Always Forgiven and Always Loved

God says, “From the least to the greatest, you know me.
I forgive your evildoing and remember your sin no more.

Jeremiah 31:34

My husband spent the afternoon searching for flowers to plant around our yard. Armed with mask, gloves, hand sanitizer and the resolve to social distance, he enjoyed a safe and productive afternoon. I took advantage of the quiet house by sitting at my keyboard to write. Sadly, I wasn’t as productive as Mike. Before beginning, I glanced at photos from my childhood which rest inches above my keyboard. Rather than offering my usual reminiscent smile and then getting to work, a recent bit of self-doubt turned my thoughts to a painful aspect of that childhood.

When I was little, I was a bit too sensitive. I was no less innocent than most children, yet I took even the smallest reprimand to heart. Though the adult involved quickly forgot whatever I’d done, my guilt remained with me. All of this was my own doing. My parents never belittled my siblings or me. Though a teacher may have given me reason to question my ability to be forgiven on occasion, this wasn’t the norm. I eventually came to understand, at least mentally, that those who love us don’t hold grudges. It was my own propensity to retain guilt which caused my angst. These decades later, this tendency remains to some extent. So it was that my self-doubt prevailed until I remembered the words from Jeremiah which I cite today.

This and numerous other passages reference God’s forgiveness. Each one assures us of God’s absolute love and God’s absolute inability to be separated from any one of us. Though we try to run away, God remains with us and within us. Neither we nor anyone else can impose enough guilt upon us to repel God. For this, I’m most grateful!

Loving God, help us to let go of our guilt as quickly as you do. Only then will we be free to embrace your love.

©2020 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Let Go of The Guilt!

All, from the least to greatest, shall know me, says the Lord,
for I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more.

Jeremiah 31:34

I was an extremely sensitive little girl when it came to the errors of my ways. Though I was no more or less innocent than most children, I took even the gentlest reprimand to heart. In these instances, though the adult who corrected me had quickly forgotten whatever I’d done, my guilt remained with me. All of this was my own doing by the way. Neither of my parents ever nagged or belittled my siblings and me. Though a teacher may have given me reason to question my ability to be forgiven on rare occasion, this wasn’t the norm. Eventually, I understood, at least mentally, that those who love us don’t hold grudges against us. Still, it is my heart’s propensity to carry guilt unnecessarily. Much to my dismay, this is true to some extent even today.

This is the reason I find great consolation in the passage above from Jeremiah and in Jesus’ numerous parables which address forgiveness. With every word, we’re assured of God’s absolute love and God’s absolute inability to be separated from any one of us. Though we may run away and bury our heads in the sand, God remains at our sides. Though we may refuse to look in God’s direction, God is with us. Fortunately for me and for us all, we can never impose enough guilt upon ourselves to repel God’s love.

If God is this forgiving of us, isn’t it time to forgive ourselves? Yes, I wrote that line and, yes, I will do my best to heed its every word!

Loving God, help us to face our guilt and to let it go. Only then will our hands be free to take hold of your hand and our hearts be free to embrace your love.

©2019 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Always Forgiven and Always Loved

All, from the least to greatest, shall know me, says the Lord,
for I forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more.

Jeremiah 31:34

A recent bout with self-doubt quickly returned me to a painful aspect of my childhood. I was extremely sensitive when it came to wrong-doing. Though I was no more or less innocent than most little children, I took even the smallest reprimand to heart. Every time, though the adult who corrected me had quickly forgotten whatever I’d done, my guilt remained with me. All of this was my own doing. Neither of my parents nagged or belittled my siblings or me. Though a teacher may have given me reason to question my ability to be forgiven on rare occasion, this wasn’t the norm. Fortunately, I eventually came to understand, at least mentally, that those who love us don’t hold grudges against us. It is my own propensity to retain guilt unnecessarily which remains with me to some extent even today.

This is the reason that I find consolation in the passage above from Jeremiah and in the scriptures’ numerous references to forgiveness. Every word assures us of God’s absolute love and God’s absolute inability to be separated from any one of us. Though we may run away and bury our heads in the sand, God remains at our sides. We can never impose enough guilt upon ourselves to repel our amazing God. For this, I am most grateful!

Loving God, help us to let go of our sinfulness and guilt as quickly as you do. Only then will our hands be free to embrace your love.

©2017 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Dispel The Guilt

All, from the least to greatest, shall know me, says the Lord,
for I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more.

Jeremiah 31:34

I was an extremely sensitive child when it came to wrong-doing. Though I was no more or less innocent than most little children, I took even the gentlest reprimand to heart. In these instances, though the adult who corrected me had quickly forgotten whatever I’d done, my guilt remained with me. All of this was my own doing by the way. Neither of my parents ever nagged or belittled my siblings and me. Though a teacher may have given me reason to question my ability to be forgiven on rare occasion, this wasn’t the norm. Eventually, I understood, at least mentally, that those who love us don’t hold grudges against us. Still, it is my heart’s propensity to carry guilt unnecessarily which remains with me to some extent even today.

