Best books of 2022 and a moment for joy!
Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
This weekend, we celebrated Gaudate Sunday, a day of great joy in this season of Advent. Gaudate Sunday reminds us of the joy that can be found in our faith, even when things are hard and the light of hope seems dim. But something I have come to understand about joy is that it can be present even when seemingly contradictory feelings – including disappointment, frustration, hurt, sadness – are there as well. I have felt sad, but joyful. Confused, and joyful. Uncertain, yet joyful. And this is all a gift of the peace of God, which truly surpasses all understanding. What a gift of the Holy Spirit, to find this joy where it seems least likely.
Something (someone!) else I’ve been reflecting on this past week is Mary. With both the Immaculate Conception and the Feast of our Lady of Guadalupe, there’s been a lot to ponder. One thing in particular that I have been praying about is Mary’s eagerness and openness to saying “Yes!” to the plan of God. If you look at other prophets, including Moses and Noah, their initial response to God was “Not me, I can’t do that, I am not strong enough/smart enough/articulate enough/capable enough.” But Mary’s response was “Yes!” – not because she believed she was capable, but because she knew that God was. What a model of trust, hope, and faith, that she believed God would provide even when she didn’t see the path forward.
I pray we might all live with the faith and peace of Mary, knowing and trusting with all of our hearts that where we are weak, God is strong. Where we feel unable, He is more than capable. Where we feel uncertain, He holds our hands and guides us, gently, joyfully, and intimately, to the next step.
Have a blessed week, and I’ll see you here next Tuesday!
Best books of 2022 round-up!
Since we’re getting close to the end of the year, I wanted to share some of the books I’ve read this year that I absolutely loved! January is a great time to set aside time and space for reading (both spiritual and for fun!), and these are books I highly recommend:
Best 30 day retreat… Jesus I trust in You by Sr. Faustina Maria Pia, SV
- I’m currently on day three of this retreat and WOW. This 30 day retreat of short reflections follows the Litany of Trust, which is one of my favorite prayers. Each day reflects on one line of the prayer, and offers reflections on the line and how we can better trust God and receive His love in our lives. 10/10!
Best book when prayer feels dry… Consoling the Heart of Jesus by Fr. Michael Gaitley
- I re-read this book as a three day retreat every Holy Week. It’s glorious, and fundamentally changed the way I view Jesus and the practice of prayer.
Best book on the saints… Joan of Arc by Mark Twain
- I audibly gasped at least once on every page. St. Joan of Arc is so incredible, her story is almost unbelievable. Mark Twain thought so too, and spent twelve years researching her story and writing this book. It’s fantastic, and her story simply captivated me.
Best consecration… Consecration to St. Joseph by Fr. Donald Galloway
- St. Joseph has two feast days: March 31 and May 1. This consecration takes 30 days, so you can either pray it between the two feast days, or begin on March 1 to finish by March 31! This book opened my heart and mind to the holiness of St. Joseph – as a worker, a father, a husband, and a man of deep trust in God. I’ve re-read this one once a year since it was published in 2020! Join me next year as we do it again 🙂
Best book on relationships… The Meaning of Marriage by Rev. Tim Keller
- This book had been recommended to me again and again, and I’m so glad I finally picked it up. No matter your relationship status, there’s something to gain for singles, people dating and engaged, and those who are married. I found a lot of wisdom in this book to help form my understanding of how God sees marriage, what makes for a successful partnership and how God calls us to walk towards and live marriage with faith, hope, and joy.
Best Novel… Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
- This beast of a book was my constant companion for the first six months of this year. This translation, especially, was so well done. The story, the characters, the setting… it was phenomenal. There’s a reason this book has endured as a classic! If you’re looking for a wonderful literary experience, I highly recommend.
Best book for recent graduates… Ours! 😉 Now What?!: The Young Catholic Adult’s Guide to Being Bold in Faith, Work, and Life in the “Real World”
- Okay this might be a shameless plug, but if you’re looking for a gift for someone in your life who is striving to be Catholic, joyful, and present in today’s wild world, we are partial to our own book! This is a great Christmas present and provides 31 chapters on everything from tithing to making friends to sanctifying our work and so much more!
**FYI, if you purchase one of these books from a link above, we get a little payment – thank you for supporting the mission of The SundayMonday!
- For a friend’s mother who is sick
- For all those longing to conceive a baby, and for those who lost babies through miscarriage
- For all those experiencing aches and longings this Holiday season, that they might experience God with them in a profound and intimate way
If you or a loved one need prayers, just reply to this email or reach out and I’ll include them in next week’s newsletter!
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Jane was born in Australia, raised in California, and is overjoyed to now call NYC home. She graduated from UCSB with degrees in Political Science and Communication and spent the past two years working in criminal justice reform. She is currently an MBA student at NYU Stern, focusing on entrepreneurship and strategy.