The woman before us was frail, lying peacefully, unalert—a shadow of the fierce, intelligent, vivacious woman she had been. Her 95 years on this earth had been lived to the fullest. The years had not been without their trials and sufferings, but they had always been lived for God. With God as her lifesource, Joan radiated light, joy, and love to all whom she encountered. The time had come for God to let his good and faithful servant go in peace.
Editorial Note: This excerpt is taken from an essay by the same name originally published at Church Life Journal on December 28, 2016.
At Christmas, [the] love and the gravitational pull of my heart toward little ones seasonally intensifies. And every year, the fact that our Lord came to earth not as an adult but as a helpless, innocent, dependent little one who needed the arms of his mother Mary and his foster-father Joseph repeatedly stuns me.
But the Feast of the Holy Innocents is not warm and fuzzy.
Going ‘back to school’ always involves a transition for families and educators, but this year it will be even more challenging. Families returning to traditional, in-person schooling will need extra face masks, hand sanitizer, and cleaning wipes, in addition to the usual school supplies and back-to-school clothing. Families transitioning to new modes of schooling—whether online instruction, homeschooling, or “pandemic pods” (i.e., education co-ops)—will need to develop new routines, practices, and relationships to make learning both effective and sustainable. And educators, regardless of who, where, and how they will be teaching, will need both creativity and grit as they flexibly adapt to changing conditions when teaching and connecting with their students. Given all this, something everyone will need and benefit from taking back to school this year is hope.
Editorial note: This blog is the fifth in a six-part series featuring our free Lenten resource, "A Scriptural Pilgrimage to Christ Through Lent," written by Lenny DeLorenzo.
There is no limit to hope because Christ has gone beyond the last horizon.
There are times when we put ourselves at a great distance from God, due to our own sin and our own neglect. Like a sheep who has wandered from the flock, I find myself alone and isolated. It is all my own doing. I rejected the care of the Shepherd, and now I have no one to care for me.