June 9, 2023

Criterion readers embrace the joy of God’s abundant blessings

(Editor’s note: The Criterion invited our readers to share a favorite Bible verse or a favorite quote that helps remind them of God’s presence in their lives and/or helps center them in their relationships with other people. The response has been overwhelming and has come from across the archdiocese. As always, our staff feels blessed by our readers. Here is part eight of the series, the last story featuring the responses we received. See part seven)

By John Shaughnessy

Janine Schorsch believes we all have a defining choice about the way we choose to live each day.

“Muddle through the day, one foot in front of the other, waiting for it to be over. Or search for the abundant life of blessings” that God offers us every day, she says.

Schorsch’s choice to embrace the joy of God’s abundant blessings flows from her favorite Bible verse, John 10:10, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

“God is not stingy,” says Schorsch, a member of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross Parish in Bright. “God wants to bless us with a joy beyond our asking. Life can be difficult. We are often faced with challenging circumstances. It is a very common, human reaction to focus on all that is wrong, leading to depression and hopelessness. But that is not God’s plan for me or anyone.

“I begin each day with a gratitude list. Sometimes it is as huge as my brother’s scan showing no cancer in his lungs, or as small as seeing a robin.

“With God’s guidance, I have always been able to find a blessing. Sometimes it is not apparent until years later, but I know it will be there. I find comfort in God’s assurance that his plan for me is good, without exception.”

‘Your every act should be done with love’

The card that arrived from Charles Waltermann came with this quote from 1 Corinthians 16:14, “Your every act should be done with love.”

A member of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Richmond, Waltermann also included two other Bible verses that he sees as antidotes to a prevailing human weakness.

“We humans can be so judgmental and harsh on our fellow humans than we can be on ourselves,” he says.

His first recommended Bible verse is from Psalm 95:8, “If today you hear God’s voice, harden not your hearts.”

The second verse he shared is from Matthew 9:13, “Go and learn the meaning of these words, ‘It is mercy that I desire, not sacrifice.’ ”

A song of comfort

Marilyn Caldwell isn’t sure where she first heard the verse, but the member of Mary, Queen of Peace Parish in Danville knows the words always provide a source of comfort for her.

“Now and then when I am discouraged, I sing to myself these words:

“Thank you O my Father
“For giving us your Son
“And leaving us your Spirit
“Until our work on Earth is done.”

‘Our shared goodness, our gracious God’

When Mike Cecil came across what would become his favorite quote, it also represented a major turning point in his life.

“This quote provided me with an ‘aha’ moment and fundamentally changed how I view life, religion and my relationship with God,” says Cecil, a member of St. Philip Neri Parish in Indianapolis. “The ‘gotcha God’ of my youth, who seeks only to judge, is replaced with a loving, caring, understanding God.”

The quote that created that change for Cecil is from Jesuit Father Teilhard de Chardin: “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”

“As I interact with others, I am able to look beyond the details of their individual stories and to connect with the woundedness that we have

in common,” Cecil notes. “It is our shared goodness which I have learned to listen for and to celebrate. Our mistakes, our shortcomings, our sins are part of our humanity. They do not diminish our innate goodness or the quality of the spirit that resides within us.

“Our good and gracious God redeems us and reconciles us to our innate worth and goodness. In this, I believe we can find our collective hope and our salvation.” †

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