Last week our parish had a mission given by Bob and Joan called: The Eucharist Unfolding the Mercy of God.
If someone were to ask me what it was about this would be my short answer:
Sunday: Receive God’s mercy and blessing.
Monday: Give thanks for God’s mercy and blessing.
Tuesday: Trusting your brokenness to God’s mercy and blessing.
Wednesday: Sharing God’s mercy and blessing with the world.
I wish I could say I remembered everything Bob shared with us because it was wonderful, but alas my memory isn’t working as well as it use to and most of it is already gone. Gone where? I have no idea! ARG. All is not lost though. There are two things that stand out the most for me from the mission though they aren’t necessarily from Bob’s talks and sharing!
First: Monday night’s talk on giving thanks. I confess that I don’t actually remember much from the talk itself because Zoe was such a distraction. But it was in that distraction that I think I heard what God wanted me to hear.
Just a few days before, I was having coffee with a dear friend and I told her that I was struggling with Zoe’s energy level, her new defiant attitude, how my lack of patience literally scares me on those bad days when I’m at the end of my rope, and how I desperately need an attitude adjustment.
Ironically, all through Bob’s talk on giving thanks I kept looking down at Zoe and she had thee most angelic expression on her face and her eyes shone so bright that I couldn’t help but smile and realize that God was trying to remind me that Zoe is one of His tremendous blessings. There are so many times when I don’t see or appreciate the blessing that she is; but on Monday I was reminded that she’s a great blessing just the same.
Second: Tuesday night’s prayer for inner healing. Joan was leading us in a prayer for inner healing that encompassed our entire lives. The lights were down low and Bob was accompanying her with very soft music. She had the prayer broken down into nine areas that may need healing and at the end of every third one Bob led us in singing: Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom….
I was familiar with the prayer for inner healing because we attended more than a few of Bob and Joan’s missions over the years. Still I was trying to concentrate and enter into the prayer but found myself more distracted by Zoe crawling all over me and I was trying to keep her quiet for the sake of the other fifty people trying to pray.
The ninth area of healing started with Dear Lord, heal me of the pain that I feel at the death of a loved one. . . . Heal the grief of losing someone I cared a great deal for, without being able to say goodbye or I love you. Dear Lord, I imagine them now, beside you, loved and warm and smiling down upon us.
As soon as Joan started to say, ‘heal me of the pain that I feel at the death of a loved one’ I must have unconsciously stiffened because from sitting on my lap, Zoe reached around as far as she could and put her right arm around my neck and stroked the right side of my neck with her little hand. I doubt she understood the words Joan was saying that made the timing of her gesture so precious. When Bob started singing, ‘Jesus, remember me . . .’ Zoe’s hand slipped back down, she gave me the biggest smile and then continued doing whatever it was she was doing. The reason that action was so memorable is because she was far too young to understand the significance and timing of her actions so I’m pretty sure it wasn’t Zoe giving me a hug. Since the prayer was asking Jesus for healing, I’m guessing it was from Jesus! Or maybe Bernadette!!
So even though I keep lamenting that I didn’t remember everything I wanted to from the mission …. those two experiences will stay with me forever.