Sacramental Preparation

The first snowfall…”come on, let’s talk this over.”

It’s the weekend; and in this region we awake to a crisp, clear, cold morning. Such an abrupt change when temperatures last weekend peaked into the 50’s. Today, weather models predict…up to an inch of snow this evening. When I experience the first snowfall, or a fresh layer of snow the following scripture passage comes to mind: “Come now, let’s talk this over,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.” [Isaiah 1:18 ] For me, another example of encountering God in all seasons, especially this winter as we prepare with our children to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Last Sunday we “broke open” the Parable of the Lost Sheep [Luke 15:1-7]. For all hearers, it recalls and illustrates the the gratuitous love of God. We know the story-line: one sheep wanders away, the shepherd leaves the entire flock in search of the one lost sheep. The lost is found, the shepherd throws a party and neighbors join the celebration.

Each  class, through prayer, ????????????????????????reflection and an activity, the children continue to develop and deepen their awareness of a God that loves beyond measure. Last Sunday, their artwork of a little lost sheep made of fluffy, soft cotton balls with their reflection illustrated their response to God’s grace.

We accompany our children through this process, and we need to take time to reflect upon God at work in our lives. So let’s shift our focus for a moment to listen to the inner stirrings of our hearts. How does the Parable of the Lost Sheep ignite our religious imaginations? Where do we find ourselves in the story? … The sheep who wanders? The sheep who remains close to the fold? The shepherd who risks the entire flock to find the one who wondered away? Perhaps the neighbor attending the party asking, ‘where is this shepherd coming from who leaves all in search of the one’ …such Mystery. Wherever you find yourself in the story, the truth of the matter – we are wired with the Divine Spark, of a God..who is Love, who forgives, and compassionately touches us deep within.

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