My newsletter is Sisters and Friends: Refresh Your
Soul with Melanie Rigney, and you can read about the latest issue, download it, or subscribe from this page. Each month, I'll share something about a
Catholic saint and woman living today who will inspire you, spiritual resources, and a brief note of where I'll be in the coming month.
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There are many ways to be "Ready" for the New Year, and I'm making a real effort to be at least some of them. In fact, "Ready" is my word for 2018. What's yours? No, really... it's worth $25 to someone to tell me what his or her word for the year is, but you have to tell me by January 6. Check out the newsletter for details.
On my nightstand is... Augustine's Confessions. Nothing breezy and feel-good here! Confessions begins with Augustine's no-holds-barred assessment of his own shortcomings prior to his conversion and proceeds through his recognition and examination of his Christian duties to his acceptance of the Lord's will. Basically, it's 4th Century angst preserved in parchment.
As if that weren't enough, two big things are on my table. First, more words: I'm writing devotions for two publishers (Living Faith and Your Daily Tripod), and I have a March 1 deadline for a book-length manuscript. Second, I've become sole owner of a not-for-profit LLC: Future with Hope Women. What began as a group project with friends to hold an annual conference for Catholic women over 40 is now all mine. If you have some spare prayers, please consider using some of them to ask God to help me be ready for all this.
What has gone before:
If it's still the first week of December, you should click on over to a drawing for the Great Advent Giveaway. Handcrafted wood blocks. The drawing turns back into a pumpkin at midnight on December 6, by which I mean sixty seconds after 11:59 PM on the evening of December 5. I wouldn't belabor that except that my webguy made me explain just which midnight I meant. (She means Eastern Time, for that matter —the webguy.)
The Blessed Catalina de Maria (also known as Saturnina Rodriguez de Zavalia) is our youngest saint (by which I mean our most recently beatified saint). During a period of trials and setbacks, she came face to face with her limitations, but she persevered and established in Argentina the Handmaids of the Heart of Jesus anyway. Today the work of the Handmaids serves four countries. Even when we know we're not perfect, even when we don't really see a way forward, Catalina de Maria's example says it's worth keeping on. Read the newsletter for more about Catalina de Maria.
Mary Lenaburg is this month's friend in faith. Mary and her family spent twenty-two years caring for their daughter and sister Courtney. Courtney suffered her first grand-mal seizure when she was one month old and died without ever speaking a word. Courtney's spirit and Mary's experience with her speak clearly: God never makes a mistake, and He has a plan for each of us, however limited and flawed we may think we are.
Be the Gift: Let Your Broken Be Turned into Abundance by Ann Voskamp is on my nightstand. It was put there in part by a friend's profound, casual, and unexpected gift to me, and I hope Be the Gift reminds me to share it.
Thanksgiving is a day of giving thanks, but Advent is a whole season of it. I'll be thinking of a question asked in a homily by one of my parish's priests: "What if all I have tomorrow is what I gave gratitude for today?" (Whoa! —the webguy.)