God’s Amazing Family

You are my shelter; from distress
you preserve me;
with glad cries of freedom
you deliver me.

Psalm 32:7

We landed in Israel at 3:15 P.M. and made our way to our hotel by 5:00. After dinner with our tour group, we happily retired to our rooms and to bed. I knew our itinerary well and the days ahead promised to be busy. My husband and I had kept up quite well during our past two visits to Israel and I was determined to do the same this time.

That first night, I slept soundly for hours until a distant voice roused me. I ignored this intrusion until it persisted. When I went to the door of our room to listen, all was quiet. When I tiptoed toward the window, I discovered that the resounding voice had come from outdoors. I opened the drapes just enough to see the large dome from which it resonated. I finally realized that the voice was calling our Muslim friends to prayer.

As I pulled up a chair to the window, I couldn’t help smiling. I recalled the devout farmers and townspeople of old who relied upon pealing church bells to wake them to their workday and to prayer every morning. If you’re as old as I am, you may remember similar chimes pealing from church steeples to call us to recite The Angelus. When that voice ringing over Jerusalem gave way to silence, I watched the birth of the new day. As I enjoyed the beautiful sky, I marveled at the seeming differences which actually prove us to be more alike than we admit. There I was in the heart of a Jewish country listening to a Muslim call to prayer which was reminiscent of my Catholic upbringing. I wondered how many others around this world of ours were also turning their thoughts to God at that hour.

Loving God, you have an amazing family! Help us to love one another and to respect one another just as you love and respect each one of us.

©2020 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

All God’s Family

You are my shelter; from distress
you will preserve me;
with glad cries of freedom
you will deliver me.

Psalm 32:7

We landed in Israel at 4:00 P.M. and made our way to our hotel by 6:00. After dinner with our tour group at 7:00, I happily climbed into bed before 9:00 that evening. Our itinerary promised busy days and I was determined to sleep whenever possible in order to keep up. Though sleeping on the plane wasn’t easy, I managed to rest a few hours even with our Hasidic plane-mates call to prayer at 4:00 A.M. Our room was on an upper floor of a very tall hotel so I expected to enjoy a full night’s sleep that first night.

I slept soundly for hours until a distant voice roused me. I ignored this intrusion until it persisted. I went to the door to listen. When all was quiet, I tiptoed toward the window. That resounding voice had come from outside. I opened the drapes just enough to see the large dome from which it resonated. I finally realized that the voice was calling our Muslim friends to prayer. I thought of the devout farmers and townspeople of old who used to rely upon pealing church bells to wake them to their workday and to prayer every morning. If you’re as old as I am, you may remember similar chimes throughout the day which called us to recite The Angelus.

When that voice gave way to silence, I watched the birth of the new day. As I enjoyed the beautiful sky, I marveled at the seeming differences which actually prove us to be more alike than we admit. There I was in the heart of a Jewish country listening to a Muslim call to prayer which was reminiscent of my Catholic upbringing. I wondered if my praying Hasidic friends from the airplane were also turning their thoughts to God at that hour.

Loving God, you have an amazing family! Help us to love one another and to respect one another just as you love and respect each one of us.

©2017 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Choose Well

You are my shelter; from distress
you will preserve me;
with glad cries of freedom
you will deliver me.

Psalm 32:7

I tossed and turned last night. I pride myself in being able to set aside my worries in order replenish myself with a good night’s sleep. Still, I failed miserably during the wee hours of this morning. This occurred in spite of the fact that no overwhelming troubles beset me at the moment. Indeed, most of the demands placed upon me these days are the result of my own choices. I enjoy far more freedom than most of the people I know. Still, I tossed and turned to no avail.

It was 4:30 A.M. when I finally looked heavenward for comfort. “Why am I worrying? Why do I feel that I’ll never accomplish anything? Will I ever finish that book? Am I supposed to write or not?” I continued my litany until I felt completely exhausted. As I inhaled deeply to calm myself, I noticed the slit of light at the edge of our blind. “Hmm. Are our days finally getting longer? Maybe that light is just the moon’s reflection on the snow. Maybe not.” I crept out of bed and went to our spare room to see the sky more clearly. “Nice,” I told God who continued to listen patiently. “It is lighter this morning.”

Finally, I closed my mouth and gazed at the moon and stars which would soon disappear in the dawn. As I watched the birth of the new day, I marveled at God’s generosity in providing us this miracle every twenty-four hours. God comforted me with a reminder of the second miracle which comes every twenty-four hours as well: Our ability to use the new day as we wish. With that, I decided to let go of the stress and to embrace this amazing opportunity.


Loving God, you deliver us from all evil and you empower us to live with joy. Please gift me with the wisdom to choose well as I plan this new day and every day I am given.

©2015 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved