Day 30: Signs and Reminders

BY JOHN DOUGHERTY | March 31, 2022
Today’s Readings

Sometimes I wonder if we deserve to be saved.

It’s hard to argue in our favor. Human history is written in blood. We kill each other, exploit each other, enslave and torture and destroy. We have the ability to eradicate our entire species with the push of a button, but not the wisdom to ensure it never happens. We’re even killing the planet, one of God’s greatest gifts, in pursuit of temporary idols. In my darkest moments, I’m tempted to believe that we’ll never learn, never change. The psalm feels like an epitaph for our species: “They forgot the God who had saved them.”

Signs and Reminders

Today’s readings are full of God’s frustration with us, a holy frustration to end all others. In the first reading, it almost boils over: God plans to destroy the Israelites for turning to a golden idol. But Moses reminds God, and us, of God’s abiding love and faithfulness. 

Similarly, I look for reminders of hope. I find them in my students, organizing socially-distant service opportunities, supporting one another on retreat, or engaging our community in hard, necessary conversations about race. I find it in the work of a Jesuit friend accompanying those seeking asylum at Kino Border Initiative. I see it in my own small children, their innate kindness and wonder at the world. And of course I see it in the Ignatian Solidarity Network, in this family that dares to imagine a world committed to love and justice. 

Maybe we don’t deserve to be saved. Fortunately, grace isn’t about deserving. God doesn’t give up on us, even after all we’ve done to deserve it. And if God won’t give up, then I won’t either. This Lent, let’s continue to look for signs of hope, and to be them for others.

For Reflection: 

  • Take a few moments to be attentive to the signs and reminders of hope in your own life and work for justice. 

10 replies
  1. Annette
    Annette says:

    Just returned from donating clothes and bedding for Ukrainian refugees. Another lorry leaves for the war-zone tomorrow. I have signed up as a volunteer to pack lorries and sort donations – the enthusiasm, the passion for wanting to do something life-affirming against all the hatred and nihilism we see on the news by the volunteers I met today was truly inspiring. The generosity of local firms giving stock free of charge, people giving some of their favourite clothes for those they see suffering in unspeakable terror only 2 hours flight away, the hours people are spending packing and tidying items into parcels (resulting in back-ache, frozen fingers – it’s snowing right now – sore feet and hunger pangs as people skip lunch so as to get the lorries out on time); all that give me hope. Faith in good works. Annette

    Reply
  2. Dr Eileen Quinn Knight
    Dr Eileen Quinn Knight says:

    The signs and reminders of hope in our lives are plentiful. The person who just moved in next door saw me by the elevator and asked where I was headed to. I told him to Mass, and he asked if I’d say a prayer for him. I told him I’d be delighted and did so. To me these are signs of hope. Last night at the gathering of our Alpha group, the group prayed that God would answer the prayers for the Ukrainians and Russians and all in need of prayers. Praying for one another is certainly a sign of hope and a belief that our God is with us in distress and wants our prayers answered in the best way they can. Hope gives me the courage to move forward and to be of service to all the people who ask for my prayers and who pray for others. Let us pray especially for our community today.

    Reply
  3. sonja
    sonja says:

    Signs of hope are all around us in nature. God continues to provide food for us no matter where we are. No matter how much some try to destroy life, prayer and faith enable us to survive with God’s loving grace of helping hands that risk their lives to help others, despite war, or government regulations. My heart goes out to those who are determined to stay where they are and help rebuild their nation. God is with them in the midst of destruction. He saves them from harm.

    Reply
    • charles m warthen
      charles m warthen says:

      “… we do not deserve to be saved…grace is not about deserving..,”
      A gem of a reminder that God’s love/grace is for us all, forever; we don’t have to earn, deserve it. We were, ALL of us, made in the image of God. Our life long task is to get up when we “fall’, and renew our striving for transformation.

      Reply
  4. Pat Chuchla
    Pat Chuchla says:

    I am home recovering from a stroke. I have so much hope that my hand and foot will recover. God has been so good to me in so many ways. I know he is listening!

    Reply
  5. Pat
    Pat says:

    Although I feel like I am not succeeding in my Lent, I read and learn so much from each of these readings. I am later able to reflect and journal on parts and feel that I have grown and changed my life. Maybe this is the way Jesus is leading me instead of “my” Lent. Following His way of Lent instead.

    Reply
  6. Frances D'Amato
    Frances D'Amato says:

    Yes when I was a child we prayed for the conversion of the Soviet Union. We saw it collapse and many countries broke free.
    Now Putin wants to pick up the pieces and subject former Soviet Block nations to his rule. Let us pray it doesn’t happen. Let’s pray that we as a nation give the Ukrainians the tools to defeat the aggressor. And that God will change his heart.

    Reply
  7. Vicky
    Vicky says:

    I definitely don’t deserve God’s mercy. That is how His grace becomes reality. No one is guiltier than I am.. in what I have failed to do…. But God is bigger than that. God is good. All the time.

    Reply
  8. Patty
    Patty says:

    I look for, daily and find hope in the small things. A teenager offering cheerfully today, to hoist a 50 pound bag of birdseed into the trunk of my car inspires me to hope, as does my anticipation of the birdseed drawing songbirds to my front lawn, once I refill the feeder later today. It’s a small blessing that makes a big, positive impact in my life to encounter seemingly mundane, interpersonal exchanges with others, in the spirit of civility and kindness. Good begets good.

    Reply

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