Monday, March 26, 2018

The Divine Mercy Novena Starts on Good Friday

Jesus asked that the Feast of the Divine Mercy be preceded by a Novena to the Divine Mercy which would begin on Good Friday.  He gave St. Faustina an intention to pray for on each day of the Novena, saving for the last day the most difficult intention of all, the lukewarm and indifferent of whom He said: 
 
"These souls cause Me more suffering than any others; it was from such souls that My soul felt the most revulsion in the Garden of Olives. It was on their account that I said: 'My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass Me by.' The last hope of salvation for them is to flee to My Mercy."
In her diary, St. Faustina wrote that Jesus told her: 
 
"On each day of the novena you will bring to My heart a different group of souls and you will immerse them in this ocean of My mercy ... On each day you will beg My Father, on the strength of My passion, for the graces for these souls." 
 
The different souls prayed for on each day of the novena are:
DAY 1 (Good Friday)  - All mankind, especially sinners
DAY  2 (Holy Saturday) - The souls of priests and religious
DAY 3 (Easter Sunday)  - All devout and faithful souls
DAY 4 (Easter Monday) - Those who do not believe in Jesus and those who do not yet know Him
DAY  5 (Easter Tuesday) - The souls of separated brethren
DAY  6 (Easter Wednesday) - The meek and humble souls and the souls of children
DAY  7 (Easter Thursday) - The souls who especially venerate and glorify Jesus' mercy
DAY  8 (Easter Friday) - The souls who are detained in purgatory; 
DAY  9 (Easter Saturday) - The souls who have become lukewarm. 

During the Solemn Novena leading to Divine Mercy Sunday,
the Chaplet of Divine Mercy should be offered each day for the
day's intentions.


Read the full text of the petitions at: https://www.ewtn.com/Devotionals/mercy/novena.htm

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Two Books for When Your Heart is Grieving


Grief is one of those emotions that everyone processes in their own way, but when you are in the midst of the pain and the darkness, it can feel like there is no light to be found.  

Winter of the Heart:Finding Your Way through the Mystery of Grief is a new book by Paula D’Arcy. The author knows of that of which she speaks: her husband and twenty-two month old daughter were killed in a drunk-driving accident. She explains that “we are vulnerable, and to love someone includes not only a willingness to know and be changed by that love but also the possibility of losing him or her. Grief is what we do with that suffering.”

D’Arcy emphasizes that grief is not something that can be “fixed.” Rather, it is an ongoing process, one in which God is at work even in the midst of the pain. Grief can be a time of spiritual testing, but it can also be an opportunity to deepen one’s faith. God does not leave us alone even if it feels that way. 

This is a small book (only 50 pages), but it offers some beneficial insights for those experiencing grief as well as those who care for those who are grieving.



 In The Cross Gardener, Jason F. Wright offers a powerful fictional portrayal of grief. John Bevan has experienced grief – he is an orphan whose adoptive father and brother have also died - but nothing can prepare him for the loss of his wife and unborn son in a car accident. He places two small crosses at the site of their death. He goes to visit them often, but one day he finds a young man at the shrine painting the crosses.

As John slides further and further into the nightmare of his grief, the young man known only as the Cross Gardener works to pull him out of it and help him reengage with the world and his still-living young daughter who is dealing with her own trauma.

The Cross Gardener is an honest portrait of the pain of grief, but it is ultimately a hope-filled novel which shows the power of love and of God to overcome the pain of loss. 

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Thursday, March 08, 2018

Do You Want Your Writing to Shine?

We all want to put our best foot forward when conveying our ideas and stories. Sometimes, a little help can go a long way in making your writing be noticed.

Even veteran writers can benefit from a second pair of eyes to catch those little typos and punctuation errors that we fail to notice because we are so familiar with the material and have read it so many times.

If you struggle with putting your thoughts on paper (or screen), an editor can help you organize your thoughts and present your ideas as clearly as possible while keeping your unique personality and voice.

I'm happy to provide editing services for all writing projects from blog posts and emails to full-length book manuscripts. I offer quick turnaround at reasonable rates.

Please visit my new website at pfmacarthur.com for more information. I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Deacon Eddie Ensley shares Messages from Heaven

I've been blessed to work as an editor for Deacon Eddie Ensley for the past few years. In many ways, his life story is that of a life touched by God. He suffered a brain injury at birth which caused him great difficulty in his growing up, with challenges in executive functioning, learning disabilities, and interpersonal relationships. In addition, his father suffered from a severe mental illness which made his home life dysfunctional.

Yet, through it all, Jesus was with him, and he would grow up to earn a Ph.D. as well as to become an ordained Catholic deacon who speaks to thousands of individuals each year when he gives parish missions. He has also written fourteen books.

