Apr 8, 2018 filed under Living Virtue.

mom and daughter washing dishes

As we ponder sharing in the Divine life of God’s infinite Mercy, we can ask, “What does it mean for us mortals to share in the Divine life of the Holy Trinity?”

I remember, as a five-year-old, looking up at my mother washing the dishes and begging her to let me help. I can imagine what she was thinking: “She’s gonna break something; there will be soapy water all over the kitchen and all over her.”

She didn’t need my help, but because I was a part of her and she loved me, she invited me to participate by letting me “help” with the dishes.

My mom and dad had to provide the means for it—I couldn’t buy the dish soap or pay the water bill. But by doing the part that suited me at that age, I could participate in a real way.

Pope Francis says to give “attentive welcome” to everyone—to enter their lives, even if just for a brief time, and let them enter ours with the love of the Holy Trinity. Because God is love, the sharing of my life with someone else is how I imitate the Trinity and share His mercy.

God doesn’t need our help any more than my mom needed help from a kindergartner to wash the dishes. But it’s not our “accomplishments” that evoke God’s Mercy, it’s our desire to do what He does in our limited way.

I was dependent on mom to give me everything I needed to participate in her life. And even though I brought nothing but my desire, the participation was real. It was real not because of what I accomplished, but because our two lives became one in the sharing.

Our pride resists accepting God’s mercy, but if we do accept it, we’re receiving the core of who He is. We’re participating in his life in the deepest way possible for us “kindergartners,” who mostly chip plates and get soapy water on the floor.

Love always,

6 Responses to “Dishpan Full of Mercy”

  1. Tom Roberts

    Offering to help our mother to do the dishes is a calling. Doing dishes can be a calling. I remember a woman commenting in an Alanon meeting 25 years ago: “I do dishes with God.” For me, caring for my stroke-paralyzed wife went from a chore to a calling when I became a Catholic.

    The best example of this transformation I can think of is the building of the tabernacle , a dwelling for God, in the book of Exodus. God announced to a group of miserable bickering slaves “I’ve got a job for you, a chance to work together for me and to do your best with the skills you have: Weaver, Carpenter, goldsmith, foreman. Hop to it!” What a transformation!

    • Rose Folsom

      And it’s striking how God wanted things made just-so. He cares about craftsmanship because it reflects His generosity and perfection in the things He has made.

  2. Sal



    Two very beautiful stories! I became a sponsor for the first time and Lent as well as the Easter vigil was extra special this year! I’ve given so much of my time attending/volunteering at RCIA and I’m happy to do it for such a great purpose. A purpose much greater than me.

    Watching our new Catachists enter into full communion w/the Church was such a wonderful and emotional experience. One that I will never forget it.

    This is a way to help someone else to grow in the faith as well as for me at a deeper level.

    • Rose Folsom

      So true. When the “chicks are hatched” on Easter Vigil, all the time and effort are so worth it. All for God!

  3. Maria Hamm

    The apostolate of the Dishes– i love it!!! Just as i love images of our Lady mopping the floor or using a broom. We are called to “materialize” God’s love in our everyday actions and turn them into prayer-plus. Your mom was a very wise woman allowing you to help— just as God allows us to help Him! Great insight!

    • Rose Folsom

      I like the image of Our Lady bargaining in the market. :) Thanks for your comment and for the phrase “prayer plus” — that really describes it!