Lent begins in just a week
Are you ready?
We’ve put together this guide with some of our favorite tools to help us along this blessed 40 day journey. What helps you to live Lent more consciously?
See below for links.
Are you ready?
We’ve put together this guide with some of our favorite tools to help us along this blessed 40 day journey. What helps you to live Lent more consciously?
See below for links.
I consider the My Saint My Hero Iconic Jewelry Collection one of our most unique and stunning. The iconic image imprinted on each cuff you wear is literally a prayer written through images that has been inspired by the Holy Spirit.
“Icons are actually called prayers. So we’re actually wearing a prayer. While I’m working, my prayer is always that the eyes will draw you into a deeper devotion…” -Vivian/Iconographer
Did you know icons in the Orthodox Christian tradition are written, not painted? The process of making icons is considered more a form of prayer than art, and it is believed that the iconographer’s hand is guided by God. Each brush stroke is a form of meditation and prayer. You can read more about it here.
“Guide the hands of your unworthy servant”…I am not worthy to write this but the Holy Spirit guides me through these images.” -Vivian
The iconic pieces in our collection currently are (as shown above):
Mary Star of the Sea Cuff
Archangel Michael Cuff
Holy Family Everlasting Heart of God Cuff
Holy Family Crystal Heart of God Swarovski Cuff
Which one is your favorite?
ABOUT THE ARTIST An artist from Southern California, Vivian Imbruglia practices the ancient art of iconography. She learned the traditional techniques of writing icons from several master iconographers, thus merging her artistic abilities with her exploding Catholic faith. Iconography has become more than her profession, it is her ministry. Vivian’s commissioned artwork, both traditional icons and more contemporary sacred images, can be found in churches, abbeys, and private chapels throughout the United States and abroad. One image was given as a gift directly to the Holy Father Pope Francis. When writing original images, Vivian puts great emphasis on the eyes as that aspect most effectively draws in the viewer, encouraging prayerful reflection and meditation. As with all traditional iconography, Vivian never signs the displayed part of her work. Instead she includes on the back, “Written by the hand of Vivian Imbruglia.” At the same time Vivian has developed her own tradition of writing somewhere within every piece the letters “AMDG” which stands for Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam, explaining her ultimate purpose as working for the greater glory of God. Watch Vivian create Mary Star of the Sea.
After a much-loved and appreciated Christmas break, most of us are back at work, school and ordinary life. Let us not be quick to forget our New Year resolutions, the blessings we received from the Infant Jesus, and the hope this new year brings.
If you woke up this morning a little deflated and hesitant, I invite you to simply BEGIN.
Surround yourself with those things that uplift and encourage you, such as a Blessing Bracelet, and with your trust solidly set in God, embark from whatever shore you find yourself on and set sail towards the new horizons of your dreams and goals. Don’t let the fear of failure keep you from trying, as every attempt is in itself a victory.
Something that has personally helped me immensely is this advice: if you feel overwhelmed and paralyzed by the sheer amount of tasks or work ahead of you, then simply choose one easy task and just focus on doing that. Then do another. Then another. Get the ball rolling. Begin. Start somewhere and you will find yourself making progress and overcoming those fears that held you back.
Let’s take advantage of the momentum that comes with a New Year. Ride the wave of those feelings of resolve within you, find strength in those goals you’ve written down, and the voice within you that fuels your hope to begin again. To begin anew. Lastly, remember that you are not alone. Let your wearable Blessing pieces remind you that when you feel discouraged, that you are loved, that you are being prayed for, and that your efforts and prayers are helping others just like you. Take heart!
In the weeks leading up to this week of Advent we’ve focused on our misery, the darkness we live in, the need for our redemption, and the desire of our hearts to be rescued by a Savior.
This week, however, just as the colors of the candles on the Advent wreath, our reflections take a turn, from longing to rejoicing. Gaudete! This week is all about the joyful hope that springs from our faith that He, our Savior, is indeed coming among us! The reading today (Song of Songs 2: 8-14) is absolutely gorgeous.
