Vocation Blog

 

Story:  On one of my regular Thursday evening visits to the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center, I entered one of my usual pods.  A young man I had not met before came right up and asked if he could talk with me.  That’s what we are there for -- so of course, I was ready to listen. 

                A handsome 15 year-old Latino -- shiny black hair, huge, expressive eyes, slight of build, G could not have looked more anxious, sad, lonely.  In disjointed phrases, he told me his story. 

                G is the oldest of seven children in a family with a Mom who was left to raise them when her husband was sentenced to 50 years in prison.  G said he saw her so very tired all the time.  He often had to help care for his siblings, even though he was only 10 or 11 years old. 

                Long story short, he found a way to  “help” her out, by selling drugs and doing other “stuff” for and with his fellow gang members.  It all led to the serious crime he is now charged with. 

                What I remember most from that visit was his deep remorse; his fear for his mother now that he would not be there to help; his anxiousness to confess his crime and “do the time.”  But most of all I remember the end of our conversation when his eyes welled up and he said,I wish I could just be a kid again.”

 

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Reflection:  In Sunday’s Gospel, the young son left home and became prodigal, i.e. lavish spender, wanton, wasteful.  But he came back repentant, remorseful, and ashamed.  His father welcomed him with open arms that closed around him (the definition of unconditional love).  We call him the “prodigal son,” but maybe he should be known as the “pardoned son.”

                The son was broken in spirit, enough so that he knew the only way he could be repaired was to come home, acknowledge his negative behaviors, and ask for forgiveness, which he received.  He was restored from brokenness to wholeness.

                I recently heard a message describing the beauty of mosaics, reminding us that they are carefully made from broken pieces of glass and/or stones.  If even one piece is not placed correctly or is missing, the work of art is incomplete and not as beautiful.  We are God’s mosaics, made, each, individually by His hands, our life’s experiences, families, our successes and failings.  When we fall short, have a piece missing, we as Christians know to whom we can go to be repaired, to be made whole again. 

Ckick below for:

Reflection (Continued)

Scripture Passages to Reflect on Daiy

Lenten practices for this week

This Week’s Daily Prayer

This Week’s Point:  :    As disobedient children can usually run to their parents and feel that forgiveness and mercy, we can know our heavenly Father is there for us.

 Sara Nuñez is this week’s author.  She is a volunteer at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center and has been a Kolbe House volunteer for nine years. 

 For more information about Kolbe House, visit www.kolbehouseministry.org

As Bryan Stephenson says in Just Mercy (pp 288-289):  “All around us is broken -- families, the justice system, persons  with mental and/or physical infirmities.”  Being prodigal is one of the many ways we can be broken.  But if we are lucky, that mercy that “falls as gentle rain upon the place beneath” as Shakespeare said, will fall on us.  As disobedient children can usually run to their parents and feel that forgiveness and mercy, we can know our heavenly Father is there for us.

                Maybe that is what G meant -- .if only he could feel like a kid again, after disappointing his mother, to have a chance to go home and make things right.  Nadia Bols-Weber in her book Pastrix  says: “The kingdom of God is like that exact moment in which sinners/saints are reconciled to God and to one another.  It is the pure and unfathomable mercy of God that defines them and that says ‘Pay attention.  This is for you.’ ”

 

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Scripture Passages To Reflect On This Week

Hosea  6:4-6

Proverbs 17: 22,  18:14

Psalm 51: 16-17

Matthew 5:3

 

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 Lenten Practices for This Week

  • Repeat this mantra from Thomas Merton (via Joan Chittister) for a few minutes everyday:   “God is mercy within mercy within mercy”

 

 

  • Spend some quiet time reflecting on these questions: “Where am I broken?  How can I be made whole again?”

 

  • Spend some time reading Just Mercy.  Then write in your journal for 15 minutes about how your feel about what you've read..  What did you read that you strongly agree with?  What did you read that you strongly disagree with?  Write  down whatever comes into your mind.   Don't worry about spelling or grammar.  Keep your hand moving. 
         This writing is for your eyes only.  You will not be asked to share it with or show it to anyone.  Write legibly because you will be asked to  read your journal as a Lenten practice for Holy Week.

 

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Two Prayers to Say Daily This Week

St Frances before the Crucifix

Most High, all Glorious God,

Enlighten the darkness of my heart.

Give me a right of faith

Certain Hope

and perfect charity

With deep humility, wisdom

and understanding

that I may know

and do your most holy will.   

Amen

 

                  ***

Leslie F Brandt 

I have failed, again, O Lord.

Despite my firm resolutions and

determined efforts

I have flopped --fallen on my face

And I come  limping back to you

        

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This Week’s Point:    As disobedient children can usually run to their parents and feel that forgiveness and mercy, we can know our heavenly Father is there for us.

 Sara Nuñez is this week’s author.  She is a volunteer at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center and has been a Kolbe House volunteer for nine years. 

For more information about Kolbe House, visit www.kolbehouseministry.o

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