N… Name!

He called his disciples and selected twelve of them to be apostles: Simon, to whom he gave the name Peter, and Andrew, James and John, Phillip and Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon called the Zealot, Judas son of James and Judas Iscariot.
From Luke 6:13-16

N is for Name. My name is Mary Ellen. My recently widowed aunt suggested this name to my mom just after I was born. In tribute to her sister, my mom gave me called me Mary Ellen. Still, every time she visited, our elderly cousin Bertha insisted upon calling me Margaret Mary. When I reminded her of my actual name, Bertha always responded with the same explanation: “Oh, I know your name. It’s just that I love the name ‘Margaret Mary’ and I love you.” Needless to say, I didn’t mind our cousin’s extra attention or her love. Both made me feel very special.

God gives us parents some latitude in naming our children. This is quite a gift since God knows the value of our names. God renamed Abram when God sent him off. Abraham would father the Jewish people. Jesus gave Simon a new name. Simon Peter became the rock upon whom Jesus built his church. Later, when Saul persecuted Jesus’ followers, Jesus stepped in and renamed him as well. Paul became one of our greatest Christian preachers.

Though my two names were bestowed with a bit less fanfare, God uses them with the same expectation. In every opportunity which comes our way, God calls all of our names with great love and with great hope in our responses.

Dear God, I will listen as you call my names, both of them!

©2019 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

N is for…

God looked at everything God made
and found it to be very good.

Genesis 1:31

N is for Nature. If you check a dictionary, it will define “nature” something like this: the essential characteristic or quality which makes something what it is; its essence. I think it’s extremely important for us to remember the Source of our nature. God is the Source who made us who we are. It is God who created us and everything else from nothing more than an insatiable willingness to love.

The line I cite above from the Creation Story certainly gets to the nature or essence of God’s feelings for us and for all of God’s handiwork. It seems to me that our best response is to accept that we are good and to live accordingly. Sometimes, when I look in the mirror, it’s hard to see the good. Yet God insists that it’s there within me. Sometimes, my neighbor poses the challenge when he or she behaves in anything but lovable ways. Still, God insists that goodness dwells within every one of us and God asks that we behave accordingly. If this isn’t troublesome enough, God also insists that all of creation is good. Not only must I love my fellow humans, but also I must care for our earthly home.

N is for Nature. God asks that I live up to my nature by living with love toward myself, my fellow humans and this earth. Indeed, God looks at us all and finds us to be very good. What an amazing place this will be if we do our best to do the same!

Patient God, this is a tough one. Please be with me as I try to look upon everyone and everything with your loving eyes.

©2018 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

N… for Name

At daybreak, he called his disciples and selected twelve of them to be his apostles…
Luke 6:13

N is for Name. Our names are extremely important to us. Today is the feast of St. Justin who shares his name with a lifelong friend of mine. In this case, this name is particularly significant because my friend chose this name over the name he was given at birth. It means a great deal to him. It was almost twenty-five years ago when our younger son expressed precisely what his name meant to him.

It was a typical gathering at our dinner table when Tim could no longer contain his misery. He tearfully demanded, “Why does everyone in this family’s name start with an ‘M’ except for mine?” I’d never given Tim’s dilemma a thought, so I silently begged for guidance before I responded. “Tim, Dad’s name was Mike and my name was Mary when we met. We didn’t choose to have ‘M’ names. When your brother was born, Dad wanted to continue the family name, so we named him Michael. Yours is the only name that we really thought about. I love the name ‘Timothy’ and I love you. It was the perfect name for you.” This explanation was absolutely true and I hoped it would be enough to soothe my poor son. My prayer was answered because Timothy smiled at this news and then finished his dinner with great satisfaction.

God knows the value of our names as well. This is the reason God calls so many of our counterparts in the scriptures by name. God uses your name and mine with the same expectation. In every opportunity which comes our way, God calls our names with great hope in our responses. As my friend Justin celebrates his name today, let’s all celebrate the names by which God so lovingly calls us.

Loving God, we will do our best to listen as you call each of us by name.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved