Category Archives: Uncategorized

Give God the Whole

The liturgical year has circled round. We find ourselves once again on the Lenten journey, but probably not walking the same path. If you are like me, you might have started preparing for the season by thinking back to what penances and sacrifices you made last year. Often when I do this, I realize that the present holds something different, that the Lord is inviting me to something more. There is always a new work God wants to do in me and through me; and this new work usually requires more of me, never less. Why?

“Nothing less than the whole is good enough for God,” says one Benedictine nun toward the close of Rumor Godden’s masterful novel, In this House of Brede.

The temptation to think that we have arrived, that the spiritual life is all downhill from here is quite real. We often complete a difficult spiritual assignment and think to ourselves: Ah, back to the way things were before; back to my place of comfort. But it’s never back, is it? Indeed, we may try to return, but we find things changed…find ourselves changed. It’s as if we have been stretched and are unable to retract back to feel at home in our previous state and surroundings.

Sometimes this frustrates us. We were looking forward to returning to the place of comfort that we had remembered after the hard work of spiritual growth came to an end. We can forget that God was using that time of stretching quite intentionally, to draw us close to Him. And when we are with Him, beholding him, we are “being changed into His likeness” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

It’s then no wonder that we find the old comforts lacking, that the old places don’t fit as we imagined they would. It’s because we, in our new likeness, no longer fit in them. We have given God a bit more of ourselves, and we can’t go back to less. But we cannot maintain the status quo either. Once we have given more and have seen God transform that gift of self into such goodness, we suddenly realize that we have still more of ourselves to give, more of ourselves to be transformed.

The more God transforms our selfishness, the more we see our lacking areas of generosity. The more God extinguishes anger or hatred, the more we see the ways that we fail to love. The more the Father reveals himself, the more we see our poor reflection of that image. The more the Son makes real to us his sacrifice, the more we see how much we have to offer on the altar as well. The more we hear the Spirit’s voice, the more we recognize the noise around us and inside us that needs to be silenced.

The Lenten journey reminds us that we are in fact on a continual journey to heaven, and we aren’t ready for heaven until we have given our whole selves to God. During this Lent, embrace the knowledge that God wants more of you, that He ultimately wants all of you, and hold nothing back. You will have to give things up, but those gifts are investments in your eternal inheritance. You will be stretched beyond your comfortable spaces, but you will find new places made for you. As you offer more of yourself, more of yourself will be transformed. You will be changed into His likeness, one step closer to being ready to meet Him face to face.

Need a kid-paced Stations of the Cross routine?

I love the tradition of praying the Stations of the Cross on Fridays during Lent, and I love doing it in our home around our prayer table. Sometimes it’s just our family, and other times it’s us and another family or two after sharing a simple soup super. But those of us with lots of young kids can find instituting the practice of praying the Stations (and other prayers) a bit daunting. It’s hard for them to sit still for that long when they are at young ages. They just don’t have the attention span and patience (especially in the evening) for the full blown version.

We have all littles (6 and under) right now, and I really desire for them to embrace this beautiful prayer practice and have it grow with them. So, a couple of years ago I created a kid-paced routine for praying the Stations — pieced together from various resources and practices I had observed other families doing. I use the children’s book The Way of the Cross as the guiding resource, which was a gift from godparents a few years back. It is so beautiful!

My kids love this routine. It can be as short as 10 minutes, which is often just the right amount of time when kids are young and learning to adopt this prayer practice. When you start small, it is easy to build on a practice with time and let it grow with your family. We want our children to love prayer — not be overwhelmed by it. After all, loving should be the goal of all of our prayers anyway.

Our family and friends have really enjoyed this routine, and I’m sharing it with you — just fill out the form below and you will get a PDF copy to use in your home. God bless your family’s Lenten journey!


Copyright 2018 Jessica Ptomey

My Reading Challenge Pick for “Novel by a Catholic Author”

I hope you have gotten started on your picks for the 2017 Catholic Reading Challenge! As promised, I’m sharing what I am reading for each category throughout the year. 


Category: Novel by a Catholic Author

My Pick: Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset

I’ve been looking forward for a few months to cracking this classic open. It’s currently my nighttime read, waiting patiently for me all day on my nightstand. I’m actually not that far in yet (~75 pages), but I’m definitely in it. I actually feel quite comfortable recommending it, even though I’ve barely gotten started.  Continue reading