By Karen Sheehy
In today’s first reading from the book of Jonah, we find this previously reluctant prophet going to Nineveh (in modern day Syria) “according to the Lord’s bidding” (Jonah 3:2). What a turn around or metanoia in his life, for just a short while back, Jonah refused to follow the Lord’s instructions and found himself alone in the belly of the whale for three long days. “Why the disregard?” you may ask. The answer: Jonah did not want to call his people’s long term persecutors towards the repentance and life giving forgiveness of God.
How many of us can relate to this story? I know I can. Not only do I relate to Jonah’s defiant hesitancy, but also to God’s ability to lead him out of his disastrous misstep. Over the last year or so, I am finally learning to approach all things with a contrite heart and renewed spirit open to the Lord’s bidding. I guess after years spent in the metaphorical “belly of the whale,” I have finally learned to avoid the many spiritual side tracks and pitfalls of life which often accompany this kind of willful disregard. God’s ways are astounding, and despite their unpredictability, produce abundant fruit.
Two months ago, our family welcomed into our home my adoptive son’s half birth sibling, Alyssa. Alyssa, a beautiful and intelligent 19-year-old, was in need of medical and educational assistance. Since that time, I have become her medical case manager, home school teacher, spiritual mother, and friend. Likewise, she has become my friend and a source of tremendous joy in our home and only son’s life. It is amazing to watch this young women, with very little exposure to Christ, soak up all the love and mercy of God being revealed in her High School Catholic homeschool curriculum and our faith community. As I watch her learn about the biblical story of salvation history, the beauty of the Catholic Mass, the intimacy of family prayer, and the fellowship of Christian discipleship, I am amazed!
After just two months of exposure to the joyful and contagious love of Christ, she is glowing with youthful innocence, receiving amazing messages of consolation from the Lord, and becoming of vessel of His peace to all those she encounters. I must admit that her simultaneous childlike openness and humble trust of God are at once disarming and inspiring. Is it that easy, I find myself asking? Yes, it appears so, for just like the Ninevites and the Old Testament Queen of the South mentioned in today’s Gospel, Alyssa is listening and responding to the wisdom of the Lord! This is just as valuable a lesson for me today as it was for Jonah, the Israelites, and people gathered around Jesus, for God’s love and mercy have no boundaries!
About the author:
Karen Sheehy is a devout Catholic, wife and mother, motivational speaker, blogger, president of a non-for-profit, and developer of spiritualsafariguide.com, your passport to a world of spiritual inspiration and understanding. To learn more about Karen Sheehy and her newly released book entitled, The Healing Eyes of Mercy. A Trinity of Love, please visit http://www.spiritualsafariguide.com
Beautiful. Thanks for sharing.
You are welcomed Charmaine! Have a great Lent.
Awesome weblog post, Karen!! Love this. Yes! It’s that easy!
Thanks Carol. You encapsulate the wisdom of age and the innocent joy of youth. Thank you for guiding so many women towards relationship with Christ. Blessings my friend.
Beautiful reflection! Thank you for always being such an inspiration through your faithfulness to Christ!!
Hi Jodi! So nice to have you and my other sisters in Christ to journey with and grow in love and service to the Lord. The beauty of WINE and sisterhood!
Beautiful reflection! Thank you for being such an inspiration through your faithfulness to Christ!!
Thank you, Karen, for a beautiful reflection.
Glad you enjoyed it Ruth. Have a great Lent and joy filled Easter!
Great reflection, Karen! Thank you for sharing.
Hi Angela, I am glad to hear that you enjoyed it. Hope it gives you a lift during this Lenten Season.
Isn’t God full of surprises! Would you have ever imagined these circumstances in your life? What a blessing you and Alyssa are to each other and all those who witness the gifts and graces being bestowed on you and your family at this time. God is SO good 🙂
Hi Kathy, yes God is SO good. It is so heart warming to have her be apart of my Mary, Queen of Peace Parish family.
Karen, thank you for sharing your relationship with Alyssa. How beautiful and blessed you and she are to have each other.
Your welcomed Cheryl. God Bless you and enjoy your Lenten Season.
I’ve said it to you many times… I am blessed to be able to watch God’s miracles unfold in your life because of your heart of mercy. You are a blessing to a multitude!
Thank you Paulette! God is so good and merciful are His ways. How can we not long to show that mercy to others?
It’s like you were describing me in that second paragraph! Loved this post, thanks!
Yep, Mary Ellen, I guess many of us can say, “been there, done that.” The mistakes of our pasts, I feel, only draw us even closer to God as we grow to realize His great mercy, love and wisdom. Enjoy your Lenten Season and new birth this Easter! Karen
I love your reflection and it reminds me of this verse, even though your daughter isn’t a young child:
When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”