Hold On

But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the punishment that made us whole.

Isaiah 53:5

The Third, Seventh and Ninth Stations: Jesus Falls Under the Weight of the Cross… It isn’t hard to imagine Jesus falling beneath the weight of that cross. What is unfathomable is that he got up, not once, but likely several times.

I shudder as I consider the many times I have tried to walk away from the crosses that have come my way. “If only this or if only that,” I tell myself. Sometimes, I turn these excuses into prayer. After all, God is all-powerful; God can certainly remove my burdens. It is then that I picture Jesus struggling with that merciless wood which scrapes across his bleeding back. In spite of the pain, Jesus holds on. So it is that I promise to hold on as well. So it is that I face what this day will bring with a morsel of Jesus’ courage and love.

Loving God, though Jesus knew what lay ahead, he embraced it because the outcome would be my eternal joy. Help me to see every request for help as an opportunity to bring a taste of that joy to those who need it most.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Lent… 40 Days to Love

“If today you hear God’s voice,
harden not your hearts.”

Psalm 95:8

It is Ash Wednesday and the first day of Lent 2016. I have given much thought to my observance of this precious season. I habitually set aside these forty days to rekindle my personal relationship with Jesus of Nazareth. After all, his words and works revealed the essence of our most loving God to me. I find it to be a happy coincidence that St. Valentine’s Day is just a few days away. What better time is there than Lent to think about Love -God’s love for us and our love for one another?

Today, Christians everywhere flock to churches to receive ashes. Though a smudge on our foreheads normally requires immediate face-washing, things are different on Ash Wednesday. Today, we will leave that smudge in place as a reminder of Jesus’ walk among us more than two millenniums ago. Jesus did everything possible to assure us of God’s love. Jesus spoke of this love and he demonstrated it in all that he did. As I contemplate the ashes that rest upon my forehead, I realize that it is time for me to do the same.

Loving God, help me to use every opportunity to bring your love into this world during this Lent and always.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved