August 11, 2022
by Carol Zuegner
Creighton University's Journalism Department
click here for photo and information about the writer

Memorial of Saint Clare, Virgin
Lectionary: 416

Ezekiel 12:1-12
Psalm 78:56-57, 58-59, 61-62
Matthew 18:21–19:1

Praying Ordinary Time

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Finding Our Way Back Home:
Getting Un-Stuck in Prayer Life

Today’s Gospel is a cautionary tale. We must remember to show mercy, not just receive mercy. Too often in this modern world – and likely in the time of Jesus – we feel we deserve something. We want to reap the benefits sometimes without paying the price. We say to ourselves: I’ve worked hard. I deserve this. I deserve to feel better than someone else. I don’t deserve to suffer, but they – that person -- have made mistakes that should be corrected. By me. And they deserve what they get.
Do I deserve the mercy? Have I forgiven someone for the slight I feel they inflicted on me? Am I treating someone else in a not-so-good way because they, in my estimation, deserve it? The parable goes to extremes to make the point, but in my life, I think I have many opportunities every day to show mercy and compassion. But I don’t always do it. I can recite the Our Father and focus on the “forgive us our trespasses” and somewhat glide over the next part: “As we forgive those who trespass against us.” God is telling us it’s a package deal. I need to spend more time on forgiving those who trepass against me in small ways. Is what I see as a slight really a slight or someone having a bad day? What mercy would I like to see extended to me when I’m having a bad day? Forgiveness can lighten my own load. Forgiveness and mercy can make such a difference in how I maneuver through my day.

Today is also the memorial of St. Clare of Assisi. I looked up details about her, and I was struck by a short video by Sister Margaret Carney and Franciscan Media. Sister Margaret calls Clare an “everyday saint.” She asks us to look at what we know about Clare’s life, which is extraordinary. But Sister Margaret’s message is to look beyond what we know and realize that St. Clare and so many others in religious life and every day life: They show up and they get the job done. Those actions may not be immortalized in a painting or in a hymn. We can be inspired by the example of St. Clare, and we can show up and get the job done in making the world a better place by our actions and our prayers each and every day.

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