Happy and Blessed Solemnity of the Annunciation


+JMJ+ Last night we prayed the Rosary to cultivate a civilization of Love and Life and to end the culture of death, but also in honor of the Annunciation. I post a thread before the Rosary itself of things to help us prepare for our meditation, a kind of meditation before our meditation: parts of the Divine Office, images of the saint of the day, things like that. Last night I posted some images of paintings of the Annunciation. You can see that prep, and the Rosary thread that followed it, on my Twitter page. The link to that thread and many others are also on the Rosary Project Live Archives page. You can also visit the First Joyful Mystery page in the Rosary Project on the blog, available to you 24/7/365.

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Happy feast day of Saint Joseph

St Joseph with the Child Jesus, by Murillo

+JMJ+ A blessed feast day of Saint Joseph to you! And happy first day of Spring. Here we in the fourth week of Lent. Hasn’t this Lent flown by? My sister sent me a gift card for Christmas and I’m just now using it. What did I get? One book, so far: The Silent Knight: A History of St. Joseph as Depicted in Art, by my favorite art historian and one of my all-time favorite speakers, period, Dr. Elizabeth Lev. I only bought the book today and I haven’t begun to read it yet, so how can I recommend it to you? Well, first, did I mention it’s by Liz Lev? And I’ve watched some interesting interviews about it (see below), so I am looking forward to digging into it. In keeping with the art of Saint Joseph theme I’m going to include a few of my favorite paintings of him. 

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We are not our own best advisers

+JMJ+ I’ve mentioned before that my favorite daily meditations, after the Mass readings and the breviary, come from the series In Conversations with God by Francis Fernandez Carvajal. I was reading in it tonight and this passage jumped out at me.

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For the suffering

+JMJ+ Greetings! Here we are at the second week of Lent already. I’ve made an extra effort to remember what I’m doing this time, fasting and abstinence. And I’ve managed to mostly keep to it. Mostly. Old habits are hard to break. And I’ve spent the past couple of days dealing with illness. But then I stumbled upon some videos about babies whose mothers are addicted to some serious drugs and their babies go through some awful withdrawal after they’re born. Looking at my suffering after that? No comparison. (These poor little ones really grabbed my attention and my heart this weekend. Be forewarned. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. So here’s tonight’s post.)

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Announcing the winner of the Giveaway Lent 2023

+JMJ+ And the winner is… Marcia Geraghty! I’ll send out an  announcement via email and social media posts, too. Just email me your shipping address, Marcia, and I’ll get your copy of In Conversation with God, Volume 2, sent to you ASAP!

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Time for another giveaway! (Ended)

(Note: This giveaway has ended, winner will be announced tonight, March 3. View other giveaways.)

+JMJ+ Tonight I decided to give away a copy of In Conversation with God, Volume 2: Lent, Holy Week, and Eastertide, published by Scepter. It’s going to be a quick giveaway so the winner will have time to use it during Lent. See the Lent 2023 Giveaway page for more info and the email form to use to enter the giveaway. See past giveaways.

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What will I give up for Lent

+JMJ+ During His forty days in the desert Jesus undid the temptations of the fall: pleasures, possessions and pride* and He did so by resisting the temptation to eat, to rule all the kingdoms of the world (I did giggle when the Devil offered that to Christ the King of the Universe), and to exalt Himself (as if He could exalt Himself anymore than He already was exalted, what with being God and all). Lent gives us a chance to join Him in overcoming our ancient enemy and his tactics, his temptations, and overcoming our weakness. And do we ever come face to face with our own weakness during Lent!

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Ash Wednesday is almost here

+JMJ+ Yesterday I shared a couple of things about Ash Wednesday and Lent in the Church against the charge that they have pagan roots. Today I want to add more to that, some videos that I think are interesting and helpful. First, a video from Dr. Brant Pitre, then two by Fr. Mike Schmitz, and one by Fr. Chris Alar, three of my favorite Catholic teachers and speakers.

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Ack! Ash Wednesday is, well, Wednesday! 

+JMJ+ How is it possible? I say I’m going to prepare early for Lent every year and every year Lent begins with me scrambling around at the last minute. We’ve still got a couple of days. Here are some things I’ve found tonight. First up, something that will come in handy for most of us who have non-Catholic friends, family, co-workers, or neighbors: “No, Ash Wednesday/Lent is not pagan,” a post and an audio file. Then some helpful things to help us make this Lent a blessed and spiritual occasion. (Note: I added sort of a part two of this post containing four videos I found helpful.)

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Doing the Catechism In A Year and I’m not even behind yet

+JMJ+ I’ve been listening to the Catechism In A Year podcast, well, watching it on YouTube. And I have to tell you how much I am enjoying it. I’m not trying to post notes about it the way I tried to do with his Bible In A Year podcast. 

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Lent is coming, rambling thoughts on mortification 

+JMJ+ With Lent fast approaching I ask a question: Is mortification still a thing for Catholics? I know it’s still a practice recommended by the Church, and I don’t see how anyone can make any spiritual progress without it, but do people include mortification in their spiritual practice anymore? Do they even have a spiritual practice? I’m asking because whenever I see mortification mentioned, it’s always in a negative sense, as in, “I want to focus on the positive this Lent, not focus on the negative.” I don’t even know what that gobbledygook means, but I do know that it can have serious consequences for a spiritual life.

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Anotha cuppa and a few words about the time I recited the Creed in a coffee shop

+JMJ+ Did I ever tell you about the time I recited the Creed in a coffee shop? I was talking with a young man about religion and belief and I do not remember how we got on the subject. Probably he saw that I was wearing a Catholic T-shirt and reading a Catholic book. A lot of my conversations get started that way. Eventually he said to me, “I don’t know what I believe, do you?”

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