When Father asked me if I could do the penance he offered, I said very truthfully that I looked forward to it. This was not like a penance I had received before, and my heart yearned for it’s direction without even knowing it. It is nothing hugely profound, but our God is one of revelation; that is, He speaks to us at different times–sometimes using the same words, even–and it clicks when He wills it to. So I wanted to share, just in case it clicks for anybody else.
Father asked me to sit in silence and to consider the past few weeks (from one confession to the next). Rather than noting my sinful behaviors or feelings of guilt and/or shame, he wanted me to focus in on at least three instances where God was present and to audibly say them out loud. To turn them over in my heart, to focus on them, and to offer thanks.
I couldn’t stop at three.
I saw God’s beauty in the fresh snowfall the week before. I couldn’t stop exclaiming how beautiful it was on the trees. I couldn’t stop looking. That was God.
I saw God’s compassion at the soup kitchen where we volunteered on Christmas Eve. He was hungry, He was cold, He asked the community to step up and some did. That was God.
I saw God’s wonder at the planetarium with my kids. As we looked up at all of those simulated stars of the night sky and my daughter whispered, “Wow…” That was God.
I saw God’s love in my family on Christmas morning. There was so much joy. There was so much togetherness. That was God.
I saw God’s mercy in my confession. He pulled me back to the sacrament. He examined my heart and brought the sins to my mind to confess. That was God.
As I contemplated on these things, I was just struck at how completely present He still is, even when I feel ashamed and severed from grace. I tend to focus so much on how awful I’ve been, or on how terrible I am, that I will even get too ashamed to pray during these times. As if I can’t even face Him with my shame. But we can, and we should.
So I pose this question to you. Where has God shown Himself to you in the past week? Did you recognize Him? Do you recognize Him now?