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Three Incredible Promises


On this Thursday of the Second Week of Lent, I continue my journey through Scott Hahn’s book, Lenten Reflections from A Father Who Keeps His Promises.

 “But you promised!”

How often have I heard this protest—usually in the form of a whine.  It usually occurs when a child twists an off-the-cuff response to their request.  Something like:

Child: Can I go to the movies with my friends this weekend?

Dad:  We’ll see.

Child promptly interprets “we’ll see” as something like:

most definitely.  I promise. I do hereby swear or affirm that you will be allowed to go do whatever you want with your friends this weekend and I will do all in my power to make sure you do.

And then Friday finds the Child in flight grabbing his coat and the car keys in a mad dash out the door.  Dad is the sole obstacle to his progress.

Dad:  Where are you off to?

Child:  The mall with my friends.

Dad:  You can’t go until you (pick one):

(a) Finish the dishes

(b) Clean your bedroom

(c) Do your homework

(d) Complete some other mundane, unnecessary yet arduous task.

Child:  But you promised!

 Frankly I can’t always remember what I said five minute previously, let alone what I told the kids days before, so I am very cautious about using any words that can be construed as a promise by an objective observer.  Maybe that’s the lawyer in me.

Today’s reading discusses three promises God made to Abraham:

I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you;

I will make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.

All the families of the earth will find blessing in you.  Gen. 12:2-3.

God promised, and God delivered.  Praise be to the name of God!  He never forgets His promises.

In my life I find that I can be very childish when it comes to what God has promised.  Whenever I respond to a situation with “why me?!” or “why not me?“, it’s an implicit demand that God fulfill a promise He didn’t really make.

When I lose a job, “why me?!” loosely translates to “God, you promised to keep me in this job!”  Conversely, when I am jealous of others’ blessings, “why not me?” can be loosely translated to “God, you promised me many blessings and successes!

And again, the antidote to these false expectations is an attitude of gratitude.  When I am truly grateful for all that I am blessed with, I can focus on the real promises our Father has made, particularly the greatest promise: salvation through the life, death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Day 16-2

Note the promise embedded in these verses:  “Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving [NB: attitude of gratitude], make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”  Phil 4:6-7.

Day 16-1

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Suffering Servant


Madonna and Child

Yesterday I hurt my back. It must have happened when I was putting away the Christmas decorations. I was lifting heavy boxes, climbing ladders, shoving boxes up, over and back, standing, twisting, bending.

I didn’t feel it until early this morning after a night of tossing and turning. But I started noticing pain radiating from my lower back. It made everything difficult. I couldn’t bend over to put on my socks. Standing and sitting were difficult. I felt very foolish at church because I couldn’t climb into the passenger seat of the van. I couldn’t duck my head to fit in! So I backed away from the door and stood in the snow, allowing the adjacent car to pull out without me obstructing him with my slapstick routine of entering the van.  I should have dressed in a clown costume!  Or as a Keystone Cop!

In Mass the pain made the gestures and postures difficult. But I found myself blessed with a new perspective. I started to appreciate better those who cannot attend Mass regularly because of excruciating pain. I’m not sure I ever really judged them, but I know I didn’t fully empathize with them.  So, blessed with this epiphany, I tried really hard to view my suffering in the example of Blessed John Paul II. I tried offering up the pain, to think of the pain as a way to share in His Passion, to connect with those around me.  It really brought a different perspective, like putting on my glasses after cleaning the lenses.

We must have been in the crying section, because we were surrounded by little toddlers and infants who were crying, complaining and fidgeting.  I could have easily been irked by the distractions, as I often am.  But instead, I began to enjoy the company of the families in sharing the Mysteries of Mass.  There was a beautiful baby girl a few pews ahead of us.  Probably three months hold.  As I watched her Mom holding her closely, cheeks brushing closely, I fell into a time warp and found myself holding each of my four beautiful kids, each in turn three months old, cheek-to-cheek, each drooling, grasping, cooing in their own unique ways.  It was a brief reprieve, and I quickly snapped out of the reverie.

Later, the baby was placed in her car seat in the pew.  I could not see her, but I still watched her Dad, caught up in the spell of his doting smile.  I never understood the verb, “adore”, until my oldest was born.  But once she was born, and with each new child, I found myself in awe of the word.  Adoration.

All this because my sore back.  Thank you, God, for my sore back!

Socks for Smell


Hi, my name is Lizzy.  My sister’s name is Katie, and my brother’s name is Kevin.

My Mommy lets us play outside, but we have to stay in our yard.  The other day a funny man came to our neighborhood.  He was pushing a car with a bell.  We thought he was the ice cream man, but he did not have any ice cream.

Kevin asked me, “what does s-o-c-k-s-f-o-r-s-m-e-l-l spell?”

Katie said, “socks for sale!”

“No, Socks for Smell,” said the man.

He opened his cart up and there were all sorts of socks. (more…)

The Wooden Man


Once upon a time, long, long ago
There lived a man with a wooden toe.
A wooden toe, nine others, too,
That fit neatly in his wooden shoes.

The toes had friends in the highest of places,
Or so thought the friends, the white shoe laces.
But they never looked behind to view
The rest of the body above each shoe.

Above each foot there did arise
A tall wooden man, reaching into the skies.
And high above that belly did rest
A stout and hearty barrel chest.

On either side of the wooden chest grew
Large shoulders miles above each shoe.
These shoulders connected the wooden man
To the five wooden fingers on each wooden hand.

(Of course each hand would do him no good
Without his strong arms, also made of wood!)
His neck grew up above each chest,
Way up higher than almost the rest. (more…)

Aboard My Pirate Ship


“Today’s our big adventure!”
Lizzy says to Kate.
“Let’s go aboard our Pirate Ship.
“C’mon!  We can’t be late!”

They put on pirate outfits–
A bandanna and a sash.
Lizzy wears a fluffy blouse.
Katie, an eye patch.

They walk across a gang-plank.
(That’s how they get on board.)
The horn blows “toot” and they salute
Each other with their swords.

Then Katie hoists the mainsail
And Lizzy takes the helm.
(That’s what they call the steering wheel
In the pirate-speaking realm.)

“Cast off the lines!” shouts Lizzy.
“Bring in the plank!” yells Kate.
Their fun begins when friendly winds
Blow them where treasures wait.

Ahoy!  A whale to starboard!
A dolphin swims astern!
And mermaids wink at sailors
Who blow kisses in return.

At noon the sun is highest.
The pirates sit for lunch.
They eat peanut butter sandwiches,
Their favorite meal to munch. Read the rest!

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