First P: Prayer

How God Guides Us…

Dear Holly I have a question about spiritual direction. Did you search for a spiritual director or did you just happen upon him because he was there? I am wondering how to go about finding someone. I do know a priest that has acted as a spiritual guide for me in the past so I may ask him but I don’t know if his duties will allow him time for me on a regular... read more

“How To” do the “Year of Faith” for Busy Moms

Hi Everyone Just thought I’d share re: the Year of Faith & “How To” ideas: I’ve been looking over the recommendations from Benedict XVI for the Year of Faith – he recommends a complete review of the Catechism and the Vatican II documents in order to renew our faith, to be read in a prayerful way, in order to prepare the Church to bring forth a new and fresh witness the following year. This is very important given the contrary witness that major political figures are giving, citing their Catholic Faith as the grounds upon which they hold contradictory views on abortion, gay unions, etc etc etc.. Knowing that the Church does not grow spiritually without catechesis, Benedict’s plan is a great plea for Catholics to learn and re-learn what we may have forgotten or perhaps never known. Initially I was thinking that his idea of going over the complete Catechism and the Vatican II documents as a tad bit “ambitious”, to say the least… However, after examining the catechism and the documents, and tying in the need for daily Scripture reading , I think it would be very EASY to work this study in for the year. Here is what I have come to , given that the year of faith is about 400 days: The Vatican II documents – If I leave out the ones on the priesthood, bishops and religious life (for us lay people only, that is, and even then, feel free to read those too…), and study all the rest, it could be done either: a) by reading a document a month, which is... read more

A Realistic Approach to Holiness

Dear Holly, I want to thank you so much for your wonderful book.  I have nearly completed reading it.  I have a young baby and my husband I have been married two years.  Right after getting married we moved across the country and I started graduate school.  I think learning the virtues of being a wife were put on hold as I attempted to adjust to all of the new changes we had, and again when our little one came.  Before marriage I had a strong spiritual life and growing up did not have a clear example of what a wife and mother ought to be according to the beautiful teachings our church.  A few months ago I felt very stuck and depressed.  I had your book on my shelf and finally started reading it and implementing it.  My greatest struggle came from not understanding this work as growing in virtue.  I am doing well now and working on maintaining the right order of priorities and overcoming sloth.  I am so impressed with your book because often when I read self-help books they don’t quite match up to solid philosophical and theological thought.  I have not found that in your book.  I discovered I can implement the ideas in MROL, I connect personally to the concept because I have always practiced my faith seriously and I have a penchant towards organization.  I am not discouraged at my lack of skill or generosity because these are virtues for me to work on (not merely something I either am or am not).  Before I was married I wondered how a person... read more

Praying without Personal Encounter with God?

Dear Holly,The main thing I’m still struggling with is prayer time. I am reading “Full of Grace” by Johnnette Benkovic. It is also stresses the importance of prayer. She mentions vocal prayer, meditative prayer, and contemplative prayer. Here’s my problem. I love to read. I’m always reading a spiritual book, like “Full of Grace” and have no trouble reading the Bible. However, I don’t feel like I’m really spending time with God. My favorite way to pray is to go before the Blessed Sacrament, but somehow this hasn’t happened. I need to make a solid schedule for adoration & confession twice a month. I think I can do this with the help of my husband. I just wonder whether reading a spiritual book “counts” as prayer? It definitely gets me thinking about God more. I struggle with checking things off the box. For instance, I feel great about the fact that I read a section of the Bible nearly every day, however, I’m just reading it. I don’t feel it speaks to me, except for a verse here and there. When I pray the Rosary (occasionally), I still feel like I’m just checking off the box (prayed the Rosary, check; read the Bible, check) but I don’t feel like I’m growing closer to God. Mass, adoration & confession, reading the Bible, and vocal prayer (like the Rosary) are the only ways I know in which to grow closer to God. Other than just talking to God, which I haven’t been doing because I get so distracted (so that is why I’d rather just journal to... read more

In Need of Spiritual Direction

Dear Holly,I have a lot of questions about the faith as a relatively new convert from last year. When I go to Confession it seems so quick, and usually I have my new baby in my arms, and I forget my questions or don’t ask them in the right way. How do I find a spiritual director? I really need some direction in choosing just a couple of things to work on at a time… I have trouble remaining consistent with anything, and there’s about 50 things that I feel like I need to work on, in my prayer life, my life with my husband, my attitude towards my... read more

Why Consecrate Ourselves to Mary?

Dear Holly,I am a home schooling mother of 4 and I also happen to be a protestant. I just wanted you to know how blessed I have been by your book. I read it last week whilst my husband was way and it so spoke into my life as it is right now. I have MOTH but have never felt that it fitted, and have really struggled with what appears to be a lack of depth. Reading your book was like finding a pair of shoes that fit so perfectly. I have just downloaded your workbook and I think that by working my way through this, and scheduling myself a bit more, I shall find a Rule that fits for us as a family. I think that I have just one question, and I feel after having read your book that I can ask you this question as an “ignorant” protestant. I also have been unable to find anyone in our community who can answer this question without getting cross that I’m asking the question!! Also my cousins are Catholics and they have been unable to answer my question!!! Why in the Catholic prayers (Prayer to the Immaculate heart of Mary ) do you consecrate yourself to Mary? I love the first part of the prayer, but I don’t “get” the second part. I think that as a protestant, we have lost the importance of seeing who Mary was and her love and obedience to God. But I read this prayer and it appears to me as worship to Mary. Now I know that Catholics don’t worship Mary, but... read more

Bearing Fruit

Dear Holly, I just wanted to share that this struck me this morning as extremely applicable to keeping up with our daily duties… “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do... read more

A Perfectionism without Priorities is a Problem!

Dear Holly! Your book was just recommended to me by my homeschool curriculum consultant whom I speak to several times a year. What a change it has brought to my life. I found that I had already implemented so many of the practical suggestions–my home has order, routine, a place for everything, etc. But I didn’t have the 5 p’s working for me. Being a scheduler, a perfectionist, a neatnik, without those P priorities in order–hopeless. The girl who appeared to have it all together burnt herself right out. Self reliance looks good, and it works for a while, but it fails. Even my prayer life flopped, because I was out there trying to control everything myself, instead of turning it over! Your prioritization of the 5 P’s was something I resisted for some time. I was in this trap: Provider (doing my jobbies first), Parent (interacting with my children, full of resentment), Partner (can he be serious!), Prayer (better sneak some in before I get blasted by lightening) and Person (aren’t I just the most selfless creature you ever saw?). So that part, the ordering of my life with God at the top, followed by my person and then my husband’s person, gave real spiritual life to all my schedules and lists and Rubbermaid... read more

Why Can't I Stick to Anything?

Dear Holly,I wonder if you might be able to offer some insight for me. As I look at my life, I see a pattern of starting many things that I don’t finish. Why? Pick any reason, and I’ve probably used it: boredom, unforeseen circumstances, illness, schedule change, sloth, loss of the importance of the thing, etc. I’m not talking about laundry or dishes or things like that as much as I am talking about life changes, trying to better myself. For instance, I might start a time of prayer only to have it upset by something or an exercise program or eating better or an entire rule of life! At the time that I stop the thing, it seems to be for a legitimate reason, but then it often takes me months to even start again. I am very self-reflective, and I’ve struggled to understand the root, the core of this tendency. Is it lack of commitment? Yes, but why? Is it sloth? Yes, but it seems to go deeper than even that. I believe it has something to do with my perfectionist nature in that I fear the failure more than I want the thing, even though I know the thing is better for me. Intellectually, I can reason it all out, but I can’t seem to get my heart in the right place long enough to form good habits in all areas of life. I am always working against my perfectionism in my spiritual life, and I feel like over the years-especially since I have had children-that I am making small in-roads. And while I see how... read more

Our On-line Monastery

Dear Holly,How providential it was that I came across your book a few weeks ago! I am a relatively new mother; my son is now fourteen months old. I am adjusting to the reality of motherhood, with all its challenges and joys, and have repeatedly determined to embrace it whole-heartedly. Oddly enough, it was on retreat at a monastery that the Lord impressed upon me the importance of a willingness to embrace the vocation of motherhood. Since then, he has been gently and persistently growing me in this. Recently, I thought how helpful it would be to have some sort of community of women to share a “rule” with as the brothers at the monastery I often visit do. Behold the wonder of the internet! How happy I was to search for monasticism and motherhood and come across your website. I have just finished your book and am deeply thankful for your willingness to share your journey and thoughts with us. Thank you very much. May the Lord continue to grow you in His grace as you receive His presence this new... read more
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