This is the reason I find great consolation in the passage above from Jeremiah and in Jesus’ numerous parables which address forgiveness. With every word, we’re assured of God’s absolute love and God’s absolute inability to be separated from any one of us. Though we may run away and bury our heads in the sand, God remains at our sides. Though we may refuse to look in God’s direction, God is with us. Fortunately for me and for us all, we can never impose enough guilt upon ourselves to repel God’s love.

Loving God, help us to face our guilt and to let it go. Only then will our hands be free to take hold of your hand and to walk with you.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

More About God’s Love

Throughout Lent 2015 -and I hope always- I concern myself most with God’s love. It is not that I feel particularly deserving of Divine Affection. The truth is that I sometimes find myself running from God’s embrace because I am unsure of what to do with it. If I acknowledge God’s love, I must acknowledge that, to God, I am lovable. If I acknowledge God’s love, I must acknowledge that the least I can do is to share that love with those around me. If I acknowledge God’s love, I must acknowledge that this love is worth everything I will have to sacrifice to reveal God’s love through my life. You see, when I acknowledge God’s love, I commit myself to changing my little corner of the world as only I can. Yes, living God’s love is a daunting task which is the reason I am sometimes tempted to run away from it.

It is during these times of doubt that God’s persistence in loving me becomes most apparent. Before I began this writing, a ray of sunshine cut across the piles on my desk and urged me toward the window to see more. As I basked in the sunshine which warmed me quite nicely, I looked affectionately at the mounds of melting gray snow at the curb. At that moment, it occurred to me that God looks with far greater affection upon me. “I know. I know,” I said aloud. “You’re using that melting snow in ways I don’t realize, just as you’re using me.” With that, I returned to this writing with renewed energy and a bit of inspiration. God’s resolve to love you and me is indeed perpetual regardless of our frequent, but futile attempts to run away from it. The scriptures frequently underscore God’s affection for us. In the passages I cite today, God’s persistent love reveals itself once again.

In Jeremiah 31:31-34, the prophet tells us that God absolved the Israelites of every sort of evil and God continued to love them in spite of it all. Through Jeremiah, God assured all concerned: “…this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel… I will place my law within them and write it upon their hearts; I will be their God and they shall be my people… All, from least to greatest, shall know me, says the Lord, for I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more.” St. Paul the Apostle offered further assurance through his letter in Hebrews 5:7-9. Paul reminded the people that God’s love became flesh in the person of Jesus, the source of salvation for all. Not leaving our understanding of his passion and death to chance, Jesus lived the thirty-three years beforehand to reveal God’s intent to us. Through every word and deed, Jesus revealed God’s continued care, unqualified forgiveness and never-ending love. In his gospel, John (12:20-33) underscored all of this when he quoted Jesus’ resolve: “…when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.” Jesus promised to dismiss the pain of the cross, unbearable though it would be, to outstretch his arms to embrace us just as God had always done and just as God would continue to do.

This Fifth Sunday of Lent, we celebrate the amazing gift which is God’s unconditional love: The love which drove Jesus to endure his passion and death; the love which drew Jesus from the tomb to celebrate the salvation of humankind; the love which impelled Jesus to remain among the people for forty days, reassuring them with his peace and his promise of the Spirit to come. Jesus’ message of love was so convincing that the disciples overcame their own fear and spread the word regarding God’s love to all who would listen. This is the same love to which we attune our hearts during this Lent and always.

In the end, I realize that acknowledging God’s love is not quite as difficult as it seemed at the onset of this writing. All that any of us need to do is to embrace the opportunities in every moment we are given. Whether they involve hope or despair, blessings or loss, we will somehow to make it through. Whether we are filled with energy or dragging ourselves along, we will manage the tasks at hand. Some way and somehow, God’s love will see to it that we celebrate our joy with enthusiasm and that we survive our darkest moments with a bit of energy to spare. Throughout Lent 2015 -and I hope always- I concern myself most with God’s love. It is not that I feel particularly deserving of Divine Affection. I know I am deserving and so are you. God insists upon it!

©2015 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Share Peace

If you act justly with one another, God will dwell in the land.
From Jeremiah 7:5-7

Though I realize that war and unrest have plagued this world for all of human history, it is difficult for me to accept that this must remain the status quo. The families, especially the children, on all sides who can do nothing to keep one another safe live in the worst of conditions. So it is that I pray for immediate peace, for their safety and for changes of heart in all concerned, especially those with the power to stop this.

In the mean time, I find myself to be very sensitive to the injustices in my little corner of the world. I am impelled to do something to alleviate the suffering of those I meet along the way. If I can somehow bring peace to another soul, I bring a measure more of peace into our world. Only God knows what will follow.

Patient God, you know better than we the peace which we long for. Give each of us the wisdom, the humility and the courage to bring peace to our circumstances at every opportunity, regardless of how futile our attempts may seem. Remind us that our effort always makes a difference.

©2014 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved