Unexpected Peace

The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you,
and be gracious to you.

Numbers 6:24-25

During Lent, my parish hosted a Reconciliation Service. This gathering gave those present the opportunity to acknowledge God’s mercy, forgiveness and unconditional love. Such gatherings usually begin with prayer followed by a gospel reading and homily. We continue with a short reflection which allows us to consider the things for which we might wish to express our contrition. The liturgy closes with an invitation to private confession for those interested.

It was my task to plan and to read at this liturgy. Because life was extremely busy during Lent and getting people to church on a week night can sometimes be challenging, I wanted to make this gathering as meaningful and comforting as possible. So it was that I invested my best effort. A few hours before I was to appear to serve as lector, my sister called with a request for my company. I determined that she needed me more than those who would gather at church that evening. When my husband offered to take my place, I drove off to my sister’s.

When we returned home later that evening, my husband shared what had transpired and I did the same. In the end, all went well and we both accomplished precisely what we had hoped. The peace we felt was tangible.

Thank you, loving God, for gifting us with your mercy, forgiveness and unconditional love. Most of all, thank you for empowering us to share these with one another.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

A Loving Lent

Give thanks to him; bless his name, for he is good:
the Lord whose kindness endures forever.

Psalm 100:5

Though this is the second week of Lent, it is also Valentine’s Day week. While I consider my efforts to do my best in terms of my Lenten observances, I must remember to do these things with love. Perhaps the bit of chocolate which I enjoyed last Sunday was meant as both a sweet treat and a sweet reminder that love is always a priority in God’s eyes regardless of what we are doing.

With that in mind, I acknowledge the stubbornness and mean-spirited attitude which sometimes characterize my circumstances. Sometimes, it is I who infuses these sentiments into the moment at hand. Though I tend not to bring them in at the onset, I have joined in when others set the tone. It occurs to me that I must be more proactive when it comes to love this Lent. I must bring a bit of Valentine’s Day into every day if I am going to do God’s work. I must dispel the negativity and sweeten every situation with morsels of love. If I truly wish to express my gratitude for God’s presence in my life, I need to show it one loving act at a time.

Loving God, you gifted me with many things, the greatest of which is my capacity to love. Help me to share this gift generously, just as you do.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved