Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Mysteries and Gifts: An Ash Wednesday Reflection


On October 16, 2002, I turned 39 years old and Pope St. John Paul the Great published his Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Maria, in which he inaugurated the Year of the Rosary from October 2002 to October 2003 (ending on the 25th anniversary of his Pontificate and coincidentally my 40th birthday.)

Ash Wednesday fell on March 5 in 2003, during the Year of the Rosary.  This is the day I decided to begin Lent by praying a Rosary every day.  I did it partly because I needed to learn the new Luminous Mysteries (the Mysteries of Light) that Pope John Paul II had just initiated, but also because up until that time I never really felt the Rosary was an important part of my life.  That soon changed.

One Spring morning in 2007 I was driving to work as I made plans in my mind to visit my dad after work.  Dad was in home hospice dying from the final stages of gallbladder cancer.  By the time I reached my office, I realized I had not gotten past my first Hail Mary of the Agony in the Garden decade.  How appropriate that my dad’s own agony was the distraction that prevented me from completing my morning Rosary.   I sat in my parking spot, initially feeling guilty for not finishing the Rosary before I arrived at work.  Then I realized that the work I would be undertaking throughout the day caring for patients and my family were just as much a daily prayer as my Rosary.  In fact, I felt that praying part of the Rosary first thing in the morning and concluding that awesome prayer at the end of the day allowed me to make my entire day part of my daily prayer to the God who loved me into existence and then suffered for my sins and sacrificed his life for my salvation.  I had an entirely new outlook on praying the Rosary.

One Summer evening in 2010, my seventeen-year-old son was on summer break and had the day off from lifeguarding the following day.  Several high school friends picked him up after dinner to see a movie.  I told him to be home by 10:00 and to call if he would be late.  Ten o’clock passed, then eleven o'clock, then midnight.  My phone calls went from unanswered calls and texts to going straight to voicemail.  I made phone calls to parents that did not answer and tried to figure a way to track his cell phone.  I called the cell phone company and the police by 3:00 AM, but they could not help.  I had to leave for work at 6:00 AM, but how could I work when I had no idea of my son’s location and well-being?  Sleepless and unable to rise from my living room chair, I began to pray that day’s Rosary.  As I began to pray the fifth Joyful mystery, I heard the back door open and ran to see my son enter our home.  As most parents of teens can picture, he was shocked that I was at all worried just because his phone died and he fell asleep playing Xbox with his friends.  For my part, I could only imagine the relief Jesus and Mary felt after days of not knowing where their young son, Jesus, could have been.

I always take Wednesday afternoons off.  On a late 2013 Autumn afternoon I decided to pray the middle of my Glorious mysteries as I drove home from work.  Since I was in no hurry, I decided to take all side roads home to avoid the congested highways.  As I passed through a quiet neighborhood, I felt sunlight streaming through the sunroof of my beige Camry.  I pulled over and looked up to see every shade of red-orange-yellow-green leaves flickering in the canopy of overhead branches to allow flashes of brilliant light to be quickly seen and then disappear just as quickly.  An overwhelming assurance of the certainty of God the Father and creator of all infused my body and soul to its core.  I felt the indescribable love of the Father for His Son, and that unearned, sacrificial, limitless love between them created the gift of the Holy Spirit, whom at that moment I experienced more tangibly than I ever had previously.  I completed the mystery of the Descent of the Holy Spirit slowly as I drove the rest of the way home.

At one time I felt the Rosary was merely a string of repetitious prayers, but the habit of saying it daily has made it an invaluable part of my life.  Frequently I find myself smiling as each mystery reminds me of the Gospel, but at the same time it brings up similar joyful, luminous, sorrowful, and glorious events that are occurring in my life every single day.  The prayers I entrust to Our Blessed Mother as I pray the Rosary, which I ask her to present to her son, become an integral part of future Rosaries. At one time I had little to relate to the Agony in the Garden, the Finding of Jesus in the Temple, and the Descent of the Holy Spirit.  Now I look forward to being surprised by the unique and unexpected ways God will use the Rosary to guide and comfort me.



