My Struggle with “Privilege” & Here’s the One Privilege Available to All

For a long time, I struggled with the concept of “privilege.”  The truth is, I know I am very blessed.  I have enjoyed many privileges in my life.

But this word bothered me because I felt like it fueled the victim-mentality in our culture, elevating certain victims or underprivileged to a bizarre form of elitism.  I think we need to be careful that we don’t do this, and I do think it happens sometimes, which can make us quick to say we’re a victim, too.

Certainly we are all dealt a different hand in life, there can be no denying this fact.  Opportunities unfortunately are not equally available to everyone.

We are all privileged in some ways.  And we are all underprivileged in other ways.  We are all a victim of our upbringing and a product of our choices and life experiences.  But we need to be careful not to turn life into a victim competition.

After much reflection and prayer, I’ve come to the conclusion that it is worth discussing the concept of privilege.

Because our privileges may enable some of us to speak out and be heard more than others, but a lack of privilege should never keep anyone from speaking out or being heard.

No matter your level of privilege or underprivilege, no matter what you’ve endured, no matter how blessed or broken you may feel right now, please know that you are loved.

Mercy is always a privilege, and it is the one privilege that is always available to everyone.  Because mercy comes to us from the Cross.  And the Cross is for us all.

Mercy is “love when it encounters suffering, poverty, brokenness, and sin.”  It requires action, love, and sacrifice, a giving of one’s self for the good of another.  We are all equipped and hard wired to give and receive love in the form of mercy.

The struggle is that this is hard work for us on earth.  The struggle is that all this giving and loving and serving causes discomfort.  And receiving love is difficult because we can feel so unworthy.

True love is never simple.  It is always sacrificial.  

Giving genuine love and mercy is often painful.  It’s often easier to fall into our sinful nature than it is to reject our sinful nature and to seek loving action.  God knows how hard this is for us, and that’s why He came down, humbled himself, and died for us all.

Because without His help, we wouldn’t have a chance at getting it right.

Receiving true love and mercy is shocking and humbling.  “You would do that?” we think, just like the Beast when Belle takes her father’s place in the prison cell.  (I have so many Disney movie references to pull from, guys, stay tuned!)

Someone is ready to take your place in your suffering and pain and brokenness, too.

It’s time to tell the whole world. Mercy is the privilege that’s always available to everyone.  Claim it.  Share it.  You’re worth it.  

I’d love to know your thoughts on privilege – let me know below!

 

Until next time,

Let’s go and live mercifully!

Kaitlyn Clare Mason

How to Think Clearly & Dream Big

It started simply.  Deacon Matt Coriale challenged me to read the Gospel straight through, and I had never actually done this before.

When I did, words jumped off the page and into my heart.  I became fascinated with the concept of owning less, and with the concept of giving up everything in service to others.

“He said to them in reply, ‘Whoever has two tunics should share with the one who has none.’” (Luke 3:11)  Well, that verse hit me hard.  I had just moved south from Wisconsin.  I owned so many coats!

I felt restless in my heart, because our home was overflowing with wedding and baby shower gits.  We were well equipped to fully serve the needs of multiple families from our possessions.

At that time, a donation drop-off center stood just a block away from our home.   So, that spring, I often loaded up the stroller in the morning with our superfluous items and passed them on to others during my daily walk with my daughter.

This was just the tip of the iceberg.  It was the very beginning of a long, exciting, often uncomfortable, but always rewarding journey to a simple and more merciful life.

Something shifted in my heart.  It wasn’t that I hadn’t been willing to give before.  It was that a fire had been lit within me, and I saw everything in that new light. 

When we began passing on many of our possessions, freeing up physical space in our home, it felt natural to begin clearing out the mental clutter, too.  So, we drastically cut down on our media intake.  I was already not using any social media outlets, but began to cut back on television and movies until these things no longer interested me much at all.

And something amazing happened with this process.  It freed up so much time and energy!  The physical, mental, and spiritual space that opened up provided room for me to think clearly and to dream big.  My soul finally had room to breathe.

If we want to start living and serving at full capacity, we need to take a look at our excess.  Because the excess steals our time and stifles our creativity. 

Recovering perfectionists, stay tuned, because next I’ll be talking about whether we need to be perfect to carry out a mission of mercy.

 

Until then, let’s go and live mercifully!

Kaitlyn Clare Mason

10 Questions to Discover (or Confirm) Your Mission in Life

If we’re serious about discovering and fulfilling our God-intended mission in this urgent time of mercy, here are a few questions we can ask ourselves to see if we’re on the right track:

 

1.  What headlines, tragedies, or crisis situations compel me to anger, feelings of discomfort in my abundance, or deep compassion?

2.  When do I feel most content, peaceful, and fulfilled? Does everyone have access to these types of situations?

3.  God speaks and provides direction in a still, small voice. How much time am I spending in complete silence these days?

4.  What is one service, work, or volunteer opportunity sticks out most in my life as a monumental or life changing experience? What impact did this have on me at the time?  What impact does this have on my life now?

5.  What talents, gifts, skills, resources, privileges, knowledge, and abilities do I have that can make life better for people affected by the headlines, tragedies, or crisis situations mentioned in question 1?

6.  In my daily life, when do I come in contact with people in deep spiritual, emotional, or physical need? What is my reaction to these situations?  Am I helping to bear another’s burden?  In what ways?  How might I be able to better respond to these people and their needs in the future?

7.  What can or should I do to intentionally come into contact with and to be hospitable to people in deep need, particularly to those who may be in moral danger?

8.  What can I provide to the world that perhaps no one else can? Am I staying silent and comfortable instead of speaking out about any important issues that deserve to be addressed?

9.  How can my life and lifestyle help the world see and come to know the mercy and love of God?

10.  What am I willing to renounce for the sake of the Kingdom? In other words, what could or should I part with in life so I can better direct my attention to fulfilling God’s plans?

 

On Sunday this blog will rest.  But check back on Monday, when I’ll be sharing more about how my family discovered our mission, and how you can start to fulfill yours.

 

Until then, let’s go and live mercifully!

– Kaitlyn Clare Mason

Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept…

Yesterday we talked about how we are all being sent on a mission of mercy.

According to St. John Paul II, mercy is “love’s second name.”  Fr. Michael Gaitley further defines Divine Mercy as “a particular mode of love when it encounters suffering, poverty, brokenness, and sin.”

I believe that mercy is the most irresistible, magnetic attribute of God.

And right now, in a world of around 7.7 billion people, with 12.5 pornographic video views for every person on the planet in 2016 on just one website alone, and with approximately 1 documented abortion occurring in the U.S. every 30 seconds, we need to draw in the masses and help everyone know how deeply they are loved.  We need to be showering people with compassion and support.

There billions of people in this world, far too many for everything to be just about you or I, and we are living in an amazing window of time when the mercy of God and opportunity of Heaven are available to everyone.

I’m inviting you to embark with me on an adventure to discover and fulfill your God-intended mission of mercy.

I’m inviting you to step off the cultural treadmill that keeps us far too busy with things that don’t matter, so we can focus on serving the One who made all the things in the first place.

This is not about doing more to serve. It’s about pivoting from what zaps our time and energy in unhealthy ways to fulfilling our God-given mission.

Only by shifting full focus to God can we hope to love and serve Him at full capacity. And when we start loving and serving to the best of our capabilities, well, that’s when we watch mercy unfold full force. And that’s when things really start to get interesting.

Next up, I’ll share a few questions you can ask yourself to help you discover (or confirm) your mission!

Until tomorrow, let’s go, and live mercifully!

– Kaitlyn Clare Mason

Am I Being Sent or Sending Myself?

Yesterday, I shared a question that has been on my heart.  Am I being sent or sending myself?  I think it’s a valid question, and one we can all struggle to answer from time to time.

You’re still welcome to click here and share anything you’re struggling with these days, too.

But the truth is that we are all being sent on a great mission.  It is a mission of mercy!  We all have a role to play in this life, because each of us is a part of the greatest story ever told.  You are a part of the greatest story ever told.

So even when we feel uneasy about whether we are carrying out God’s will in our lives, if we are seeking Him above all things, we can quiet our fears.  Even when we feel unsure of whether we are being sent by God to do seemingly ordinary things, or whether we’re just creating our own plans and sending ourselves, we can take courage.  We can rest and stand confident in the knowledge that we are loved beyond measure, and that we are all in fact being sent on a great mission of love.

Every moment brings new opportunities to embark on a mission of love and mercy.

And that’s where we’ll leave off for today.  You are being sent on a great mission of mercy.  How might you be asked to serve next?  And what does it mean to be on a mission of mercy?

More on that tomorrow!

– Kaitlyn Clare Mason

Ransom Prayer to Our Lady of Mercy

This prayer has been on my heart for some time now, and I had trouble articulating it for a very long time.  Then one morning, the words were all there.  I would like to share it with you today.  We are all held captive to persuasions of the devil at times, we all struggle with these persuasions (and they sometimes do lead us to sin).  We are all in great need of prayer.  So together, let us pray for each other:

 

Our Mother and Lady of Mercy, we come to you fervently seeking your aid.  Our loved ones are falling, our dear friends ensnared, and those without anyone to pray for them stand at the brink of destruction.  Extend your mantle of refuge and protection lovingly to cover mankind, to cover all sinners.

We pray explicitly for the ransom of all souls held captive to the devil’s persuasions.  Many have been persuaded, but mighty is God’s merciful hand that saves, reaching out to the very gates of hell to rescue all repentant souls.

With you, O Blessed Mother of Mercy, we ask that God’s graces illuminate souls to clearly see His Will.  May God grant courage for all to amend their errant ways, and may the peace of God perpetually accompany all who return to the right path, fixing them Heaven-bound.

For all souls held captive to the persuasions of substance abuse and addiction… we pray for their ransom and return.

For all souls held captive to the persuasion of abortion…

For all souls held captive to the persuasions of contraception and sterilization…

For all souls held captive to the persuasions of pornography and eroticism…

For all souls held captive to the persuasions of trafficking and abuse…

For all souls held captive to the persuasion of suicide…

For al souls held captive to the persuasion of euthanasia…

For all souls held captive to the persuasions of violence and terrorism…

For all souls held captive to the persuasion of heresy…

For all souls held captive to the persuasion of atheism…

For all souls held captive to the persuasions of promiscuity and immodesty…

For all souls held captive to the persuasions of active homosexuality and gender confusion…

For all souls held captive to the persuasions of lust, pride, and all sin…

And for all those in turmoil who care deeply for these captive souls, we pray for their healing and restoration.  May the rays of your Son’s infinite and unfathomable mercy shatter the devil’s snares, redeeming all held captive to his empty persuasions.  We ask this of Jesus through your tender and Immaculate Heart.  Our Lady of Mercy, Pray for Us!  Jesus, we trust in You!

 

Visit my Tips & Printables page to download your printable copy of this prayer!

Place it with your prayer cards or somewhere in your home so you can remember to pray for the ransom of all souls held captive to the devil’s persuasions.  This prayer can accompany the white scapular of Our Lady of Mercy, also known as Our Lady of Ransom.  This is the scapular that I have felt called to wear, and I have found that it is a powerful and beautiful form of devotion to Our Lady.  You can join me in this mission of mercy and purchase one of these special white scapulars here!

 

*This prayer was first published on YouAreMadeNew.com here.

6 Things to Gather 4 THE Most Important 2 Days of the Month!

Does anyone else out there keep forgetting when it’s a First Friday or Saturday?  I’ve been trying to remember for like a year to set aside time for these devotions.  And I’m finally not going to miss out!

Do you know why it’s so important to participate in the First Friday and First Saturday devotions?

It’s because of the thing every Miss America contestant would love to have if she could have one wish…

 
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No, not that thing, Sandra.
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There ‘ya go…  World peace!

Here are 6 things we can gather NOW to prep for this devotion and obtain peace for the world.  Before we, you know… wait, what was I talking about again?  Oh, yeah, before we FORGET!
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1. Get a sharpie.  

This is so you can write “1ST FRI” and “1ST SAT” so big on your paper calendar that you won’t even be able to fit the “-day” and “-urday” endings of the words in the calendar box.  If you don’t have a paper calendar, put it in your phone calendar.  But maybe use the Sharpie to write a giant reminder on your hand that these dates are coming up.

 

2. Set a really annoying alarm.

Set the duck alarm on your phone to go off on these dates each month for at least 5 consecutive months (the duration of the full devotion).  Or set the submarine siren alarm.   Or a frog.  Whichever one is going to make you jump out of your seat and say, “OH!  There’s the obnoxious (fill in the blank) alarm!  Today MUST be a First Friday!!!  Time to save the world!”  Set it for 4:32am or 3:37pm or some other random time that will make you stop before hitting the “stop” button to silence it and actually think to yourself, “Weird.  Why in the world is an alarm going off at this random time?  OH YEAH!  It’s NOT random!  It’s a First Friday.  World peace.  Got it.”

 

3. A great article on what in the world we’re supposed to be doing on the First Friday and First Saturday of each month.

That’s where my friend Gretchen comes in!  She writes these amazing articles over at The Catholic Company so we all know what in the world we’re supposed to be doing throughout the liturgical year, because “the liturgical year” is an art form that’s in dire need of restoration and revival.  Click here to read up on the simple steps we can all do to participate in these powerful devotions!

 

4. A Catholic Church.

You’ll need to receive Communion and go to Confession.  Check out masstimes.org to find out when a Mass is being said near you so you can, in a state of grace, receive Christ in the Eucharist.  Check your local church for Confession times.  Or find any priest walking around town and ask if he’ll hear your Confession… (But you’ll increase your odds of running into a priest if you actually head to your Church first!  Don’t be shy, there’s nothing you have to say in the confessional that the priest has not heard before, I’m sure.  Especially if you’re last in line… kidding.)

 

5. A reminder of how to say the rosary.  

The Marians have a nice page here that gives you a little pop-up of words to each prayer if needed.  And at the bottom of that page, there are links to images and descriptions of each mystery of the rosary.  (We meditate on a different mystery during each “decade” of the rosary as a way to contemplate and honor Christ’s life.)  Or, click here to pray along with an old but lovely video of Mother Angelica praying the rosary.

 

6. A giant statue of Our Lady of Fatima in your home to help you remember that you should be extra kind to people because you’re going back to Confession next month for the next First Friday & Saturday devotion!

Okay, so this one may not be needed in your home.  But it sure is helpful in mine!  Our Lady of Fatima, Pray for Us!

Now go find a Sharpie!  Aaaand…. break!  (I’ll race you to it!)
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How do you keep track of important dates?  What might help us all do a better job of sticking with this devotion?