Be Kind To Everyone!

Behold, you are pleased with sincerity of heart,
and in my inmost being you teach me this wisdom.

Psalm 51:8

Quite recently, a celebrity drew criticism after sitting with a perceived political enemy at a public event. Some of her fans and followers took her to task because the person she’d associated with had been unsupportive of issues which directly effected them all. This celebrity responded candidly as she habitually does. She pointed out that she consistently encourages her audiences and friends to be kind to one another. She went on to explain that this means to be kind to everyone, not only those with whom we agree. I admit that I applauded her for standing by her principles. I also asked myself how often I’d allowed a difference of opinion to cause me to withhold my kindness from another of God’s children.

You know, I truly believe that God is alive and well among us and within us all. This celebrity may or may not acknowledge God in her life. However, she exhibited God’s attitude toward us through her example in this situation. The good news is that many of us do our best to live out what we call our faith or our consciences’ dictates or our humanity.

This story touched me because so much of the opposite is at play these days. Perhaps it’s time for all of us to pay closer attention to our parts in all of this. Whether we’re driven by faith or philosophy or a simple sense of our common humanity, we need to allow one another to do the best each of us can. When interventions are in order, we need to offer them constructively as best we can. It seems to me that this is all God asks.

Dear God, help us all to be ambassadors of your love.

©2019 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

A Lifetime of Second Chances

God created us in God’s image…
God looked at everything God created and found it to be very good.”

From Genesis 1

The treasures I recall from my childhood include our children’s bible. This huge book consisted of cardboard front and back covers which held together several small booklets. A new booklet arrived in the mail every month. Each time, my mom carefully removed the bible’s cardboard cover, inserted the new booklet and then replaced the cover. Afterward, my sisters and I poured over this newest addition where colorful pictures adorned every page. When we were finished, I always returned to the first booklet’s story of Creation, Adam and Eve, the snake and that forbidden tree. Eden looked amazing to me, at least as grand as heaven. “Why,” I often asked myself, “would Adam and Eve turn away from God who gave them so much?”

Life in this troubled world of ours answers that question every day. It’s lucky for us that God never returns the favor when we walk away. God simply watches with great expectations as we feebly do our best to make things right again. God also waits with arms outstretched for our return.

A friend recently shared a story from his childhood which illustrates this point. My friend was about twelve years old when he’d made a mess of a small chore. His ever-patient mom offered him the opportunity to try it again. My friend was so encouraged by his mother’s faith in him that, the second time around, he completed the task perfectly. My friend shared this story to make a point. “You know,” he said, “God gives us all a lifetime of second chances just like my mom!” I couldn’t agree more.

Generous God, thank you for the second and third and twenty-ninth chances which you offer us day in and day out. Give us the wisdom to embrace every opportunity to begin anew.

©2019 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Serve Up Some Joy

Show me, O Lord, your way…
From Psalm 27:11

From the time I realized what a nun was, I wanted to enter the convent as two of my dad’s sisters had. They and my mom’s aunt who was also a nun had given me good reason to admire their work.

As it happened, though I spent a lot of time with nuns over the years, I never did become one of them. Oddly, it was during a summer away with the sisters that they encouraged me to accept a date with a young man who volunteered at the parish where we were helping out. Though this puzzled me at the time, their counsel proved most helpful. I happily invited these sisters to his and my wedding the following year!

You know, I was drawn to the nuns because of the good they accomplished. Nothing appealed to me more than the service they rendered to others. Over the years, I’ve come to realize that God’s call to service has less to do with ones marital or employment status than with the status of ones heart. Those wonderful women had inspired me with their generosity and their persistence. They never seemed to tire of solving the problems at hand and doing good. Indeed, they inspired both my husband and me to find amazing and unexpected ways to do the same as best we can wherever we are.

It seems to me that God offers the same opportunity to each of us every moment of every day.

Loving God, help us to serve one another generously.

©2018 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

All Good

A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
From Psalm 51:19

This morning, a friend forwarded an article about Pope Francis. After reading it, I had to admit to myself that I sometimes allow the negatives “out there” to distract me. Pope Francis and many good souls have brought goodness into my life and the lives of others. The article renewed my hope in humankind and gave me reason to smile.

You know, I truly believe that God is alive and well among us, within and outside of the church. Numerous people do their best to live out what they call their faith or their consciences’ dictates as best they can. Still, I also realize that we humans sometimes unwittingly do our best to undermine the good work of those around us.

Perhaps it’s time for all of us to pay attention to our inner compasses. Whether we are driven by faith or philosophy or a simple sense of what’s right, we need to allow one another to do the best we can. It seems to me that this is all God asks whether we believe or not!

Dear God, help us all to be ambassadors of goodness.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

There’s Always One More Chance

She took some of its fruit and ate it;
and she also gave some to her husband,
who was with her, and he ate it.

Genesis 3:6

The treasures I recall from my childhood include two family bibles. The first is a single volume in which our family tree and significant events were recorded. The second consisted of cardboard front and back covers which held together several separate booklets that arrived in the mail periodically. With each new arrival, my mom carefully removed the bible’s cardboard cover, inserted the new booklet, and replaced the cover. Afterward, my sisters and I poured over this newest addition where colorful pictures adorned every page. When we were finished, I always returned to the first book’s story of Adam and Eve, the snake and that forbidden tree. Eden looked amazing to me, at least as grand as heaven. “Why,” I often asked myself, “would Adam and Eve turn away from God who gave them so much?”

Life in this confused world of ours answers that question every day, doesn’t it? It’s lucky for us that God never returns the favor when we walk away. God simply waits with arms outstretched for our return.

Generous God, thank you for the blessing of second and third and twenty-ninth chances which you offer us day in and day out. Give us the wisdom to accept every chance you give us to start anew.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

This Is My Joy

That is my joy, and it is complete.
He must increase, while I must decrease.

John 3:29-30

From the time I realized what a nun was, I wanted to enter the convent as two of my dad’s sisters had.

As it happened, though I spent a lot of time with nuns over the years, I never did become one of them. Oddly, it was during a summer away with the sisters that they encouraged me to accept a date with a young man who volunteered at the parish. Though this puzzled me at the time, their counsel proved most helpful. I happily invited these sisters to my wedding the following summer!

You know, I was drawn to the sisters because of the good they accomplished. Nothing appealed to me more than to live a life in service of God as they did. Over the years, I have come to realize that God’s call to service has less to do with ones marital status than the status of ones heart. Both my husband and I have found amazing and unexpected ways to make God’s work our own wherever we are.

God offers the same opportunity to each of us every moment of every day.

Loving God, help us to reveal your goodness and love in everything we do.

©2015 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved