Touch The Moment with Love

This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me…

From Mark 7:6

My assessment of my circumstances and myself as New Year 2018 continues is moving along. The past few days’ reflections give me reason to pause. I’ve been extremely blessed by many good people in my life who’ve shared God’s love with me. It occurs to me that a priority for this new year is for me to be diligent in doing the same. Though I may not be able to counter all of the ills of this world or of my own life, I can do something to bring God’s love to the moments at hand.

I’m not going to stand on a street corner quoting scripture, preaching or reading my posts to those who happen by. However, I can offer a smile as I pass my fellow humans. I can be patient while waiting in line at the store, using my time to pray rather than to fume. I can smile at that noisy toddler in church so her parents realize that their efforts are appreciated. I can listen to the lonely gentleman who seeks out a willing ear every time I look in his direction. I can phone an ailing friend and visit a parishioner at the nursing home. I can take the grandkids while my son and daughter-in-law enjoy an evening out. I can also donate groceries to the food pantries my parish supports. Whenever I encounter an opportunity, I need to embrace it! This is the best way for me to spend New Year 2018. I will share God’s love along the way to New Year 2019!

Dear God, help me to bring your love to others every moment of every day.

©2018 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

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Plant Those Seeds

Love kindness and walk humbly with God.
From Micah 6:8

I smile. When I pass anyone anywhere, I smile. The truth is that I smile at most of creation when I take the opportunity to enjoy it. So it is that I smile even when I’m outdoors walking alone. Neither drizzle nor cloudy skies dampen my fascination with the beauty around me.

This is the reason I was taken aback by the students in the school to which I was assigned some years ago. My office was located at one end of the building while the school office and the children I worked with were located at the other. As a result, I walked the length of the building several times every day. In the process, I passed numerous students. What concerned me was the lack of smiles, or any acknowledgement for that matter, along the way. When I offered a “good morning” as I passed them, students registered genuine surprise. It took many of them days or weeks to respond in kind. Several weeks into that school year, a colleague asked me why the students I passed in the hallway always greeted me. I told her that they were simply returning the favor.

You know, if we truly desire peace in this world of ours, we need to plant the seeds of that peace wherever we find ourselves. A few small seedlings will grow into a flowerbed and then a garden one day. To get there, though, we must first plant the seeds.

Loving God, inspire us to imitate your creative ways in our efforts to bring peace to others. Though we are small in the grand scheme of things, we really can plant seeds of greatness.

©2017 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

R… Rejoice and Be Glad!

This is the day the Lord has made;
let us be glad and rejoice in it.

Psalm 118:24

R is for Rejoice. Though I’ve selected this uplifting R word, I realize that life on this earth doesn’t always give us reason to rejoice. On occasion, the only way to deal with this reality is to accept that things are what they are and to move on. Still, when I choose to move on, I do so reluctantly. I’m not fully convinced that the situation I’ve abandoned can’t be improved at least a little.

Last week, I had a very close encounter with negative forces. Rather than adding more negativity to the mix, I decided to be a positive catalyst. Perhaps I could give all concerned a bit of hope. Though my stomach was in knots as I plugged along, my effort paid off in the end. While I didn’t change much, I did manage to help those involved to adjust their attitudes. We turned our resignation into an opportunity to rejoice that things weren’t any worse. The most important aspects of all of this were the decisions of those concerned to be positive. I “decided” not to add to the negativity and my friends “decided” to jump onto my bandwagon. Together, we infused joy into a tough situation.

We can make the choice to rejoice and be glad anytime and anywhere. Today, I’m choosing to abandon my resignation about this less-than-perfect world. Today, I’m choosing to rejoice and to be glad.

Dear God, thank you for our capacity to rejoice and our ability to choose to do so. May our efforts transform the imperfections of this world one choice at a time.

©2017 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Plant Those Seeds!

Act justly, love kindness, walk humbly with God.
From Micah 6:6-8

Smiling comes naturally to me. This means that whenever I meet people, I add a smile to the encounter. The truth is that I smile at most of creation when I have the opportunity to enjoy it. I smile even when I’m outdoors walking alone. Neither drizzle nor a cloudy sky dampens my fascination with the beauty around me.

This is the reason I was taken aback by the students in the school to which I was assigned some years ago. My office was located at one end of the building. The school office and the children I worked with were located at the other end. As a result, I walked the halls numerous times per day. Every time, I passed students. A few days into this assignment, I noticed the lack of smiles, or any acknowledgement for that matter, along the way. When I offered a “good morning” as I passed, students registered genuine surprise. It took many of them a week or two before they began to respond in kind. A few months into the school year, a colleague asked me why the students I met always greeted me. I told her that they were simply returning the favor.

It seems to me that if we desire peace and justice in this world, we need to plant seeds of that peace and justice wherever we find ourselves. A few seedlings scattered here and there will grow into a flowerbed and then a garden one day. To get there, though, we must first plant the seeds.

Loving God, inspire us to imitate your creative ways in our efforts to plant peace and justice in our world.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Embrace The Day

Cast your care upon the Lord
and he will support you.

Psalm 55:23

Early that morning, I engaged in my daily routine which begins with the few exercises which keep my aging frame more limber than it might otherwise be. Though I’m usually invigorated by this regimen, I found myself a bit melancholy. I hadn’t yet recouped the energy I’d expended as I prepared for Easter. Unfortunately, this didn’t deter the new and unwanted to-do list which was forming on my desk. Before I could voice a complaint to myself, a familiar photograph caught my eye.

I exercise in the same spot most days, but my thoughts usually prevent me from attending to the scenery. That morning, however, my sister Cecele demanded my attention. This particular picture was taken in the midst of the chemotherapy regimen which we hoped would destroy the cancer in her lungs. Only a bit of fuzz served as Cecele’s hair when she posed, but it’s difficult to notice. Every time I see that photograph, I’m drawn to my sister’s dancing eyes and her broad smile. That morning, those eyes twinkled and I’m certain that her smile grew even larger.

“Yes, Cecele, I get the point!” I told my sister. “I won’t complain and I will be grateful for this new day.” After breakfast, I started working on that to-do list.

Patient God, thank you for the numerous reminders that this life is truly a gift!

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

God’s Grace

The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you,
and be gracious to you.

Numbers 6:24-25

Two weeks before Easter, my parish church hosted a Reconciliation Service. This gathering gave those present the opportunity to acknowledge God’s mercy, forgiveness and unconditional love. We began with prayer followed by a gospel reading and homily. We continued with the reading of an examination of conscience which allowed those present to consider the things for which we might have wished to express our contrition. We closed with an invitation to private confession for those interested.

It was my task to plan and to read at this liturgy. Because life is extremely busy these days and getting people to church on a week night can sometimes be challenging, I wanted to make this gathering as meaningful and comforting as possible. When Father Dave began his homily by singing Amazing Grace, I knew he was onto something. When he offered the hymn-writer’s life story as evidence of God’s merciful presence in our lives, he accomplished precisely what I had hoped. The peace which filled up our church that evening was tangible. Indeed, God’s face shone upon us all as God’s amazing grace settled in among us.

Thank you, loving God, for gifting us with your mercy, forgiveness and unconditional love. Most of all, thank you for being with us in everything.

©2014 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved