Faith · Religious life

Week of February 8th – Pay it Forward

“Jesus enterd the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John.  Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever.  They immediately told him about her.  He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up.  Then the fever left her and she waited on them” (Mark 1:29-39).

Have you ever read this passage and thought that Jesus and the disciples must have been really hungry and the cure of Simon’s mother-in-law was for the purpose of getting  a good home cooked meal?!  That could have been the case, but perhaps the really message is that experience of healing led the mother-in-law to respond in gratitude for the grace received.

The homily given on Sunday spoke of the popular phrase  “pay it forward.”  More than a phrase, it is the concept that in doing something good for one person (or three) they in turn do somehting good for three other persons.  The response flows from gratitude at the act of unexpected and perhaps undeserved kindness.

The Sisters reflect on the kindness they have received this week and pray for the grace to pass along what has been received.

The week began with a gathering of the Sisters for a sharing of news, updates, ideas.  As this was the first such gathering of the year there was a remembrance of the past year through a photo presentation.  It evoked such responses as “we have much to celebrate,”  ” thanksgiving,” “richness, abundance,” ” all is gift,” “hope,” “the gift of community,” and so forth.  We recognize again and again all that we are blessed with so much and because of this we desire to share with others.  We spoke of and look forward to an upcoming Liturgy to celebrate the people who have been a part of these blessings.

We have been blessed with the gift of creation and the beauty of nature, we are also blessed with the responsibility to be caregivers of creation.  Several individuals involved with the Sisters’ Community Garden met for the first time this year to continue plans and preparation for the new garden season.  Planting in a second greenhouse at one of the Sisters’ ministrys began this week as well.  The Sisters are continually grateful for the dedication of all those who support the garden.

greenhosue at SJM

Given the gift of participating in health care ministries, the Province sent out two Sisters to participate in ongoing formation and education for the week.  One traveled to St. Louis and the other to Balitmore.  Gratefully they have both arrived home safely, before the snowy cold weather.

Mid-week the Church celebrated Our Lady of Lourdes and the World Day of Prayer for the Sick. Given the gift of our health and faith we seek to bring the grace of healing presence to those we encounter in our ministries and in our community, following the example of Jesus and Mary.  We also celebrated the Feast Day of one of our Sisters, grateful for the gift of her presence.

bernadette and Mary

As we draw closer to the season of Lent, you may wish to prepare by considering the gifts and graces you have been blessed with.  How might you practice “paying it forward” during these days of Lent?