Scribbling hope. That’s how I would describe my attendance at this fall’s Diocesan Council of Catholic Women conference on Saturday, Sept. 17.
I usually write down things that people say or something that I read that touches me in my little cheapo composition tablets from Walmart or Target. Kind of like, treasures of the heart. Things I want to store up. Reflect on. Think about later.
On Saturday, I used the conference booklet because I didn’t have time to get my tablet out of my bag. The insights, inspiration and words of encouragement started with the first speaker and lasted through the remainder of the day.
With a conference theme of “Instruments of God’s Mercy,” Father Mitchell Bechtold, parochial vicar of St. Mary Parish in Melrose, declared “You are the instrument of mercy.”
Me? Yes, me. It’s up to me to show mercy. To practice mercy. To show kindness. We can’t all be the Mother — now Saint — Teresas of the world, but we can all “do small things with great love,” just like she did.
When Father Bechtold made the comment, “Decide to be an instrument of God’s mercy,” it was as if a little bell went ding, ding, ding in my head. Finally, I knew why I had chosen “mercy” as my word for 2016. Mercy. It’s up to me to be the instrument of God’s mercy. I might be the only mercy someone receives that day. I’ve got to “Be the one,” as St. Teresa said. Be the one to bring a little love, a little comfort, a little hope to others. Who cares if they think I’m weird or crazy or strange (like my kids do)? Just do it.
Take the risk. My little kindness might be the only God they see that day.
Bishop Donald Kettler kept the mercy theme alive with his Mass homily when he commended us 100+ attendees for making time in our busy schedules to attend a day such as this because to bear fruit in one’s life requires perseverance. He added, “Never stop starting over. God likes us to be persistent so keep asking him.”
The afternoon speaker, Michael Stalboerger, executive director of Birthline in St. Cloud, rocked the mercy theme out of the park when he said that one of his greatest joys in life is being a dad. He gave credit to his mom for displaying mercy many, many times throughout his 38 years of life, including showing him the job posting in The Visitor for his current position as the first male executive director in Birthline’s 45-year history. He explained how Birthline’s mission to serve is an instrument of God’s mercy.
A lot of times when we say bedtime prayers at home, the kids will thank God “for a good day.” I sometimes think, “Really? Is that all the better you can do?” But, you know what, it’s enough. God knows the details. God knows why it was a good day for Miranda or Luke or Justine or Emma. God knows. In this case though, I want to thank God for an exceptionally good day.
Lord, help me be that instrument of mercy I heard so much about on Saturday. Help me to persevere. To love without thought and to give without measure. To be the light that helps others see. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Rita Meyer is married and the mother of four children age 17 and under. She and her family are members of St. John the Baptist Parish in Meire Grove. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.