“Hark! my lover–here he comes springing across the mountains, leaping across the hills.”
” My lover speaks; he says to me,
“Arise, my beloved, my dove, my beautiful one,
When was the last time you allowed Our Lord to romance your heart? To allow yourself to be washed by His merciful love, let His love heal your heart, fill the voids and chase away the darkness of fears, doubts, and sin? He longs for you today,
“O my dove in the clefts of the rock,
in the secret recesses of the cliff,
Let me see you,
let me hear your voice,
For your voice is sweet,
and you are lovely.”
Do not be afraid of such love, for your heart was designed for it. That longing in your heart was put there by God Himself for Him to fill. His love is beyond our comprehension and stronger than death, doubt, or any fear. But He waits for you, until you open the door of your heart, even just a crack, because of His love and respect for you. He desires you to desire Him.
This Christmas He is born for you. He comes as a tiny, helpless babe so you can let down your guard. He calls to your heart and yearns to be nestled in your arms. Let this love melt away any hardness and draw your heart to Him in gratitude.
This article was originally written for and published on uCatholic as part of their Advent Reflection Series.
When was the last time a certain song played over the radio and it was like you were instantaneously transported back to a specific time or place in your life? Perhaps it brought you back to your college days? A fun dance off or karaoke moment at a party? That first date? The first time you drove alone in your very own car? A flood of emotions stirred within you and all these memories and feelings seemed to be so present, right there in front of you. It’s a strong yet involuntary reaction that can change our mood and affects us. Certain sights, smells and sounds that are powerfully linked with our memories have the incredible ability to move us and remind us of certain times, things, and people.
“For more than a thousand years, church bells have rung out throughout the world to call Christians to prayer. At midday and a few minutes before every mass, bells ring out from tiny villages, to mission churches, to the skyscraper-filled cities. Bells also ring inside the churches – at the sacred moment when Christ becomes present again. And now, with this necklace, a bell rings for you too.
Your personal story is a unique and essential part of a much bigger story. You are a vital part of God’s divine plan. You are a beautiful chime in the harmony of life. Listen to the ringing of the bell, imagine all the other bells, and smile: the Good Shepherd will never let you wander beyond the reach of His care.”
-Fr. John Bartunek, LC ThD (RCSpirituality.com)
The ringing of bells makes us stop and listen, if only for a moment, and it tells us that God is present very near, within ear shot. It is a sweet invitation to come visit Him, or in the least think of Him, and that in itself is a prayer, a simple “I love you” to Him.
Wear this necklace and let the gentle chime remind you that you are never alone. God sends you his company of angels and saints. His providence guides you through every struggle, sorrow, victory and joy. When you hear this chime, allow it to awaken your senses to the presence of the angels and saints.
The chime of a bell will always remind me of the classic Christmas film, It’s A Wonderful Life. “Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings”. Know that as often as you hear the chime of this bell around your neck, your Guardian Angel is beside you, protecting you, guiding you, and is your very own faithful friend from heaven. Find comfort that the Archangels: Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel, are your advocates. With the feast day of the Archangels on September 29th, and the Guardian Angels on October 2nd, we are surrounded with reminders that these powerful allies are ever present to help us on our journey to heaven.
The bell is inscribed with the My Saint My Hero logo; a cross and the intertwined letters A & M for Auspice Maria, meaning “under the protection of Mary.” This represents the saints as they walked under the protection of Mary and in union with Christ. The chain has seven crystal stones representing the seven archangels.
Designed with love, may you be blessed by the community of love and prayer at My Saint My Hero. Your purchase enables us to use the power of giving to help transform lives and make the world a better place.
Madi, our newest team member, shares her experience and reflections from the LA Prayer Breakfast that took place at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Downtown Los Angeles, this past Tuesday, September 19, 2017. Many team members of My Saint My Hero were blessed to attend this event and be part of this beautiful movement of unity! We were proud to help sponsor this event by donating over two thousand One Nation Under God United in Prayer bracelets to everyone who attended.
Before the sun rose Tuesday morning, My Saint My Hero gathered with about two thousand other people of the church -from families to students, priests, sisters, bishops, normal people like you and me -to pray for our city and our country.
We were welcomed by the angels and saints at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in the middle of Los Angeles, a place that, as you walk around, has you surrounded by the presence of the angels and the saints. And as one nation, one church, one family on earth and in heaven, we worshiped and interceded for our city & our country. We were encouraged by a great theologian and leader of the church, Dr. Scott Hahn, who led us deep into the heart of the Father with such a simple message: He is a good, kind Father.
It is so easy to hear that and then just move on with our lives, for our mind to accept it and move on to the next worry, the next thing on the to do list. But do we let it reach our heart?
You are loved more in this moment by the Father than any other person could love you in an entire lifetime.
The love He has for you has nothing to do with your performance, your goodness, your success, how much you get done today. It has everything to do with His goodness, with His never-ending grace. Some of us may have bad experiences and views of our earthly fathers. But our Heavenly Father is unlike any flawed human father, some who may at times hide or run when things get hard. In contrast, He gives His whole heart to you at each moment. He holds nothing back.
So I encourage you today to rest, find yourself held by the Father at his throne. Let that love sink in into the deepest places of your heart to heal the wounds of this world.
Reflection and Photo credit: Madi Myers Cook
Learn more about the LA Prayer Breakfast at http://lacatholicpb.org
Today let’s turn to some theological experts to help us better understand and appreciate the significance of this feast day. Monarchy, for many of us is a thing of the past or simply a formality in some countries, and without the insight of these scholars, we may fail to grasp the depth of honor of this title given to Mary: Queen of Heaven and Earth.
“When the angel Gabriel came to Mary he told her that her Son would have the throne of David and that His kingdom would have no end (Luke 1:32-33). If our Lord is our King, then His Mother is our Queen. In ancient Israel, the mothers of the House of David’s kings were crowned, addressed as Gebirah, “Great Lady”. They sat beside the throne of their royal sons.
Mary’s Queenship is intimately tied to the Kingship of her Son just as Her Immaculate Heart beats in harmony with His Sacred Heart, for she conceived her King within her Heart, before she carried Him below her Heart, and Her Queenship rests not on her own merits alone, but rather it rests upon the majesty of her divine Son. At the conclusion of Dante’s Divina Commedia St Bernard sings of Heaven’s Queen that she is the “daughter of her Son”. But she will always remain, as Saint Thérèse observed, “more Mother than Queen”.
Speaking of addressing Mary, we name her Queen in many prayers, such as the Salve, Regina. We invoke her in the Litany of Loreto as Queen of Angels, Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, Martyrs, Confessors, Virgins, All Saints and, so important these days, Families. St John Paul, taking stock of our times, added that last title to the Litany in 1995. She is the Queen conceived without original sin, assumed into Heaven, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary and Queen of Peace.”
I greet you, ever-blessed Virgin, Mother of God, refuge of sinners, and Queen of the Universe.
Most loving Mother, attracted by your beauty, sweetness, and tender compassion, I confidently turn to you, and beg of you to obtain for me of your dear Son the favor I request in this novena: (mention your request).
Obtain for me also, Queen of Heaven and Earth, the most lively contrition for my many sins and the grace to imitate closely those virtues which you practiced so faithfully, especially humility, purity, and obedience. Above all, I beg you to be my mother and protectress, to receive me into the number of your devoted children, and to guide me from your high throne of glory.
Do not reject my petitions, Mother of Mercy! Have pity on me, and do not abandon me during life or at the moment of my death.
Accept this offering, sweet Queen of Heaven and Earth, and obtain for me from your dear Son, Jesus Christ, the favors I ask through your intercession in this novena. Obtain for me also a generous, constant love of God, perfect submission to His Holy Will, the true spirit of a Christian, and the grace of final perseverance.
