We Are Family!

How great is the goodness, O Lord,
which you have in store…

From Psalm 31:20

A month or so ago, my husband and I attended Mass at church we’d never visited before. Though the building was much different from our own parish church, we felt most welcomed and very much at home. As we joined in to pray, we felt as though we’d been a part of this community forever…

I’m always inspired by our gatherings to pray together. Whether for a wedding, a funeral or weekend worship, I find cohesiveness in our common intent and in our shared meal. Regardless of what seems to separate us outside– our politics, our tendencies to the left or to the right, our likes and dislikes, our opinions regarding just about everything– when we gather at God’s table, we’re God’s children in the truest sense. Indeed, we are one.

Sometimes, I turn from my prayer or the hymn at hand to take in those around me. I never cease to be amazed by the beauty in the variety of faces who’ve gathered to pray together. Not one of us is exactly like another. Even identical twins cannot hide their uniqueness. Still, we are welcome. All of us are welcome to God’s house. The truth is, we are welcome, every one of us, into this world and into this life. Why? We’re God’s family -all of us!

Loving God, be with us as we open our arms and our hearts to each other. Help us to see those around us as family -your family- wherever we meet..

©2019 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

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Better Than The Movies!

I believe I shall see the good things of the Lord
in the land of the living.

Psalm 27:13

My to-do list had become an annoying burden. I wondered aloud how I’d gotten myself into all of the work it represented. Before answering, I decided I needed to rest The weather precluded a walk and I couldn’t concentrate enough to read so I grabbed the TV remote. When nothing piqued my interest, I settled for an old movie which I already knew would end happily. Because I didn’t recall many plot details, I decided to watch it again. In the end, I’d be relaxed and ready to tackle that list…

When the movie ended, I wondered why life in the real world doesn’t always unfold as pleasantly. Television’s “happily-ever-afters” allow heroes to save those in trouble in the nick of time. Lonely widowers meet loving widows, organ donors are unexpectedly found, wayward children reunite with their families and absentee fathers become stellar dads. I asked aloud, “Why can’t real world troubles be remedied as easily?”

While looking upward for a response, I considered all that God has already done. God provides for our needs with the gift of Creation, particularly our human family. Though television’s happily-ever-afters seem to come about a bit too easily, they do have a place in reality, even if that place is to inspire us to assume our own roles as heroes as best we can. After all, we’ll find all of the inspiration we need in God’s love for us. If we truly get into character, we’ll do as God does. We’ll make happily-ever-afters a reality for those we’ve been given to love as only we can.

Dear God, inspire us to make happily-ever-afters a way of life for everyone.

©2019 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Co-Exist with Love

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.

Matthew 5:9

Yesterday, after stopping for lunch, my husband and I continued our gardening efforts. While Mike drove off to pick up one more hosta, I stayed home to sweep displaced soil into the appropriate flowerbeds. In the process, I noticed sprinkles of soil next to two planters on the patio which we’d tended to the other day. As I swept the soil, I saw a squirrel watching me from afar. “You little stinker!” I whispered. After all, I didn’t want to scare the poor thing. Still, as I swept, it occurred to me that I should have scared my furry friend. He was likely the culprit who displaced that dirt while digging around the begonias in our planters. So it was that I decided to engage that squirrel in conversation. “You know,” I said loudly enough to scare him away, “You can dig up the entire yard if you want to. Just leave the flowers alone!” Afterward, I went on to wash the bird bath. When I finally went into the house, that squirrel (or his twin brother) scampered up to the planters. I knocked on the patio door glass to remind him of my offer. I couldn’t help laughing as he ran off full speed ahead.

My husband and I will figure out a way to keep our squirrel friends from our planters. In the mean time, we’ll continue to welcome them into the rest of the yard because they really are fun to watch.

God of Love, help us humans to find better ways to co-exist with one another as well. When we do, we’ll be much more fun to watch, too.

©2017 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

God Is Love

As a father has compassion for his children,
so God has compassion for those God loves.

Psalm 103:13

I work hard at holding onto my propensity to trust in the goodness of humankind. I’m not foolish enough to believe that there are no evildoers among us. Still, I do believe that in the right circumstances most of us would choose to do good over evil fairly consistently. So it is that I persist in trusting those I meet along the way until they give me reason not to do so. I can’t claim credit for coming up with this approach. It’s the result of everything I know about God. God loves each one of us and I think I repay this love best when I try to do the same.

Though we’ve been given many sources from which to garner our knowledge of God, I take the bulk of my information from the life of Jesus. Jesus responded to those he met along the way with absolute love. He touched lepers to heal their bodies and their souls. He defended a woman caught in adultery and shared meals with tax collectors. Though they were all viewed as outcasts, Jesus welcomed each one into his company. Jesus even persisted in engaging the scribes and Pharisees. Though most of them were responsible for Jesus’ demise, some listened intently to his message.

Jesus is the consummate lover of humanity. As I wrote above, we show our appreciation best when we imitate Jesus’ efforts in our own.

Loving God, thank you for Jesus who revealed your love and extended your friendship to us all..

©2017 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

One Family

How great is the goodness, O Lord,
which you have in store…

From Psalm 31:20

A few weeks ago, my husband-the-deacon traveled to another parish to witness a wedding. A scheduling mix-up at our own parish prompted this change of venue. As it happened, the couple was blessed with a beautiful day on which to celebrate this special event. My husband and I had attended Mass at this church long ago and we both enjoyed this reunion of sorts. Though I hadn’t been there in decades, I felt welcomed and very much at home.

I often reflect upon our gatherings to pray together, whether for a wedding, a funeral or weekend worship. I find cohesiveness in our common intent and in our shared meal. Regardless of what separates us outside– our politics, our tendencies to the left or to the right, our likes and dislikes, our opinions regarding just about everything– when we gather at God’s table, we’re God’s children in the truest sense. Indeed, we are one.

You know, I never cease to be amazed by the beauty in the variety of faces who gather to pray on these occasions. Not one of us is exactly like another. Even identical twins cannot hide their uniqueness. Still, we are welcome, every one of us, to God’s table. The truth is, we are welcome, every one of us, into this world and into this life as God’s child.

Loving God, regardless of where we worship you, open our arms and our hearts to each other. Help us to see those around us as our family, wherever we meet..

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Happily Ever After…

I believe I shall see the good things of the Lord
in the land of the living.

Psalm 27:13

A few weeks ago, I set aside my to-do list and allowed myself the luxury of an hour of television. I began by looking for a history or travel channel offering. When nothing piqued my interest, I settled for an old movie which I already knew would end happily. I didn’t recall the plot details, so I decided the time invested was worth it. In the end, I’d be relaxed and ready to tackle that list.

When the movie ended, I wondered why life in the “real world” doesn’t always unfold as pleasantly. Television’s “happily-ever-afters” allow heroes to save someone or themselves in the nick of time. Lonely widowers meet loving widows, organ donors are unexpectedly found, wayward children embrace family values and absentee fathers become stellar dads. So it is that I ask myself, “Why can’t the woes that plague the real world be so easily remedied?”

As I look upward for a response, I consider all that God has already done. God provides for our needs in the gift of Creation, especially through the masterpiece which is humanity. Though television’s happily-ever-afters come about a bit too easily, they do have a place in reality, even if that place is to inspire us to assume our own roles as heroes as best we can. We’ll find all of the inspiration we need in God’s love for us. If we truly get into character, we’ll do as God does by making happily-ever-afters a reality for all of those we’ve been given to love.

Dear God, inspire us to make happily-ever-afters a way of life for everyone.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved