Be Hospitable

“My heart is moved with pity for the crowd.
By now they have been with me for three days
and have nothing to eat.”

Mark 8:2

When I glanced at the calendar this morning, I saw that Thanksgiving is just two days away. Thanksgiving is also the feast of St. Cecilia. This is my sister’s feast day. Since she passed away six years ago, these little reminders of her always give me reason to celebrate her. This is a great way to spend these pre-Thanksgiving days.

Cecele is a lot like our mom who was a hospitable woman. She opened her door to whoever knocked, offering a chair, a cup of coffee and whatever else she had to her guest. Though our kitchen table was already crowded, my mom extended her welcome to our friends who occasionally stayed for dinner. After our mom passed away, Cecele led the effort in scheduling our family gatherings. She also elicited just enough guilt from the rest of us to ensure good attendance every time.

Today, our mom’s and Cecele’s welcoming ways live on in the rest of us. We continue to take turns hosting our family gatherings where food and laughter are plentiful. Though our attendance isn’t as complete as it used to be, we still enjoy good times in good company. I’ll remember to thank God for this as I prepare to partake of Thanksgiving Dinner!

Dear God, you bless us with our families. Help us to show our gratitude by extending our hospitality beyond our homes to those who need us most.

©2018 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

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Families Love

Only goodness and kindness shall follow me
all the days of my life;
I shall dwell in the house of the Lord.

Psalm 23:6

I’ll attend a family wedding in a few weeks. I always look forward to these events which bring together cousins both near and far. We don’t see one another as often as we used to. Still, my siblings, these cousins and I always manage to pick up our conversations from where we left off the last time we gathered.

A good deal has happened since we were children playing together at family picnics and parties. We’ve gathered for numerous weddings and funerals over the years. One of the blessings through all of this has been our willingness to be there for one another through everything. The in-laws and out-laws and those in between are family and that says it all.

It occurs to me that my own brother and sisters have always been “people” people. My cousins have been the same. They enjoy the company of others and it shows in their relationships at home, in their neighborhoods and at their jobs. I think this is God’s intent for each one of us. You and I are the result of God’s desire to share Divine Love. God has spread the joy by giving us the capacity to share our own variety of love. After all, this is what family is about.

Loving God, my cousins learned early on to look in the right places for what matters most: You and those You have given us to love. Bless us all with their wisdom.

©2018 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Choose Wisely

“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.
There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part
and it will not be taken from her.”

Luke 10:41

I recently participated in a flurry of emails regarding an upcoming family gathering. In this busy technological era, my extended family has resorted to email to narrow down potential gathering dates by assessing who can come when. One of my nephews even proposed an online app to facilitate our efforts. Happily, a date has been chosen which will result in optimum attendance.

Large family gatherings are among my most precious childhood memories. Though I dreaded the preparations involved, I loved our family parties. I usually crept away from the children and eased myself into the periphery of the adult conversations. I listened to recent news and familiar stories with equal interest. I continue to savor remnants of these wonderful exchanges. My mom often observed that I didn’t miss a thing! The truth is that if I hadn’t busied myself with listening so carefully to the adults around me, I would have missed a great deal!

Something similar occurred during one of Jesus’ visits to the home of Martha and Mary. Martha scurried about to prepare a meal for Jesus and his friends, while Mary seated herself at Jesus’ feet. When Martha complained about Mary’s disinterest in helping her, Jesus offered her little sympathy. Though Jesus appreciated Martha’s concern, he appreciated Mary’s company far more.

The truth is that being present to those we love is the most important task at hand.

Loving God, you have blessed us with both a work ethic and the capacity to love. Help us to use both wisely.

©2018 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Choose The Better Part

“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.
There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part
and it will not be taken from her.”

Luke 10:41

My most precious childhood memories include large family gatherings. Though I dreaded the preparations, I loved these parties. I usually crept away from the other children and eased myself into the periphery of the adults. I listened to recent news and familiar stories with equal interest. I continue to savor remnants of these wonderful exchanges. As my mother often observed, I didn’t miss a thing! Still, I would have missed it all if I had busied myself with “things” rather than enjoying these wonderful people.

A few years into my marriage, I lost the art of enjoying such gatherings. While my husband engaged our guests, I busied myself in the kitchen preparing, serving and cleaning up afterward. When my poor husband tried to head off to bed, I kept him up with questions regarding the family or friends who’d just left.

Jesus addressed a similar dilemma when he visited the home of Martha and Mary. Martha scurried about to prepare a meal for Jesus and his friends, while Mary seated herself at Jesus’ feet. When Martha complained about Mary’s disinterest in helping her, Jesus offered her little sympathy. Though Jesus appreciated Martha’s concern, he appreciated Mary’s company far more.

I eventually learned Martha’s lesson by letting the dishes go and being present to those I was given to love.

Loving God, you have blessed us with both a work ethic and the capacity to love. Help us to keep these gifts in balance by choosing love over our to-do lists every time.

©2017 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Open The Door

“My heart is moved with pity for the crowd.
By now they have been with me for three days
and have nothing to eat.”

Mark 8:2

When I glanced at the calendar this morning, I panicked a bit. Thanksgiving is a few days away. Next week includes my husband’s and son’s birthdays as well. Before I could begin wringing my hands, I looked at the date once again. Tomorrow is the feast of St. Cecilia, I recalled. This is my sister’s feast day. Since she passed away three years ago, these little reminders of her always give me reason to celebrate her. In the midst of my pre-Thanksgiving worry, these memories cheer me up.

Cecele is a lot like our mom who was a hospitable woman. She opened her door to whoever knocked, offering a chair, a cup of coffee and whatever else she had to her guest. Though our kitchen table was already crowded, my mom extended her welcome to our friends who stayed for dinner occasionally. After our mom passed away, Cecele led the effort in scheduling our family gatherings. She also elicited just enough guilt from the rest of us to ensure good attendance every time.

Today, our mom’s and Cecele’s welcoming ways live on in the rest of us. We continue to take turns hosting our family gatherings where food and laughter are plentiful. Though our attendance isn’t as complete as it used to be, we still enjoy good times in good company.

Dear God, you bless us with our families. Help us to show our gratitude by extending our hospitality beyond our homes to those who need us most.

©2015 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Get Together!

“My heart is moved with pity for the crowd.
By now they have been with me for three days
and have nothing to eat.”

From Mark 8:1-10

When I glanced at the calendar this morning, I panicked a bit. Thanksgiving is around the corner and my husband’s and son’s birthdays fall in the same week. Before I could begin wringing my hands, I noticed the small print just below the date. I took a minute to pause because I teared up as I read, “St. Cecilia.” This is my sister’s feast day. Since she passed away two years ago, these little reminders of her always give me reason to pause, to miss her and to celebrate her. In the midst of my pre-Thanksgiving worry, this reminder cheered me up.

Cecele is a lot like our mom who was an extremely hospitable woman. She opened her door to whoever knocked, offering a chair, a cup of coffee and whatever else she had to her guest. Though our kitchen table was already crowded, my mom extended her welcome to our friends who stayed for dinner occasionally. After our mom passed away, Cecele led the effort in scheduling our family gatherings. She also elicited just enough guilt from the rest of us to ensure good attendance at these events.

Today, our mom’s and Cecele’s welcoming ways live on in the rest of us. We continue to take turns hosting our family gatherings where food and laughter are plentiful. Though our attendance isn’t as complete as it used to be, we still enjoy good times in the good company of our family.

Nurturing God, you feed us generously with the gifts of this earth and with one another’s company. Help us to show our gratitude by extending the same toward those who need us most.

©2014 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved