Led By Love

Joseph got up and took the child and his mother
and left that night for Egypt.

Matthew 2:14

Many years ago, my dad passed away in early July. As a result, I’m flooded with memories throughout this month which changed everything for my mom and her children. Some of that change involved Bill, the second love of my mom’s life. This good and brave man became our step-dad. I’m obliged to call Bill “brave” because he loved my mother with us six children in tow. I’m still amazed that we didn’t frighten the poor man away. Yes, Bill persisted out of love for my mother and for us.

I’ve always taken consolation in the fact that by dear step-dad was in good company. When Joseph pursued his relationship with Mary, he embraced impossible circumstances. Mary’s out-of-wedlock pregnancy could have caused her to be stoned to death. To protect her, Joseph intended to divorce Mary quietly. When he came to fully understand her circumstances, he took Mary into his home as his wife. This poor couple had barely settled in when Herod’s census forced Joseph to pack up his pregnant wife to travel to Bethlehem. Later, when the Magi inadvertently alerted the jealous king to Jesus’ birth, Joseph fled with his family to the safety of Egypt. Finally, Joseph, Mary and Jesus made their home in Nazareth.

Perhaps my step-dad found inspiration in Joseph’s plight. Perhaps the six of us seemed a less daunting challenge than attempting to parent Jesus. Whatever the case, both men inspire the rest of us to do what needs to be done to make a home in our hearts for those God has given us to love.

Dear God, give us Joseph’s and Bill’s courage as we strive to love one another.

©2018 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Courageous Love

Joseph did as the angel of the Lord commanded him.
From Matthew 1:24

Many years ago, my dad passed away in early July. As a result, I’m flooded with memories throughout this month which changed everything for my mom and her children. Some of that change involved Bill, the second love of my mom’s life. This good and brave man became my step-dad. I’m obliged to add the latter adjective because my mother entered this relationship with us six children in tow. I’m still amazed that the six of us didn’t frighten Bill away. Bill’s willingness to persist out of love for my mother -and for us- brings to mind another brave step-father…

When Mary agreed to be the mother of Jesus, she dragged her betrothed Joseph into impossible circumstances. Mary’s out-of-wedlock pregnancy could have caused her to be stoned to death. To protect her, Joseph intended to divorce Mary quietly until he came to fully understand her circumstances. So it was that he took Mary into his home as his wife. The couple had barely settled in when Joseph packed up his pregnant wife to travel to Bethlehem for the census. Later, after the Magi inadvertently alerted the jealous king to Jesus’ birth, Joseph fled with his family to Egypt where they would be safe. Joseph, Mary and Jesus eventually settled in Nazareth rather than returning home in order to avoid the wrath of that king’s son.

Perhaps my step-dad found inspiration in Joseph’s plight. Perhaps the six of us seemed a less daunting challenge than Jesus might have been. Whatever the case, both men inspire the rest of us to do what needs to be done to make homes in our hearts for those God gives us to love.

Dear God, give us Joseph’s and Bill’s courage so we, too, will love one another.

©2017 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Motivated By Love

Joseph did as the angel of the Lord commanded him.
From Matthew 1:24

Many years ago, my dad passed away in early July. As a result, I am flooded with memories throughout this month which changed everything for my mom and her children. Some of that change involved Bill, the second love of my mom’s life. This good and brave man became my step-dad. I am obliged to add the latter adjective because my mother entered this relationship with us six children in tow. I am still amazed that the six of us didn’t frighten Bill away. Bill’s willingness to persist out of love for my mother -and for us- brings to mind another brave step-father…

When Mary agreed to be the mother of God’s Son, she dragged her betrothed Joseph into impossible circumstances. Mary’s out-of-wedlock pregnancy could have caused her to be stoned to death. To protect her, Joseph intended to divorce Mary quietly until he came to fully understand her circumstances. So it was that he took Mary into his home as his wife. The couple had barely settled in when Joseph packed up his pregnant wife to travel to Bethlehem for the census. Later, after the Magi inadvertently alerted the jealous king to Jesus’ birth, Joseph fled with his family to Egypt where they would be safe. Joseph, Mary and Jesus eventually settled in Nazareth rather than returning home in order to avoid the wrath of the king’s son.

Perhaps my step-dad found inspiration in Joseph’s plight. Perhaps the six of us seemed a less daunting challenge than the Son of God. Whatever the case, both men inspire the rest of us to do what needs to be done to make a home in our hearts for those God has given us to love.

Dear God, give us Joseph’s and Bill’s courage so we, too, will love one another.

©2015 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

When In Doubt…

“And behold, I am with you always,
until the end of the age.”

From Matthew 28:16-20

I plodded down the block to our parish rectory completely discouraged. From the time I was little, Father O’Connell had made it a point to make time for me whenever I needed encouragement. This particular day, I struggled with my mom’s upcoming wedding. My own dad had died three years earlier, and I had encouraged my future step-father’s courtship of my mom. I baked cookies for my mom and Bill every other day so they could enjoy them as they held hands watching television during their weeknight dates. When we celebrated Bill’s birthday, I intentionally sang “Happy birthday, Daddy” rather than singing his name. When Bill left for home each evening, I crawled to the top of the stairs to see if he and my mother kissed good-bye as I felt this was a sure sign that they would get married. Still, I worried about Bill’s impending presence in our household. When I expressed my worries to Father, he pointed out just how lucky I was to have God in heaven, my dad in heaven and now a new dad here to take care of me. “What more do you need?” he asked. Reassured, I skipped all the way home.

Dear Father in heaven, I thank you for being with me in everything and for the wonderful people who continue to remind me of your loving care.

©2014 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

June 1

“Joseph did as the angel of the Lord commanded him.”
From Matthew 1:16-24a

A few years after my dad passed away, God blessed my mom with the second love of her life. The one who would become my step-father was a good and brave man. I cannot help adding the latter adjective because my mother entered their relationship with six children in tow. Apparently, my siblings and I were not enough to drive Bill away. Perhaps God blessed him with the courage of Jesus’ step-father…

There was nothing easy about Joseph’s life on this earth. When Mary agreed to be the mother of God’s Son, she dragged her betrothed Joseph into impossible circumstances. Mary’s out-of-wedlock pregnancy could have caused her to be stoned to death. To protect her, Joseph intended to divorce Mary quietly until an angel explained the circumstances to Joseph in a dream. So it was that he took Mary into his home as his wife.

The couple was barely settled in when Joseph had to pack up his pregnant wife and travel to Bethlehem for the census. Later, after the Magi inadvertently alerted Herod to Jesus’ existence, Joseph packed up his family once again to flee to Egypt where they would be safe. Joseph, Mary and Jesus finally settled in Nazareth rather than returning home in order to avoid the wrath of Herod’s son.

It seems to me that Joseph gave up everything when he agreed to provide a home for Jesus. Perhaps Joseph’s quiet strength and persistence which seems to have inspired my step-father will also inspire you and me to do what needs to be done to make a home in our hearts for one another and for God.

Dearest Lord, through the intercession of your earthly father, Joseph, we ask for the courage to emulate Joseph’s commitment to you. Help us to nurture all of our relationships, especially our relationship with you.

©2013 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved