Be Present

We are beginning to live in a more virtual world than ever before. Online meetings, emails, and videos are the primary means of communication that we have. Amidst all of this craziness and isolation that we are experiencing I have realized that it has been tough for me to be present to my husband and ultimately to Jesus, even though I have all the time in the world to spend in prayer and community with my spouse.  

Technology has become one of the main fillers in my day that allows me to get away (temporarily) from the anxiety this virus is causing. With this drastic increase in my time on devices comes a certain amount of passivity and laziness. Without a routine, I am lost as to how to go about my day. I have added various components into my day for routine (work, exercise, some prayer), but ultimately I am not going to my Advocate for my needs. I am not confiding in my husband and spending time with him as fully as I could be in the present moment. It has been discouraging for me to figure out how to be more present.

I recently read a book that I feel has helped me grow in my vocation called Marriage: The Mystery of Faithful Love by Dietrich von Hildebrand. He talks about how important it is to nourish love, how part of the vocation as husband and wife is to intentionally put your spouse first (and ultimately your relationship together with Christ). I would like to share a quote from his text below:

Because our laziness, our dullness, and our constant falling back into the periphery stultifies our vision, it is difficult always to keep before us in all its same clarity and splendor the image of the other person so wonderfully revealed by love. We should and must fight against this dullness, for it constitutes a sin against the temple which we erected in our marriage. (von Hildebrand, 1984)

After reading this passage in the text, I realized just what it means to truly put your spouse first. This pandemic has been a challenge in many ways, but the one thing I am thankful for is the gift to realize how much my spouse means to me and how I have been taking him for granted. With this realization comes the fact that I have not been loving Jesus the way I should be striving to love Him. I have been falling asleep in the garden, my laziness has taken over, and I am at the point where I am tired of making excuses.

With the grace of God, present and given freely to us all, I am choosing, as von Hildebrand states, to “fight against this dullness” and utilize the free will God gave me to love my husband and God the way it was meant to be from the beginning, looking to the state of Original Man in the Garden of Eden before sin occurred to know how I should act in our state of Historical Man. This choice of embracing the will, along with God’s grace will lead my husband and I to our state in Heaven, referred to as Eschatological Man by St. John Paul II in Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body. My flesh may be weak, and I know I will fall many times in the journey of life, but God will accompany my husband and I as we strive to love one another. No matter the ways you are struggling to be present to others and ultimately be present to God, know that if you ask for the grace to love others and love Him more perfectly, He will give you the strength to carry your cross. He will help you overcome your vices and look further into yourself, so you may then see His presence in yourself and those around you. Be thankful for the struggle – when we struggle, God is inviting us to accompany Him for greater adventures ahead. Through the struggle, He equips us with everything we need to love like Him in the vocation He has given us. No matter if you are married, single, or consecrated to Christ, know that we are in this together – our striving to be more present to Christ and our loved ones all comes down to our human vocation, and that is to love.

“My vocation, at last I have found it; my vocation is love.”
-St. Thérèse of Lisieux

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Nathalie Shultz is a joyful convert to the Catholic faith and a competitive swimmer with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).  She loves to share her passion for Catholicism with others, including her conversion story and how God continues to work miracles in her life through her OCD. She is the Director of Religious Education for the North Allegan Catholic Collaborative of parishes. Nathalie is married to her best friend, Tommy Shultz. Her favorite saints include St. Peter the Apostle, St. Teresa of Calcutta, and St. John Paul II.  She is also a huge fan of C.S. Lewis. If you have any questions for Nathalie, or just want her to pray for you, you can email her at nathalie.e.shultz@gmail.com.

You Will Be Found

Today we hear a Gospel about Jesus, the Good Shepherd. He lays down His life for us, and He will never forget any of us. His love is a constant and endures forever, abundant for us all. During these tough times, your faith may be going through a trial. Maybe it is hard to pray, or you are tired of watching a live stream of the mass. You want to grow in holiness, but you are worn down and exhausted.

I can tell you that this has been my story. I have been having trouble seeing the joy in the Easter season. Jesus has risen, but unfortunately, I have been stuck in the trenches of Lent. My OCD has made it difficult for me to really embrace the joy that comes with Easter. The fears of everything going on in the world, the safety of loved ones, and germs entering our home have become walls that have made it difficult for me to feel the presence of the Good Shepherd.

Maybe this is describing you – maybe you feel like you are still stuck in Lent. God knows our struggles, and Jesus can heal our wounds. While we may feel isolated from the rest of the flock, we must remember Jesus is always with us. Ask for strength and hope from Jesus, calling out to Him. He knows our voices and will always come to find us, no matter how lost we may feel. He will always welcome us with loving arms, ready to give us the grace we need to become the saints He is calling us to become amidst these difficult times. Brothers and sisters – know and trust how much God loves you, for you are one of the precious sheep.

“Have you seen with the eyes of your soul how He looks at you with love?”

Saint Teresa of Calcutta

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Nathalie Shultz is a joyful convert to the Catholic faith and a competitive swimmer with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).  She loves to share her passion for Catholicism with others, including her conversion story and how God continues to work miracles in her life through her OCD. She is the Director of Religious Education for the North Allegan Catholic Collaborative of parishes. Nathalie is married to her best friend, Tommy Shultz. Her favorite saints include St. Peter the Apostle, St. Teresa of Calcutta, and St. John Paul II.  She is also a huge fan of C.S. Lewis. If you have any questions for Nathalie, or just want her to pray for you, you can email her at rodzinkaministry@gmail.com

Rest A While

The world is a busy place – fast paced, on-the-go, and often yielding a need for multitasking. It is hard to find time for rest and silence in the world today. There are so many demands, so much that needs to get done, and so little time to get it done.

How do we find the time and space to rest in Christ when the demands of daily life become too much? I am in the process of learning how to do this now. While working in full-time ministry the individuals served need very much love and support – the harvest is plentiful. One thing I find helps me amongst the busy days is to say “Jesus, I trust in You”. While the full schedules don’t go away a peace washes over me when I say His name.

It can be difficult to slip away from the world for a bit to rejuvenate. Maybe for you it is reading 5 minutes of scripture, praying the Divine Mercy chaplet, or even saying “Jesus, I trust in You”. Whatever draws you into the peace of Christ should be a priority in your life. Your relationship with Jesus comes first. In order to serve others we must remember the importance of our own faith and relationship with Christ. Be not afraid to take a few moments as needed to spend that time in a sacred place with Him.

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Nathalie Shultz is a joyful convert to the Catholic faith and a competitive swimmer with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).  She loves to share her passion for Catholicism with others, including her conversion story and how God continues to work miracles in her life through her OCD. She is the Director of Religious Education for the North Allegan Catholic Collaborative of parishes. Nathalie is married to her best friend, Tommy Shultz. Her favorite saints include St. Peter the Apostle, St. Teresa of Calcutta, and St. John Paul II.  She is also a huge fan of C.S. Lewis. If you have any questions for Nathalie, or just want her to pray for you, you can email her at rodzinkaministry@gmail.com.

A Lack of Faith

“Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.’ So he was not able to perform any might deed there, apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.” (Mark 6:4-6)

In today’s Gospel reading we hear about how those that Jesus preached to in Nazareth dismissed Him because of knowing His family and origins, with Nazareth being home for Him. While looking at this passage I had to ask myself: how often do I dismiss what Christ says? 

I may think I know everything about Him, I have heard the teachings over and over, I have been a Christian my entire life, so therefore I just take His teachings for granted. Furthermore, when I take His teachings for granted I take Him for granted. Christ is a great gift to us – He is love, the Word, the Bread of Life, the Good Shepherd.

Rather than being lukewarm about my faith Christ has infinite teachings and love to reveal to us in every moment of every day. How do we get out of a rut of being lukewarm in our faith? According to the video series The Wild Goose by 4PM Media and Franciscan Pathways, hosted by Fr. Dave Pivonka, TOR, we can ask the Holy Spirit to breathe life into us whenever we need. Something that seems so basic is so profound and invites God into our lives right where we are at. Rather than shutting Him out and relying on our own understanding we submit to His greatness and the Spirit will open our eyes to Christ and all He has for us.

