Tag Archives: Catholic

What to give up for Lent? It’s 40/40/40 Prayer Pact Time!

Let me interrupt your week with a Catholic alert: Lent starts next week.

As in 6 days from today.

If you’re thinking about what to give up for Lent, and chocolate comes to mind, lend me your ear (or eyes in this case) – please.

lent prayers

Last year that Holy Spirit inspired me to start something that transformed my, and others, Lent: The 40/40/40 Prayer Pact. You can read about how it started here and download graphics I designed, but I’ll give you the recap and breakdown here too. {P.S. I designed some new free 2016 downloadable graphics + calendar, they’re down below.)

MY 40/40/40 LENTEN PRAYER PACT:

40 prayer intentions

40 people

40 days

I will pray for 40 prayer intentions, given to me by 40 people, each of the 40 days of Lent. Whoever signs up by Fat Tuesday, February 9th (or before my list is full – whichever comes first) will be on my 40/40/40 list that I commit to praying for this Lent. Note, I will never share or publish your prayer intentions, unless you want me to share in thanksgiving a prayer answered with your express permission.

Last year folks starting their own prayer pacts too, even Catholic teachers using it with their students — thanks be to God! I hope you’ll join by starting your own prayer pact – it’s easy – I provide everything you need to know and use right here.

WHAT IS THE 40/40/40 LENT PRAYER PACT?

Over 40 days, I will be devoting a day to pray for each participant and your prayer intention during my Lenten journey. A pact is defined as a formal agreement between individuals or parties, and I formally agree to pray for 40 people’s intentions over 40 days.

WHY DID YOU CREATE THE PACT?

There is such a power and gift in intercessory prayer. Offering prayers on the behalf of others is also a way to be focused on the needs of others. It reaps graces for those in need. My hope is that the 40/40/40 will help me focus on others more, create a positive prayer movement, and help others along their Lenten journey.

WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO HAVE YOU PRAY FOR ME?

If you’d like to be included on my 40/40/40, fill out the form below. The first 40 I will commit to pray for you by name, lifting up your intention. If you are late signing up and the list is full (there are only 40 spaces after all) I may be able to coerce my husband to take you on 🙂 Or, I would encourage you to do the prayer pact with your friends and relatives yourself.

SO, HOW DO I START MY OWN 40/40/40 LENTEN PRAYER PACT?

  1. The simplest way to compile your list is to create a sign up form, like the Google form I am using below. For help, here’s a YouTube Lynda.com tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IxFeVXBwaQ. Then embed it or share it with others via email, Social Media, carrier pigeon, etc.
  1. Share information (here’s my permission to utilize my text and graphics in this post) on the prayer pact with your friends and family. Share though email, Social Media, and a blog if you have one. You can use my 40/40/40 Graphic at the top of this post too.
  1. Begin your prayer challenge on February 10, 2016 (Ash Wednesday) and continue through March 26, Holy Saturday. To keep yourself on track, your participant signups through Google forms can be compiled in a Google document. Click to download the FREE 2016 Lenten Prayer Pact Calendar that I designed, fill in the 40 names on each day, and hang it where it will remind you daily. Or just print out your list and you can keep your list with your Bible, tape to your mirror, or wherever/however you’ll remember to pray for your 40 participants.
  1. While this takes bit of coordination, but how nice if you take the time to remind your participants on the day that you’re praying for them. That could be an email, text, post-it note, Facebook message/Tweet/Snapchat/whatevs, or something to say, “I’m praying for you on this day of the 40/40/40 challenge” or send them my Ephesians graphic at the bottom.

The premise is simple, but the fruit born from the 40/40/40 last year was beautiful (read about that here). So, I’m thrilled to invite another 40 people along on my Lenten journey through intercessory prayer — which is POWERFUL!

UPDATED on 02.10.16 {ASH WEDNESDAY}: The form below is no longer accepting responses, as my prayer pact is now closed. It was funny that this year it took longer to fill up – putting out several requests and personally reaching out to people via email and text. Then an influx of last minute requests came in that put me over my 40. I knew y’all had prayer requests…don’t sandbag, folks {wink}.

SIGN UP HERE SO I CAN PRAY FOR YOU THIS LENT:

Need to get people to pray for? Use the graphics {Facebook cover, Twitter Cover, Social Media post grapic} that I designed last year, or download the Social Media covers that I designed and am using this year, below.

FACEBOOK COVER

What to give up for Lent

TWITTER COVER

Lent Twitter Cover

Let’s do this – bring on the 2016 Lenten 40/40/40! I will be sharing some posts on prayer this Lent. I’ll take you into my prayer nook that I set up in our new house, and what I use to create an atmosphere for prayer. I’ll also share insights I’ve learned on prayer over the years – through retreats, books, Spiritual Directors, Theology Professors, Priests, the Saints, and my own experience – for better or worse. I want to hear about what works, and doesn’t work for you too – so use the com-box, please!

May God richly bless your Lenten journey!

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Raising a Saint

Although they are unmentioned in the Bible, the lives of Sts. Joachim and Ann have been gleaned from an apocryphal Christian writing, the Protoevangelium Jacobi, or Gospel of James, written about the year 170. As the story goes, Joachim was a prominent, respected man; yet he and his wife, Ann, for many years had no children. At that time, that was viewed as a punishment from God, so they prayed and asked for a child.  This is why she is the patroness of childless couples, pregnancy, and many more (see below).

God answered their prayer, and an angel appeared to tell the older couple that they would conceive. Anne promised that their child would be dedicated to God, and Mary was born.

annenmary

What was it like to raise not only a Saint, but the Mother of God? I wish there were writings on that. Still, I picture it something like this photo: With Ann teaching Mary her “Catechism”, and how to tend to a household, and little Mary faithfully and sweetly learning and growing. We do know that Joachim and Ann were people of faith, and raised Mary in such a way to be worthy of her calling. They did not waste any time either, as Mary was only about 12 or 13 when Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit.

On the vigil of Sts. Joachim & Ann’s feast last night, the Hispanic and English groups joined together to celebrate our Patroness. About twice a year, our thriving Parish in Texas, St. Ann, combines the English and Spanish choirs to sing for bilingual liturgies. It’s very lively and moving – even us musicians were moved to tears during parts of the Mass.  Since Ann & Joachim were Jesus’ Grandparent, we honored the Grandparents of our community — they joined the procession, carrying white flowers and placing them in vases on the altar.  With 8 priests and deacons celebrating the Mass, and so many choir members to overfill the risers, it was a beautiful liturgy.

Here’s more about Anne & Joachim, from The One Year Book of Saints by Rev. Clifford Stevens:

PATRON
Anne: against poverty; barren; broommakers; cabinetmakers; carpenters; childless couples; equestrians; grandmothers; grandparents; homemakers; housewives; lace makers; lace workers; lost articles; miners; mothers; old-clothes dealers; pregnancy; pregnant women; horse riders; seamstresses; stablemen; sterility; turners; women in labour; Brittany; Canada; France; Quebec; archdiocese of Detroit, Michigan; diocese of Norwich, Connecticut; Santa Ana Indian Pueblo; Taos, New Mexico.

Joachim: fathers, grandfathers, grandparents.

SYMBOLS
Anne: Book, symbol of her careful instruction of Mary; flowering rod; crown; nest of young birds; door; Golden Gate of Jerusalem; book; infant Virgin in crib; Shield has silver border masoned in black, with silver lily on a blue field referring to the girlhood of the Virgin.
Often Portrayed As: Woman holding Mary or Jesus in her arms or lap; Woman at her betrothal to Joachim; Mother teaching Mary to read the Bible; Woman greeting Saint Joachim at Golden Gate; Woman with a book in her hand.

Joachim: Basket containing doves; model of Golden Gate of Jerusalem.
Often Portrayed As: Man bringing a lamb to the altar and being turned away by the priest; greeting and/or kissing Saint Anne at the Golden Gate; elderly man carrying a basket of doves and a staff; elderly man with the child Mary.

Sources: catholicculture.org; catholic.org

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The GRACE of State

For the record, I did not intend the title the other way around, as in “state of grace”; I did in fact want it to be the grace of state.  Intrigued? I hope so.

Mike and I attended the Young Catholic Professionals (YCP) meeting last night in Dallas. (Side bar: If you are a young person in the workplace living in the Dallas area and looking for a lively group to do professional networking and a desire to grow in holiness, I highly recommend this active group – they do this well.)  We mingled over wine and cheese, made some new friends, met up with some old dear ones too, and then settled in for the evening talk.

While the speaker last night, Steve Scanlon, was extremely dynamic and very moving undoubtedly–what I felt reminded of in my morning prayer time to share here, was actually in the small talk before the speaker.  Fr. Rudy Garcia, the Pastor of the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe in downtown Dallas (where the meetings are now held), had been asked to speak on St. Joseph – the patron of YCP.

He spoke sweetly about the man chosen to be the earthly Father to Christ, St. Joseph.  While there were many points throughout his brief talk that were noteworthy, I locked in on this concept of the Grace of state.

how-great-thou-art

As Fr. Rudy shared, “The Grace of state is the belief that when God chooses someone for a certain work, He gives him/her all the necessary graces to carry out that mission well in the world.”

This means that all obstacles can be overcome through God’s grace, when we are in accord with His will for us.  Whenever God chooses us for a specific mission, something important, God will also give us His Grace to carry it out in the state He has called us to. In this, we can accomplish great things for God, exactly where He has us, with exactly what He has us doing.

St. Joseph is remembered to this day for being a humble and just man.  Justice, not only in the sense of giving what was due, but in the Scriptures, he habitually fulfilled His duties and the Will of God for him.  How does this translate to us, here and now?

We can accomplish great things, YOU and I, for God, by HIS Grace in the state we are in right now.

Fr. Rudy reminded us to trust that God knows why. We like to ask that question, don’t we? Why do I have to do this? Why me? Why now? Why is this happening?

The answer is really quite simple to the WHY.  Because God wants you to become HOLY, and whatever He has brought you to is in His will for you.

“Never be afraid to take a risk for God,” said Father.

As one whose biggest strength is being strategic, I weigh all the options and then choose my course. In my process of analyzing in-depth the data at hand, it can be easy for the fear in me to begin to rise as I evaluate what each course that lies ahead will require of me. But that is if I rely on my human strength. These words are worth holding on to, certainly, especially from St. Paul in the scriptures, that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

The scriptures also reveal something of the humaness of St. Joseph as well, that he did in fact struggle in the very beginning—when Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. I get that — it’s never happened in human history before, or since, that God used the Holy Spirit to give flesh to His own son.  Joseph was going to divorce Mary, quietly, but then learned of God’s will for him through the message of a dream, and that was that. He undertook the mission that God had for him faithfully, daily, and did it for the love of God, loving Mary, and Jesus as his own son.

The GRACE of state, my friends. As we walk this road to becoming all that God has intended for us to be, may we find solace in knowing that HE most certainly has and will provide for all of our needs, including all the graces necessary to carry out our unique and particular callings in our own lives.

Questions, thoughts, ponderings? My blog is meant to be a place of dialog — I love to hear from readers, so please leave a comment!

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