Wednesday of the 17th week in Ordinary time

images-1The readings from Exodus these past few days have inspired in me a new respect for Moses. Of course I have always been a fan of the great things he did. After all, he did part the Red Sea! What he does in the long years of wandering, though, is in some ways even more impressive. He stands in the breach, offering to bear God’s wrath when the people worship a golden calf. God declines Moses’ self-sacrifice.

Perhaps what really strikes me about Moses here is not something he is or does, but that he seems to bring out the best in God.

[Moses] called on the name of the Lord. The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, a God of tenderness and compassion, slow to anger, rich in kindness and faithfulness; for thousands he maintains his kindness, forgives faults, transgression, sin; yet he lets nothing go unchecked, punishing the father’s fault in the sons and in the grandsons to the third and fourth generation.’ And Moses bowed down to the ground at once and worshipped. ‘If I have indeed won your favour, Lord,’ he said ‘let my Lord come with us, I beg. True, they are a headstrong people, but forgive us our faults and our sins, and adopt us as your heritage.’

God reveals the divine nature as kind and compassionate. Even though sin may not go ‘unchecked’, we know (and Moses seems to know, too) that the only fault that persists is the fault not surrendered to God, the sin not confessed. God forgives. And Moses pleads with God to forgive God’s people again and again, and God does: God remains with the people, leads the people, brings the people safely to the promised land.

God doesn’t leave. However persistent the faults we bear, God stands ready to forgive and to heal. The psalm response reminds us: the Lord is compassion and love, slow to anger and rich in mercy. If only we could hold onto that firmly in dealing with ourselves and others…well, I have no idea what might happen. But I would dearly love to find out.

The Lord is compassion and love, slow to anger and rich in mercy.

Deo gratias.

Monday of the second week in Lent

Today’s reflection is at thinking coram Deo–another page of the devotional. Yesterday I spent a bit of time with the Mass readings, but didn’t manage to blog. Whatever I might have said, though, would have been less straightforward than the message of Pope Francis’s homily: ‘listen to Jesus!’

Words to live by.

An examination of conscience for Anti-bullying week

Pope Francis encourages us to confession today:

Confessing our sins may be difficult for us, but it brings us peace. We are sinners, and we need God’s forgiveness.

And Sr Catherine (at iBenedictines) offers us some guidance in examining our consciences, reminding us that “We are quick to talk about being bullied, being victims of another’s rage or hatred; we are much slower to acknowledge the ways in which we try to force others to do our bidding.” (Click here for the full blog post.)

I think this is particularly apropos for me as a parent. What do I do when my children don’t do what I ask? Do I resort to bullying tactics (however non-violent)? Of course I sometimes lose my temper–which itself can certainly be bully-ish. But are there other ways I could do better as a parent in leading and teaching my children how to wield authority and keep frustration in check? I bet there are.

This week, I’ll follow Sr Catherine’s advice, and on Saturday week, Pope Francis’ counsel. I know on the Saturday before Advent begins, I will have something to say in the confessional. For certain.

Kyrie eleison.