Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross in Green Bay, WI
Reflection for Feb. 13, 2022

Reflection for Feb. 13, 2022

The greatest challenge

Discipleship includes counting  blessings -- even when we don't feel blessed

by Sister Ann Rehrauer

If there is any link between Sunday's first reading and the Gospel, perhaps it’s Jeremiah’s maxim: "Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose hope is in God." Jeremiah knew something first-hand about trust. He hadn’t asked to be a prophet and he didn’t seek the office for himself. But he prophesied because he felt compelled to speak God’s word – almost as if he had no choice.

And of all the prophets, he had a particularly difficult time with the people to whom he preached – they spread nasty rumors about him, called him unpatriotic, threw him in the cistern, and blamed him for the evil that befell Israel. Yet he was faithful to what God asked and trusted that somehow God would bring good out of whatever evil was going to happen.

Today’s Gospel account is also about living a life that calls for trust in God. It’s the rendering of the Beatitudes – but from the perspective of St. Luke, who had a special care for those who were poor and didn’t always seem to be the “blessed” in society.

It’s easy to trust God when life is going well and we have a financial cushion, when we are well-fed and successful, and when people like us. We take these things as signs of being blessed by God. But when things are not going our way, when our investments fail or our spouse gets sick, or children reject us – that’s when the real virtue of trust gets practiced, and our faith in God’s love for us gets challenged!

We are most familiar with the eight beatitudes in Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount (chapter 5) where he calls “blessed” those who are poor in spirit and those who hunger for righteousness. Luke gives us only four of the beatitudes, but he puts them as a direct address to the listener (“Blessed are you who are poor. Blessed are you who are hungry now. Blessed are you who weep. Blessed are you when people hate and exclude you). At the end of his listing, Luke closes with four “woes” that show the opposite situation (woe to you who are rich, woe to you who are filled, woe to you who laugh now, and woe to you when people speak well of you). Those are not, in themselves, wrong or bad -- unless they make us believe we are self-sufficient and the source of our own blessings.

As we reflect on our own trust level in the face of life’s challenges this week, we might want to think about:

  • The things that burden us and the things bring us joy (what we usually call “blessings”).  When do I consider myself most “blessed?”
  • How important is it to me to be well thought of – and do I sacrifice my chance to be a prophetic voice, or do I avoid speaking the truth because I need to be liked and accepted?  Is it ever a blessing to be reviled and excluded?
  • What can I learn from being poor or hungry or in grief, or when others don’t appreciate me? 

Next week, as we celebrate Valentine’s Day, may we look for and recognize the unexpected blessings and signs of being loved that will come our way.



Jean Mauthe
02/11/2022 6:35 am

Thank you Sister Ann. Your words are a good reminder that our faith and trust in Jesus should not be based on our circumstances. It should be constant-through our joys and our struggles. Something I personally have to remind myself each day.

Gerry & Lynn Miller
02/11/2022 11:44 am

Wow, Sister! Your message resonated with us today. Trusting in God's plan for us, be it good or not so good in our humble estimation, strengthens our resolve to have faith when challenges creep up unexpectantly. "O Jesus, I surrender myself to you! Take care of everything."

Peter Schumacher
02/12/2022 9:59 am

Wow! What great things on which to meditate. I loved your thoughts and realize how many ways there are to improve upon in my life. Not always easy for sure.

02/12/2022 6:00 pm

Everyday I ask Jesus to hold my hand and walk with me through the good, the bad and the ugly. I trust he does.

Rev. William J. Jacobs, Jr.
02/12/2022 6:40 pm

Thanks so much for your powerful sharing, Sister! Lots of good stuff there. I often think that are only two things we can really, really count on: Our God and our beautiful families.... As I look back over my 80-plus years - those are the two that have always stood by me.

Bless you Sister & thanks for sharing. I appreciated it!

Father Bill Jacobs

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