I challenge you to invite the Holy Spirit into your life. As Fr. Pivonka says in The Wild Goose ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart, for Jesus to enter the way He did for the disciples at Pentecost. God will answer your prayer.

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Nathalie Shultz is a joyful convert to the Catholic faith and a competitive swimmer with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).  She loves to share her passion for Catholicism with others, including her conversion story and how God continues to work miracles in her life through her OCD. She is the Director of Religious Education for the North Allegan Catholic Collaborative of parishes. Nathalie is married to her best friend, Tommy Shultz. Her favorite saints include St. Peter the Apostle, St. Teresa of Calcutta, and St. John Paul II.  She is also a huge fan of C.S. Lewis. If you have any questions for Nathalie, or just want her to pray for you, you can email her at rodzinkaministry@gmail.com.

Personal Romance

Today we remember St. Agnes, a martyr for the faith back in the 300s. She devoted her life to Christ, set apart for him alone, and thus she refused men who pursued her for marriage. Due to outrage at her refusal, she was killed for being a Christian. God protected her throughout her life, including the trials she faced before her martyrdom. God loved her perfectly, and He loves each of us perfectly.

The other day our parish priest said that Catholics everywhere would fall in love with Jesus truly if they realized the perfect love He has for us, how He is always waiting in the tabernacle for us. If we truly pray and meditate upon the love of God and what that really means, we would never be able to miss Mass or put other agendas as a higher priority than our relationship with Christ. This made me reflect upon my relationship with Christ even further and how if I am to follow Him truly, then He must become Lord of my life beyond the words I say – I must show this in my daily actions.

Do I attend a weekly holy hour? John Paul II, during his pontificate, asked that the Faithful attend a weekly holy hour. He would visit Jesus multiple times daily. This statement alone is so hard for me to picture. While I know he was pope and had the ability to visit Jesus often, his schedule was very busy, beyond many of the days I think I am busy. He would visit towns, and if there was an adoration chapel, he would pause his entire schedule to go make time to sit at the feet of Jesus in prayer.

Do we have a devotion to Christ, like St. Agnes, a true romance? Do we faithfully find time to spend with Jesus in our local parish each week (or even once a month)? My challenge to you and me is to find a time to go sit with Jesus this week. Even if we just sit with Him for five minutes, we will be joining in the mission to satisfy His thirst for souls. He longs for you and me – this is personal and not just a fluffy story. His love is real; just like His true presence in the Eucharist is real. Let us increase our devotion to our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament more than we ever have.

“When you approach the tabernacle, remember that He has been waiting for you for twenty centuries.”
-St. Josemaria Escriva

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Nathalie Shultz is a joyful convert to the Catholic faith and a competitive swimmer with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).  She loves to share her passion for Catholicism with others, including her conversion story and how God continues to work miracles in her life through her OCD. She is the Director of Religious Education for the North Allegan Catholic Collaborative of parishes. Nathalie is married to her best friend, Tommy Shultz. Her favorite saints include St. Peter the Apostle, St. Teresa of Calcutta, and St. John Paul II.  She is also a huge fan of C.S. Lewis. If you have any questions for Nathalie, or just want her to pray for you, you can email her at rodzinkaministry@gmail.com.

Taking Risks

“Faith lifts the soul, Hope supports it, Experience says it must and Love says…let it be!” – Elizabeth Ann Seton

Elizabeth Ann Seton is the saint that we remember today. She is the first American to be canonized, she converted to the Catholic faith 16 years before her death, and she opened Catholic schools in America. She lived a life of abandon to God’s will, something of which she lived by on a daily basis. When I think of her story, which has an abundance of content beyond what I am able to write about today, I see a woman that was filled with a charism of faith. She had a radical trust in God’s will for her life, and she followed Him to the ends of the earth.

How do we live this life of radical trust in God’s providence so that we are able to take risks? First we must remember who God is – He is constant and will never change. His love endures, His promises hold true, and His goodness reigns above all no matter what. The next step in trusting in God’s providence, is looking back on all God has provided up to this point. While we have faced hardships, He has and will bring us out on the other side of the tunnel. Finally, prayer as a means of conversing with God will allow us to trust Him more because we will get to know Him more, and clinging to the sacraments will help us to see God for who He truly is (and not what we try to make Him in our own heads).

I encourage you to read the story of Elizabeth Ann Seton – it is remarkable and a true inspiration for our times. Don’t be afraid to go against the grain and listen to God and His desires for your life.

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Nathalie Shultz is a joyful convert to the Catholic faith and a competitive swimmer with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).  She loves to share her passion for Catholicism with others, including her conversion story and how God continues to work miracles in her life through her OCD. She is the Director of Religious Education for the North Allegan Catholic Collaborative of parishes. Nathalie is married to her best friend, Tommy Shultz. Her favorite saints include St. Peter the Apostle, St. Teresa of Calcutta, and St. John Paul II.  She is also a huge fan of C.S. Lewis. If you have any questions for Nathalie, or just want her to pray for you, you can email her at rodzinkaministry@gmail.com.

Tough Conversations

“Jesus said, ‘I am the Truth,’ and it is your duty and mine to speak the truth. Then it is up to the person who hears it whether to accept or reject it.” -St. Teresa of Calcutta

Have you ever had a tough conversation? I know I have had a handful that really stand out in my 28 years. As a special education teacher, I have had many talks with families and co-workers that were uncomfortable, but I knew they had to be had because it was the right thing to do – my job is to advocate for my students and their needs and so this is the goal that drives these conversations.

Sometimes others may not understand the needs of the children I work with, and I have to bring an awareness of the abilities of students with disabilities. I often have to have conversations regarding the difference between fair and equal, and ultimately what this means for accommodating students on my caseload. My desire is to help people see the truth and beauty that God has given to my students and the gift that they are to the world.

Beyond these types of conversations, I have also had to defend my faith many times to those that were not Catholic or fallen away. When these talks occur, it is my duty as a Christian to love the person first and foremost. The focus must be upon loving the person, trusting that the Holy Spirit will provide the words we need in order to speak truth into the other individual. Conversion should not be the goal of the conversation, but rather love. Love is our primary vocation, and so that must be our goal entering into any conversations with those that may have been led astray or those that have not been exposed to the truth.

I pray that your heart will be open to the words God wants to give you today, whether it be a conversation with a family member, friend, co-worker, or stranger. Ask God to give you His eyes and heart so that you may see Jesus in everyone you encounter, approaching them with the honor and tenderness they have been given by God.

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Nathalie Shultz is a joyful convert to the Catholic faith and a competitive swimmer with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).  She loves to share her passion for Catholicism with others, including her conversion story and how God continues to work miracles in her life through her OCD. She is the Director of Religious Education for the North Allegan Catholic Collaborative of parishes. Nathalie is married to her best friend, Tommy Shultz. Her favorite saints include St. Peter the Apostle, St. Teresa of Calcutta, and St. John Paul II.  She is also a huge fan of C.S. Lewis. If you have any questions for Nathalie, or just want her to pray for you, you can email her at rodzinkaministry@gmail.com.

Marian Consecration

Just this past week, I started my second time through the process of consecrating myself to Jesus through Mary. It has been so busy in my life, and I find myself gravitating towards our Lady, desiring the stillness and the obedience that she demonstrated in her life. I desire to be more like her every day and to ultimately fall more in love with Jesus.

Consecration to Jesus through Mary is a beautiful devotion and preparation any time of year, but I specifically chose this preparation during the season of Advent. As we prepare our hearts for the coming of Jesus on Christmas, prayer and time contemplating the fiat of Mary can truly help us to better open our hearts for our Savior.

There are many formats for Marian consecration to choose from. This year I am focusing on a particular text that focuses on prayer and scripture. The book is entitled Totus Tuus: Consecration to Jesus through Mary with Saint John Paul II by Fr. Brian McMaster. I encourage you to prayerfully consider consecration to Jesus through Mary. Our Lady is a gift from Jesus, and she will guide us closer to Jesus as we walk the journey of our time on earth. Trust in her intercession and know that a deeper devotion to Mary will automatically increase our love for Jesus. Even if you are not feeling ready to embark on the journey of consecration, be not afraid – God will show you the path He wants you to take all in His time, and this includes the ways in which He desires for you to love Mary more.

“Always stay close to this heavenly mother, because she is the sea to be crossed to reach the shores of eternal splendor.”
– St. Padre Pio –

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Nathalie Shultz is a joyful convert to the Catholic faith and a competitive swimmer with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).  She loves to share her passion for Catholicism with others, including her conversion story and how God continues to work miracles in her life through her OCD. She is the Director of Religious Education for the North Allegan Catholic Collaborative of parishes. Nathalie is married to her best friend, Tommy Shultz. Her favorite saints include St. Peter the Apostle, St. Teresa of Calcutta, and St. John Paul II.  She is also a huge fan of C.S. Lewis. If you have any questions for Nathalie, or just want her to pray for you, you can email her at rodzinkaministry@gmail.com.

Follow and Become a Fisher of Men

You must accept your cross; if you bear it courageously, it will carry you to Heaven.

St. John Vianney

Reading today’s Gospel I think of how it can be so easy to follow Christ at times while other times it is heart wrenching. We visited our families out of town for Thanksgiving, and while it was a joy seeing them I was filled with anxiety and sadness. Just over a year ago I was blessed to marry my best friend. With this large life change came opportunities for growth. We moved about one hour from our hometown on our wedding night and to this day I still miss my hometown.

Every time we leave from visiting our families I feel depressed. I miss my friends and often feel very lonely in our new city, and “home” has never truly felt like home. I left a field of work that I love due to high anxiety, and now I feel I don’t know my place in the world. With all of this change it is hard for me to imagine leading others to Christ when I feel my life is out of control.

When Christ asks us to be fishers of men we will often be asked to be comfortable being uncomfortable. We will be stretched, and I know that this has been the case for me this past year. While my OCD and depression make me feel as though the world is swallowing me whole I know amidst the struggle God is providing the opportunity to lean on Him more and draw close to the Holy Spirit so I may meditate upon the mysteries of God. As I grow He will use me to share His redeeming love with the world. The struggles have purpose, and no matter how anxious I get God will make me more into the woman I am called to be as I come out the other side with Him clothed with the strength and radiance of Christ.

While someday I hope to be back in the field I love and move back to our hometown I ultimately desire that my will align with God’s will, that I die to myself and give up the desires that don’t align with His desires for my life. No matter the changes and growing pains you are facing trust that God will transform you into a fisher of souls in His own timing and with His perfect plans. Be comfortable being uncomfortable, and when it all seems too much I challenge you to ask for Our Mother’s intercession and pray, “Come, Holy Spirit”. God is with you, and when He asks you to venture into uncharted territory know He will be the one that is with you and working through you.

In Your hand I place my heart,
Body, life, and soul,
Deep feelings and affections mine,
Spouse – Redeemer sweet,
Myself offered now to You,
What is Your order for me to do?

St. Teresa of Avila

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Nathalie Shultz is a joyful convert to the Catholic faith and a competitive swimmer with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).  She loves to share her passion for Catholicism with others, including her conversion story and how God continues to work miracles in her life through her OCD. She is the Director of Religious Education for the North Allegan Catholic Collaborative of parishes. Nathalie is married to her best friend, Tommy Shultz. Her favorite saints include St. Peter the Apostle, St. Teresa of Calcutta, and St. John Paul II.  She is also a huge fan of C.S. Lewis. If you have any questions for Nathalie, or just want her to pray for you, you can email her at rodzinkaministry@gmail.com.

The Value of Suffering

“Oh, if only the suffering soul knew how it is loved by God, it would die of joy and excess of happiness! Some day, we will know the value of suffering, but then we will no longer be able to suffer. The present moment is ours.”
-St. Faustina

Have you ever wondered why suffering exists, why we can’t just have constant joy in our lives? The truth is that we can have constant joy, as joy is not a fleeting emotion but rather something that is rooted in our love for God and trusting in His providence. Even amongst the worst times of our lives, we can find joy. This still does not answer the question of why suffering exists, and I would like to try to answer this based on today’s readings.

In the first reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans we hear the following passage:

“Just as you once disobeyed God but have now received mercy because of their disobedience, so they have now disobeyed in order that, by virtue of the mercy shown to you, they too may now receive mercy. For God delivered all to disobedience, that he might have mercy upon all. Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How inscrutable are his judgments and how unsearchable his ways!” (Romans 11:30-33)

When we experience suffering, a few things are happening. First of all, it is an opportunity to lean more upon God. If things were perfect all the time we would not draw close to Him because we would feel an ability to take care of ourselves – we need God above all, and suffering reminds us of His Almighty power. Secondly, suffering allows for mercy to work in our lives and serves as a witness to God’s love.  

Ultimately, finding joy in suffering is very counter-cultural. This concept is radical to the outside world, but isn’t the love of God, sending His only Son very radical in itself? God’s love for us is a crazy and radical love, therefore it only makes sense that we live in a way that reflects this love – trusting in God’s providence, enduring the suffering, and finding a constant joy amidst the storms of life. Not only will we be witnesses of God’s love but we will be further grateful for the happy times of life and more resilient to endure the tough times by continually relying upon God for everything. 

St. Maximilian Kolbe, pray for us!
St. Faustina, pray for us!
St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, pray for us!
St. John Paul II, pray for us!
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.

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Nathalie Shultz is a joyful convert to the Catholic faith and a competitive swimmer with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).  She loves to share her passion for Catholicism with others, including her conversion story and how God continues to work miracles in her life through her OCD. She is the Director of Religious Education for the North Allegan Catholic Collaborative of parishes. Nathalie is married to her best friend, Tommy Shultz. Her favorite saints include St. Peter the Apostle, St. Teresa of Calcutta, and St. John Paul II.  She is also a huge fan of C.S. Lewis. If you have any questions for Nathalie, or just want her to pray for you, you can email her at rodzinkaministry@gmail.com.

Totus Tuus

“From Mary we learn to surrender to God’s will in all things. From Mary we learn to trust when all hope is gone.” – St. John Paul II

Today we celebrate one of the great saints of our modern times, Pope St. John Paul II. JPII is one of my all time favorite saints for many reasons. First of all, my husband has a great love for him and his teachings on Theology of the Body – this was the first time I was truly exposed to the great writings of this saint. Another reason I love JPII is because he had such a great love for all the people he encountered, traveling on 104 trips across the world at a total of 725,000 miles of travel (this is the most of any previous popes combined!). This humble man from Poland truly desired to unite the Church throughout the world, and his devotion to understanding those individuals from different backgrounds and cultures shows his desire to love everyone he met.

This saint faced tremendous hardship in his life – loss of his mother and brother at a young age, entering the underground seminary during World War II and risking his life to protect individuals that were persecuted during the Nazi occupation, battling communism and ultimately tearing down the Berlin Wall, and facing an attempted assassination on his own life. While many of these happenings may seem extreme in comparison with moments of our own lives today we can learn a great deal from all that JPII went through on earth. He carried great crosses, but he is famously quoted as living by a specific motto: Totus Tuus (totally yours). He gave his life to Christ through consecration to Our Lady.

This past month I have been praying to grow closer to Our Lady.  Jesus gave her to us, and He desires that we grow closer to Our Mother. When life gets tough and it all seems to much say one Hail Mary. It can be hard to start getting to know Mary, but even one Hail Mary will start a relationship with her. Even reading through the mysteries of the rosary can be a great start. If you haven’t done a consecration to Mary yet, prayerfully consider doing so. Maximilian Kolbe is another polish saint that had a great devotion to Mary. He at one point wrote that Mary is a great advocate as she can take anything we offer to God, no matter how imperfect, and she can make it ready to be received by God. She is a wonderful source of comfort and love, and she has the perfect motherly love for each and every one of us.  

I challenge you to start your relationship with Mary today, if you haven’t yet, and have a conversation with her. Ask for her intercession and ask Christ to help you to get to know her better, and in turn ask Mary to help you to love Jesus more. As you grow in love of Our Lady, as this is inevitable, don’t be afraid. As St. Maximilian Kolbe famously says, “Never be afraid of loving the Blessed Virgin too much. You can never love her more than Jesus did.” Follow the life example of great love and trust that JPII had in Mary, and do not be afraid to completely give your life over to her and ultimately draw closer to Christ.

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Nathalie Shultz is a joyful convert to the Catholic faith and a competitive swimmer with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).  She loves to share her passion for Catholicism with others, including her conversion story and how God continues to work miracles in her life through her OCD. She is the Director of Religious Education for the North Allegan Catholic Collaborative of parishes. Nathalie is married to her best friend, Tommy Shultz. Her favorite saints include St. Peter the Apostle, St. Teresa of Calcutta, and St. John Paul II.  She is also a huge fan of C.S. Lewis. If you have any questions for Nathalie, or just want her to pray for you, you can email her at rodzinkaministry@gmail.com.

The Power of a Name

“The seventy-two disciples returned rejoicing and said to Jesus, ‘Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name.’ Jesus said, ‘I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky. Behold, I have given you the power to tread upon serpents and scorpions and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.’”
– Luke 10:17-20

We all have doubts, worries, and fears. Going through the daily motions of life, these specific waves of anxiety can take over with it being hard to see the light in all situations, that light being Christ. God is a constant, whether we feel His presence or not. I know I have gone through dark times where it is hard to find God, falling into despair and hopelessness. Today I offer a reminder of the power one name has to conquer all of these trials we face, and that is the name of Jesus.

On this day, we honor a saint that truly lived out a charism of faith, of radical trust in God even when the going got tough. St. Faustina Kowalska lived in Poland in the early 1900s and wrote a diary depicting her interactions with Jesus, one most famously resulting in the painting of the image of Divine Mercy. When we see this image today, there are four words that are written underneath this beautiful image of our Lord – “Jesus, I trust in You.”

This phrase can become the most beautiful prayer if we offer it to God, even in our weakest moments, and when it is hardest to proclaim trust. I believe God truly sees the intention of our hearts when we proclaim this belief in dark times. Jesus’ name has great power, and this phrase will allow us to call upon His great power in order to calm the storms in our hearts. For example, when my compulsions (checking locks, the oven, etc. repeatedly before leaving the house) flare up due to stress, I will say the phrase “Jesus, I trust in You” each time I check something. This has reduced my compulsions because I know Jesus loves me and will protect me, so proclaiming His name in these events of doubt allows me to give all of my OCD to God.

Never underestimate the power of Jesus’ name. There is no greater name, and we are blessed to have Him to call upon as our Advocate, Teacher, and Shepherd when we need to find our way home. The next time you face anxiety, doubt, or darkness, say, “Jesus, I trust in You.” Let His peace wash over you.

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Nathalie Shultz is a joyful convert to the Catholic faith and a competitive swimmer with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).  She loves to share her passion for Catholicism with others, including her conversion story and how God continues to work miracles in her life through her OCD. She is the Director of Religious Education for the North Allegan Catholic Collaborative of parishes. Nathalie is married to her best friend, Tommy Shultz. Her favorite saints include St. Peter the Apostle, St. Teresa of Calcutta, and St. John Paul II.  She is also a huge fan of C.S. Lewis. If you have any questions for Nathalie, or just want her to pray for you, you can email her at rodzinkaministry@gmail.com.