Marian Virtue Series
Before the gracious invitation from Strengthen My Heart, I had NEVER heard of the Marian Virtue of Angelic Sweetness. Now, I strive every day to emulate it. Find out more about that unique and beautiful virtue of the Blessed Mother and NINE others as you read more of the Ten Marian Virtue series.
Blog Tour Stop
What made me decide to move The Friendship Project from the "MAYBE" review pile to the "Oh MY Gosh! YES" review pile? READ MORE ....
A GREAT HONOR
Honored and SURPRISED when my Catholicmom.com piece on FIVE HOPE-FILLED prayers to help those who worry (like me) was selected to be shared on the Family Rosary blog. I'll chalk this one up to my original #SaintPosse intercessors: Fr. Patrick Peyton. Thanks for the assist, Fr. P! Worried? Anxious? ... check this one out.
Shortly after completing my 54 Day Rosary Novena jaunt around the house it was time to start another when a stranger gave me her tattered copy of Rosary Novenas to Our Lady. As one who believes in GODCIDENCES (if you ask me there are no coincidences in life especially in spiritual matters), there was no way I was going to ignore this invitation from Our Blessed Mother to spend another month and half in prayer with her! The grace and blessings as I closed on the first 54 days was truly remarkable!!
One of the most miraculous moments came when I went to my bank on November 30 - prepared to beg for leniency with overdrafts I was sure had been incurred after paying an unexpected HUGE house bill and then a creditor unwilling to hold off on their payment for just a few days, withdraw another large amount. On that last day of the month, sure that things were as bleak as they could be, I sat down in the branch manager's office of my small town bank, asking her to pull up the account and assess the damage. As she scrolled and scrolled through the account, her face scrunched with confusion. She found that not only had we NOT bounced any checks but actually had $100 left in the account (*I did briefly wonder who's money we stole or she'd soon discover a bank error).
Sometimes Things Work According to Prayer
IT was truly impossible, improbable and the only possible explanation was of that of a miracle!! So, like any respectable citizen sitting in a bank office, I began to cry! I wept and shared all about my rosary prayers, the 4 Fidelity trucks passing as I prayed the Memorare earlier in the month when she and I were on the phone and I learned there was nothing the bank could do to help us over this hurdle.
This miracle may have come from a place of great trust - but it wasn't the only thing at work that month.
AS a disclaimer:
I am well aware, lots of people trust God and pray, yet things don't work out according to their prayers. That fact is one of my greatest sources of anxiety. However, I am so grateful, truly grateful to God, that this one did. It was not exactly what I would have willed - the LOTTERY might have been more in line -- but having a second chance and no bank charges was certainly an acceptable resolution.
And blessed is she
There was much more to this miraculous outcome - much more. At the beginning the month the Sunday Mass Readings focused on the Widow's Mite and the Widow of Zarephath, who trusted in God's providence so completely. The Widow of Zarephath made Elijah a cake with the remaining ingredients in her cupboard yet as Elijah promised she and her son (and Elijah too) NEVER went hungry. The Homily reminded us God never forgets you and your anxieties. We are to give of our poverty and from our need not just our access then trust God to bless and provide for us.
I went home that Sunday morning and took the 2 Church related bills from the bottom of the 'to be paid' pile and paid them immediately. I was convicted that what had been spoken would be fulfilled. I do believe in miracles. I did then and I always will believe in miracles - present today, tomorrow, and well into the future.
I am a horrible friend
Some people appear to have a natural aptitude for being a friend. Me, not so much. I've often said, "I stink as a friend". I don't mean to. My self-centered needs usurps my best of intentions. Aware of my friendship deficit, I was unsure if I possessed the acumen to review Michele Faehnle and Emily Jaminet's new book. To be honest, when I received my copy of The Friendship Project: The Catholic Women's Guide to Making and Keeping Fabulous, Faith-Filled Friends from Ave Maria Press, I placed it in the "maybe review" pile.
I began my "reading" by exploring Michele and Emily's The Friendship Project website. My history with these two ministry powerhouses afforded a confidence that I'd find a storehouse of rockin' supplemental material. Likewise, I trusted TheFriendshipProject.com to guide my "review or not to review" decision, once I was acquainted with the book and the accompanying group study. After perusing the sample chapter and watching the group study videos, my enthusiasm for the book blossomed but I was still apprehensive about posting a review.
