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Unexpected events bring unanticipated blessings

Yes, the Lord is kind and merciful 

The words of Psalm 103 remind us, “The Lord is kind and merciful.” True enough. The Lord pardons us, comforts us in sorrow, is gracious, slow to anger and abounding in kindness. We encounter that sort of mercy in the sacrament of reconciliation, when we seek, and are given, God’s mercy and forgiveness.

Webster offers a slightly different understanding of mercy, suggesting this definition: a blessing that is an act of divine favor. I came face-to-face with this kind of divine mercy just a few weeks ago as Bishop Mengeling ordained eight new deacons. I have known several of the newly-ordained for some years. One of them is the business manager of the parish which I pastor. Beyond my joy for the new deacons, their wives and families, the ordination Mass gave me a powerful reminder of God’s mercy toward me during my six years of priestly ministry.

You see, as I looked out upon the assembly gathered that Saturday morning in the cathedral, I saw a very large number of people whose lives have intersected with mine by the grace and mercy of God. They are young and old; they are ethnically diverse; they are male and female; they have collars that are blue or white; some speak English, while others speak Spanish; they are all people of great faith. Each of them represents a blessing sent from God. Each of them is a visible reminder to me of God’s mercy. I am certain that my life would be much different and less enriched if God’s mercy had not allowed our paths to cross. I could not help but be deeply moved and humbled by the incredible mercy shown to me by God in six short years of priesthood. I can only imagine what additional mercies await me in the years ahead.

Doug Simon has struggled with muscular dystrophy from a very young age. Together with his parents, Norm and Darlene, and his brothers and sister, the Simons have made a difficult journey that few families will ever make. Yet Darlene and Norm, along with their other children, readily admit that through Doug they have been deeply blessed by God. In turn, Doug knows that he has been blessed by God, having been given a family that loves and cares for him very deeply.

Having experienced God’s merciful forgiveness, Carol Cole followed a path that changed her life and brought her to the Catholic Church. God’s mercy transformed her life, opening for Carol a path of service to God’s children with special needs. Now, as the adoptive mother of DeAndre and Tatiana, Carol works to advocate for individuals and families affected by fetal alcohol syndrome.

Janet Sinke spent years caring for others as a registered nurse. In 1998, Janet had the rare opportunity to assist in the creation of Hospice House of Mid-Michigan, a beautiful facility that cares for the terminally ill and their families. Then came an unexpected turn of events that turned Janet’s life upside down. Suddenly, someone who had spent her life caring for others found herself needing the love, care and support of others. Little did she know the blessings that would result from an unanticipated development. Through it all, Janet’s faith has remained un-“Sinke”-able.   

Unexpected events, unanticipated blessings. The Lord is kind and merciful, indeed. And so our journey in FAITH continues.