Impossible Prophecies to Show the Way

Well it’s been a while and a lot has changed since I shared the Lenten devotionals for this year. We’ve moved to Kansas as Ben will be flying a new plane for the Air Force. We also were blessed in March to have baby number 6 join the clan. Nathan Patrick is doing wonderfully and just started smiling this week. He has filled our family with so much joy as each sibling squeals with delight when he gives them his goofy baby grin.

Ben has had a significant amount of training for his new assignment which has kept him from home. We continue to marvel at how fortunate and blessed we are to have parents with such flexible schedules. I am not sure how we all would have survived without the help of our moms and dads during this time. Big shout out to our families – we love you!

Perhaps you are already in the know, but only since my mom was with me to help with the kids did I begin watching the TV series The Chosen. My mom mentioned watching the first few episodes and enjoying it, though hadn’t gotten far and wanted to start at the beginning again. I hadn’t watched any and had some reservations about how the story would be told. But, I went along with her desire and I am so glad that I did!

I have found many things fascinating about this show. I love how it’s asking the viewer to really pause and consider all that went into following Jesus. The logistics, the questions, the backgrounds and social complications. I have found most of the assumptions and explorations into the lives of the apostles to be plausible and worth considering. I also very much appreciate that the writer has found consultants from Jewish, Evangelical and Catholic backgrounds to help find balance and respect for the vast range of tradition encompassed in these stories.

I have especially enjoyed seeing how Mary has been involved in the story. While she isn’t in every episode, she is clearly one of the group and the apostles listen to what she has to say.

I watched the most recent episode as of this posting (Season 2 Episode 4) twice because I wanted to catch everything in a conversation Jesus has with the apostles and Mary over dinner. Big James (James the son of Zebedee) questions Jesus about the feasibility of a particular prophecy concerning Jews and Gentiles coming together being fulfilled. “How can this be possible?” He and the other apostles ask, looking expectantly at Jesus. After going back and forth a few times, it’s not Jesus who ultimately satisfies them, it’s Mary. Mary looks around the table and simply says,

I know a thing or two about prophecies that sound impossible.

The impact of Mary’s words, of her presence at the table, cannot be overstated. I can imagine now, better than before, just how radical Jesus’ very presence was for the apostles. If they truly believed that Jesus was the Messiah, then all the old prophecies about about peace among nations, Jews and Greeks coming together, lame walking and the blind seeing – everything ought to be coming true.

They had witnessed healings, so those prophecies seemed easy now. They had experienced them firsthand. But others seemed more impossible to come true. How could all the nations come together to worship the King, they were enemies after all.

The power of Mary’s witness to the possibility of the impossible causes everyone to expand their imagination. Not only is the Messiah present before us, but here is His mother. She, who is human, draws them into the impossibility of what happened to her so that she can direct them to her Son, the fruit of that impossibility.

There is a famous Byzantine icon of Mary which is called the Hodegetria, translated from Greek to mean, “The One who Shows the Way.” I love this icon of Mary in all it’s forms. Mary is shown holding Jesus. While Mary is the larger of the two, you are still drawn to the figure of Christ because of how Mary is positioned. Her eyes are fixed on you, the one experiencing the icon. Her hand not holding Jesus is extended, her fingers often a bit elongated, in an open hand gesture toward her Son. She is not the point, her purpose isn’t to draw attention to herself. She is there to draw you in through her gaze and then gently bring you to her Son, the Messiah. In this moment of the show, I was immediately felt the iconic weight of what she said and how she said it. She was not drawing attention to her own prophecy’s fulfillment, but rather used it to gently draw the apostles into that new space of the possible that Jesus was trying to present to them.

Virgin Mary Directress Icon

Virgin Mary, Directeress

For a show that is not explicitly Catholic, I found this a very Catholic moment and I loved it! If you haven’t given The Chosen a try, I highly encourage you to. The first few episodes, in my opinion, take some getting used to as the show settles in. It really hits its stride around episode 4 or 5 and has an awesome conclusion to Season 1.

I’d love to know your thoughts about the show! Have you watched it, what did you like or dislike. Did you have any particularly moving moments? The app is free to download and watch all the episodes. Or you can find most of them on YouTube.

Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com

Free Lenten Journal for 2021

Oh man, Lent is practically here! As I promised in my last post, I’ve been scurrying around finishing up the Lenten Lectio Divina journal. For this year, as with last year as well, there is only the Lectio Divina journal, no reflection journal. This is for two main reasons.

  1. I have struggled to come up with a reflection journal idea/format that is similar to the Advent ones and also works within the whole scope of the season of Lent. I can figure out how to reflect toward the upcoming Sunday, as I did one year in Advent, or looking back to carry the previous Sunday into the week, as I did another Advent year. This works just fine until you get to Holy Week. I almost need 2 journals, one that deals with Lent, and a second that focuses on Holy Week and the Triddum. Maybe next year.
  2. Lent happens fast y’all! I still feel like we are just exiting the Christmas season. I did a great job getting started on Advent early last year (they were ready and done in October – can you imagine!?) but didn’t keep my momentum up during our transition that happened this winter. We have moved from Texas to Kansas. Moving and writing did not go hand in hand for me. With this in perspective, I’m so happy to have finished the Lectio Divina journals since I didn’t really have brain space for anything else.

Ok, to the good stuff. I did manage the booklet format that I did this past Advent. So there are the two print options. The first, per usual, is the print, staple and go. Everything is in order from Ash Wednesday to Easter.

For those of you brave souls who want to make a booklet, there’s that option too. I did not get any negative feedback about the format from Advent, so my fingers are crossed it went well for you since that is what I based this journal on. You will need to print double sided and then fold down the middle. Again, please test your printer with the first few pages before going for the whole thing unless you regularly print double sided and know your machine well.

Also listed here is the blank page that you can print as many times as you would like. This page is useful if you prefer to select your own verse for reflection. It is also especially helpful during Lent if your parish does not have any candidates or catechumens. During Lent, the 3rd-5th Sundays of Lent have a few readings options. The Scrutiny readings (which I have chosen to use for the journal) are used if the parish has candidates (people who are already baptized but need to receive their First Eucharist and/or Confirmation to complete their Sacraments of Initiation) or catechumens (persons who are seeking to receive all 3 Sacraments of Initiation) are at Mass. If they are not present, or the parish does not have any that year, the regularly cycled readings are used. You can find both options on the USCCB’s website.


These journals are completely FREE to print. However, due to the copyright restrictions, you are not supposed to print 100 copies to pass out at your parish or slid under your neighbors’ doors. You can, however, use this link in your bulletin announcements, to share with your Bible study group, post on your Facebook page, etc.

It is such an honor to write these journals. It brings me so many blessings and I hope they do for you as well. I hope you have a purposeful, peaceful and hopeful Lenten season.

Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com

Choosing our Feelings & A New Method of Fasting

Lent is on the way. I know this because my fingers have been frantically typing to finish up the Lenten Lectio Divina journal for this year. It ought to be ready and posted by this weekend, so for anyone who is looking for it, it’s on the way! 

I had a revelation a few days ago that I wanted to share. A little update first. As I sit here typing, I am almost 35 weeks pregnant with #6. My sister-in-law and I have been walking the pregnancy journey together, which has been so much fun. She, however, is a bit further along than I am and that day I spent thinking she was at the hospital getting ready to meet her first child. I was so happy for my brother and his wife. This is their first baby and has been a long journey. Pregnancy and pandemic are not the easiest combination.

And yet, while I was genuinely happy and excited for them, I felt off all day. I blamed it on ligament pain, general pregnancy stuff, etc. But as I woke up the following morning (it turned out I had it wrong and this was the day of the inducement) I was struck by this rather ugly thought:

“Yesterday I was jealous that she was going to have her baby and I’m not there yet.”

It hit me hard too. All day, I was harboring this jealously so tightly within me that it’s tendrils reached out to effect my entire day. I wasn’t patient, I struggled with motivation, I didn’t even want to cook dinner or plan out the meals for the week because it involved too much work. I felt exhausted even though I hadn’t done much. I was frustrated with myself for my failings and that surely didn’t do anyone in the house any good. 

Because of this revelation, the actual day of the birth of my very first nephew, was noticeably different. I still had the same ligament pain, same pregnancy stuff. But I acknowledged this struggle I am having, prayed about it and it makes all the difference. While writing this, two of the girls asked me to play a game with them. I very much wanted to get it finished this afternoon during the few precious hours of quiet time while Gabriel, now 18 months, is asleep. The day before, I would have probably snapped at them for interrupting me and sent them to play on their own. This day, I closed my laptop and played Go Fish. 

Instead of letting my jealously rule me, I chose to rule it.

Any program for addiction will tell you that you have to own the feelings and thoughts you are having. You have to acknowledge you need help, that you can’t go it alone. By naming how we are feeling, we are acknowledging the feelings for what they are. From that place, we can choose to indulge them, dismiss them, or change them. I am so thankful that God revealed to me my jealous heart so that I could greet my new nephew with a heart full of joy and love.

With Lent coming up, this is a great time to consider what feelings we are ruling, and which ones we are allowing to rule us. What actions or activities do we feel we cannot live without, and what can we let go of without too much complaint?

Since the start of the year, I have been trying something new. Instead of one big New Year’s resolution (which I usually fail at by now) I have chosen a weekly fast that changes with each week. Sundays are “off” days and simultaneously discernment days. No fasting, but discerning the upcoming week to see what I will be fasting from. Some things I’ve fasted from already include:

  • Desserts
  • Instagram
  • Social media scrolling (I check in once a day because important announcements for Ben’s squadron are often posted on Facebook but I did not allow myself to sit and scroll the newsfeeds)
  • Games on my phone

I have repeated a few and have found some to be harder than others. Desserts were hard all week long and I found myself reluctant to bake anything because I couldn’t have it. This is something to work on for sure since my whole family wasn’t fasting from dessert, just me. Social media wasn’t as hard as I expected, though I did notice that I just played more solitaire or word searches so it wasn’t necessarily a reduction in screen time. I plan to fast at some point from using my phone after the kids are in bed, like a digital sunset if you’ve heard of that. This week happens to be phone games and I am noticing a reduction in screen time. There’s only so much Instagram scrolling I’m willing to do, which is new information for me about my phone tolerances and habits.

Usually for Lent we choose one thing to fast from. I’d like to offer an alternative, especially if you were planning on fasting from something you habitually do each year, like pop or chocolate. Take some time and look at your calendar for Lent. What might you fast from each week that would bring either meaningful change to that week, or could reveal meaningful information about you, your habits and feelings? Maybe you only pick two things and switch back and forth (there are 6 weeks including Holy Week so you would fast an even number of times). Each time you revisit the fast you could tweak it, adjust it, so that you continue to grow and stretch yourself. Here’s an example:

Week 1: Fast from saying “I want.”

Week 2: Fast from chocolate.

Week 3: Continue your fast from Week 1 and include delayed gratification practices. If there is something you want to do, buy, eat, etc., wait a specific amount of time before doing the activity (Personally, I would not count main meals in the “I want” category.) 

Week 4: Continue your fast from Week 2 and include no desserts of any kind.

Week 5: Continue your fast from Weeks 1 and 3. Challenge yourself to fast from whatever was the hardest thing to wait for in the previous weeks.

Week 6: Continue your fast from Weeks 2 and 4. Challenge yourself to eat no dessert or snack between meals.

Do you see how the fasts grow upon one another, building your stamina over the course of the whole Lenten journey? This is just one idea of course, there are so many good practices and methods of fasting. 

What are you planning on fasting from? What do you think of the idea of trying a gradually building fast over the course of Lent? 

Don’t forget, the free Lenten Lectio Divina journal for this Lent will be out by this weekend! This is a totally free resources to download, please feel free to share the blog post link when it is up.

Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com