New from Lisa Hendey: A Prayer Calendar for Catholic Moms

Lisa Hendey's Prayer Calendar for Catholic Moms -f

Space on my desk is precious real estate, only to be granted to the things that really need to be there: computer, planner, Post-It notes, a box of tissues, a mini-storage unit for clips and stickers, and a mug of pencils, pens and markers. I’m trying to keep my office neat. But I’ve added a perpetual calendar next to the Our Lady of Fatima figurine who stands by: Lisa Hendey’s new Catholic Mom’s Desk Calendar.

Flipping to the correct date, I found my very favorite psalm waiting for me, along with a beautiful prayer by Lisa.

CMdeskcalendar
Copyright 2017 Barb Szyszkiewicz. All rights reserved.

As you can see from the photo above, the color scheme is a calming blue, tone-on-tone. I’ve chosen almost that exact shade for more than one room in my home. The serene colors invite the reader to slow down, quiet down, and enter into a moment of prayer.

You don’t have to have a desk to display this prayer calendar. You could keep it on your nightstand, bureau, or even the kitchen counter (though I fear that if I tried that in my tiny kitchen, it would be splattered with marinara sauce in short order).

I have plenty of calendars in my office. I display two months of the calendar at a time, because I need to see that much for work. I have a Google calendar on my computer. And I have a planner on my desk. But this calendar is different. It’s not part of yet another to-do list for my family, my household, or my job. This calendar reminds me that “only one thing is necessary,” as Jesus told St. Martha, and I need to embrace that.

Here’s a sneak peek at January’s calendar entries! Note that this is a spiral-bound perpetual calendar, not a book as pictured below, but you can get a good look at what the beautiful pages look like.

Each day begins with a quote from Scripture, a saint, a pope, or the Catechism, followed by a brief prayer related to that reading.

Place this calendar where you’ll be sure to see it each day, and enter into a quiet moment of prayer in the midst of your busy life.

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Copyright 2017 Barb Szyszkiewicz
This post contains Amazon affiliate links; your purchase through these links helps support this blog. Thank you! I was given a free review copy of this book, but no other compensation. Opinions expressed here are mine alone.

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Tech Talk: Prayer and Social Media

I’ve been a regular at Eucharistic Adoration for just over two years, and it’s taken me this long to find a way to use the time as a prayer intercessor for others.

For too long, I’d gone to the Adoration Chapel with an agenda and a tote bag: a spiritual book (or three) to read, a rosary, a journal, and my iPad so I could pray Liturgy of the Hours. It was getting to the point where Adoration was another task to check off my list, a quiet hour to read a book I’d promised to review. Check, check, check.

Checking off tasks is not what Adoration is supposed to be about.

I’d been noticing for a while that my friend Allison Gingras would share on Facebook that she was heading to Adoration, and offer to pray for any special intentions people posted. I knew she wouldn’t mind if I adopted her idea, so I created a graphic with a photo from our Adoration Chapel and shared it on Facebook for the first time in late February.

adoration-today

The response was tremendous. Over 40 likes. Over 35 comments. And a whole host of messages with private intentions. And I wasn’t just hearing from Catholics. I filled 2 index cards, both sides, with intentions posted in under 3 hours.

People are hungry for that intercessory prayer. People carry secret burdens and don’t always know how to ask for help, or even prayer over their situation. It’s a comfort to know that someone else is holding them up in prayer.

I took those two index cards and my rosary to the chapel. I always pray the Franciscan Crown rosary, and it’s a good thing it has 7 decades, because at one bead per intention I needed all those prayers to cover my list, plus my family and one general prayer for any late-breaking intentions (I wasn’t checking Facebook in the chapel.)

Later that day I got an email from one of the deacons at our parish, who’s my friend on Facebook. He wanted to let me know that he and his wife were going to begin inviting their Facebook friends to share intentions, to be prayed for during their Adoration hour.

He also said that this is a great way to evangelize. I hadn’t thought about that, but it’s true. Originally I’d hesitated to mention on Facebook that I was going to Adoration–but this has shown me that it’s something needed and appreciated.

I created a rosary prayer intentions printable to use each week to list intentions: my own, as well as those of my friends on Facebook. It’s also a Franciscan Crown Rosary tutorial. Download this printable and set it up for your “intentional rosary.”

Copyright 2017 Barb Szyszkiewicz

Of Prayer, Twitter and Red Minivans

Yesterday I was tagged in a tweet with an emergency prayer request.

twitter-prayer-request

After promising to pray that Emergency Novena for Christine’s friend, I messaged her to ask what color car her friend drives.

That may seem like a weird question, but I use visual prayer cues for special intentions. When I see a car that resembles one belonging to someone I know and love, that’s a reminder to me to pray for that person.

Christine told me that her friend drives a red minivan.

This morning at Mass, I remembered her friend in prayer, then resolved to turn off the radio on my way home and pray that day’s Emergency Novena.

After Mass, I got into my car, turned off the radio, and prepared to leave my parking space. The car in front of me moved away, revealing that the car parked in front of it was a red minivan.

A couple of miles later, I saw another one.

In your kindness, when you see a red minivan, say a special prayer for Christine’s friend. If you commit to doing this, I’m quite sure that God will make sure you see plenty of those cars.

intercessory-prayer-gets-behind-the-wheel
Photo copyright 2016 Lisa M. Hendey. Title added by author. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

#WorthRevisit: Chapel Rosary

Wrapping up the Month of the Rosary with a look back at May of this year, when I borrowed a rosary at the Adoration Chapel.

I was running a minute or two late for my Holy Hour yesterday, and as I approached the church driveway I realized I’d left my pocket rosary behind when I changed my clothes.

Worse, I’d tossed my wallet into my “Adoration tote” along with my journal, earbuds and a spiritual book or three–so I didn’t have the rosary I keep in my handbag.

I can count on my fingers in a pinch; after all, God gave me ten of them, but our Adoration chapel has a few rosaries on a hook near the entrance. I decided to use one of those to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

Red rosary breviary C
Copyright 2016 Barb Szyszkiewicz. All rights reserved.

Using a chapel rosary (or any rosary belonging to someone else) brings to mind a unique connection that is made through prayer.

What other hands had held that rosary, fingering the beads, counting off prayer intentions, wiping away tears?

What other hearts had prayed the prayers, there in the chapel, laying bare their most secret and fervent desires of the soul?

Was the last person to lift this rosary off that hook a stranger? A friend? A neighbor? My husband?

So many prayers have been prayed on this rosary, in this chapel.

I prayed one extra Memorare for those who have prayed here before me, for those who pray here with me, and for those who will pray here after me.

We are all connected, united, brought together by our prayers on a single string of beads.

worth revisit

I’m linking up with Reconciled to You and Theology is a Verb for #WorthRevisit Wednesday, a place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link up with fellow bloggers!

#WorthRevisit: Franciscan Crown

I’m looking back at a CatholicMom.com post explaining the Franciscan way to pray the Rosary.

Here’s a how-to for my favorite variation of the Rosary:  the Franciscan Crown.

It’s got that name because, according to legend, the Blessed Mother asked an aspiring Franciscan friar to weave her a crown of prayers.

While the Dominicans are credited with the creation of the Rosary, Franciscans also have a deep devotion to the Blessed Mother:

In his devotion to the Mother of Christ, the Franciscan, who is united with and transformed into Christ, makes Mary his own Mother. How can it be otherwise, for it was Mary who begot Christ, and hence it is Mary who has given the True Life to the Franciscan. Mary is our Mother because she is the Mother of the Head of the Mystical Body, of which we are members — she is the one Mother of the One Christ. Thus Francis “embraced the Mother of Jesus with an indescribable love, because she made the Lord of Majesty our brother.”

My favorite
My favorite “pocket Rosary.” Durable. Washable. And with a Franciscan touch! Get yours at Mary Devotions, an Etsy shop.

The Franciscan Crown is a 7-decade Rosary based on the 7 Joys of Mary. If you don’t have a 7-decade set, use your regular Rosary and just backtrack a bit. Unlike the regular Rosary, you start at the medal and end at the cross.

For each decade, pray 1 Our Father, 10 Hail Marys and 1 Gloria.

Here are the meditations for each decade. The Scripture verses and prayers are optional; if I’m out and about I just pray the 7 joys without the Scriptures.

  1. The first Joy in the Crown of Mary is the joy of Our Lady at the Annunciation. “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to Your word.” May I become your humble servant, Lord.
  2. The second Joy in the Crown of Mary is the joy of Our Lady at the Visitation. “Rising up, Mary went into the hill country and saluted her cousin Elizabeth. Grant us true love of neighbor, Lord.
  3. The third Joy in the Crown of Mary is the joy of Our Lady at the Birth of Jesus and the Adoration of the Magi. “She brought forth her first-born son…and laid him in a manger.” Give us true poverty of spirit, Lord.
  4. The fourth Joy in the Crown of Mary is the joy of Our Lady at the Presentation and Purification. “They carried him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord…as it is written in the law of the Lord.” Help me obey all just laws.
  5. The fifth Joy in the Crown of Mary is the joy of Our Lady at the Finding of Jesus in the Temple. “Not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem seeking him.” May I never lose you through serious sin, Lord.
  6. The sixth Joy in the Crown of Mary is the joy of Our Lady at the Resurrection of Jesus. “The Lord is not here; He is risen.” May we share your glory, Lord.
  7. The seventh Joy in the Crown of Mary is the joy of Our Lady at her Assumption into Heaven and her Coronation. “A woman clothed with the sun; upon her head a crown of twelve stars.” Mary, may we share your crown of eternal life.
After you have prayed the seven decades, pray two more Hail Marys to make a total of 72–honoring the 72 years of Mary’s life (according to legend). Then, for the intentions of the Holy Father, pray one Our Father, one Hail Mary and one Gloria.
Franciscan Crown FI
You don’t have to be a Franciscan to pray this beautiful devotion. In this Month of the Rosary, give it a try!

worth revisit

I’m linking up with Reconciled to You and Theology is a Verb for #WorthRevisit Wednesday, a place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link up with fellow bloggers!

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This month I’m joining all the cool kids in the #Write31Days adventure! I didn’t pick a keyword or a theme, because just getting something written for all 31 days is challenge enough for me right now.

Avoidance, Elections and a Call to Prayer

It’s getting to be that time of year again. I’d really like autumn, if it weren’t for the fact that November’s approach means Election Day is coming.

This season brings out the worst in everyone, and it’s complicated this year by the clear evidence that there’s just no one I can support, in good conscience, for the presidential election.

There is no political debate anymore; it’s just a bunch of people shouting their opinons on the airwaves and social media, like I’m doing right now. Everyone shouts. Nobody listens.

More and more, I’m coming to appreciate and admire Lisa Hendey’s stance at CatholicMom.com. We’re not covering the elections there. It gets too ugly too fast, and that’s not what we’re about.

I’ve dipped my toe into discussions on Facebook and immediately wished I’d kept my mouth shut (or sat on my fingers). Not because I regret what I said, but because I don’t want to be pulled into an online political debate that’s anything but a real debate.

I have friends who’ve sworn off social media until mid-November. That’s not an option for me, but I’m hiding certain posts in the hope that Facebook will get the idea that I just don’t want to see this stuff.

I’m done retweeting political stuff. I’m done “liking” and interacting in any way with Facebook posts about the election–even the ones that say, like I am right now, just how much they hate the whole process and the fact that decisions have to be made between alternatives that are awful in equal but different ways.

That’s going to take some self-control on my part. But I am hoping I can stick to this, because my own peace is at stake. I shouldn’t be getting on Facebook or Twitter and then feeling like my next stop should be the confessional.

No one’s vote is going to be changed by anything anyone says on Facebook or Twitter.

I’m going to try praying instead. Prayer can change hearts. Prayer can do things that retweeting and “liking” and spouting off on social media can’t do.

Right about now, I think it’s time to call upon St. Michael the Archangel and the Holy Spirit to protect our nation and to guide us in wise choices when Election Day comes along in 4 short weeks.

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Via Pixabay, CC0 Public Domain

 

 

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This month I’m joining all the cool kids in the #Write31Days adventure! I didn’t pick a keyword or a theme, because just getting something written for all 31 days is challenge enough for me right now.

For the One in this Room Who Needs It Most

I learned the Morning Offering my sophomore year in high school. (It was only my 5th year in a Catholic school, so I still had a long way to go to catch up on things like that.)

The room was quiet. Heads were bowed, eyes were closed and hands were folded as we sat at our desks for morning prayers before beginning class.

My homeroom teacher, Sr. Lucille Marie, would add at the end of the prayer, “And for the one in this room who needs it most today.”

Sometimes, the silence would be broken as a student (or several) whispered, “Me.”

All these years later, I still remember those whispers.

I remember those girls who projected all the confidence in the world every other minute of the day, but who let down their shields for that one moment when they could anonymously admit that they were in need of prayer.

You don’t have to be in a classroom to pray this prayer. You can pray it for the people in your home. You can pray it for the people standing in line with you at the supermarket. You can pray it for people driving ahead of you and behind you on the highway.

Where two or three are gathered, you can pray this prayer:

For the one in this room who needs it most, I pray.

God knows what they need. He can take it from there.

"For the one in this room who needs it most" at Franciscanmom.com
Image via Pixabay (2016), CCO Public Domain. Text added in PicMonkey.

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This month I’m joining all the cool kids in the #Write31Days adventure! I didn’t pick a keyword or a theme, because just getting something written for all 31 days is challenge enough for me right now.

"Write 31 Days" logo from write31days.com. (@franciscanmom)
Logo via Write31Days.com. All rights reserved.

Worth Revisit: High Anxiety

Dentist appointment today! The same loose crown I was dealing with just about 3 years ago is, once again, loose. 2 weeks ago I went to the dentist to have them fix it, only to be told that if they removed it then, it might not be able to go right back in (and the day before your kid’s graduation is not the day to be looking like a hockey player). I unsuccessfully fought back tears as I made the appointment for today, to see the hygienist, get X-rays, and maybe have this crown fall out in the process and maybe they’ll be able to fix it today, but maybe not, in which case I’ll look like a hockey player at my kid’s graduation party.

There was anxiety to spare yesterday, and there’s plenty this morning as well. I’m offering my struggles with this for a young lady who’s also had a tough time with anxiety recently. I hope, at least, that my suffering will do a little good for someone this way.

From the Anxiety Archives for Worth Revisit Wednesday, I bring you some food for thought from 2011:

Remember that prayer that was on all those posters in the 70s: “Lord, help me to remember that nothing is going to happen today that you and I together can’t handle”?

Photo via BarnImages.com. Text added in PicMonkey.
Photo via BarnImages.com. Text added in PicMonkey.

I’ve been letting anxiety get the better of me a little (a lot?) more than usual recently. And really, this has got to stop. When I was talking about this with a good friend, she mentioned that, lately, she has been making an effort to pray when anxiety starts to overcome her. She asks God to help her hand over the situation, to guide her words and actions.

Good advice.

But I don’t want to pray that prayer from the 70s posters. To be honest, I find that prayer a little arrogant.

As Father Cavanagh says in the movie Rudy, “I have come up with only two hard incontrovertible facts: there is a God, and I’m not him.”

Better to pray that God will guide me through a situation. I prefer this prayer, attributed to Father Mychal Judge, OFM, who perished in the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center:
Lord, take me where you want me to go;
Let me meet who you want me to meet;
Tell me what you want me to say, and
Keep me out of your way.
There’s only one thing I may need to add to that: “Keep my foot out of my mouth.”

Amen.

worth revisit

I’m linking up with Reconciled to You and Theology is a Verb for #WorthRevisit Wednesday, a place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link up with fellow bloggers!

The Chapel Rosary

I was running a minute or two late for my Holy Hour yesterday, and as I approached the church driveway I realized I’d left my pocket rosary behind when I changed my clothes.

Worse, I’d tossed my wallet into my “Adoration tote” along with my journal, earbuds and a spiritual book or three–so I didn’t have the rosary I keep in my handbag.

I can count on my fingers in a pinch; after all, God gave me ten of them, but our Adoration chapel has a few rosaries on a hook near the entrance. I decided to use one of those to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

Using a chapel rosary (or any rosary belonging to someone else) brings to mind a unique connection that is made through prayer.

What other hands had held that rosary, fingering the beads, counting off prayer intentions, wiping away tears?

What other hearts had prayed the prayers, there in the chapel, laying bare their most secret and fervent desires of the soul?

Was the last person to lift this rosary off that hook a stranger? A friend? A neighbor? My husband?

So many prayers have been prayed on this rosary, in this chapel.

I prayed one extra Memorare for those who have prayed here before me, for those who pray here with me, and for those who will pray here after me.

We are all connected, united, brought together by our prayers on a single string of beads.

Copyright 2016 Barb Szyszkiewicz. All rights reserved.
Copyright 2016 Barb Szyszkiewicz. All rights reserved.

On Barb’s Bookshelf: Talking to God by Julie Cragon

talking to GodGet your hands on this new prayer book by Julie Cragon, but don’t read it all the way through.

That’s not what Talking to God is for. It’s a small book (on purpose), just right to slide into your handbag for easy reference in prayer emergencies.

Julie Cragon’s book is all about the prayer emergency. We all have them: the morning we wake up short on sleep and shorter on temper, the day that brings a to-do list that’s much too long, the nights we can’t sleep, the times we’re tempted to be less-than-gentle. Talking to God has a prayer for all of these moments and more.

You’ll find more than just prayer in this book; many prayers are accompanied by quotes from Scripture, saints or spiritual writers.

My favorite spot in the book is titled “Short Prayers to Keep You Close to God.” These are one-sentence prayers that get right down to what you need and help us focus on Christ during our busiest days.

As Grace Mazza Urbanski of the Apostleship of Prayer (and CatholicMom.com) observes in the Foreword,

Converting daily encounters into lifesaving prayer changes us. This way of living faith in daily life can only be sustained, however, if we nourish our relationship with God through periods of formal prayer.

Recently on “Conversations with Cardinal Dolan” on SiriusXM’s Catholic Channel, Timothy Cardinal Dolan encouraged listeners to make a morning offering each day, first thing. That’s a habit I’d like to develop. Talking to God contains several variations on the morning offering; I’ll choose one to memorize so that I can start my day off right.

This book will be released on Friday, May 6: just in time for Mother’s Day. It’s a terrific gift for moms!

talking to God
The fine print: I was provided with a copy of this book, but no other compensation, for the purpose of this review. Opinions expressed are mine alone.