Last Thursday was a face-hurting cold morning as I slid into my car, made the sign of the cross, and began praying the Rosary.  Stopped in highway traffic, I began the fourth Luminous mystery.  I smiled as I thought to myself how the Transfiguration has not had as much meaning in my own personal life as other mysteries.  I cannot even begin to imagine how that mystery might play a more significant role in my life in the future, but I have been surprised before.  He is a God of surprises, and even the Rosary has become one of the greatest, though unexpected, gifts in my life.

                       






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Jeffrey E. Mathews, MD, has been a Pauline Cooperator since October 11, 2009. He and his wife, Carolyn, live in St. Louis, MO, and are blessed with three sons and two daughters (two out of college, two in college, and one in high school). Dr. Mathews, a gastroenterologist, is trying really hard to improve his Spanish for his annual medical mission trip to Honduras.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

A Centenary Year Full of Thanksgiving and Celebration!



In the Los Angeles area we are very fortunate to have 7 branches of the Pauline Family represented: The Society of St. Paul (from the Mexican Province), the Sister  Disciples of the Divine Master, the Daughters of St. Paul, the Annunciationists, the Gabrielites, the Holy Family Institute, and the Pauline Cooperators.

 Daughters of St Paul in Culver City with Archbishop Gomez


On June 27th, 2015, the Daughters of St. Paul in Culver City celebrated their 100th Anniversary Mass with Archbishop Gomez as the main celebrant.  Members of the Pauline Family joined in the Mass and reception which followed the celebration.  We felt it to be an especially historic day because it was exactly on June 27, 1915 that Fr. James Alberione met Mother Thecla Merlo for the very first time! 





The LA Pauline Family Celebrates Thanksgiving
and Bl James Feast Day Together


This past year, Fr. James Alberione’s Feast day fell exactly on Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 2015.  So what did the Pauline Family in Los Angeles do?  We came together for an extra special Mass of Thanksgiving in the Daughters of St. Paul Chapel, followed by a Thanksgiving Day Feast in our Conference Room.  We enjoyed all of the traditional Thanksgiving dinner dishes such as turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy. But to give it a local twist, we also provided homemade salsas – hot, extra hot, medium and mild.






As the Centenary of the Daughters of St. Paul draws to a close on February 5th, 2016, we prepare to gather one more time during this Centenary Year for a Mass of Thanksgiving as a Pauline Family on Sunday January 24th (the day before the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul).  There will be close to 30 of us Los Angeles Paulines coming together for Mass and Dinner: 5 from the Society of St Paul, 5 from the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master, 6 of us Daughters of St. Paul, 1 or 2 Annunciationists, 8 Pauline Cooperators, and this time we also invited 3 young women who are in discernment.
Sr Marie James with the LA Sister Disciples of the Divine Master


  Book published by the Society of St. Paul





The candidates and promised Pauline Cooperators have enjoyed these opportunities to meet and come to know the other members of our Pauline Family. The new book that was published by the Society of St. Paul in Staten Island gave the Cooperators in Culver City a good overview of the branches founded by Alberione.
               
          





June, Rocco Siciliano, Maria Siciliano, Sr Marie James 


This year of thanksgiving and celebration has provided many joyous occasions to come together as a Pauline Family.  What a grace it is to be part of a big family!  One of our promised cooperators, Maria Siciliano, said "I enjoy meeting fellow Pauline Cooperators at the many events hosted at Pauline Books and Media in Culver City.  My spirit is nurtured and my faith fed at these gatherings".  Shellie Di Spirito, a candidate who is in formation to become a Pauline Cooperator, remarked that “It has been wonderful to meet the other members of our Pauline Family!  I love sharing faith and apostolic experiences with the Paulines and learning about their experiences too”.                  


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Sr. Marie James Hunt entered the Daughters of St Paul community in 1981.  She is currently missioned in California where she is the local superior of the Daughters of St Paul in Culver City and manager of the Pauline Books and Media Center in San Diego.  Sr. Marie James is also the West Coast Coordinator of the Pauline Cooperators.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Icons of Holiness

This week, which is located on this year's Church Calendar midway between the end of the Christmas Season and the beginning of Lent, provides us with beautiful spiritual images to contemplate. These images are in the form of the lives of the saints we celebrate this week, including Saint Francis de Sales on January 24th, Saints Timothy and Titus on January 26th (January 24th in some localities), and Thomas Aquinas on January 28th. In addition, the Pauline calendar commemorates the death of Blessed Timothy Giaccardo on January 24th. Theirs were lives of faith, courage, service and generosity, and they stand as great icons of spirituality to teach and inspire us.


In this meditation, we will take a comparative look at the lives of Saint Timothy of the first century and Blessed Timothy of the twentieth century. Although they lived in two very different eras, perhaps you will find some surprising details about the parallels between the life journeys of Saint Timothy and Blessed Timothy Giaccardo, and their relationships with their respective mentors, Saint Paul and Blessed James Alberione.

The lives of Saints Timothy and Titus and of Blessed Timothy Giaccardo provide especially relevant icons of holiness for members of the Pauline Family. Timothy and Titus were protégés of Saint Paul, and they eventually became trusted co-workers and missionaries for Saint Paul. Saint Timothy travelled for Saint Paul to a number of his beloved communities of new converts. He often had sensitive and potentially explosive issues to resolve, and helped many communities of Paul’s converts to survive those early days of challenge and, sometimes, turmoil.

Saint Timothy’s challenges in the ancient pagan world were not unlike the tasks and challenges faced two millennia later by his namesake, Father Timothy Giaccardo, as he worked to evangelize the people of the increasingly secular world of the early 20th century. The future Father Timothy's vocation and apostolate began early, and Saint Timothy became an important model for him. Just as Saint Timothy was a trusted companion and co-worker to the great Apostle Saint Paul, Father Timothy humbly and obediently worked to be a diligent and devoted co-worker to Blessed James Alberione.

Blessed Timothy Giaccardo, ssp
Timothy Giaccardo, born Joseph Timothy Giaccardo, took Saint Timothy as his namesake. Formation for his apostolate began in his early teen years. Young Joseph Timothy was only 12 years old when he first met Fr. Alberione. Because the young boy was interested in becoming a priest and displayed well-developed spiritual and personal virtues, Father Alberione invited him to attend the seminary. And so, there began over a decade of formation for this young man who would become not only a protégé but also a trusted collaborator for the Founder of the Pauline Family. Just as Saint Paul sent Saint Timothy to represent him in many important matters, Father Alberione would invest young Father Giaccardo with the highest levels of responsibilities in various tasks and projects.

Nine years after he began his studies, at the age 21 years, Joseph Timothy was admitted to the Society of Saint Paul. He took Saint Timothy as his model and namesake. Two years later, on October 19, 1919, Timothy was ordained a priest. His ordination was the first among the early members of the Society of Saint Paul. He also was the first Beatified member of the Pauline Family, by Pope John Paul II in 1989. Eventually, the day of his ordination, October 19th, was chosen as the day of his official Memorial on the Church Calendar.

Blessed Alberione & Blessed Giaccardo
But, now let us get back to the story of Blessed Timothy’s developing apostolate. Over the succeeding years, Father Alberione entrusted more and more responsibilities to young Father Giaccardo. Eventually, Father Alberione would appoint Father Giaccardo as his Vicar General and would entrust him with a number of key assignments and missions, not the least of which was the foundation of the contemplative congregation, the Pious Disciples of the Divine Master.

This was one task to which Father Timothy became particularly dedicated. At first, in 1928, Father Alberione’s request for approval of the foundation was rejected by the Holy See, which did not understand the need for a congregation, apart from the Daughters of Saint Paul, wholly for the purpose of contemplative prayer in support of the efforts of the Pauline Family. Father Alberione responded to the rejection by assigning communication with the Holy See to Father Giaccardo.

The task would be a delicate “diplomatic” effort which would take two decades of effort before the Holy See finally approved the foundation. His great dedication to the project was evidenced by his offering his life as a prayer intention asking that the Spirit guide the Holy See to approve the foundation. Perhaps it was no coincidence that the approval came through just days before Father Giaccardo’s death in 1948. He was only 51 years of age when he died. His last mass was a Mass of Thanksgiving for the members of the newly-approved Pious Disciples of the Divine Master. Twelve days later, he died and departed from his work “in the fields” to join Saint Timothy in a new role as an intercessor for the Pauline Family.
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Blessed Timothy, pray for us, that we may receive rich and abundant 
 Lenten graces in the coming weeks.

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Marie-Louise Handal has been a Pauline Cooperator for the past decade. She holds a Master’s Degree from St. Joseph’s Seminary, an M.S. in the Foreign Service from Georgetown University, and is a candidate for the S.T.L. from the International Marian Research Institute at the University of Dayton. She also holds a Certificate in Spiritual Direction from the New York Archdiocesan Center for Spiritual Development. Her professional work experience encompasses 20 years in international banking and finance, followed by a second career as a mathematics educator in Manhattan. Marie-Louise is a native New Yorker, born and raised in New York City.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

A Change of Heart



Change my heart oh God,
Make it ever true.
Change my heart oh God,
May I be like you.

Change:  to become different; to make radically different; to become something else; to undergo transformation.  We all probably like to imagine how we would look and how different our lives would be after some type of change.  With each new year, most of us make a resolution to try to change and improve ourselves; e.g., eat healthier, exercise more, improve relationships, etc.  While all good, how much better would be a spiritual makeover – a change of heart?

One of the greatest transformations in Christianity is celebrated with the upcoming feast of the Conversion of St. Paul on January 25.  Paul’s heart changed; he had a spiritual conversion.  Unlike St. Paul, who had a dramatic conversion after an encounter with our Lord, our conversion is an ongoing process.  On the walls of every Pauline chapel the words “live in continual conversion” are written.  Ongoing conversion is at the heart of the Pauline experience.  How do we live in continual conversion?

The day I formally became a Pauline Cooperator, a friend reminded me of the verse, “Therefore, anyone who’s in Christ is a new creation – the old has passed away, behold the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).  What did that mean for me?  As a new Cooperator, what could I do to continue to change and grow?  Through the years, the Pauline family has afforded me many opportunities:  retreats, a pilgrimage, various programs and friendships developed with Family members.

Our Catholic faith gives us many ways to change and grow in holiness – praying the Rosary, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, Liturgy of the Hours, Eucharistic Adoration,  Confession, etc.  On my desk is a plaque of the Beatitudes. It recently served as an inspiration for spiritual growth. I decided to dedicate more prayer time to this beautiful teaching of Jesus which gives practical advice for our everyday lives.  It can help us, as well as the people we touch, to change.  Below are some personal thoughts for meditation based on one of my favorite methods of prayer -- Lectio Divina (read, meditate and pray).  

READ: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
MEDITATE:  When we become poor in spirit, we put all of our trust in God and not in material possessions.  We learn to rely on God and not the things that our culture tells us we need.
PRAY:   Jesus, help me to grow in trust.  I can’t do it alone; I need your help.

READ:  Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted
So then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with true compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience (Colossians: 3:12).
MEDITATE: Sorrow can make us more compassionate toward others since we may have experienced similar pain and sorrow.  Do I reach out to others who are not only grieving over the loss of a loved one, but those who may be in physical pain, feel hopeless, anxious or depressed?  From the Beatitudes of the Pauline Cooperators:  Blessed are you for infusing a compassionate spirit into every form of communication.
PRAY:  Jesus, help me to always reach out to those who are grieving or sad.  Through me, let them feel your love and presence.

READ: Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
The Spirit’s fruit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self control (Galatians 5:22).
MEDITATE: Meekness implies loving kindness and gentleness of spirit.   How do I practice meekness with others?   Am I patient with them as well as with myself?
PRAY:  Holy Spirit, help me to be kinder and gentler. Help me to give up anger and become more patient.

READ: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst to do God’s will, for they shall have their fill.
MEDITATE:  For what do I hunger and thirst?  Do I long for a closer relationship with God?
PRAY:  (One of my favorite psalm verses): As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.  When shall I come and behold the face of God?  (Psalm 42: 1-2).

READ: Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving each other just as God forgave you in Christ (Ephesians 5:32).
MEDITATE:  During this Year of Mercy, how can I be more loving to others, especially those who may be difficult to love?
PRAY:  Jesus, help me to be merciful, especially towards someone who has hurt me.

READ: Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.
The purpose of this instruction is to foster that love which flows from a pure heart, a clean conscience, and sincere faith (1 Timothy 1:5).
MEDITATE:  In his Angelus address on August 30, 2015, Pope Francis said, “The heart must be purified and converted,” the Pope continued, adding that without a pure heart, “you can’t truly have clean hands and lips which speak sincere words of love, mercy and forgiveness.  Only a sincere and pure heart is able to do this.”
PRAY:  Lord, let me be humble and pure of heart.  Let others see you in me through my thoughts, words and actions.  Like St. Paul, let me say, “It’s no longer I who live, it’s Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).

READ: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Strive to be at peace with everyone and seek that holiness without which no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14).
MEDITATE: What does it mean to be a peacemaker in our day-to-day lives?  How can I be a peacemaker at home, at work, in my community?
PRAY: Jesus, make me an instrument of your peace.

READ: Blessed are those who are persecuted for doing God’s will, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Bless those who persecute you – bless and don’t curse them (Romans 12:13).
MEDITATE: Persecution in our daily lives can take on many different forms – verbal abuse, gossip,  ridicule for standing up for one’s beliefs, emotional outbursts from others, etc.  How do I handle persecution in my life?
PRAY:  Jesus Master, Way, Truth and Life,  give me the courage and strength to handle conflicts in my daily life with love and kindness.

ACTIONS:
· Choose and practice a  Beatitude to fit into your daily life. Our paths to holiness and conversion are different; there is no "one size that fits all.”  Let our loved ones learn from what we do as much as from what we say.
· Let our prayer life reflect that of our co-foundress, Mother Thecla Merlo.  Her prayer life reflected the Beatitudes:  the mindfulness of poverty, meekness, mercy, purity of heart, these expressed her humble and diligent following of the Master.  (From Daily Wisdom from Mother Thecla on following Christ Jesus.  October 19, 2014.)

In closing, let us trust in the promise Jesus made to our Founder and to the Pauline Family:

“Do not be afraid.
I am with you.
From here I want to enlighten.
Live in continual conversion.”



To help you delve deeper into the beauty of the Beatitudes  and learn the secrets of a happy heart and life, I encourage you to read the new book, Blessed are the Stressed – Secrets to a Happy Heart written by Mary Lea Hill, fsp which you can purchase from Pauline Books and Media by clicking on this link.


Maryann Toth has been a Pauline Cooperator for eight years. Semi-retired as a credit/AR manager in NJ, she is a wife, a mother of two daughters, and a grandmother of four. She serves as a Eucharistic minister and belongs to a Divine Mercy Cenacle group. Maryann assists at Pauline book fairs and J-Club events, schedules meetings and prayer times for local Cooperators and friends of the Pauline Family, and accompanied a candidate in the Cooperator formation program. She participated in a Pauline Cooperator pilgrimage to Italy in 2010. 



Saturday, January 16, 2016

Special to this blog: THE DAUGHTERS OF ST PAUL BEGIN A CHARISM COURSE IN SOUTH CAROLINA!


Beginning January 21st from 5:30-7:30 in the John Paul II Evangelization Room of the Pauline Book & Media Center on 243 King Street, Charles, SC, the Sisters of the Daughters of St. Paul will begin courses on the Pauline Charism for the lay association.

The Pauline Lay Association was founded by Blessed James Alberione in 1917. It is one of the branches of the Pauline Family of religious and lay apostles. The course consists of Eucharistic Adoration, a deeper study of spirituality and faith, and evangelization. There will be Scripture, music, short movies, movie clips and faith sharing to illustrate the Pauline Charism.


BE PART OF A NEW SPRINGTIME IN THE CHURCH
Pope John Paul II called the Church to a New Evangelization and heralded a “great springtime” for Christianity. He called Blessed James Alberione “The First Apostle of the New Evangelization.”  As a lay catholic you may realize that most of our contemporaries meet the risen Christ through you.

ARE YOU CALLED TO BRING THE GOSPEL THROUGH MEDIA?
If you feel called to bring the gospel using the new means of communication, writing, art, books, music, movies, and social media or want to experience a deeper spiritual life through scripture and prayer, join us for monthly sessions in the Pauline Charism.

WHAT IS THE PAULINE CHARISM?
“Charism” is the Greek word used in the New Testament for “gratuitous gift.” These are spiritual gifts given to all Christians by the Holy Spirit to represent Christ as a channel of God’s goodness for people.  The Pauline Charism is a way of living Christ in the spirit of the Apostle St. Paul. It is a Charism in the Church that integrates personality, natural talent, life-experience, education and creativity for the spread of the gospel.  The Pauline Cooperator is a faithful lay person whom the Spirit calls to share in the Charism of Blessed Father Alberione and Mother Thecla Merlo and to realize it together with the other religious institutes of the Pauline Family.



-- 
Sr. Margaret Kerry, fsp
Pauline Books & Media
243 King Street
Charleston, SC 29401
Cell/text: 617-543-8125

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Out of the Ordinary

Credit: St. Louis Religious Education, Clarkville, MD 
The holidays are over, the children are back to school (well, perhaps there are a few college students still enjoying their break), and we are starting to gather our information for tax returns. Back to the ordinary routine of life.

The Church also begins the period of what is known as Ordinary Time.  Jesus has been baptized, we begin the first period of Ordinary Time in the Church year. It is referred to as ordinary time because it outside the major periods of Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter.

Ordinary time does not need to be "ordinary," and is not somehow a "break" from the Liturgical Year. The opposite is actually true: Ordinary Time celebrates "the mystery of Christ in all its aspects." Many important liturgical celebrations fall during Ordinary Time, including, Trinity, Corpus Christi, All Saints, the Assumption of Mary, and Christ the King. In addition, the Church continues to celebrate Saints days and other events such as The Octave of Christian Unity. The major feasts, when occurring on a Sunday, trump the regular Ordinary Time Sunday lessons and liturgy. In the American Catholic Church, Corpus Christi is usually transferred to a Sunday, so often there are fewer than the 33 or 34 Sundays labeled "Sundays of Ordinary Time," although these Sundays still fall within Ordinary Time. We also may remember and celebrate the parts of Jesus' life that were ordinary, much like our own lives. The color of green is appropriate because it is the most ordinary color in our natural environment.
Credit: www.ourconnectingpoint.org/ordinary-time


"Christmas Time and Easter Time highlight the central mysteries of the Paschal Mystery, namely, the incarnation, death on the cross, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ, and the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The Sundays and weeks of Ordinary Time, on the other hand, take us through the life of Christ. This is the time of conversion. This is living the life of Christ.

Ordinary Time is a time for growth and maturation, a time in which the mystery of Christ is called to penetrate ever more deeply into history until all things are finally caught up in Christ. The goal, toward which all of history is directed, is represented by the final Sunday in Ordinary Time, the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe."

"The Pauline Family … does not have many particulars, special devotions or excessive formalities. What is sought is life in Christ the Master and in the Church."
(Blessed James Alberione)

So, where does that leave us?  How can we make the ‘ordinary’ time extraordinary?

·        Read the Gospels.  To read the Gospels is to unite ourselves to the ordinary life of Christ in all its aspects, his teaching, his charity, his prayer life, his humanity, his divinity.

·         Pray the Rosary.  Every time we pray the Rosary, we accompany Mary on her journey through the life of her Son.  Each mystery of the Rosary is an opportunity to meditate on a particular aspect in the life of Jesus as seen through the eyes of his mother.  She always leads us to her Son.

·         Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.  Spending time in front of the Blessed Sacrament, even when you do not know how to pray, are tired, or have no words, provides an intimate moment between you and our Lord.  Not only is it an opportunity for you to offer praise, thanks, prayer, and contrition, but for our Lord to speak to you in the silence.

Credit: www.creatorlutheran.net/sermons/ordinary-timeextraordinary-god 
·         Read the lives of the saints.  We can learn so much from those who have gone before us in faith.  Many of them had some of the same struggles we face; temptation, spiritual desolation, impatience, suffering.  Last spring, I had the opportunity to join a women’s study group on St. Catherine of Siena, an amazing woman whose counsel was sought by popes and peasants alike. 

May your ordinary time from now until Ash Wednesday become extraordinary as you delve more deeply into the life of Christ.

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Bernadette Boguski has been a Pauline Cooperator for over 20 years. She is a member of St. Columbkille Parish in ParmaOH, where she serves as a Eucharistic Minister, cantor, and member of the music ministry. Bernadette holds a degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University and currently serves as the development director for Womankind, a nonprofit agency providing free prenatal care and support services for pregnant women in need.