I am praying with a Lenten devotional whose passages this week have reminded me of something I love most about God and our faith. This week’s readings and reflections celebrate women in Scripture (Miriam, Anna, Mary Mother of God) who adore their God and inspire others to grow in love of God. Recognizing these women also demonstrates God’s love for and presence with us from generation to generation.
Think about where your faith began. Try to conjure up images in your mind. Perhaps it started at home, saying prayers around the table or before bed. Perhaps you were formed in Catholic schools. Perhaps you had a parent or grandparent who modeled what living in faith looked like.
When I think of the inception of my faith, I think about singing a song as my mom left Mass while she was going through RCIA to become Catholic. I think about going to daily Mass with my elementary school class and not being tall enough to see over the Church pew as I knelt. I think about altar serving for a priest who always seemed to smell like sugar cookies and rum. And I recall one particular moment in elementary school where I experienced God’s presence as a whisper of comfort and calm.
Our journeys of faith all progress in different ways. Whatever your journey, reflecting provides opportunity for gratitude for two reasons.
The first reason for gratitude is that our stories are not singular, but are part of a long history of humanity’s relationship with God. This relationship has been filled with joy, trial, doubt, passion, and forgiveness. Whatever the story and scope of your relationship with God, take consolation in the fact that someone else in Scripture and history has journeyed in a similar way. Take up strength and encouragement in the faithfulness of others.
The second reason for gratitude is that God has been present as the One who speaks mercy and freedom into our lives from “generation to generation” (Lk 1: 50). When we are faithful, God is present. When we doubt, God is present. When we are confident and clear-headed, God is present. When we are consumed with anxiety and insecurity, God is present. God was present to the women and men we read about in Scripture long before Jesus entered the scene. And God was made manifest in our lives in a distinct way in Jesus. Jesus who we can still know now as our friend, our confidant, our love.
Now as a mother my prayer is this- how do I lead my children to God and help them to love the God who has loved us and continues to love us from generation to generation?