by Tara K.E. Brelinsky
The recent Ignited by Truth full Catholic Conference fanned the flame of faith in my heart. Though I consider myself a faithful Catholic, I realize that faith is an on-going journey that requires fuel along the way if I hope to stay the course.
The inspirational talks I heard at IBT filled my mind and satisfied my heart. I learned how to better engage non-believers and acquaintances who may be struggling with sin. I was reminded to keep God at the head of my marriage and to turn to Him in prayer when I am struggling.
Yet for all of the things that I learned at the conference perhaps the greatest take-away for me was a call to action. I realize that fuel is necessary, but the real goal is to use it to propel us forward. And what better time is there than Lent to renew our devotions and establish new habits?
Here are 10 calls to action that you can take NOW to help shine the Light of Christ in the world:
Join the Fatima Tour for Peace
Follow-up Fr. Michael Gaitley‘s discussion of “Fatima and the Second Greatest Story Ever Told” but joining in the Fatima Tour for Peace right here in the Diocese of Raleigh. During this 100th year anniversary of the apparition of Our Lady to the children in Fatima, Portugal, you have the rare privilege of praying before the International Fatima Statue close to home. On March 9, 10 and 11, the statue will be on display at select parishes in Wake Forest, Rocky Mount and Raleigh only.
Commit or recommit to praying the Rosary daily
Prayer is a powerful weapon in the battle against evil. Our Lady promised, “in the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.” Offer a rosary each day for the the intentions of an increase in devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and for a hastening in the triumph of her Immaculate Heart. If you don’t own rosary beads or if you’d like a more personalized strand, check out Divine Decades, hand-made rosaries created by a local Catholic family (and IBT 2017 Conference Vendor!).
Read the Catechism of the Catholic Church
Ken Hensley and Fr. Philip Bochanski reminded us that our beliefs are grounded in charity and truth. The Catholic Church isn’t the church of ‘no’; it is the lighthouse of Truth in a fallen world. In order to help our brothers and sisters, who may be outside of the church or struggling with sins like homosexuality, we need to understand what our faith proclaims. Thankfully, we can find beautiful and thorough explanations in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. You can read it online, but I’d also recommend having a copy available in your household. Visit In His Name Bookstore (another IBT Vendor) to pick up a copy.
Invest in your marriage
The current culture sells the ideas that pornography, infidelity, materialism and divorce are simply par for the course, but Greg and Julie Alexander know that God has better plans. Make a concerted effort to reconnect with your spouse. Schedule monthly date nights. Pray together every morning or evening. Invite God to be the Head of your household. Reflect on the directive to wives and husbands in Ephesians 5: 21-33 (make sure to read ALL of the verses). Find online resources on marriage at Good News Ministries. If you are struggling in your marriage, reach out for help and allow God to heal your wounds.
Keep the First Friday devotion
Fr. Philip Johnson‘s story of a dying woman’s last moments confirm the power of the First Friday devotion and the trustworthiness of Jesus’s promise to all those who keep this devotion. Get out your calendar and mark the next 9 First Fridays, then fulfill the requests our Lord made to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque.
Go to confession
If you’re keeping the First Friday devotion, then you’ll already have this one covered for the next 9 months. But don’t stop there. As Leah Darrow showed us, our Heavenly Father loves a repentant heart.
Stand up for life
Participate in the current, local 40 Days for Life campaign. Abby Johnson couldn’t have been more clear, we MUST defend life. We MUST stand up against abortion. Peaceful, prayerful witness in front of abortion clinics is necessary work in the battle. When Mrs. Johnson chose to leave her position as director at Planned Parenthood, she turned to a pro-life, sidewalk counselor for help. Pregnancy care clinics, like Birthchoice, are saving babies every year as well as providing free limited healthcare and support to mothers and fathers facing crisis pregnancies, but they rely on volunteers and donations to keep them going.
Read the Bible
Whether you’re experiencing suffering like Job, need marriage advice (from Ephesians) or want to hear the First Greatest Story Ever Told, the Holy Bible is the book to open. Every Catholic home needs a Bible, but it’s helpful to have the daily readings with reflections right at your fingerprints.
Learn to Listen, Listen to Learn
All day long we are bombarded with noise. Replace some of that distraction with sounds that orient your heart and mind toward Jesus. Let Dana Catherine‘s music lift your spirit and your thoughts on your ride to work or while you’re cooking dinner. Tune in to Divine Mercy Radio (you can listen online) to catch the best of EWTN programming and local Catholic news/personalities while you’re on lunch break.
Subscribe and Share
Ignited by Truth is more than a conference, it’s a place where you can stay connected to Catholic events, learn about the faith and get inspired to set the world on fire for love of Christ Jesus. Subscribe to IBT’s NEW blog “Wind & Flame” to get regular articles, based on solid Catholic teaching, in your inbox. Follow IBT on social media (Facebook, YouTube, Google+, Instagram, Twitter, Spotify). Bookmark www.IgnitedByTruth.org to stay informed about upcoming speaker series events like the upcoming one in Greenville, NC on April 29th and 30th.