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Mrs. Christie Thein: Planting Seeds Blog Author & St. Greg's PK3 Teacher Aide
We are very excited about our Catholic Blog and Resources Page! Please check in every month for wonderful insights, prayers, and resources created just for parents. This page will provide knowledge on relevant topics and assist families to incorporate faith into their daily activities.
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Our Perspective Changes Everything 
"May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened." Ephesians 1:18

Walking down the lower wing as a brand-new Pre-K 3 teacher’s aide this year, I could not help but carry this awful feeling that I was not the right person for the job. I didn’t feel qualified, nor did I feel like I had the right experience. In my first couple of weeks, I photocopied the wrong sheets, and made a mess of things for a new teacher. We had more criers in the classroom than our arms could manage.  I was asked to sub for an upper grade that left me feeling very unequipped. What was I doing here? 
That’s when I witnessed something so moving, I’ve since stopped questioning whether I was in the right place…I saw a child crying in the morning as they got off the bus, a teacher pulled them aside and sat on a bench with them, and asked the child if they wanted to pray together, the teacher prayed with the student and sat with them for a moment and then proceeded to walk them down to their classroom. 
One of our students calls these moments "God winks" and I could write a book full of them each week. So much of how we see ourselves, and the world around has to do with our perspective. A few other "God winks" That teacher that I messed up the project, told me that because I messed it up, she ended up doing something different and it turned out even better.  When we had more inconsolable littles than our arms could manage, our principal, guidance counselor, and office staff were all hands-on deck, even Louie our therapy dog came down to help! The teacher that I subbed for in the upper wing, couldn't have been more kind and encouraging. The two teachers I am working with in our Pre-K 3 class are so loving and joyful, I am learning so much from them every day. It is a gift when you find someplace where you don't feel you have to be perfect to fit in, that people love you just as you are, mistakes and all. 
What I’ve learned during my time here, is that the teachers at St. Gregory the Great School are among the most brilliant, energetic, dynamic faculty I’ve ever met; but that doesn’t mean they all came to St. Greg’s “equipped.” Our faculty is made up of true professionals, but the “gift” for teaching isn’t something for which one can earn a degree or learn by experience alone. There is something that sets our school apart, such that our teachers are inspired to give the very best of themselves, day in and day out, perseveringly and without complaint. In a word, our teachers LOVE their students, and they love one another. They don’t come to St. Greg’s equipped, because it is St. Gregory the Great that equips them.
"How good and how pleasant it is, when brother's dwell together as one." Psalm 33:1  
JUNE 2023
**BOOK GIVEAWAY: Click Here**
Math 101 
Suffering + Love = Joy 
John 16:23-28
"Jesus said to his disciples: "Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you. Until now you have not asked anything in my name. ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete." Another verse came to my heart. "Rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice exultantly." 1 Peter 4:13 
Suffering + Love = Joy This equation shows us in a simple way how suffering and joy go together. We all experience some form of suffering in our lifetimes.  And we all want joy. The missing ingredient in-between is love which transforms our suffering into joy. This kind of love is the love of God which "has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us." Romans 5:5 This kind of love is a gift available to each one of us, for the asking.
Jesus is teaching them a component to prayer, which had not yet been revealed. Jesus is teaching them how to pray to the Father in the name of Jesus. Jesus is teaching us the essence of prayer.
The more we write God's Word upon our heart and mind the more we will learn to pray in His name, the more we will begin to recognize His presence.  When we pray to the Father from a place of humility and faith, we begin to see more clearly His hand in all circumstances. We come to know that He is with us. That what seems unbearable to us, may be part of God's perfect plan. That God can us our suffering, sorrow, and pain to bring about a greater good even when we cannot yet see it. My time in the hospital for those twelve days felt unbearable, but in my greatest suffering I had never felt more loved by my heavenly Father, and I came to know what suffering + love = joy looked like. 
To pray in His name is to ask for the grace to give Him thanks and praise in all things. For childlike trust, knowing that He is with us always. How do we grow in trust? By learning to give God praise and thanks in all things. Jesus tells us again and again, that we will have peace when we place our trust in Him. "I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world." John 16:33
The Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist are two sides to the same coin: "Believing that Jesus is present in the Eucharist and experiencing His presence each time we receive Him are two different things. The former places us in a disposition to break out of routine, disinterested, and doubtful reception of the Sacred Host; the latter is a Gift that comes from the Holy Spirit, just like the understanding of Scripture." Mrene 
If we want our children to recognize Jesus' presence in the Eucharist let us help them to grow in their relationship with Jesus in His Word. "Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ." St. Jerome 
"And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened, and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?"  Luke 24:30-32
Take this time during the summer to go on an adventure with your children. To dive into God's Word together and to discover the gift of the Eucharist in a deeper way together. One day we will look back and wish we would've spent more time in God's Word, teaching our children, this hidden treasure.  Don't wait...Dive In! 
"On an otherwise normal day, the children unexpectedly receive a package delivered to their family’s doorstep with an envelope addressed to them. Inside, they find an invitation, and within the box they discover a scroll with seven clues. As the mystery unfolds, Peter and Julia, along with older brother James, embark on a treasure hunt that leads them into a deeper understanding of their Catholic faith. Along the way, the answer to each clue reveals another secret about the greatest gift God has ever given the world. Seven Clues will captivate the imagination and bring together generations of children with their families, teachers, and caregivers as they explore what the words, signs, and symbols of the Church reveal about the life and Resurrection of Jesus." Seven Clues
MAY 2023
So, faith, hope, love remain, these three, but the greatest of these is love."  1 Corinthians 13:13
"Only faith working through love." Galatians 5:6
We tend to want to fix our nation, and shake our leaders, but what would happen if Jesus came to visit our families? What would He have to say to each of us? This is something we all need reminders of. And I am first in line.  It is easy to point our fingers outward and miss what He is asking us to do. 
It is too easy when things are difficult to turn away from loving God and one another, when we do this, we uproot ourselves from God's love, there is no soil. Humility is needed. To humble ourselves before God and to one another. Humility opens us up to communion with others. If we are to be rooted in love, we better understand what love is. 
Galatians 5:1-6
What is the recipe we are told to follow in St. Paul's letter to the Galatians?  "Only faith working through love." Where there is love, there is God. We know that Jesus said that love is the evidence that we are His disciples. John 13:35 and we all know 1 Corinthians 13:4-13 "Love never fails." Our love is not measured by how much we love those who love us in return, even those who do not believe in God love those who love them. To love others as God loves, is to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us. If we do not forgive, we will not be forgiven, if we mistreat others our prayers will not be heard.
It is the fruit of faith that enables us to love others. So, what could be at the root of our lack of charity that we are seeing all around us?  Could it be a lack of silence? It all begins with silence. Silence is at the root of our union with God and one another. To find silence does not mean we need to become hermits or seclude ourselves from the rest of the world. What is necessary? To quiet our mind and heart. To not react to everything that is said and sent to us, to not jump to conclusions, but to take time in silence with the Lord, reflecting on His Word in light of our circumstances. Prayer should permeate our entire day, like incense rising up to the heavens. This time abiding in His Word begins to take root in our hearts, enkindling the fire of charity within us, directing all that we speak and do. The Lord desires that we love others as He has loved us. He has created us to love and to be loved. 
Have you ever stepped inside someone's home and felt a tangible peace? Felt enveloped in love? Mother Teresa said that peace and war begin at home. If we truly want peace in the world let us begin by loving one another in our own families. Do we understand that if everyone in our school and parish began to live this out, our community would be transformed? And that would ripple out across our nation. 
The Fruit of Silence Prayer by Mother Teresa 
The fruit of silence is prayer.
The fruit of prayer is faith.
The fruit of faith is love.
The fruit of love is service.
The fruit of service is peace. 
"The word of God is living and effective, able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart." Hebrews 4:12 It is God's Word that penetrates our minds and hearts. In order to live our faith, we are in desperate need of His help. It is God Word that diagnoses our hearts, His Word reveals what His love intends to heal. God's Word is a sword that goes below the surface. God's Word delivers us from all our fears, His Word cleanses us from the inside out. The Word of God is our counselor, His Word gives life, restores, gives peace to those who love it. Jesus is the Word Made Flesh, when we spend time in His Word, we are spending time with Jesus Himself. When God's Word is heard and understood it bears fruit. "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control." Galatians 5:22
Love is the first fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians. 
"Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, (love) is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.... So, faith, hope, love remain, these three, but the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13:4-13 
This verse is a great examination to go through. Love is described in action words, not by lofty words. The fact is, when we don’t feel patient, or kind, we can still choose to be patient and kind.  We take our mind off our frustration and place it on Jesus, who is our peace, joy, hope, and love.  When we feel jealous, proud, quick tempered, it does not mean we must act that way. Even though we may feel resentful, we can still choose to forgive, because forgiveness is an act of the will, not a feeling. When we feel afraid, we ask the Lord to pour his love into our hearts, for it is his love which casts out all fear and restores our peace. 
"If you forgive men their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions." Matthew 6:7-15
We talked back in November about the benefits of gratitude, and we know that unforgiveness is bad for our health.  Holding onto resentment, anger, frustration, old wounds, hurts us more than the one who hurt us, and can lead to physical ailments, increased anxiety, elevated blood pressure, decreased immune system, depression, and stress, it truly is truly for our health benefit that we forgive. 
Just like when we give God praise and thanks in all circumstances it brings God glory and it is for our good, so too is forgiveness for God's glory and our good. 
Nuggets from Corrie Ten Boom on Forgiveness: "Will you forgive me? It could not have been many seconds that he stood there, hand held out, but to me it seemed hours as I wrestled with the most difficult thing I had ever had to do. For I had to do it–I knew that. The message that God forgives has a prior condition: that we forgive those who have injured us. “If you do not forgive men their trespasses,” Jesus says, “neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”

I knew it not only as a commandment of God, but as a daily experience. Since the end of the war, I had had a home in Holland for victims of Nazi brutality. Those who were able to forgive their former enemies were able also to return to the outside world and rebuild their lives, no matter what the physical scars. Those who nursed their bitterness remained invalids. It was as simple and as horrible as that.

And still I stood there with the coldness clutching my heart. But forgiveness is not an emotion–I knew that too. Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.

“Jesus, help me!” I prayed silently. “I can lift my hand. I can do that much. You supply the feeling.”

And so woodenly, mechanically, I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me. And as I did, an incredible thing took place. The current started in my shoulder, raced down my arm, sprang into our joined hands. And then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes. “I forgive you, brother!” I cried. “With all my heart!”

For a long moment we grasped each other’s hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I had never known God’s love so intensely as I did then." Read the entire story here: Guideposts Classics: Corrie ten Boom on Forgiveness - Guideposts
These two songs on Forgiveness have broken up my heart, I pray they touch yours. 
7x 70 by Chris August
Forgiveness by Matthew West 


APRIL 2023


The Power of Our Words


“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, those who choose one shall eat its fruit.” ~Proverbs 18:21


We spend a lot of time talking to our children about their words. Reminding them to say, “please and thank you” By helping them notice when their words are unkind and hurtful or helpful and encouraging.


One would think that with all the time we spend reminding and teaching our children about the power of their words, that we wouldn't so often forget this lesson ourselves, but we are human, and we are prone to forget.


As adults we still need to pray for daily help so that whatever comes out of our mouths will be "good for building up" and "gives grace to those who hear" Ephesians 4:29 


Our words hold a great deal of power, both to give life and to tear down. We all want our homes and our school to be full of life-giving words, and yet, just like our children, it takes a lot of practice to consistently notice the impact our words have and how to use our power for good. 


Who we listen affects how we speak and how we treat others.  Who are the five voices that you listen to most? This could include the news, a blogger, as well as the people around you. We begin to sound like the voices that we listen to. Are we listening the voice of God, spoken through His Word? It is His voice/Word that has the power to transform our lives, and our families.


What Scripture has to say about the power of our words:  

"If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, his religion is in vain." James 1:26 Ouch!

Ephesians 4:29 exhorts us to, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

Our words should bring life to others. It is so much easier to complain, to hold on to grudges, to bite back with our words, but Scripture is clear how Christians are to speak. 

"Refuse no one the good on which he has a claim when it is in your power to do it for him." Proverbs 3:27-34 This means do good to all! Imagine that each person we encounter in our days, if we knew that today would be their last day. How would we speak to them? How would we treat them? 


“Whoever walks without blame, doing what is right, speaking truth from the heart, who does not slander with his tongue, does no harm to a friend, never defames a neighbor.” Psalm 15:2-3


 How much damage is done within our families, our Church, and our nation by our sharp tongues? We should be quick to bite our tongue before we complain or criticize someone.  This first verse addresses how we speak. "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks." Luke 6:45


Have you ever had someone speak damaging words that have remained in your heart? Or perhaps you have said damaging words to others you would like to retrieve. 


Food for thought: Have you heard the phrase think before you speak? So often we react to our circumstances or to others without taking that pause to breathe in God’s wisdom, before we respond: “Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues.” Proverbs 10:19

T: Is what we are saying truthful?

H: Is what we are saying helpful or hurtful?

I: Is what we are saying impulsive or inspiring?  

N: Is what we are saying necessary?

K: Is what we are saying kind? 

"Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier." ~Mother Teresa


Watch: "The LOVE/HATE Experiment AMAZING RESULTS!" on YouTube


Song: Speak Life by Toby Mac

Lift your head a little higher
Spread the love like fire
Hope will fall like rain
When you speak life with the words you say.


Read: A Kid's Guide to the Power of Words: Evans, Tony: 9780736972987: Books

"Words are tools your child (age 8-12) can use to bless others and praise God. Bestselling author Dr. Tony Evans wants to unlock the tremendous potential in your kid to speak carefully and prayerfully, cultivating a new generation of youth who build one another up and point others to Jesus.

With wisdom and guidance, your child can use words to

praise the Lord
be wise
bless others
be thankful
heal instead of hurt others
...and so much more!

Each chapter contains valuable teaching from Dr. Tony on the power of the tongue and includes practical questions designed to get your child thinking and writing about what he or she has just read. Help your child learn to say the things that bring honor to God and to others."

MARCH 2023
Planting Seeds: Helping Families Grow in the Lord 
What happens in the month of March? Spring begins! March 20th to be exact. What else happens in the month of March? We celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation. What happened at the Annunciation? Mary's Fiat. "May it be done to me according to your word." Luke 1:38
We can learn three things from the Feast of the Annunciation: 
Be prepared to be the answer to your prayer: Jews for many years were praying for the coming of the Messiah, and Mary would've been one of those who prayed for just that. And God answered her prayer, by asking her to take a huge role in it. The Lord will use us to answer our prayers in our own life, our families, and in the world. Do we want peace in the world? Peace begins in our hearts, and overflows to our families, community and onto the nation. 
Put our trust in the Lord: "Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you." When we know that the Lord is with us, and is leading us one moment at a time, we grow in trust. 
Live in a way that glorifies God: "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word."
In Seasons of winter, we trust that Spring is coming. In moments of darkness, we hug the Good News to our chest. Have you ever felt distant from God? Maybe you wished you could draw closer to Him, but you don't know how. May you feel like you are not being spiritually fed. We can look to Mary and learn from her, to welcome the word into our hearts, to ponder it and then put it into action in our lives. Mary has been called the "Mother of Listening" Mary teaches us to not only hear the Word of God but to ponder it in light of our own circumstances. 
Giving our Fiat isn't a onetime event, but a continual Fiat each day. Pope Benedict said in 2005, "If Lectio Divina would be taken up in the Church there would be a New Spiritual Springtime" Lectio Divina is simply reading God's love letter to us, (Scripture) and pondering it in our heart, and then applying it to our lives. Taking the faith from our head to our heart and into our lives. How many Catholics are really reading Scripture? If we were wouldn't there be more Catholic musicians, artists, actors, teachers, police officers, leaders, and on and on. We may not be able to change the nation, but we can make a ripple within our homes and circles of influence that will ripple across the nation. 
Let us take a walk back and remember the lessons we've learned over the months. Which Scripture verse resonated with your heart? Spend some time this month soaking in it and ask the Lord how you can better apply it to your life. 
October: Reminding ourselves that "God is with us." Matthew 1:23
Remember: There are times when our little ones are nervous as they head back to school. We remind them that, "The Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9 Just like when they were toddlers, and when the noisy fireworks scare them, or a sibling is being unkind, what do they do? Run into our arms, and it is here that peace is restored.
November: A Recipe for Joy "Enter his gates with thanksgiving, his courts with praise, give thanks to him, bless his name, good indeed is the Lord." Psalm 100:4-5
Cultivating an attitude of gratitude helps us to rewire the way we think and the way that we see the world. Developing a love for God and an attitude of gratitude for what God has done for us can be a delight to us as parents and a life-changing experience for our littles. 
December: A Season of Waiting: "For you I wait all the day." Psalm 25:5 
Advent Challenge: Let's start each morning with a cup of coffee and the Word of God. Whether you pick one verse, one chapter or one book of the Bible is up to you. Six minutes or sixty minutes, the main thing is to stick with it, and let it transform your life.  God's Word is His love letter to His children and digging in to discover what He has to say to us is like opening up a new and fresh Christmas gift each morning! 
January: Scripture Challenge "The people were hanging on his words" ~Luke 19:48
See if you can memorize the verse, but even if you don’t, try simply taking a few minutes to discuss with your family what the verse says to each of you. Is there a word that strikes you? Brings up a memory from the past, helps to answer a question you’ve been struggling with?  At first it may seem like “nothing” is happening… but be patient and persevere! Our hope is that by the end of the month, your family will fall in love with the Scriptures as we have… and end up with a Christmas gift that will last a lifetime." ~Christie & Mrene 
February: Recipe for Peace "Have no anxiety at all, but in everything...." Philippians 4:4-7
"The recipe for peace is just a little "thyme" sprinkled in with a spoonful of trust, a cup of gratitude and a heart full of acceptance." ~Mrene
What is something that you have been fighting against accepting? Give it to God and allow Him to take care of everything. "Jesus, I surrender _________, to You. Take care of everything." ~Surrender Novena 
Children's Book: The Seed Who was Afraid to Be Planted 
"This children's rhyming book tells the story of a seed who lives in fear of being removed from the drawer where he lives happily with other seeds. One fateful day his worst fears come true and he is buried in the ground outside. To his amazement he soon realizes that he is destined to grow into a magnificent tree overlooking a beautiful sunlit shore. This inspiring story is one that any child can relate to, since it deals with being afraid of new experiences and change. This book will help young readers to cultivate the courage to face all their fears and to understand that good can come of any frightening situation " as long as they have faith. Most importantly, these pages also contain a profoundly biblical message about the transformative power of God's grace."
Planting Seeds: Helping Families Grow in the Lord 
A Recipe for Peace
How often have we wanted to push past a difficult season? Or long to go back to the way things were?  When we are in the thick of trials, we can be tempted to think that the Lord has abandoned His people, but by remembering the Lord and His purposes as revealed in His Word, we can take heart and see our trials as opportunities to trust the Lord rather than doubting His goodness. At one time, what we perceive as our greatest trials, not only become our greatest teachers but also our greatest gifts.
Back in November we spoke about a recipe for Joy, by cultivating an attitude of gratitude. Today we are going to touch on a recipe for peace. The recipe for peace is just a little, "thyme" sprinkled in with a spoonful of trust, a cup of acceptance and a heart full of gratitude." Mrene
Gratitude leads to Joy: We know that that giving God praise and thanks in all things is the first step in finding joy. 
Acceptance leads to Peace: Acceptance is the first step in finding peace. Acceptance means that we acknowledge the present circumstance, we can even lament to the Lord about it, but if our circumstances don't change after we've prayed about it, we can either stay stuck or we can move on to acceptance, where peace awaits us. Suffering comes when we want our situation to be different than it is. With acceptance comes a new perspective. Acceptance does not mean giving up, or that we agree or condone what is happening, but acknowledging that the Lord is on the throne, and He knows. Acceptance is not passive; it takes a tremendous amount of effort to, "accept thing things we cannot change" (the weather, pandemics, suffering and trials, and other people) and the courage to "change the things we can." How we respond to our circumstances and how we respond to other people. 
Finding true Joy and Peace come from only one place. From a deep abiding relationship with the Lord.   "Rejoice in the Lord always.  I shall say it again: Rejoice! Your kindness should be known to all.  The Lord is near." 4:4-5 And then when we meet someone who is going through a hard time, our witness, our love, and God's Word will be like healing balm on their wounds. We can share with them how the same Holy Spirit that helps us will help them too.  "These are people whose presence brings tangible peace to souls, whose joy is infectious, whose love acts like a magnet, drawing souls to God, these are the children of God." ~Mrene 
"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." Philippians 4:6-7 Promise of peace: "THEN the peace...." The key to this manifesting in our lives is where we place our focus.  Whatever we focus on grows. 
St. Paul doesn't tell us to stop worrying...but he does tell us to redirect our worries. So often much of the anxiety that overwhelms us stems from forgetting that the Lord is indeed with us and working in our lives. St. Paul exhorts us to commit to prayer. We must turn from our circumstances and turn to the Lord in prayer. When we bring our concerns and our problems to the throne of grace and leave them there with gratitude our worries are transformed into trust. 
"Cast your care upon the Lord who will give you support. He will never allow you to stumble" psalm 55:23
What does it mean to cast... to throw? It never hit me before. To cast means don't hesitate. Our burdens concern and uncertainty. Our minds are the battle between worry and peace. What we allow to consume our thoughts will guide our life. Before we cast our cares upon the Lord we must first get in the habit of, "Take every thought captive in obedience to Christ" 2 Corinthians 10:5
When doubt, uncertainty, worry creeps in we stop the thoughts and replace them with His Word. We replace our worry with Gods Word. My friends always remind me, "if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." Philippians 4:8 God's Word has an answer to every situation and the more time we soak in His Word the quicker the remedy will come to our heart and mind “Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
If we really want to cast our cares and take a stand against worry, find a spiritual work out buddy, someone who will hold you accountable for your words, thoughts, and actions, who will help you to see God's hand in your circumstances. We all need at least one person like that in our lives. Being able to see God's hand in our trials and sufferings make all the difference.
 As ambassadors in Christ, we are called to help others to "taste and see" Psalm 34:8, this recipe of peace.
Resources for our Families: 
Praying the Examen prayer daily restores our peace, and it helps us to prepare for the next day. Helping us to see the blessings present in our daily life and helping us to recognize those areas we can do better in. 
Mrene wrote Five Steps to a Peaceful Heart based on the Examen Prayer: 
Five Steps to a Peaceful Heart:
Step 1: Review the day in gratitude. Thank God for each blessing received.
Step 2: Pray that the Lord give insight and understanding that this Examen may be fruitful.
Step 3. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the areas where you followed His inspirations.
Step 4: Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal where you followed the suggestions of the bad spirit.
Step 5: Converse with Jesus. Develop a plan together. What can you do differently the next time?
Know Your Predominant Fault: 1 John 2:16-17
1. PRIDE: Do I get angry if I don’t get my way? Am I judgmental? Do I put others down? Do I gossip about them? 
Am I impatient or brusque in my daily contact with others? Do I hold grudges? Do I center everything (conversation, choices…) on myself and my likes?
2. VANITY: Am I always seeking admiration and praise? Do I take pleasure in listening to gossip and hearing about others’ failures? Do I always want to be the center of attention, to the point of stretching the truth or even outright lying to achieve this? Do I have an excessive concern about my appearance? Am I guided by the opinions of others? Am I easily discouraged by my failures?
3. THE SENSES: Do I always choose what requires the least effort? Do I procrastinate? Do I never finish what I start? Do I complain excessively about minor discomforts? Do I not do my part at home? Are my behaviors and decisions ruled by my feelings and moods? Do I daydream a lot about myself at the center? Am I unable to control my thoughts when they attract me, even if they are not good? Do I do only what I enjoy? Do I have an overpowering curiosity? Do my senses and impulses overrule what I know is wrong? Do I only work with those I like, am I easily hurt?
To weed out the vice, we need to practice growing in the opposing virtue, which will always be based on HUMILITY.
Remember when praying the Examen Prayer, it's important to stay in the PRESENT MOMENT
Focusing on the past can lead to regret, guilt, unforgiveness, bitterness. 
Focusing on the future can lead to anxiety and worry. 
God's grace exists in the present, not in the past or in the future. 
Let us not allow our memory or our imagination to spiral into an unreality that leads us away from God’s truth of LOVE and MERCY.  ~Mrene
We can learn so much from children's books as adults! "One day while he is fishing with his Grandpa, Max stumbles upon the ultimate question, Why am I here? His Grandfather suggests that Max is here to become the-best-version-of-himself! In the days and weeks that follow, Max begins to notice when he is and when he is not celebrating the-best-version-of-himself. This single idea becomes the touchstone for his decision-making, begins to guide his words and actions, and fosters a remarkable self-awareness. Why am I Here? It is a remarkable lesson for children of all ages about living with passion and purpose." 
Check out our Moms Playgroup
headed by Richelle Weber 
Cell 716-998-9777
Meetings are drop-in anytime 9am-12pm in MC 2
Upcoming Dates: 2/16,3/13,4/11,5/11
Check out our Faith in Music for Preschoolers
Upcoming Dates: 2/9, 2/21,3/14
Where: St. Greg's Gathering Room
For: Pre-K and older sibling's welcome
Contact: Richelle Weber to sign up 998-9777
Children's Liturgy of the Word 
Sunday's 9:30 Mass
Children's Liturgy of the Word is a program for Children on Sunday during the 9:30am Mass where Scripture readings are proclaimed and explained on a level appropriate for children. 
Pre-K- 4th graders are welcome to participate! No registration necessary 
Questions or want to help?
Morgan Acuri:  716-812-4463 or by email [email protected] 
"The people were hanging on his words" ~ Luke 19:48
"Do we “hang on” to the words of our parish priest as he reflects on the weekly Gospel readings during Sunday mass? If we’re being honest, we probably have “zoned out” on more than one occasion during the readings and subsequent homily. Why is that? Could it be that the readings themselves are… well, boring? After all, haven’t we heard them all one hundred times by now?
St. Therese of Lisieux once said, “It's the Gospels that occupy my mind when I'm at prayer… this is the one thing needful. I'm always finding fresh lights there; hidden meanings which had meant nothing to me hitherto.” 
“Fresh lights”? "Hidden meanings”?  What could St. Therese have meant by that? How could words written thousands of years ago be relevant to our world today? 
Indeed, the word of God is living and effective… able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart." Hebrews 4:12
The reason the Bible is relevant is because it’s not meant to be read simply as a history lesson about our faith. It’s “living and effective,” which means, it’s meant to be read as a lesson about what’s going on in our lives now. If that seems hard to believe, perhaps it’s because as a Catholic community, we’ve learned how to hear, but perhaps not to listen; to read, but not to ingest. Yes, the Word of God is meant to be chewed on, like nourishment- like the Eucharist- because “in the beginning was the Word and the Word was God.” John 1:1 When we read the words of God with attentiveness, we quite literally open the door to our hearts to receive God Himself. 
We know that "Ignorance of Scripture is Ignorance of Christ." St. Jerome
Figuring out how to have a relationship with Scripture is one of the most life-changing challenges we can embark on, because in its pages are hidden the words God wishes to speak to us personally. How often do we long for an answer to our difficulties; we think, “If only life came with directions!” And yet for a Christian, it does! The Bible is one of the best kept secrets of our faith… it holds the key that unlocks the mystery to a deep, abiding peace and joy that otherwise can seem so elusive in our world.  So how do we get started?
We at St. Gregory the Great Parish, hope to help you do just that! We are inviting each family at our school to take the “Scripture Challenge.” We will be sending home with each family a pack of twenty Scripture cards, a string of twine, and five clothespins, to hang each verse on, in your homes. If we aim to hang up five new verses each week, over the course of one month we will have written twenty verses on our hearts. 
See if you can memorize the verse, but even if you don’t, try simply taking a few minutes to discuss with your family what the verse says to each of you. Is there a word that strikes you? Brings up a memory from the past, helps to answer a question you’ve been struggling with?  At first it may seem like “nothing” is happening… but be patient and persevere! Our hope is that by the end of the month, your family will fall in love with the Scriptures as we have… and end up with a Christmas gift that will last a lifetime." ~Christie & Mrene 
"Were not our hearts burning [within us] while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?" Luke 24:32
Pope Francis has declared the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time to be the Sunday of the Word of God in order to promote a closer relationship with Holy Scripture. 
This year it falls on January 22nd. Let 2023 be the year that we fall in love with the Word of God. 
"The word of God continued to spread and grow." Acts 12:24
Advent: A Season of Waiting...
It's what we do in the waiting that helps us grow. 
Advent is not meant to be a time of anxiety, but a season of expectant hope. We light Advent candles each week, as a reminder that God has made a promise to us.   Jesus, the light of the world, shines in the darkness as a beacon of hope, peace, joy, and love. We enter the first week of Advent with the light of Hope. Do we place our hope in our circumstances or in the Lord? If there has ever been a time in history, we need to turn away from all the noise around us and turn instead to Him. it's now.
"Happiness isn't something that depends on our surroundings; it's something we make inside ourselves." -Corrie Ten Boom 
In the story, "The Chronicles of Narnia," it is perpetually winter, never Christmas. We can all understand the "always winter" part, can't we? Here in Buffalo our winters last a long time, but at least we have Christmas to look forward to. Christmas is the warm light that makes winter worth having... but then Christmas comes and goes, and the darkness returns. How do we keep Christmas in our heart all year long, so that this year, January will no longer be for us a month of letdown and melancholy?
"God the Father has given us a way, and it's one of the best-kept secrets of our faith: Holy Scripture. This Advent, I invite you all to take the Advent Challenge with me: Let's start each morning with a cup of coffee and the Word of God. Whether you pick one verse, one chapter or one book of the Bible is up to you. Six minutes or sixty minutes, the main thing is to stick with it, and let it transform your life.  God's Word is His love letter to His children and digging in to discover what He has to say to us is like opening up a new and fresh Christmas gift each morning! It's our Holy Guidebook to navigate the circumstances of our lives, and in it we find the answers we seek. So, this advent, let's enjoy the decorating, the wrapping, the baking, the hosting... but let's not leave out the one thing that will enable us to carry the joy of the season in our hearts the whole year through." Mrene Corra 
Resources to check out:
Quiet Time Bible Study for Kids: Learn with your children! 
"Teach your kids how to have a quiet time with this Bible study. Designed to give them a solid foundation, Developing A Quiet Time helps kids learn HOW to spend time with God and WHY they should make it a consistent habit. During their 28 days of study, kids will learn what the Bible has to say about this topic, how a daily quiet time will affect their lives, and a simple way to spend their time with God." Quiet Time Bible Study for Kids and Teens (
Kristoph & the First Christmas Tree: A Legend of St. Boniface

Go on Formed and enter Christmas in the Search Bar. There is everything from cartoons for the littles, to audio stories you can play at bedtime, to books. Browse - FORMED
Richelle, one of our moms at St. Greg's sent me some great activities to do with our families. 
Faith In Five Minutes that break down Sundays' readings in five minutes. This site has a ton of great family resources and YouTube videos that she's updating weekly.  I've found them the most interesting and helpful. There are some great resources for Advent. Click here: Home - A Catholic Moms Life
Advent Day of Recollection: Robert Rogers
When: Thursday, December 1
What: When life overwhelms you, where do you run? What holds you up in a crisis? Do you escape to the television, to your handheld screen, to social-media, or to a substance? When a trial becomes more than you can bear, where to you go? Who holds your heart? If you are crying out to God amid struggles, then do not miss the Advent Day of Recollection with Robert Rogers.
Robert will share two different talks on Thursday, December 1, in the Church. The first talk, The Power Of Prayer, will be at 12:45 pm and the second talk, Holding On To Hope, will be at 6:30 pm. We promise to get you home before the Bills kickoff!
Away in a Manger HSA Family Event
When: Friday, December 2. Click here for more information.
Faith in Music for Preschoolers
When: Tuesday, December 6
Where: St. Greg's Gathering Room
Who: Pre-K and older siblings welcome
Contact Richelle Weber to sign up: 998-9777
Moms Advent Social
When: Thursday, December 8
Starts with Mass at 7:00 pm Check out the Parish Website here for more details.
Moms Christmas Cookie-ing
When: Friday, December 9
12:30 PM after Mass in Ministry Center Kitchen. Click here for more information.
Thanksgiving is a time when we all love to eat those comfort foods we grew up on, and exchange recipes with a friend. What is a great recipe to share with one another? A Recipe for Joy: Cultivating an attitude of gratitude.  A lesson that I began to learn years before the pandemic, which also carried me through my time in the hospital for Twelve Days and on oxygen for two months, not knowing if it would be forever, is that in times of joy or sorrow, I try to keep following the same recipe. 
"Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me. Then the God of peace will be with you. For I have learned, in whatever situation I find myself, to be self-sufficient. I know indeed how to live in humble circumstances; I also know how to live with abundance. I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me." Philippians 4:9-13 This is such a good reminder to be thankful for every breath. 
What was the lesson that I learned and am continuing to learn each day?  One year a few of my friends and I were talking about how we wanted to be more joyful moms, and after reading 33 Days to Merciful Love by Father Gaitley, we discovered a way to help us become more joyful. "His answer changed my life: "The way you live trust is by praise and thanksgiving, to praise and thank God in all things." ~ 33 Days to Merciful Love. We began our first texting group, while reading the book together, and made a commitment that we would try to be more grateful, in all things.  What happened? Even during the worst days, we were seeing so many things to be grateful for and sharing them with one another helped us to see the many blessings we would've otherwise missed in our complaints, discouragement, and frustration. 
Complaining (is another word for rejecting grace).
Cultivating an attitude of gratitude helps us to rewire the way we think and the way that we see the world. Developing a love for God and an attitude of gratitude for what God has done for us can be a delight to us as parents and a life-changing experience for our littles. 
What are the Benefits of Gratitude? "The Greater Good Science Center offers a plethora of information on this subject. In a white paper titled, “The Science of Gratitude” (2018), they outline several benefits to gratitude practice." 
  • Increased happiness and positive mood
  • More satisfaction with life
  • Less materialistic
  • Less likely to experience burnout
  • Better physical health
  • Better sleep
  • Less fatigue
  • Lower levels of cellular inflammation
  • Greater resiliency
  • Encourages the development of patience, humility, and wisdom
Here are a few resources to check out: 
Scripture Verse to teach our littles is, "Enter his gates with thanksgiving, his courts with praise, give thanks to him, bless his name, good indeed is the Lord." Psalm 100:4-5 There was a group of us that took their littles to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Shrine in Bowmansville over the summer. There is a stone arch that leads to the grotto. It reminds me of this verse. You can have the littles walk under the arch (the gate) and say what they are thankful for, and you continue thanking God as you walk on the sidewalk to the grotto, where we can imagine God's courts. The grotto is in the shape of a heart and when you look up Mama Mary is at the top of the grotto. The inner courts represent God's presence. Gratitude brings us into God's presence. When we enter God's courts with praise, we can say, "You are my peace, Praise you Jesus. You are my joy, Praise you Jesus. You are my patience, Praise you Jesus." But you don't have to make a special trip to teach them gratitude. Begin today! 
Check out our Faith in Music for preschoolers 
When: November 1st at 2:15-3:15pm 
Where: St. Greg's Gathering Room
For: Pre-K and older sibling's welcome
Next date: December 6th 
Contact: Richelle Weber to sign up 998-9777
Song, "The Joy of the Lord is Your Strength." by Rend Collective Songs stick in our heads. When we combine Scripture with music, it helps us to remember God's Word, in times of darkness, "The joy of the Lord is my strength." Nehemiah 8:10
"The joy of the Lord is my strength
In the darkness, I'll dance
In the shadows, I'll sing
The joy of the Lord is my strength" Lyric video here:
"God is with us." Matthew 1:23 
October can be very busy and overwhelming, adjusting to new schedules and activities. As we make our way through the month and all the hustle and bustle that comes with settling into fall, it is important to remain focused on the fact that God is in control. The verse, "God is with us", gives us a much-needed reminder when life gets overwhelming.
Seam Allowance: A friend always reminds me to make room for seam allowance in my schedule. " By purposefully scheduling extra time into our daily calendar I add seam allowance to the garment of our family life.  If our schedule changes in the middle of a busy day, the spare time allows for peace instead of panic." You can read her reflection here. The Battle for the Homefront - Catholic Stand Let us not fill our calendars up so much we can't breathe. This has been a life saver to me over the years. 
Remember: There are times when our little ones are nervous as they head back to school. We remind them that, "The Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9 Just like when they were toddlers, and when the noisy fireworks scare them, or a sibling is being unkind, what do they do? Run into our arms, and it is here that peace is restored. We remind our children that when they are scared or maybe someone is being unkind to them, they too can run into the Father's arms, and pray, in the quiet of their hearts, "When I am afraid, in you I place my trust." Psalm 56:4 
Pray: At the end of each month during the children's Mass we celebrate all the birthdays in the month. We sing, "May God bless and keep you, may God's face shine on you, may God be kind to you and give you peace." This blessing is taken from Numbers 6:24-26 A good reminder for us all that when God's face shines on us, we know that He is with us always. In the good times and bad. In sickness and health, He is with us, and He is for us. 
Listen to the song, "The Blessing" by Elevation Worship, Codey Carnes, and Kari Jobe, written at the beginning of the pandemic, God's message for each of us! Let us pass this blessing onto the next generation so they too may come to know that God is with them wherever they go. 
"May his favor be upon you and a thousand generations, and your family and your children, and their children, and their children. May His presence go before you and behind you, and beside you, all around you, and within you, He is with you, He is with you. In the morning, in the evening, in your coming, and your going, in your weeping and rejoicing, He is for you, He is for you." The Blessing Video with lyrics: The Blessing song
Read the book, "Will You Bless Me?" instructs parents in the simple and beautiful process of speaking words of blessing into their children’s hearts. Will You Bless Me? – Heart of the Father Ministries