In his latest book, Messages from Heaven, he shares some of the wondrous experiences he has had in his life and the messages that he has been given to share with all of us. He does not claim that these messages are direct dictation from God, but rather mediated experiences that he has had. He writes in a style of visionary literature that was once common but has fallen into disuse in our present time.

The story of the way God has worked in his life is truly amazing and I feel truly fortunate to have the opportunity to help him share his story.


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Monday, March 05, 2018

Deepen Your Love for God with this Retreat



The Greatest Commandment states that we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. In Lord, You Know I Love You, Jennifer Fitz offers a guided retreat designed for use by individuals or in a group setting. This is actually two retreats in one in that it has sets of questions for both personal and professional discernment and development. 

Why should you do this retreat? “Because God loves you, and He wants you to experience the unspeakable joy that comes from living your life utterly, totally, completely given over to Him.” This retreat is designed to help you regroup and prepare for the next spiritual battle you need to engage in.

The “Four Spiritual Food Groups” are heart, soul, mind, and strength. Fitz explores what it means for us to love God with each of these dimensions of our personality. She asks probing questions that lead to deep reflection on the true state of our relationship with God and how we can deepen our love for him. 

Her questions for professional discernment can lead to a more God-focused and mission-focused organization as well as a clearer picture of one’s role in that mission.

This retreat has the power to bear great fruit for both individuals and groups.  

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Sunday, March 04, 2018

Do You Want a Clean House and a Clean Soul?



The other day at Mass, a friend came over and told me that she had been inspired by the 40 bags in 40 days decluttering project I had done for Lent a few years ago and now she was doing it. For the record, that was eight years ago (!) and my house could desperately use it again.

My battle with clutter is never-ending. It multiplies when I sleep. Every single person in my house is inherently messy, myself included. When I was young, my desk used to overflow with papers. My high school locker was a deathtrap. So, as much as I know that my children greatly contribute to the “stuff” problem, I know that a great deal of the blame also rests on my shoulders. While I dream of minimalism, I’ll no doubt be battling clutter until the day I die, but the important thing is to keep fighting the good fight. It might just be that more is at stake than just being able to have a clean kitchen table. 

Can cleaning your house help with your spiritual life? Mary Elizabeth Sperry makes a compelling argument that it can in Making Room for God: Decluttering and the Spiritual Life (Ave Maria Press, 2018). As Sperry states, “dealing with clutter can help me to deal with some of the barriers that keep me from living as the person God calls me to be.”

Sperry, like most of us, struggles with the clutter in her life. She shares her battle with stuff as she explores the connections between clutter and the spiritual junk in our lives. When we are buried under the weight of all our possessions, we are often also suffering from the sins of envy, greed, gluttony, sloth, and a lack of trust in God. Cleaning the physical clutter can help with our repentance as it goes along with fasting, prayer, and almsgiving (which makes it a perfect activity to do during Lent). 

Making Room for God also tackles the issue of a cluttered calendar. How many of us suffer under the weight of a too-busy life? It can be important to remove a few obligations in order to have more time for prayer. 

The two goals of this book are to help you have a “clutter-free house and a closer relationship with God.” Neither one of these things happens once and then you are done – they are ongoing processes. Sperry is single so she doesn’t have to struggle with other people’s stuff in addition to her own (although she did work as a nanny and offers some suggestions she utilized in that role). I also wish the publishers had capitalized “God” on the cover. Those minor criticisms aside, Sperry does provide an excellent road map for working on having both a clean house and a clean soul. 

And with this book to inspire me, I cleaned out one of my kitchen cabinets this weekend – it’s a start!

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Thursday, March 01, 2018

Novena to St. Joseph begins March 10th

The Novena to St. Joseph begins March 10th and ends on his feast day, March 19th. (Of course, novenas can also be said any time of year). He is a patron saint of fathers, families, and the universal Church. People often seek his intercession regarding employment, house selling, and for a happy death.

Novena Prayer to St. Joseph


St. Joseph, you are the faithful protector and intercessor of all who love and venerate you.
I have special confidence in you.
You are powerful with God and will never abandon your faithful servants.
I humbly invoke you and commend myself with all who are dear to me to your intercession.
By the love you have for Jesus and Mary, do not abandon me during life and assist me at the hour of death.
Glorious St. Joseph, be my guide, my father, and my model through life that I may merit to die as you did in the arms of Jesus and Mary.
Guardian of the Word Incarnate, I am confident that your prayers on my behalf will be graciously heard before the throne of God.
Through Christ, our Lord, Amen.

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