Wow, did I need THAT.
Talking with Carrell Jamilano is like being on a beautiful retreat and feeling the fresh breezes of the Holy Spirit lifting my heart.
Join us for a conversation that will refresh and equip you to help yourself, your ministry, and the beautiful young adults in your life to grow closer to God, right here, right now.
Click the cover of Carrell’s fantastic new book to watch our interview!
Carrell Jamilano is a spiritual director and speaker known for her compassionate accompaniment of directees and captivating presentations. She served as a television co-host for Shalom World’s program, “WOMAN: Strong Faith, True Beauty,” and has appeared as a guest on SiriusXM radio, Catholic TV Network, and CFN Live!
Her writingshave been published with Liguorian, Life Teen International, and The Upper Room. Carrell was featured by ThePress-Enterprise in their “Inland Rising Star” series for her spiritual direction ministerial work and has over 16 years of experience serving youth and young adults. Carrell received her master’s degree in Pastoral Theology and is the founder and creator of CatholicSpiritualDirector.com, a game-changing resource for topics on prayer, discernment, and spirituality.
She recently authored her first book, “The Alluring Voice of God: Forming Daily Encounters,” offering readers guidance on how to better hear God’s voice in their everyday life.
Find Carrell Jamilano, here:
Order The Alluring Voice of God, here:
Whether you have a Saint Valentine’s Day that delights or disappoints, the most important gift of hearts is the one each of us gives to Our Lord. The most strengthening Valentine we can receive is the chance to rest our head upon the Sacred Heart of Our Lord, listening to its beat; as St. John the Beloved did at The Last Supper. After all, St. John the Beloved was the only apostle to withstand witnessing the Way of the Cross. When we draw near to the Heart of Jesus, we are capable of so much more than we could do on our own!
Here’s a few ways to make this Valentine’s Day and Valentine’s Month extra heartfelt:
- Place an image of the Sacred Heart with bouquet of flowers on the kitchen table or island as a reminder of your love, and His.
- Pray one of the many beautiful Sacred Heart prayers as part of grace before meals. Here’s one I like: Prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
- Make Valentine’s food in honor of the Sacred Heart. After you make the cupcake recipe of your choice (I like chocolate with vanilla frosting!) top with strawberries cut into the shape of a heart. Or, bonus points: make Red Velvet cupcakes!
- Try making an easy Sacred Heart craft with your kids. Get a grapevine wreath resembling the crown of thorns, and place in the center of your dining table. Make a large heart out of construction paper. Upon that heart, each family member can write a prayer intention or a work of mercy they will offer to the Sacred Heart all month long. Place the heart in the middle of the wreath.
- Honor his Sacred Heart as present in the Eucharist through making a Holy Hour of Adoration and Reparation.
- Buy a new statue, candle or image of the Sacred Heart for your home. If you already have yours, consider buying one to give someone else… especially someone in need of a little extra love this Valentine’s month!
- Consecrate yourself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Our House of the Sacred Heart is a 33-Day Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus filled with art, stories, and reflections to draw our hearts closer to His. It’s a great preparation for Lent as well as a wonderful Lenten companion. The hard cover has full color sacred art on every page. A podcast companion to the book, sent to your inbox for 33 dayshttps://www.bethanyplan.com/consecration-to-the-sacred-heart-of-jesus/ offers reflections and music corresponding to each of the book’s chapters; another resource to make our hearts more like His… with each passing day. O Jesus, Meek and Humble of Heart, make our hearts like unto thine.
Happy Saint Valentine’s Month!
If you have ever wished you had a wise and prayerful friend to guide you in growing closer to God, meet Barb Szyzkiewicz, a Catholic wife and mom, a wonderful writer and editor, and the author of a new book: The Handy Little Guide to Prayer!
She’s familiar to many women around the world for her fantastic work at CatholicMom.com, and now she’s got a new book and two beautiful prayer journals to tell us about!
Click the book cover to watch!
Order the Handy Little Guide to Prayer, by Barb Szyszkiewicz
Barb Szyszkiewicz is a wife, a mom of three young adults, and a Secular Franciscan. She is editor at CatholicMom.com and blogs at FranciscanMom.com. Barb enjoys writing, cooking, and reading, and is a music minister at her parish.
Order the (beautiful) Simply Faithful journals:
Sacred Heart Prayer Journal: https://www.osvcatholicbookstore.com/product/simply-faithful-my-catholic-prayer-journal-the-sacred-heart
Our Lady of Lourdes Prayer Journal: https://www.osvcatholicbookstore.com/product/simply-faithful-my-catholic-prayer-journal-our-lady-of-lourdes
Barb’s blog: FranciscanMom.com
Social Media: @franciscanmom on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook
As this month begins, the gifts have been unwrapped, leftover Christmas tinsel may be clinging to the rug and there might be a few gingerbread cookies still left in the pantry. We’re a bit worn out from hosting or attending December’s Christmas gatherings, or due to pandemic-related concerns, we are feeling a bit disappointed that this Christmas wasn’t quite as social as years past. And now comes January of a new year, traditionally a time to start fresh. How can we rest or rejuvenate ourselves, no matter what kind of end to 2021 we had?
For starters, Christmas isn’t really over. It’s the season known as Christmastide now! Some people keep their decorations up until the “twelve days of Christmas” culminate on January 6, the Feast of the Epiphany. Still others like to keep their decorations or at least their Christmas lights up until the traditional end of the Christmas season on Candlemas, or the Purification of the Virgin Mary on February 2. But whether you prefer to pack the ornaments away immediately or keep the Christmas decorations and crafts going, there’s one thing every home can benefit from this January: increasing our hospitality. Hospitality during Covid? That’s right! We can welcome Jesus into our home EVERY DAY. And doing so will make us feel a greater sense of true belonging in these disjointed times as we are reminded of Whose we are. Let’s make a resolution now, or better yet: five! Here’s five ways we can increase our hospitality for Jesus in the new year:
1) Welcome Jesus First Thing, Every Day
“Now it came to pass as they went, that He entered into a certain town: and a certain woman named Martha, welcomed Him into her house”(Luke 10:38). We know how Martha worked as hard as she could cooking and cleaning for Our Lord and how Mary gave her full attention, sitting at the feet of Christ and listening to Him. But it’s easy to forget the simple profundity of that verse: she “welcomed Him.” How often Jesus was misunderstood, rejected, or overlooked. Yet Martha welcomed Jesus: receiving Him into her home! No wonder she became a saint! Let’s resolve to welcome Jesus in our homes and hearts this year… first thing; every day! What will that look like for us? Well, it can look like praying a Morning Offering prayer daily as soon as our eyes pop open, deciding to find and attend a daily Mass, praying an Our Father and emphasizing “Thy Will Be Done,” even as we start the coffee or take the dog for a walk. If there’s a prayer that helps you surrender everything to Jesus, try placing it behind the door of your most-opened kitchen cabinet or on the table near where you eat breakfast every day.
2) Tell Jesus, “Our Home is Your Home!”
You’ve Heard the Expression “My Home is your Home” or “Mi Casa es Su Casa!” Well, this 2022, let’s offer that sentiment to Jesus! Saints Martha and Mary offered Him a peaceful respite from a world that often rejected him. We should ask ourselves: Does our house do that? Do people who pass by our house know we are Catholic? This month, why not add a statue of Jesus or of our Blessed Mother on our property in a place that can be seen from the road, inspiring others! Do people who enter our home see our faith proudly on display? Add a beautiful picture of the Sacred Heart in a prominent place in the home. Then arrange with a priest to have a Home Enthronement Ceremony in which you officially declare Christ as the King of your Home. Here is the Enthronement Ceremony which is ideally led by a priest, or the father of the family, or if neither is available, the owner of the home. We pray, “May our home be for Thee a haven as sweet as that of Bethany, where Thou canst find rest in the midst of loving friends, who like Mary have chosen the better part in the loving intimacy of Thy Heart!”
3) Give Jesus Your Heart, Again and Again
St. Francis once asked Jesus what he could give Our Lord, since he had already given Jesus his heart. Our Lord answered, “Francis, give me (your heart) again and again. It will give me the same pleasure.” Consecrate yourself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, for the first time, or once again. You can never consecrate yourself too often… it is like a repeated “I love you.” This one offers a fresh approach to the 33-Day Consecration. Available completely for free online, it sends daily emails to your inbox with a link to a 9-12 minute podcast containing beautiful stories and reflections, featured works of art and inspiring music… all themed around that day’s line in the Litany to the Sacred Heart.
4) Invite Jesus to Each Meal You Have
We know Saint Martha of Bethany worked hard on each meal she served Jesus. How wonderful to imagine the grace of inviting Jesus to our own table, to invite Him to sit among our family members and to serve Him there. But we can do this! Let’s resolve to always pray grace before meals and perhaps end by praying, “Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!” This 2022, why not also a prayer of thanks after meals, frame a picture of Jesus and place it in the center of our table as a way to include this most Beloved family member, and add readings from and discussions of Scripture to our mealtime conversations.
5) Take a Course in Welcoming Our Lord from the Saints
Martha and Mary were devoted hostesses and they can teach us how to welcome Our Lord. After all, Jesus did not just stop by their home once. Rather, He loved visiting them and would often visit when he was in or near Bethany. To start 2022 with a 9-day novena to Saints Martha and Mary that delves deeper into the lessons we can learn from their house at Bethany, sign up here for 9 podcasts delivered daily to your inbox that includes moving reflections, sacred art and music for only 9-12 minutes a day.
God bless you as you resolve to make your home and heart shine with hospitality to Our Lord in this fresh first month of 2022!
Ho Ho Ho, my Friends!
If you’re like me, you probably can’t get enough of Chris Stefanick’s one-to-two minute inspirational videos, every one of them a holy shot in the arm that can take a dull day and make it vibrant.
The past few months, Chris has been knocking it out of the park every Friday with bite-sized, powerhouse snippets called, “Real Life Minutes,” that truly put handles on some critically-important concepts to help you ramp up your life of faith.
And now, his wonderful team has made this delightful FREE series available for easy sharing!
Unwrap them slowly over time, or empty the whole thing on the floor and BINGE.
Why wait? Get started!
Merry Christmas, everyone!
Oh boy, is this a POWERFUL conversation about the spiritual life with one of my all-time favorites, Sonja Corbitt!
Come with us and see your “desert” times in a whole new way that will prove to you that the Promised Land is closer than ever!
Click the book cover image to join me and Sonja, as we “get real” about our desert times!
SONJA CORBITT is the Bible Study Evangelista and creator of the LOVE the Word® Bible study method–and journal, called “the best modernization of lectio” by the Associate Publisher of Thomas Nelson Publishing.
A best-selling author and Telly Award-winning broadcaster, Sonja’s weekly radio and television shows, as well as a variety of other unique approaches to Scripture, create space for busy Christians to hear and experience God though the scriptures.
Through her Bible studies and books, one-on-one consultations, pilgrimages, retreats, television and radio shows, Sonja uses Scripture and a healing charism to lead others to deeper rest and healing.
Find Sonja at BibleStudyEvangelista.com
Get Sonja’s Book! https://www.avemariapress.com/products/just-rest
My Friends, You haven’t lived ’til you’ve listened to Bear Wosnick describe what it is to surf a big wave and experience powerful connections with your spiritual life!
We’re also talking about romance, holy masculinity, and his new book, “Deep Adventure: The Way of Heroic Virtue”!
Just click the book cover to join our super-fun conversation!
BEAR WOZNICK is the Host of the Motorcycle-Based Reality TV show, “Long Ride Home with Bear Woznick,” which is distributed worldwide on EWTN and Armed Forces Network to more than two hundred million homes and Amazon Prime. He is also the Host of EWTN’s “The Bear Woznick Adventure” Radio Show heard by millions each week on over 500 radio stations in nearly all 50 states, as well as Sirius FM, and Video version on most podcast apps. Bear also Hosts the fifteen-minute Ocean Sunrise Catechism, seen weekdays on Facebook live. He is the author of the books, “Deep in the Wave – A Surfing Guide to the Soul” (an Amazon best seller) and “Deep Adventure – The Way of Heroic Virtue.” He leads pilgrimages to Europe, Greece, and Israel, and speaks globally, with an emphasis on Men’s Conferences. He’s a Benedictine Oblate at the Mary Spouse of the Holy Spirit Monastery on North Shore of O’ahu. Bear is Married to Cindy Woznick, lives in Waikiki, and has four adult children. He’s a CPA with a Masters Degree in Tax, and he’s pursuing a Masters of Theology from Franciscan University at Steubenville. Bear Wosnick is also a World Champion surfer.
Find Bear Wosnick and his books and other resources at https://www.bearschoolofmanliness.com
Check out his “Store” for books and more. Here’s the direct link! https://my-site-100622-104377.square.site
My Friends, Enjoy this delightful half-hour with Dr. Brant Pitre. We’re talking about his fantastic new book, “Introduction to the Spiritual Life: Walking the Path of Prayer with Jesus.”
Just click the book cover to watch my super-fun chat with Dr. Pitre!
I highly recommend this resource for individuals and groups.
It is truly accessible to anyone–from teens and RCIA candidates to those who are advanced in the spiritual life.
Dr. Pitre presents the faith in easy steps, without skimping on the beauty, majesty, challenge, and joy of growing in the spiritual life.
You can order it in plenty of time for Christmas, here.
Pro-Tip: For 2022, form some accountability partnerships and go through this one short chapter at a time, discussing your learnings and then setting goals for your own growth!
Dr. Brant Pitre is Distinguished Research Professor of Scripture at the Augustine Institute, Graduate School of Theology. He earned his Ph.D. in Theology from the University of Notre Dame, where he specialized in the study of the New Testament and ancient Judaism. He is the author of the best-selling books, Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist (Image, 2011), The Case for Jesus (Image, 2015), and Jesus and the Jewish Roots of Mary (Image, 2018). Dr. Pitre has also produced dozens of video and audio Bible studies, in which he explores the biblical foundations of Catholic faith and theology (available at BrantPitre.com). He currently lives in Louisiana with his wife Elizabeth and their five children.
Anticipating the upcoming holiday with some feelings of stress? We’ve all been there… and there are dozens of reasons why. For those who host Thanksgiving (and sometimes, even those who attend!) the “many things we are burdened with” can make us feel anxious. So how do we “choose the better part” this Thanksgiving? The sisters of Bethany could teach us a thing or two. And even though St. Mary is famous for choosing the better part by listening to Jesus, and spending prayerful time with Him, Martha is a saint, too; she was privileged to welcome and serve our Lord! The sisters represent the proper balance we need to strike between work and prayer. They themselves came to master it through the help of Our Lord. Through their intercession, I give you 5 Ways to make your holiday more balanced and holy!
1) Start the Day Strong: When things are at their busiest, we sometimes forget to pray. Ironically, prayer is the very thing we need to enable us to get everything done! But there’s a simple step we can take to actually make the day run more smoothly, and fit in more than we ever could have imagined! Before anything else, let’s start the day by thanking God for protecting and preserving us during our night’s sleep, and praying the morning offering. Here is the one I pray.
By taking time to pray this prayer, we are able to offer up our every thought, word and action of our day… and that will be a game-changer for us. Even on the busiest days, no matter what joys or challenges may come our way, we’ve already offered them up and that will make us handle them better. The precious “thank you” to God combined with the time set apart just for God that the Morning Offering provides would make Saint Mary of Bethany very proud. When we choose the better part, we may have the temptation to worry about what may be “taken” from us. But let us not be anxious: nothing will be taken from us when we choose the better part; God will see to it that things fall into place.
2) Remember God– even among the pots and pans: St. Teresa of Avila told the nuns of her convent, “Know that even when you are in the kitchen, Our Lord is moving among the pots and pans.” What a thing to remember! Maybe preparing that big Thanksgiving meal (or even just the side dish you’ve promised to bring)is exhausting, and time-consuming. But the process can be an action-filled prayer if we are aware that God is present. To help me remember this (because it’s easier said than done) I taped a little reminder inside the kitchen cabinet that I open most often. It reads: “Offer up your daily chores. Pray: ‘I offer up my daily chores for the glory of God.’” So between reaching for the breadcrumbs and the pepper… in the flash of a moment we can offer up the chores for God’s glory. Seems a lot less thankless and mundane, doesn’t it? Finally, if there’s a task we especially don’t enjoy, like cleaning a sink or mopping a floor… why not offer it up as a penance for our sins or for the conversion of sinners? I can just picture St. Martha of Bethany learning how, when she brought this spirit to her work, she no longer felt upset her sister wasn’t helping. She could choose the better part… even in the kitchen, as she prayed while making a wonderful meal… for Jesus.
3) Offer a Holy Text… on your cell phone! As the big day approaches, if you’re hosting it at your house, why not send a text to everyone who is going to attend and say something like: “Can’t wait to see you on Thanksgiving! Looking forward to welcoming and spending time with YOU!” That will set the tone for everyone who’s on the guest list to feel more welcomed, more at peace, more relaxed and excited for the big day. If you’re going to be a guest ay someone’s home… text the host and tell them how much you’re looking forward to seeing them on Thanksgiving. Offer to help, and ask them if there’s anything they’d like you to bring. That simple text can help lighten their stress and make them feel so loved and thought about. After all, the sisters of Bethany attentively welcomed Jesus and He is the most gracious guest imaginable. Let’s bring that spirit to our holiday, whether we’re hosting or visiting.
4) Plan a break: Make a plan that on Thanksgiving, you will set aside even 15-20 minutes to be completely, fully present to the moment…and grateful. If you’re the cook and host, plan for at least 15 minutes to leave the kitchen and just visit and participate with your guests. If you’re the guest, be sure you give at least 15 minutes helping the host or really listening to someone else talk… bonus points if it’s someone who no one else is talking to! Be a good listener. See who might need someone to sit with. My grandmother had six kids and twelve grandkids and she was accustomed to hosting big gatherings and making all feel attended to and welcomed. But on her last Thanksgiving, at 101 years old, she still found a way to welcome, and it wasn’t even in her own home. She noticed how busy I was, looking after my small children. Out of the blue when the appetizers came out, she said to me, “Annabelle, get a plate for us, and we’ll share it and sit together and talk.” I did just that, and the blur of activity seemed to fade away as we just laughed and chatted. The kids were just fine, and my grandmother and I had such a great time. Little did either of us know, she would pass away in a matter of weeks. I’ll never forget that Thanksgiving.
5) Invite Our Lord to your Thanksgiving: How can we do this in truth? Let’s up our game for the way we pray grace this year! Let’s pray with gratitude for those who are gathered around the table; and pray by name for those by name who aren’t there; and the souls of the faithful departed. Let’s really welcome Him in officially. How to do this? Perhaps have a Sacred Heart candle or picture in the middle of the table, or an icon or holy card of Our Lord framed and set amid the candles and decorations. Finally, to prepare our hearts to welcome Him into our Thanksgiving preparations more fully, let’s learn from the examples of Sts. Martha and Mary by invoking their assistance in prayer.
Sign up here for a nine-day novena to Saints Martha and Mary, to be delivered to your inbox: It will only take 9-12 minutes a day so in its brevity it will still allow you to get all the items of your to-do list done… but will also allow that they’ll be done in the most beautiful spirit of prayer and joy.
Saints Martha and Mary of Bethany, pray for us!