God Welcomes Us All

But I say to you, love your enemies
and pray for those who persecute you.

Matthew 5:44

A dear friend recently suffered a broken heart. While attending a worship service, her zealous pastor made it quite clear that there is only one true church and that those who do not belong to that true church will not enter heaven. Now my friend is a convert to her faith and her entire family is of a different faith. To complicate matters further, a family member is a minister in that “different” faith. The final blow came in the recent passing of someone dear to her who was also a member of that “different” faith.

As I responded to my friend, I admit that my heart vacillated between absolute empathy with her and complete anger with her pastor. In the end, I reassured my friend with everything I know about God’s indiscriminate love and I joined her praying for her pastor.

It seems to me that, just as God has sprinkled this earth with a variety of us humans, God has also revealed the Divine in a variety of ways. God leaves it to us to find what fits and to live accordingly. God also leaves it to us to allow one another the same courtesy.

Loving God, help us to emulate your inclusive and loving ways in our attitudes and actions toward all of your children.

©2019 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Precious Are We

The stone which the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.

Psalm 118:22

While my husband went off to run and errand, I took advantage of the 60 degree temperatures by weeding our patio. Though the pavers are beautiful, they do allow an occasional weed to crop up between them. While I was on my knees, I noticed that the nearby flowerbeds also needed a bit of care. We had spread volcanic rock between the plants. Still, weeds had poked their way through. I weeded there as well. In the process, I saw that some of those rocks had made their way onto the lawn. After weeding, I retrieved our rake and gathered those wayward stones as best I could. When I finished raking, I realized that I’d collected twigs and leaves as well. I knelt down once again to pick through the rubble and retrieve every bit of volcanic rock.

Since I was on my knees, it seemed appropriate to offer a word or two to God above as I worked. You know, I could have finished in half the time. Rather, I took the time to look at each stone, even the ones which were covered with mud and other unmentionables. I got the hose and rinsed them all. Then I put each rock wherever it seemed to belong. When Mike returned home, he asked why I was smiling so contentedly…

Dear God, you place us wherever we belong as well. Thank you for your faith in our ability to improve our surroundings and ourselves.

©2018 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

One Family

But I say to you, love your enemies
and pray for those who persecute you.

Matthew 5:44

A dear friend recently suffered a broken heart. While attending a worship service, her zealous pastor made it quite clear that there is only one true church and that those who do not belong to that true church will not enter heaven. Now my friend is a convert to her faith and her entire family is of a different faith. To complicate matters further, a family member is a minister in that “different” faith. The final blow came in the recent passing of someone dear to her who was also a member of that “different” faith.

As I responded to my friend, I admit that my heart vacillated between absolute empathy with her and complete anger with her pastor. In the end, I reassured my friend with everything I know about God’s indiscriminate love and I joined her praying for her pastor.

It seems to me that, just as God has sprinkled this earth with a variety of us humans, God has also revealed the Divine in a variety of ways. God leaves it to us to find what fits and to live accordingly. God also leaves it to us to allow one another the same courtesy.

Loving God, help us to emulate your inclusive and loving ways in our attitudes and actions toward all of your children.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Precious In God’s Eyes

How shall I make a return to the Lord
for all the good he has done for me?

Psalm 116:12

My husband and I just replaced an evergreen tree which didn’t survive our tough winter. Our friend Daniel-the-Gardener did the heavy work the other day. This morning, Mike and I took care of the details which included replacing the landscape stone around our new shrub and in a few others places. While Mike hauled the stone to where it was needed, I raked the areas where we intended to spread it. In the process, I noticed that there were far more stones than refuse in the piles I’d gathered. As I considered this treasure, I acknowledged that these stones were actually bits of volcanic rock. I also acknowledged that I had raked far too many of them to discard. So it was that I knelt next to those piles and separated the rock from the dirt, twigs and leaves in which they were hiding.

Since I was on my knees, it seemed appropriate to offer a word or two to the Almighty as I worked. I know that I could have finished this task in half the time. Rather, I took the time to look at each stone, even the ones that were covered with mud. I simply brushed that mud away and added the rocks to my collection. “Dear God, I can’t waste a single one of these rocks just as you will never waste any one of us. Thank you for considering each of us a treasure.”

Generous God, thank you for revealing your love for us in our work and in our leisure, even when we are knee-deep in mud.

©2015 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Loving Heros

God loves each one of us
as if there were only one of us.

St. Augustine

Our recent loss of Chicago White Sox Great Minnie Minoso prompted me to walk down Memory Lane once again. My husband and son had the pleasure of meeting the good Mr. Minoso at a baseball dinner several years ago. I recall both of their comments afterward regarding the vintage White Sox player’s humility, friendliness and eagerness to interact with the fans. Both walked away with a soft spot in their hearts for him.

Some years later, my mom, my sisters and I enjoyed an equally rewarding encounter with Ron Santo, the famed third baseman of the Chicago Cubs. We were enjoying dinner at Santo’s, a restaurant owned by the legendary Cub, when he made an appearance to mingle with his patrons. As soon as my mother saw him, she flew out of her chair to greet him. When Ron Santo graciously shook her hand, my mom did not let go. She pulled the poor man to our table. When he arrived, we tried to apologize for our mom’s enthusiasm, but he would have none of it. Ron Santo looked at us and said, “Well, you sure have beautiful daughters, just like their mother!” After chatting with us, he gave our mom a warm hug and then went on his way. When we left the restaurant after dinner, Mr. Santo made a point of saying good-bye to my mom.

I cited St. Augustine for this writing because these humble baseball heroes exhibited an excellent understanding of the love about which Augustine spoke. Each one of us is unique and special in God’s eyes and we are loved as though we are the only one who matters to God. Minnie Minoso and Ron Santo had a knack for doing the same. Today, I offer a prayer of gratitude for these two who loved the rest of us so well.

Loving God, help me always to appreciate the people who see the best in me and to look for the best in all of those you have given me to love. Today, please bless Minnie Minoso and Ron Santo with heaven’s best.

©2015 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved