God Always Listens

“Lord, if you will do so, you can cure me.”
Jesus stretched out his hand to touch him
and said, “I will do it. Be cured.”

Luke 5:12-13

I learned very early on that it is always appropriate to bring our troubles to God. Sometimes, my family did so in unison. We gathered in our living room to pray when illness struck a loved one or to pray for a happy death if a recovery was not in the making. Through the years, I have become so convinced that God is aware of my every need that I rarely pray for myself. It is when those around me are suffering that I blast the heavens mercilessly until I have some assurance that all will be well, at least in God’s eyes.

Over the past year, I’ve expressed my often overly zealous demands on behalf of those I have been given to love on numerous occasions. Sometimes, the results have been predictable. At other times, God has surprised me and all concerned. In every case, I found myself speaking with the Almighty as I would with my best friend. I never wondered if God was listening. Why would I question the obvious?

Dear God, you attend to each one of us every moment of every day. Make us attentive and responsive to one another just as you are!

©2018 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

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Hidden Blessings

Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary,
“This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many…”

Luke 2:34

The Fourth Station: Jesus Meets His Mother… I have sons of my own, and I know that I could not bear seeing either one of them suffer as Jesus did. I would certainly offer myself to take either of their places. Jesus would certainly have shielded his mother from the suffering she endured on that wretched day, wouldn’t he? Yet, Jesus didn’t even shield himself. He proceeded with what was set in motion out of absolute love for you and me.

Over and over again throughout my life, I have prayed that the burdens borne by my loved ones be lifted away. When nothing seemed to change and all concerned had reached the limits of their endurance, I prayed further only to ask God, “Why haven’t you fixed this?” It is in the midst of my anger that my loved one whispers a word of thanks for my presence and for the bit of relief that seemed to come from nowhere. It is in the midst of my anger that the telephone rings and the caller shares good news about a revised diagnosis. It is in the midst of my anger that I realize that God had a plan after all and that God’s plan was far better and far more timely than my own.

Loving God, thank you for the many small miracles which make this life do-able, especially for the multitude of blessings which I haven’t noticed yet.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

God Hears Us

“Lord, if you will do so, you can cure me.”
Jesus stretched out his hand to touch him
and said, “I will do it. Be cured.”

Luke 5:12-13

I learned very early on that it is always appropriate to bring our troubles to God. Sometimes, my family did so en masse. We gathered in our living room to pray when illness struck a loved one or to pray for a happy death if a recovery was not in the making. Through the years, I have become so convinced that God is aware of my every need that I rarely pray for myself. It is when those around me are suffering that I blast the heavens mercilessly until I have some assurance that all will be well -at least in God’s eyes.

Over the past year, my often overly zealous demands have been offered on numerous occasions for those I have been given to love. Sometimes, the results have been predictable. At other times, God has surprised me and all concerned. In every case, I found myself speaking with the Almighty as I would with my best friend. I never wondered if God was listening. Why would I question the obvious?

Dear God, you attend to each one of us every moment of every day. Make us attentive and responsive to one another -just like you!

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Hope

“The moral is: keep your eyes open,
for you know not the day or hour.”

From Matthew 25:1-13

I expected to hear that her recovery might be lengthy, that her dementia might be increased by the anesthesia and that we needed to be prepared for a decline as our mom’s body was growing tired. I didn’t expect to hear about the cancer, her four-month life expectancy and the possibility of pain that might darken her perpetual smile. Then, we told our mother the news…

Mom shared our surprise at the diagnosis, but not at the outcome. “We all have to die from something. I’ve had a good long life. I wanted to leave an educated family that contributes, and I have. I hope I can do what I want for a while. I hope I can be comfortable. I hope I go without too much trouble. I hope…” I hoped, too.

Though the news was unexpected, the outcome was precisely what my mom had hoped for. God supplied the grace that sustained my mom throughout her final journey home. The pain never came. Mom did everything she hoped to until her last two days. On the day she left us, her eyes weren’t open, but her heart was.

Patient God, one would think that by now I would be prepared for life’s surprises. Thank You for surrounding these events and us with the grace we need to endure.

©2014 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

God Knows Best

“Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking
not as God does, but as human beings do.”

From Mark 8:27-33

As I purchased my September birthday cards this morning, I recalled a recent conversation with my granddaughter. I had asked her what she would like for her birthday and she responded with only one item: a long dress that she can wear. I smiled at this request as children today sometimes make long lists of what they “expect” to receive on their special days. This reflection of simpler times turned my thoughts to one childhood birthday of my own…

This was my only children’s birthday party. Because money was tight in our house, I am still amazed that I actually asked for this party and that my mom agreed to host it. Though I have no recollection of our planning, I do know that my friends Trino, Adolph and Caroline joined me for ice cream, cake and games. I also recall that Trino and Adolph each handed me a shiny half dollar on their way into our flat. I don’t remember any of my other guests or gifts. Still, at the time, this party was extremely important to me. I yearned for the recognition that only a “birthday boy” or “birthday girl” receives. In the end, I found myself disappointed because my shyness kept me from enjoying the limelight that I had longed for.

When my husband surprised me with a 40th birthday party decades later, everything was different. Though this was the last thing I wanted, it ended up being one of the nicest events of my life. This gathering of family and friends filled me up with more love than I thought I could hold.

Generous God, only You understand our deepest needs. Thank You for surprising us by fulfilling them in spite of what we think will make us happy.

©2013 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved