Our Healing Efforts…

Love your enemy and do good…
Be compassionate as God is compassionate.

From John 6:35-36

My goal this Lent has been to bring healing to this world through my efforts on behalf of those around me and within myself. I’d like to think that I’ve succeeded to some extent on both counts. Still, I’ve spent more time than expected on healing of the physical kind. Our household has been besieged by the flu and colds. Our attempts to return to good health have required much effort. The good news is that this time at home has provided unexpected opportunities to bring healing to those around us, especially for my husband.

He called his aunts, partly to catch up on the latest family news and mostly to check up on their well-being. He also called his cousins, out-of-town friends and those nearby. Mike’s efforts have kept once-fragile relationships intact. It was a while ago when Mike’s efforts were most successful. His uncle had passed away…

It had been years since they’d seen one another or spoken. Still, when my husband heard about his uncle’s passing, he went to his visitation. My husband’s generation wasn’t privy to the events which had brought about their parents’ strained relationships. In the end, he’d decided that his generation shouldn’t propagate these unknowns which had kept them apart for too long. When Mike arrived at the funeral home, his cousins welcomed him to mourn with them. They very much appreciated his effort. Later, when my mother-in-law passed away, Mike’s cousins graciously returned his thoughtfulness in kind. Ever since, all has been well.

Now that we’re recovered, I’ve rekindled my efforts with the hope that they will also end well!

Loving God, give us the courage and generosity to bring healing to those in need, especially when it is most difficult to do so.

©2019 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

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Faith in Hope-Fulfilled

All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of God.

Psalm 98:3cd

As the New Year unfolds, I find myself inspired by faith and hope. I’ve encountered these virtues in people whom many view as having little reason for either. A young woman who continues cancer treatment celebrated Christmas bravely. She embraces 2017 with the certainty that blessings lie ahead. Family members who placed their dear husband, dad, grandpa, father-in-law, brother and cousin in God’s hands a few weeks ago mourn their loss by supporting one another with unrivaled love. A discouraged friend who gives herself in service to others day in and day out is beginning to see that her hope is fulfilled in everyone she touches. She’s learning to accept their thanks graciously and to take time for herself on occasion.

Too many in our human family suffer the worst this life has to offer. Each one endures his or her personal variety of devastation. Still, God’s presence at their sides encourages our hope that each one will endure and emerge with grace.

It is true that God’s salvation extends to all the ends of the earth. It’s up to us to open our eyes to see it, our arms to embrace it and our hearts to share it.

Loving God, wherever I find myself today, help me to move beyond my own trials with faith and hope in better things to come. In the process, help me to encourage others to do the same.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Daddy’s Gift

Here, then, is the message we have heard from him
and announce to you: that God is light; in him there is no darkness.

1 John 1:5

On the third day of Christmas, I always think of my dad. Today is his birthday and I hope he is celebrating with great gusto. My dad passed away many years ago at age 39. He has celebrated far more birthdays in the afterlife than he celebrated here.

When I was a little girl, the date of my dad’s birthday troubled me a bit. I thought that my dad was shortchanged. I asked him if he minded that his birthday fell two days after Christmas. Good man that he is, Daddy replied that this was okay. He felt that Christmas was a very good day which led into his own very, very good day. Because my grandparents had little money, I’m quite certain that my dad didn’t receive many gifts on either day. Still, he shared his memories with a smile big enough to convince this daughter that his childhood Christmases and birthdays were just fine.

This is a small parcel of the wisdom my dad shared with me. Happily, he always did so with a smile. Today, I’m going to allow myself a piece of cake in my dad’s honor -a sweet reminder of his sweet presence in my life. We’re going to party together in my heart.

Generous God, thank you for my dad who is among the best of those who have shown me your love. As you well know, Daddy did this with great competence and with a flourish which will never be replaced.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Joyfully Reconciled

They looked for Jesus and said to one another
as they were in the temple area, “What do you think?
That he will not come to the feast?”

John 11:56

My husband is very good about staying in touch with his extended family. He frequently calls his elderly aunts and uncle, partly to catch up on the latest family news and mostly to check up on their well-being. Things have not always been this way. It was some time ago when my husband took the first step in making things right…

It had been years since they had seen one another or spoken. Still, when my husband heard that his uncle had passed away, he went to his visitation. My husband’s generation was not privy to the numerous events which had brought about their parents’ strained relationships. In the end, he decided that his generation should not propagate these unknowns which had kept them apart for too long.

It was with great relief that he returned from the funeral home. His cousins very much appreciated his gesture. Later, when my mother-in-law passed away, my husband’s cousins graciously returned his thoughtfulness in kind.

Loving God, give us the courage and generosity to comfort those in need, especially when it is most difficult to do so.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved