Simply Divine Mercy

Category: Mary

When We Were Eve Blog Tour Stop #4

mitchell-blogtour.png

What if we could remember who we were when we were Eve?  What if we could recall that pure innocence, that beauty, that freedom of who we were created to be?

Colleen C. Mitchell’s latest book When We Were Eve calls out to the heart of each woman, inviting her to rediscover herself and to grow in intimacy with God in the process.

After the fall of mankind, the Garden of Eden was sealed off with a flaming sword.  Now, on this side of that barrier, we must grapple with the constant effects of sin.

Of particular difficulty for women of course is our distorted view of self and our often troubled relationship with our bodies.  Mitchell reminds us that we are comprised of both body and soul, and that this makeup requires us to maintain both body and soul through gentle physical and spiritual care.

Interwoven throughout the book are several stories from women sharing intimate pieces of their own journeys back to healthy relationships with themselves.  This provides much to reflect upon.

Mitchell’s writing style is a breath of fresh air.  In a world clamoring for our attention, she whispers truth into the weary souls of women.  She is well versed in Scripture and the writings of the saints.  It is also evident that she is very self-aware, making her well equipped to be our guide.

At the heart of her message, we learn that in being kind to ourselves we are not indulging in prideful self-love, but rather we are merely loving God and giving Him due glory.

Every woman deserves to know the truth of her creation story, the truth of her place in the Kingdom of God.  This book guides readers through the pathways that lead back to the Garden of Eden.  It is only there that we can come to know true peace and intimacy with God.

Are you ready to begin your journey back to Eden?  Are you ready to discover the woman you were created to be?  Are you ready to remember when you were innocent, and free, and pure?  Let’s follow Mitchell now on this treasure map she has unearthed.  Let’s travel together through these pages as we seek to remember who we were when we were Eve.

When We Were Eve is available from Franciscan Media here.

*This book, like many on this site, was given to me in exchange for my honest review. I’m grateful for the opportunity to share it with you today as a part of this Blog Tour.  

Advertisements

Praying the Rosary Like Never Before

An Ex.jpg

I have found much comfort and peace in praying the rosary in times of joy, in times of anxiety, and in times of sorrow.  Along with my Catholic faith, the rosary is perhaps the best gift my family has passed on to me.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mother Mary: Inspiring Words from Pope Francis

41a93qsg0IL._SX365_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

*This book, like many on this site, was given to me by the publisher in exchange for my honest review. 

Here is a collection of some of the most profound and beautiful words from Pope Francis speaking about our Mother Mary.  If you love listening to Pope Francis speak, you will love this book.

Whether you’ve devoted to Mary, or just starting to learn more about her, there’s something in this book to challenge you and to help you grow in your faith.

Mother Mary: Inspiring Words from Pope Francis makes for a quick read because the excerpts are fairly short in length, and they can be read altogether one after the other.  Or you could choose to read it like a devotional.  Opening this book at random is a beautiful thing to do, too.

Excerpts are taken from homilies, writings, papal addresses, and even social media accounts of Pope Francis.  They are full of prayers, messages of hope, notes of spiritual direction, and reflections.  Embedded in all of this is a golden thread that runs throughout the book, that is call to action for the Faithful, that we might pray with renewed fervor and zeal to our God, and that we might place ourselves more fully under the spiritual guidance and protection of the loving Mother Jesus gave to all of us on the Cross.

I don’t usually scribble in the margins of books, but my copy of this book is covered in additional thoughts, little arrows and underlined sections, and ideas about where these excerpts can be used or referred to in my own personal life and ministry work.  In short, this book has proved to be a very useful companion for my own life, and it is one I will keep handy on my bookshelf so that I can turn back to it as needed.

I’m grateful to the editor Alicia von Stamwitz for compiling these thought-provoking quotes from our Pope into six small, concise, easily accessible chapters you’ll be turning to again and again.

Purchase Mother Mary: Inspiring Words from Pope Francis from Franciscan Media or Amazon.

P.S. God is merciful & He loves you!  Pass it on…

Our Lady of Fatima: 100 years of stories, prayers, and devotions

512hIVbFZ2L

Have you heard the message of Fatima?  Even if you are familiar with Mary’s apparitions at Fatima, I guarantee you haven’t heard the story told quite like this before.  And if you’re skeptical about the whole thing, all the more reason to pick up this book.

Mary wants to lead us to her Son, Jesus Christ.  She wants peace for the world, and she wants us to repent of our sins so we can all make it to Heaven!

There’s no better time to pick up this book than right now, as we are about to celebrate the 100th anniversary of these apparitions.  In fact, the Church will celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima on May 13, which is right around the corner.  On this day, Pope Francis will also canonize Jacinta and Francisco, two of the Fatima visionaries, as Saints for the whole world to celebrate!

In this book, author Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle takes readers through a century of fascinating stories related to Fatima.  She recounts what occurred in this city back in 1916 and 1917, and the fulfillment of the Fatima prophecies that have taken place since that time.  She also shares things that Sr. Lucia experienced later in her life as she worked to ensure that Mary’s message spread throughout the Church, and that things were completed as Mary and Jesus requested.

In these pages, you will hear remarkable stories you’ve never heard before, and details that you won’t find in other places.  Did you know that Saint Mother Teresa planned a top secret mission in Russia specifically to occur just as Saint John Paul II consecrated Russia to Mary’s Immaculate Heart?  Did you know she pulled it off?  Do you know about the devotion of the Five First Saturdays?  Do you know why Mary specifically requested five and not six or seven?  Have you heard the Fatima prayers?  Do you know how you can incorporate these prayers into your daily life to make atonement for the sins of the world?  All of this and more is shared in this fascinating book.

Perhaps as astounding as the Fatima miracles themselves, are the personal experiences of the author that she shares at the end of the book.  I don’t want to spoil the ending, but it’s unbelievable what this woman endured for the sake of this writing, and the timing of her injuries is absolutely astounding.

In short, I had a hard time putting this book down!  You won’t want to miss this exciting read, especially as we celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Fatima apparitions this year.

We all must now do our part to make reparation for the sins of this world.  Find out what you can do to live the Fatima message today!

And a note to any skeptics:  With Mary, you have nothing to fear except fear itself.  Fear of Mary will only keep you from Mary, which will only keep you from a deeper intimacy with Christ.  Our Mother Mary who is Our Lady of Fatima, is the Mother of Jesus Christ who is our brother.  Hence, she is our Mother, too, and Jesus also gave her to us on the Cross.  Mary is truly amazing.  She also only wants to do the will of her Son.  She wants to support Jesus as much as possible in the work of bringing all souls to Heaven.  Perhaps you will be able to get to know her just a little better through the words in this book.

This book is available on Amazon and from Franciscan Media.

Mother Mary, pray for us!  God bless you!

Pray with Your Senses – Color & Sound Sets Make Great Gifts!

I recently had the privilege of working with these two “Color & Sound” sets for Paraclete Press.  They have paired completely unique, fun, and inspirational, Marian themed coloring books with high quality Gregorian Chant CD compilations.

Set aside your electronic devices and games, and do something with your hands that will free your mind up for prayer.

I wanted to share these with you today just in time for Mother’s Day, but they would also make a perfect gift for a graduating senior!  These books are a gentle way to instill or rejuvenate our Catholic Faith.

You could also use them for prayer time in Adoration, or as a teaching tool for children to help them learn the Rosary and how to meditate on Mary’s many beautiful names.  Children love to color, so teach them also that they can turn their coloring into prayers!  It’s fun to actually pray the rosary as you’re coloring each decade page, too.  I think these also work beautifully as side-by-side adult coloring books for those times you are coloring with young children.

In fact, my daughters love to see my finished coloring pieces, and I enjoy coloring with a picture that stretches me beyond the super familiar shapes of Winnie the Pooh and Hello Kitty.

So here are two excellent Color & Sound sets for you to consider!  May they enhance your own prayer life, and the prayers of the ones you love.

  1.  Mother Mary – Color & Sound:  An Imaginative Pathway to Stillness and Beauty

9781612619057_p0_v2_s192x300

This coloring book has a page for many of the beautiful names we give to Mary the Mother of God.  Each page contains a title for Mary, a powerful prayer or quote related to this title, and a little more info to peak your curiosity about where this title came from, or who Mary appeared to under this title.  The pictures are fun and simple enough for coloring, and the end result is a beautiful picture that might even be suitable for displaying in your home!

IMG_0784

IMG_0785.JPG

This set includes “The Chants of Mary,” a Gregorian Chant CD sung by the Gloriae Dei Cantores Men’s Schola.  I love having this CD on in the background of my day.  It puts children to sleep like a light switch when we play it in the car.  It keeps me calm in the inevitable challenging moments that arise at home with three toddlers.  It is 65 minutes of Heaven on earth.  Brush up on your Latin with the accompanying CD booklet that contains English & Latin lyrics as side-by-side text, along with beautiful full color pictures and images.

  1. The Rosary – Contemplation with Color and Sound: Color and Music to Inspire your Prayers9781612619194_p0_v1_s192x300

This coloring book takes you all the way through your rosary, with a page for each decade of the Glorious, Sorrowful, Luminous, and Joyful Mysteries!  There’s also a page for the Apostle’s Creed & Hail, Holy Queen.  The pictures are whimsical and leave much room for contemplation as you pray along with your coloring.  Enter into each mystery of the rosary a little deeper, and then go back and remember your prayers when you see a beautiful, completed picture in their place.

img_0276.jpg

IMG_0275

This book is paired with “Feasts of Our Lady,” a Gregorian Chant CD by the Monastic Choir of St. Peter’s Abbey, Solesmes.  It also contains a booklet with side-by-side Latin & English text.  This CD is one of my favorite Gregorian Chant compilations.  The music is very vibrant and rich.  The harmonies are solid.  The sweeping melodies lift one’s thoughts to Heaven.  You will not be disappointed!

Purchase these CDs from Paraclete Press or Amazon!  And remember, God loves you & He is merciful!  Pass it on…

Unveiling a Masterpiece…

untitled-design-8

“Wouldn’t it be great if we could give each mother the same image of Mary & Jesus?” Serena asked, as we browsed through prints for sale at our local Catholic Corner booth.

The only problem was:  which one would we pick?  There are so many gorgeous paintings of our Blessed Mother and her Divine Son Jesus.

God took care of that for us.

When Mary Garden Showers opened a chapter at St. Patrick’s in Columbus, OH, we had no idea that a talented Catholic artist was sitting right in the pews of that very church.

Our chapter leaders knew.  They reached out to her about a painting project.

When artist Bernadette Carstensen was asked to paint an image for our ministry, she says:

“The idea for this painting came to me right away, inspired by the way my daughter sometimes plays with me.  So, I decided to pose Mary and Jesus in an affectionate moment, mother and baby playing together quietly.  Jesus is meant to look like He is crowning her with flowers playfully, but also representing what will come when they are both in heaven.  Mostly, I wanted to show Mary as a human mother in love with her child, awed by His beauty and innocence, hoping that a new mom who is feeling scared or worried could look at it and imagine the happiness she will have with her baby.”

A few months back, we shared a progress sketch of the painting that Bernadette graciously sent our way.  Now, we are thrilled to be able to unveil the finished painting that is such a gift and blessing to this ministry…

Purchase your copy here today!  All proceeds go to Mary Garden Showers.  Thanks for your support.

MaryJesusForWeb

 

Amazing, right?  Ms. Bernadette, we are so grateful and humbled that you painted this for the mothers we serve.

P.S.  God is Merciful & He loves you… pass it on!

Mary’s Way: The Power of Entrusting Your Child to God

51aq60zvuzl-_sx320_bo1204203200_

Mary’s way can be our way, too!  Judy Landrieu Klein opens her heart in this beautiful book of affirmation, hope, and encouragement for all mothers. 

Klein takes readers through her own personal journey of motherhood, with all of its sorrows and joys.  Just like Mary, we all must bring our children into the world, nurture them, love them, and then let them go into the world to hopefully become the adults God desires them to be!  This is no small feat.  And motherhood is certainly not for the faint of heart. 

Klein had a beautiful turning point in her life when Mary spoke to her heart.  From that moment on, Mary played a large role in Klein’s motherhood.  She encourages readers to trust in the Blessed Mother, and to turn to her for wisdom, guidance, and strength. 

Inside the book, you’ll find a beautiful prayer for consecrating your children and spouse to the care of the Blessed Mother.  Klein explains the significance of this consecration, and how sustaining these prayers have been in her life. 

I recommend this book for all mothers, but especially for any mothers who have adult children – particularly children who have fallen away from the church, or who have fallen into bad habits in their lives. 

Get ready for an awesome testimony to the power of a mother’s prayers! Don’t miss Mary’s Way: The Power of Entrusting Your Child to God. 

You can purchase this book from Amazon or Ave Maria Press.

P.S. God is merciful & He loves you… Pass it on! 

hush, hush, beautiful is the mother

hush, hush,beautifulis themother.png

Christ is born tell the folk of the village.  Jesus is sleeping in his cradle. Hush, hush, beautiful is the mother.  Hush, hush, beautiful is her Son.

In a few weeks, we too will be invited to peek into the stable to take a look at baby Jesus.  We will begin anew in our endeavors to tell the folk of the village – to tell the people of this world that Jesus is here!

What a gorgeous Christmas carol this truly is, as it invites us to hush.

Hush, hush, be still my soul.  Hush, hush, be still my heart.

And beautiful is the mother.  What a wonderful phrase.

If we truly were to peek into that long-ago and far-away stable, we would see Mary at Jesus’ side.  Perhaps baby Jesus would be in her arms when we arrived.

She truly is beautiful.  Can you see her?  Can you see how lovely she is and how her eyes are fixed on Christ?  Can you see her hair pulled back underneath an ivory veil?  Can you feel the warmth of her tender love?

You see, the beauty of the vocation of motherhood lies in its quiet service.

Mary is the epitome of this servitude.  She humbly, gently, ever so carefully, surrendered over her entire self to God.  She surrendered over her entire self to the process of pregnancy and birth, and she journeyed with her Son all the way to Calvary.

How contrary this is to our culture today that tells women who find themselves pregnant, “You don’t need to serve.  You can escape.”

How beautiful it is to see such virtue, such holiness, such gentleness, and such warmth in Jesus’ mother Mary.  May we bring these qualities to life more fully in our own vocations!

As we journey through these days of Advent, let us hush.  Let us escape from the clamor of the world in moments of quiet reflection.

Let us stand in awe of the beauty of Mary, the mother of Jesus.  Let us stand in awe of the gift that Jesus is to the world.  Let us stand in awe of the gift that Jesus gave us in his mother Mary.

For beautiful is the mother.

need to charge more to power on

untitled-design-8

As I plugged my phone into the wall, the screen lit up, and a picture of an empty battery flashed at me in the darkness.  “Need to charge more to power on,” it said. 

You know what?  I can relate. 

I need to charge more to power on lately.  Why don’t I take the time to charge?  Is it laziness?  Is it pride? 

For me it comes down to trust.  I need to trust more in Christ.  Trust is what keeps me running through my days.  Without it, I fail miserably.  My compass is off kilter.  My direction is cloudy.  My best efforts are squelched.  It’s really that bad.  

When I pray the rosary, I trust that I am doing what I can to connect myself to the life and sufferings of Christ and our mother Mary.  The rosary allows me to trust in God’s goodness, to revel in the mysteries of His life, and to trust that my life is also intricately planned and ordained. 

Your life is also intricately planned and ordained.  Do we trust that our lives truly have purpose beyond what is seen? 

When I quiet my mind, ask my soul to be still, and listen for the sound of God’s voice in the stillness, I trust that I am doing what I can to make myself available to God’s living word in my life.  A listening prayer exercises my trust in a living God who wants to guide my heart and set order in my days. 

God wants to guide your heart and to set order in your days.  Do we trust Him and let Him lead? 

Through the rosary and through ongoing effort at contemplative prayer, I charge my battery as a wife, as a mother of three children ages three and under, as a friend, as a daughter, as a sister, as a neighbor, as a human – as me. 

I’ve had trouble finishing my rosaries lately.  I start and stop, but God knows my heart.  He searches my soul.  He searches within all of us and knows us intimately. 

Graces await if we only begin. 

I’ve had trouble finishing the dishes lately.  I’ve had trouble finishing the laundry lately.  I’ve had trouble finishing a cup of tea lately.  I start and stop, but it’s no matter.  God does not always intend for us to complete all of the work that we begin – certainly not always in the order we think is best, and certainly not when other pressing things clamor for our attention.  Yet God knows my heart.  He searches my soul.  He searches within all of us and knows us intimately. 

What matters is that we are joyful as we go about our work.  What matters is that we give praise always and everywhere to God. 

Graces await if we only begin.

So I would do well to wait until I am at least charged to power on.  I would do well to wait until I am connected with Christ before I even search through my thoughts, before I even open my mouth for the day.  I would do well to trust in Christ more fervently and intentionally. 

As we open our hearts and turn our thoughts toward the coming of Christ in this Advent season, let us begin anew with great fervor and zeal. 

Graces await if we only begin.

the gift of the Eucharist

untitled-design-8

As Mothers, we are programmed to pour out our love for our children.  It happens automatically and subconsciously.  We pour of ourselves.  Our children literally eat of ourselves – the milk we produce gives them nourishment.

In exactly the same way, our Mother Mary placed Jesus in the manger, a feeding trough for animals.  ‘This is your nourishment.  This is your bread.  This is your drink,’ she said to us through this profound gesture.

This is the gift of the Eucharist.

Mary poured out nourishment for Jesus with her body through her precious milk.  Jesus poured out nourishment for mankind with His body through His precious blood.

We are called to eat the body that Mary nourished for us.  We are called to drink the blood that Jesus shed for us.  And we are called to pour out nourishment for the world with our bodies through our precious merciful love of one another.

It is true that we are what we eat.  We must eat what is pure that we may become what is pure.

The milk that sustained Jesus was pure.  The blood that sustains mankind is pure.  So too must our merciful love be pure!

Let us guard our hearts that we might make of ourselves a pure and holy sacrifice, burning with merciful love that is pleasing to our God!

Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. – John 6:53-57

P.S. God loves you and He is merciful!  Pass it on…