On this ninth and last day of the Novena of Grace, hearts seemed like watermelons as the assembled witnessed the large glass container of petitions carried in procession with the vow crucifixes that bridged our blessings. Jessica incensed these, the celebrants Frs. Craig and Paul, and the gathered. We bowed with the humility that characterizes both the human and the divine. Quoting from the first reading of the prophet Ezechiel, Barb focused this last presentation on God's call for us to be reconciled. Acknowledging all that we have brought and borne to this Novena in terms of hopes, sufferings, longings, Barb continued with the themes from the very beginning about the Two Standards of Ignatius and our calling. She talked about the deeper and wider love of belonging that attends our responsiveness to all that hurts--inclusive of God's creation, our fellow creatures and all living things. Listen to her talk of her own experience in response to the Pope Francis' call for conversion and right relationship of the heart in Laudato Si. Her story of "Esther" will amuse and yet challenge us to reflect on where does our sense of "family" and connectedness begin and end. For those not in St. Ignatius Parish, this last year at our church, we have educated ourselves through many sessions that have dealt with our Catholic social justice teaching, the sacramental nature of life, the very real challenges facing our fragile yet beautiful gift of creation. Barb ends the Novena in the Genesis story of our kinship, our belonging and how we are faced with choices: the "big lie" or the "big love." She quotes Denise Levertov who in poetic words says "we have only begun to love the earth." As we dearly hold all those loved ones we have prayed for, cried for, and asked how we could be in service to them, Barb awakened us to all these "intricate rituals of life." We are blessed. Note: This last reflection will be posted on March 12th, Sunday. This web site also has an on-line survey that the Novena team would like you to utilize so we can be responsive to your evaluative words to us. Thank you for walking this community prayer with us. May Jesus be your constant companion and may His word breathe life into your trust and faith that emanates in love. Peace of Christ!