Almsgiving. It can be tough sometimes, because we often use Lenten almsgiving as an opportunity to get rid of stuff we don’t want (read: 40 bags in 40 days), but I was reading an article the other day that argued that isn’t really almsgiving. Almsgiving is where we give from what we need to those who need it more, which doesn’t include my ratty sweater, lidless Tupperware container, or bleach-stained T-shirt.
Inspired by an article in America magazine, and reminded of these words popularized by Mother Teresa, Kristi shares insights from Pope Francis (and Mother Teresa) as it relates to Lenten and everyday almsgiving. Grab your favorite seat on your favorite couch and get comfy while you join us in conversation.
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People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered; love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; do good anyway.
If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies; succeed anyway.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow; do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable; be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight; build anyway.
People really need help but may attack you if you help them, help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth; give the world the best you’ve got anyway.
Here’s wishing you the happiest of Fridays, friends!
In our post on Monday, we talked about The Heart Your Husband Needs. Today we’re building on that momentum and taking some marriage advice from the saints!
“Those who are called to the married state will, with the grace of God, find within their state everything they need to be holy.”
I love this. Marriage is a journey, and like all journeys, it’s got its ups and downs. God calls each of us to our own specific vocations—and he provides us the grace necessary for that, regardless of what it is. For us married folk, that means that every challenge is sanctifying. May these words help us remember that in our times of struggle.
“The love of a husband and wife is the force that welds society together.”
This is one of my favorite quotes from a saint on marriage. It’s so simplistic and straight-forward. Upon analyzing it, though, it’s SO. TRUE. We are the communities in which children are raised and taught the ways of the Church and the ways of the World. If we’re training the future and modeling marriage, then we’re definitely a force. Society isn’t to be without parents, who spawn those who comprise society.
“Great are the joys in marriage, as there is the lifting of progressive veils, until one is brought into the blazing lights of the Presence of God.”
If we could somehow help move the cause of Ven. Fulton J. Sheen ahead by way of petition or something like that, I’d sign it. For sure. He was way ahead of his time. The joys of marriage (so far) have been great, and we are jazzed to continue to be in their presence. But more importantly is when we fall asleep in the hope of the resurrection and wake in the awesome light that is God which is made possible simply because we have lived our marriage out in sanctifying grace.
“A married woman must, when called upon, quit her devotions to God at the altar to find him in her household affairs.”
I can hear people’s feathers being ruffled with that quote in the same way that they would’ve been if I’d written a post defending Ephesians 5 (ooh, a future post idea!). But…let’s look at it. We’ve said before (and quoted St. Therese’s Little Way as well as the words of St. Teresa of Avila, St. Teresa of Calcutta, and St. Gianna) that sometimes acts of love are acts of service that we hate…like dishes, cleaning out the fridge, and doing laundry.
“As love grows in you, beauty grows, too. For love is the beauty of the soul.”
In all fairness, this isn’t specifically related to marriage. I think it’s very applicable to it, though. Our love multiplies over the days and months and years of our marriages. The outward reflection of that love is the beauty modeled to the world, from our souls, and it grows exponentially. Seek always to grow your love.
“Love, to be real, must empty us of self.”
Preach it, Mother Teresa! We’ve heard since marriage prep that marital love is sacrificial. Therefore, we must be emptied of ourselves completely and fill that emptiness with love for our husbands and children. Honestly, guys, if that’s how it’s described, sign me up right now. I’d love nothing more than to look back on this life and know that rather than emptiness, I’m filled with the joy of my loved ones.
What are your favorite saint quotes? Share with us for awesome Catholic inspiration!
Kristi & Rachel
Today we are once again participating in the CWBN Sienna Sisters Blog Hop series entitled “My True Feelings about Confession.” I love confession. If you’ve been with us for a while, you already know that. If you’re new to the blog or want a refresher, check out Reconciliation: God’s Mercy Made Tangible. You may recall that Little Miss recently made her first reconciliation. Since you’ve already heard my take on this awesome sacrament, I decided to ask Little Miss to share her true feelings about confession. Spolier alert: I love that she—an innocent child—can see the beauty within this sacrament, as I do.
K: Tell me how you felt after you made your first reconciliation.
LM: I felt like the greatest person in the whole entire world, because I was free of sin. I don’t know why, I just did. It must’ve been the Holy Spirit.
K: Do you look forward to going to confession again? Why?
LM: Yes, I do. Every single time I do. Because of what I just told you—I mean, it just feels great to get all the sins out. I felt like a whole new person. It’s kind of crazy, but it’s actually really, really awesome at the same time. I think I would actually be really sad if confession didn’t exist.
K: Did you know some people are afraid to go to confession? What advice would you give to someone like that?
LM: No. Um…I’d just say…I don’t know. Um, I guess I would say not to be afraid because it’s the greatest thing in the world.
K: You keep saying that it’s “the greatest thing in the world.” Can you describe it in other ways? Like, what is confession better than?
LM: Anything…in the world, really. Except for God. I think it’s even better than his beautiful creations—except for, like, the Holy Family and angels.
K: Wow. Even better than his creations? I know you love sunrises and sunsets. Confession is better than those?
K: Let’s say you had a friend who was about to make her first confession after ten years. Let’s say she’s nervous and a little scared to go to confession. What would you tell her?
LM: I guess the same thing I’d say to someone if it was their first time making confession, except I’d try to comfort her a little more, because she’d be embarrassed about it, I think.
K: Okay…so what would you say?
LM: I think I’d just say, “There’s nothing to worry about. I felt the same way before I made my first confession, and then afterward, I felt like the greatest person ever, so take my advice. Oh, and there’s not going to be cake and punch after every time, but there will be after the first time.”
In our house, we push the ideas of forgiveness, mercy, and reconciliation (see For the Love of All Things Holy about one way we push those ideas) in all things that we do. We actively practice this because Christ actively practiced it. For our family, we don’t just apologize, we ask for one another’s forgiveness and we grant it freely. There are, of course, additional conversations that coincide with that depending on the issue.
It stands to reason, then, that we make going to confession to receive God’s mercy a family affair. We love to go together, pray our penance together, and then feel “like the greatest” as a family. It resets us with God and it resets our demeanor with one another.
Especially during this penitential season of Lent, receiving the sacrament of penance is wonderful. It’s freeing, therapeutic, and helps you grow closer to the Living God. Both Little Miss and I urge you to go to confession soon.
P.S. Little Miss was nervous for this to be posted, but so excited to share her perspective with our readers. Would you share your thoughts on this post with us? Don’t forget to check out the other blog posts in the CWBN Blog Hop here.
You know how people without children often have loads of solid parenting advice? I like to call this the Peanut Gallery effect. I’ve been a mom (pregnancy to present) for over eight years and I’ve got plenty of on-the-job experience with this. No one knows the heart your child needs like you do. It didn’t occur to me that there’s a similar phenomenon where unmarried people (i.e., me for a good amount of my life until recently) judge and advise the married. For instance, I may have looked at how one married friend treated her husband and thought she handled it wrong. I may’ve even mentioned what I’d do in her situation. To her, and on behalf of all married people who’ve received such input, allow me to apologize. No one knows the heart your husband needs the way that you do.
As I’m typing this, my poor sweet Superman is laid out in the bed after a long day’s work in a city quite a distance away trying to come back from nausea and a headache. He came home, kissed us on the head, and went straight to bed. As I brought him water, offered to get him anything he needed, and caressed his clean-shaven head, I realized that what he needs from me in this moment is absence. He needs solitude. He needs permission to sleep and do what he needs to do without feeling guilty about neglecting family responsibilities. That’s what I’m giving him (and if I’m not mistaken, he’s now OUT like a light).
Past, unmarried me might’ve thought that actions such as this show wifely neglect. How short-sighted is that? How is listening to your husband’s need and then responding to it neglect? Obviously, the answer is that it isn’t. It’s the opposite. Please, don’t allow the naysayers to sway you. You know your marriage. He knows your marriage. God knows your marriage. Unless there’s domestic violence, emotional/psychological abuse, or something else dangerous going on, nobody else gets a say in your marriage.
“Lord, grant that I might not so much seek to be loved as to love.” ~St. Francis of Assisi
St. Francis brings forth a whole lot for reflection in that one sentence within his renowned prayer. This month has had a lot of conversation (so far) about the beautiful sacrament of matrimony and how to practically live it out. This quote is a perfect summation for what we’re called to do. I have to try to show my love for Superman more than I seek Superman’s signs of his love for me.
Trust your wifely instincts, my fellow Catholic wives. You are perfectly suited to provide exactly what your husband needs. Today mine needs rest and permission to disappear. Tomorrow, he might need an ear or a shoulder or a warm embrace. Whatever it is, I will make sure he gets it. I’m perfectly designed to read his needs and provide them; and so are you for your husband.
Please don’t listen to the world. I mean, in reality, listening to the world is NEVER a good idea. We’ve been given a wonderful guidebook in the Bible and excellent examples in married saints (like St. Joseph, St. Monica, Sts. Zelie and Louis Martin, Sts. Priscilla and Aquila, and St. Gianna Beretta Molla, for example) and those celibate saints who had much to say on the topic of marriage (St. John Paul the Great, St. John Chrysostom, and St. Valentine (who witnessed to the beauty of marriage)). If we’re listening to anyone other than ourselves on how we live out our marriages, let it be them.
Have you stopped to think about the heart your husband needs from you lately? Maybe it’s a listening heart. Perhaps it’s a service heart. You know what he needs, though. May you find it easy to provide it to him.
Happy St. Patrick’s day! My family is Irish on both sides and Deep South Georgian on the Catholic side. That may not mean much to you immediately, but Savannah clings to every potential drop of Irish blood and does St. Patrick’s Day up HUGE. That’s my family. As you know, recently, my family has been reshaped and has blended new members in. Today on the podcast, I’m hanging out with Little Miss, my seven year-old daughter, to talk about some of the changes that have gone on in our home since the wedding.
Little Miss is super excited to be filling in for Aunt Rachel today. She’s wanted to participate in the podcast since its inception. So, please, ready your “she’s so adorable!” smile, grab a cup of something soothing, and join me and my Little Miss in a conversation about blending…and Blended…among other things. She also does her best impression of our usual podcast openings.
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We already had our St. Patrick’s Day tea party (yesterday), so here’s a picture of our table of deliciousness.
Little Miss would love any input that you have to offer on this, her first podcast. Leave her some love in the comments below and have a fantastic weekend!