In their introductory video, Michele and Emily beautifully illustrate our shared belief that there are no coincidences in life as they share many moments in their friendship that only the Lord could have orchestrated. I call those "only God could have done this" type of moments a godcidence. My answer as to whether I was qualified to review a book on friendship came as my own godcidence moment. When I received an email graciously invited by my new friends, Michele and Emily, (thanks to gift of social media) inviting me to be a part of The Friendship Project blog tour. Clearly, the Lord knew I (like so many others) would benefit from reading (and sharing) this book. It was also the perfect opportunity to practice the virtues of friendship highlighted in The Friendship Project.
You Had me at No Guilt
The tipping-point came in a simple statement from the authors assuring me there is no guilt within these pages. After hearing that I knew I'd love this new book as much as I did their first, Divine Mercy for Moms. Her words reassured me that I could read this book and feel better (not worse) about my ability to be and accept friends in my life. Women are so hard on themselves. We set these ridiculous goals of perfection and even if we are reaching them never feel good enough.
Thank goodness for the blessing of friendship, beginning with the one God blessed Michele and Emily with, which made this fabulous new book and group study possible.
In The Friendship Project, Michele and Emily explore the cardinal and theological virtues with an eye toward friendship. Focusing on faith, hope, love, prudence, gratitude, loyalty, generosity, and prayerfulness, they help us answer questions such as, “What does it mean to be women of hope, and how does that change our lives and make us more compassionate friends during difficult times?” and “How does prayerfulness teach us how to listen to and talk with both God and our friends, which helps us reach out to those we love?”
Why Is This Important?
God did not create us in isolation nor to live in isolation. We are created from love, to love and to be loved. God does not ask the impossible of us. He provides all the grace, wisdom and understanding to accomplish his desires for our lives that includes fabulous, faith-filled friends. The Friendship Project offers amazing insights, resources and guides to bring your friendships to a whole new level.
The Author's Introduce the Project
Friends of Virtue
A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter:
Making and keeping friends has been a long standing struggle. I have often felt like a round peg trying to be the square peg to fit in with others. True friendship, I have discovered, comes from being able to be myself - and loved even when I am not being the best me. Wish The Friendship Project existed when I was in my twenties as I began to juggle work and friends; or my thirties as I navigated even bigger strains on my time for friends - marriage and motherhood. The more responsibilities added to my life the less time I found for others.
In 2006, I began attending a weekly faith sharing group. This was a game changer. My relationship with God strengthened but more importantly came an unexpected blessing of the addition of godly friends in my life. Though not without missteps and misunderstandings, my friendships have definitely evolved into sturdy shelters and cherished treasures. The excitement of sharing The Friendship Project with my faith-filled friends envelopes me with a Christmas Morning type anticipation. I can only imagine the soaring heights of joy, peace and hope God has in store for our relationships as we incorporate newly honed virtues into them.
Some of My Sturdy Shelter Posse
Michele and Emily's friendship project not only affirmed the wisdom of the power of friends of faith but also provide much needed guidance in making, building, and maintaining those relationships.
I highly recommend adding The Friendship Project: The Catholic Woman's Guide to Making and Keeping Fabulous, Faith-filled Friends to our reading list. As an advocate for Group Study, I highly recommend reading this with friends as well. God blesses us in many ways while we are upon this earth. One of His special gifts are the people he places in our lives. Let The Friendship Project become your owner's manual to getting the most of this precious present from our Loving Father!
About the Authors:
Michele Faehnle and Emily Jaminet are busy wives, mothers, and volunteers. They are also friends, Catholic speakers, and the dedicated coauthors of Divine Mercy for Moms, which continues to inspire women to come together to pray, study, and live in friendship around the Divine Mercy devotion. In the midst of their active lives, Faehnle and Jaminet found themselves missing their old friends and searching for new ones. They also realized that they needed to continually work to develop deep, meaningful relationships that would allow them to be themselves, to care for others and be cared for, and to deepen their Catholic faith.
In The Friendship Project, Faehnle and Jaminet explore the cardinal and theological virtues with an eye toward friendship. Focusing on faith, hope, love, prudence, gratitude, loyalty, generosity, and prayerfulness, they help us answer questions such as, “What does it mean to be women of hope, and how does that change our lives and make us more compassionate friends during difficult times?” and “How does prayerfulness teach us how to listen to and talk with both God and our friends, which helps us reach out to those we love?”
Faehnle and Jaminet answer these questions and more by employing Church teaching and telling us stories of their own friendships and those from the lives of saints and biblical women—including the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Elizabeth, St. Thérèse of Lisieux and her sister Servant of God Léonie, and Sts. Perpetua and Felicity. Not only will you be drawn closer to friends both new and old but you’ll also be reminded how these friendships—and the virtues you practice to nurture them—draw you closer to God.
Prayers, discussion questions, and a study guide make this a perfect resource for women’s groups.
(from The Friendship Project product page ~ Ave Maria Press)
This post is a part of a Marian Virtue Series, running every Wednesday and Friday. It will conclude on the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.
If you are just joining the series now and want to learn more
you can start here: Introduction to Marian Virtue Series.
Previous Blog Article:
Ardent Charity at A Beautiful, Camouflaged, Mess of a Life
Next Blog Article:
Heroic Patience at Fresh Starts and New Adventures
This post features a giveaway from
Relics by Rose.
Please keep reading to find out more!
The Twelve Most Important Things to Know About Angels:
Mary's Angelic Qualities
Evidence of Mary's Sweetness in Scripture
Leading up to the days of Jesus Passion, Death and Resurrection, St. John's Gospel shares these poignant words from our Lord, "“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid." (John 14:27) As a world-class worry-wart, this promise of peace brings me great joy. How will Jesus bestow this peace?
Before ascending to Heaven, Jesus endows the faithful with two magnificent gifts. First, the promise to send the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete. The grace of God's Holy Spirit living within us, when evoked and cooperated with, offers a peace this world can not give. Second, Jesus from the cross, generously gifts to us His Mother.
As he looked down upon His Mother, whose very presence must have filled his own heart with peace and comfort, he speaks these words:
Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home. ~ John 19:25-27
These words are not spoken merely for John's benefit. Jesus bequests Mary to all willing to accept her. The Marian Virtue of Angelic Sweetness has been described as, "radiating joy and peace to everyone she encountered." Mary, by her very nature, can not help but impart peace, comfort, and joy.
How Can I Emulate this Virtue?
We can seek opportunities to be caring, compassionate, and welcoming. Although busy, and probably overwhelmed by our to-do lists, we can carve out time to be present and aware of the needs of others. Angelic Sweetness challenges us to be tenacious in our living out the Catholic faith, no matter how many (or how big) the obstacles.
The Marian Virtue of Angelic Sweetness manifests in my life through the blessing of being an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist. I have discovered my home-bound friends are not only thrilled to be receiving Jesus in the Eucharist but also to have av visitor. This ministry grants me the opportunity to practice caring, compassion and being ever present to others.
I will never forget my first Christmas delivering Communion to four sweet residents of our local assisted living complex. I arrived to find a note on the door of the complex, "WARNNG: Stomach Flu epidemic. ENTER AT OWN RISK." What? NO! My germaphobe alarms sounded and I could feel myself on the verge of a panic attack. I looked down at the pyx holding Jesus. How could I allow my anxiety to keep me from bringing my new friends, "Christmas Jesus"? Mother Mary, I prayed, help. In that moment, a peace that surpassed all understanding, flooded my heart. We enjoyed a joyous visit and gratefully I did not spend Christmas in the bathroom.
How have you experienced the Marian Virtue of Angelic Sweetness in your life?
Share your story in the comment section below!
Also don't forget to enter this FABULOUS giveaway!!
Funny story -- I am a late entry to this inspiring Marian Virtues Series. I am so grateful for this opportunity to fill in and write on Angelic Sweetness. The late entry really WORKED out awesome because that left me eligible to WIN the first week's giveaway - a gorgeous print of Mary by Providential Co.
One lucky reader will win
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It Was the Morning of Nov. 16, 2013
I eagerly awoke to see if my new App project, Words with Jesus daily devotional, was finally available through Google Play. [At that point] The iOs version has been out for a few days. Sadly, the Android version [was] still not available, however, that is not the point of today's blog - merely the catalyst.
On the promise from Google that when I logged in on the PlayStore, after waiting several days the glitch holding up the processing of my new App, would be fixed. Therefore, I logged in fully expecting all would be well. It was not. And.... I cried.
Deflated I dragged my discouraged exhausted body upstairs to my office, dropped to my knees and prayed! There in the midst of my anxiety and doubt came the most amazing blessing - an insight and a grace - an answer to my prayer. I sought to know how well I was doing trying to understand the Will of God in my life. My pain, associated with the delay and difficulty, stemmed primarily from wondering if I completely misunderstood God in pursuing the Words with Jesus App project.
[Hindsight Update: Four years later, the App is no longer available on iOs nor did any of the subsequent apps in the series launch. The developer failed to launch the second app and then stopped taking my calls or responding to emails. So it may be safe to say I probably did misinterpret the signs on this one! The good news, my failure to follow the plan didn't stop God from using the experience to teach me LOTS of good things. Such as, discerning the will of God is probably done best with the guidance of another, especially when that person has a background in say, business and finance. AKA my Spiritual Director is not only a Deacon but an Entrepreneur and COULD HAVE definitely saved me lots of money and disappointment, but I digress.]
SCORE! CHECK OUT THIS AWESOME REVIEW THAT I HAD NO IDEA EVEN EXISTED!! ~ Thank you CatholicApps.com
BACK TO THAT TRUST THING
Although I waited nearly a year to roll out the Words with Jesus Apps, nothing has come easy - finding a developer, fundraising, and now the launch have all come with delays and glitches. As I sat staring at the 'error' message alerting me that I had once again been denied access to my Google merchant account, I wondered if the real 'error' message had come in my discerning God's will in this plan from the start.
On my knees I began my morning's prayer in the form of the Rosary. As I began with the first Joyful Mystery, the Annunciation, I began to ponder Mary's Fiat - her yes to God's call to be the Mother of God. There is no indication in the Scriptures that Mary, once 'on-board' - went back and forth in her head or heart wondering if she had gotten the wrong message. While I am not blessed to have an Angel clearly articulate the Will of God to me, I am graced with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Through that special grace, that gift from God, I can discern through wisdom, knowledge, and understanding, whether the inspirations on my heart are of God or not.
Mary, clearly understood the plan correctly. In our graced exchanges with God we must trust in the loving mercy and care of God, The Father. Even if my response to what I believe are God's inspirations are off by a mile, He will direct my path and bring good of my desire to please and serve Him.
Where Is The Peace in Trusting God?
The actual revelation that brought peace and restored hope came while continuing through the Joyful Mysteries. As I reviewed the life of Mary, vividly illuminated was the plans God has for us sometimes comes with trouble. This is true even for Mary, the Mother of God.
The very birth of her Son, Jesus, would be marked with so many pitfalls and trials it would have been easy to think this CAN NOT BE WHAT GOD WANTED! So many of Mary's joys intertwined with a sorrow -- the birth of her Son, followed a harrowing flight into a foreign land - with a vast number of unknowns. The presentation of Jesus to Simeon in the Temple brought validation of her Son's saving work quickly followed by the prophecy of the piercing of her heart. The joy of finding of the Child Jesus preceded by three days of anxious searching and worry. Mary did not doubt because things were not unfolding as she perhaps anticipated. She trusted so fully in God's love for her instead of being filled with fret and doubt, she pondered and accepted. Surrender and obedience demonstrates great trust.
How Does This Equate?
While launching an Android devotional App is in NO way on the same stratosphere as giving birth to the Son of God, seeing a correlation produced invaluable lessons. Mary's model of trust and hope centered on God's love for her, is what I must cling to when I feel doubt, confusion, or fear seizing my heart. Every day requires some moment of stepping out of the boat into the deep of the unknown and requires us to rely purely on grace of God.
Grace comes as an undeserved yet freely given gift from God that will enable us to hear from God in prayer. Personally, I need to hear things at least 3 times in prayer before acting on them. Trusting God through the eyes of Mary I recognize that sometimes that means going at the first nudge, aware of his promise to make good in all circumstances for those who love Him (Romans 8:28). Empowered by this knowledge, I must not look back with "boy, did I miss that up" but like Mary, "do whatever He tells you," with confidence trust.
All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2017