May I become what I behold so that my life will radiate the glory of God in grace and love.When life gets hard…disgusted and a little defiant we fall into what may be the heresy of the 21st century: “that’s just the way I am”…But the miracle of the Transfiguration broadcasts a luminous truth: things can change.. you can change… what changes us is a radiant face!The real miracle in the transfiguration is not only the change in Christ as he became dazzling white… but the change in perception to see beyond physical vision and see the divine glory … they began to see beyond their limitations and seize the truth of Jesus Christ. – taken from The Magnificat, August 2017 edition
Feast of St. Martha: July 29
The “Better Part” is something I have been struggling to understand in my life for almost five years now. Struggling because I thought I was Martha in the story of Martha & Mary in the Bible, where we all want to be Mary because we don’t want to be reprimanded by Jesus like Martha was. I knew that God was bringing this story into my life over and over again to get me to slow down, make some different choices, and to choose the “Better Part”… ultimately, to choose Him! I was so caught up in the example of Martha cooking and cleaning while Mary sat at Christ’s feet and listened, because I would think “It’s fine for this one story to make a point, but wouldn’t they all have gone hungry that day had Martha not put the work in?” However, I was missing the honored guest list on this particular day. This was Jesus Christ Himself that was in her presence, not a normal guest! He doesn’t tell Martha that on a daily basis she should forget all about her obligations as the woman of the house. Rather to recognize the importance of the time when Jesus was right in front of her, for He knew He wouldn’t be there forever.
I always worried about being present to every single person in my life while still attempting to be a good wife and mother and boss. But I realize now that this is impossible and this is the “Martha lifestyle” many women create thinking they are doing what God wants, when instead He is asking them for something else… something so much more fulfilling… something so much more attainable… something so much MORE. Making time to find when and where Jesus is actually right in front of you; asking you to sit at His feet and make time for Him, for the “Better Part” that He offers. He gives us so many opportunities, yet the world calls on us to be Martha and keeps us blind to them.
When is Jesus right in front of us, calling us? The glaring example is in the Mass. He wants us to know, to really know, that He is present there – body and soul, fully human and divine. Yet, like Martha, we sit during Mass thinking of our to-do list, organizing our day, our week and our life. Why? Because it’s the one hour a week we sit in quiet and our minds have the opportunity to organize and prioritize. We need to make more time to sit at His feet. At first, the Martha in all of us will kick in. We will use this time for the much needed opportunity to keep everything together. But the more time we spend with Him (more Sunday Masses, more daily Masses, praying the rosary, reading the Bible, and daily quiet time in prayer and conversation with Him to do all of the above) He will teach us. He will help us organize our lists and our life so much better than we could’ve done on our own, and then He will help us to put the list aside for the “Better Part”, for the time to sit at His feet and listen to what He wants to share with us. The “Better Part” becomes addicting and you will find yourself trying to steal away more time with Him. You will find yourself waking up earlier than you ever have and hiding away in your closet or any empty, quiet space in your home to have that time to sit with Him. You will find yourself giving up other activities in your day or other people in your life to make the time for Mass, adoration and personal prayer time.
I know this seems impossible , or like the farthest thing from what you had planned for your life… but somewhere inside you know you were made for the “Better Part”. Start small, do an experiment… take the 40 Day Prayer Pledge (click on link to get one) and spend just 10 minutes with Him every day. Use the journal space and write. Don’t worry about what you are writing, that’s between you and Jesus and no one else. I promise you that at some point you will be genuinely surprised by your thoughts, your works, your actions throughout the rest of your day, and the glimpse at a peace you’ve been longing for… a peace from knowing that even though to the world you may look like Martha in all you do in your days, you will know that on the inside you have discovered your “Inner Mary” and that you have discovered what you are made for…the “Better Part”.
This is my ‘prayer couch’ as my family calls it. This is where I sit at His feet every morning…. Where do you make the time for Him? I can’t wait for you to share what you do now… or what you find yourself doing after taking the experiment in prayer!