on Pentecost so that they could do what He knew they could do. With the Holy Spirit, the Apostles spread the Gospel, healed, and forgave sins so that thousands of their brothers and sisters became disciples of Christ.

Because we’re His followers, Jesus gives us hard things to do. It might not seem like it, but we’re capable of His plans for us. We can fulfill His will with the help of the Holy Spirit. On Pentecost Sunday, let’s remember Him and ask Him to fill us with His gifts so that we can bear fruit. If you don’t know what to say or how to ask, just offer Him a Come, Holy Spirit and let Him do the rest.

Stay radiant!

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Can I be a Saint?

The Saints as heroes
Because I went to Catholic school, I was blessed to be surrounded by pictures and stories of the Saints throughout my childhood. From a young age, these holy men and women were my heroes and role models, and I wanted to be just like them. I loved hearing the stories of Saints like St. Francis, who showed gentleness and compassion to all of God’s creation, and St. Thérѐse of Lisieux, who loved God and her neighbors by doing little things with great love.

As I grew up, my role models became St. Mary Magdalene, who was a close disciple and friend of Jesus, St. Maximilian Kolbe, who offered to die in the place of another prisoner in Auschwitz, and St. Catherine of Alexandria, who debated and defended the faith so well that pagan philosophers converted to Christianity.

Can I be a Saint?
Can I be a Saint?

Sainthood is within reach
As I got older, I began to give into the lie that holiness was out of reach. The gap between myself and the Saints grew, and I began to view them as distant and completely different than me. Listening to the world, I thought that holiness and Sainthood were reserved only for a select few. Who was I to think that I was special enough for that? Giving into despair, I allowed myself to believe that I could never become a Saint.

Fortunately, when I went to college, my lukewarm faith caught on fire when I went to the Newman Center and joined a vibrant Catholic community. I understood what it meant to be a Saint, and I realized that God desires Sainthood for all of us! Now, I truly believe that we all can be Saints. God desires Sainthood for you and for me, and we should desire it too. Nothing is impossible with God, so holiness and Sainthood are within reach for all of us as long as we keep choosing God and living how He guides us.

From learning about our faith and the lives of the Saints, I ascertained a few things they did that made them Saints. Because we all should strive for holiness and Sainthood, I wanted to share them with you.

1 Pray every day.
Prayer is the cornerstone of your relationship with God. In prayer, we talk to Him and get to know Him more. We share our joys and struggles with Him, we entrust Him with our intentions, and we praise Him for His goodness. We become more aware of how He’s working in our lives, and we conform our own will with His. If we want to be Saints, then we need to make God our best friend. Our best friend is someone who we talk to as often as possible, so we should talk to God as much as we can.

2 Receive the Sacraments often.
If prayer is how we talk to God, then the Sacraments are how we spend time with God. The Sacraments give us real, tangible opportunities to be with Jesus, particularly because He’s fully present in the Sacraments. The priest acts in persona Christi in Confession, and the Eucharist is truly the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus. By frequenting Confession, Mass, and Adoration, we receive His graces in special ways. When we experience the person of God, we come to want what’s good and holy for us, and we’re more likely to avoid near occasions of sin.

3 Read the Bible, the Catechism, and other holy books.
Whether you’re a reader or not, these resources are great ways to learn more about God, the Church, and even ourselves. Understanding these things helps us to deepen our faith, and when we know more about God, we fall more in love with Him. No matter how long we’ve known our best friends, we can somehow always learn more about them. Until He gives us the beatific vision in Heaven, we can always keep learning about God.

4 Do little things with great love.
Some of the greatest Saints didn’t necessarily do “great” things. They loved deeply and were intentional about serving God through others. Their example should encourage us because we can easily do little things with great love. Although it might take some practice at first, we can humble ourselves to always put our neighbors first.

5 Consecrate yourself to Mary.
Have you ever been on a mission trip? Mary is the most perfect missionary, and her mission is to bring all of us to the Heart of her Son. According to Fr. Michael Gaitely, MIC, Marian Consecration is “the surest, easiest, shortest, and the most perfect means” to become a Saint. It’s a way to entrust ourselves to Mary so that she can share her graces with us. When we consecrate ourselves to Mary, she brings us closer to Jesus and helps us to love Him more. Some of the greatest Saints were devoted to Mary and consecrated themselves to her.

6 Fast and sacrifice.
Fasting and making sacrifices can make our prayers more powerful, and they can also shorten our time in Purgatory. The more penances we do for our sins on earth, the less time we’ll spend doing penance in Purgatory. Hopefully, we’ll do all the penance we need to do on earth so that we can go directly to heaven. It’s a fact that we’ll have to suffer in this life, but when we suffer well and intentionally offer it up for God, our suffering will sanctify us. The Saints often gave up good things in their lives so that they could pursue God. When we fast from food or sacrifice things like social media, and sleeping in, we give up something good for a greater good.

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Worthy of God’s Kingdom
God wants us to spend eternity with Him in His Kingdom, so the way that we live our lives should prepare us for that. In St. Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, he encourages us to “lead a life worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory” (1 Thessalonians 2:12). In other words, the way that we live should reflect God’s glory, which we’ll share with Him in Heaven someday. This is exactly what the Saints did. Whether they were single, married, in religious lives, old, young, cradle Catholics, or converts, they lived their lives in ways that made them worthy of the Kingdom of Heaven.

No matter how God is calling you to spend your life, there are always ways to choose Him. If we keep God at the forefront of our lives and do our best to follow His will, then we’ll surely be Saints.

Stay radiant!

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