Pottery Class Dog

We Are God’s Handiwork

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I went to Valley Forge Public High School in Parma.

We got to choose electives during high school years. Sometimes, with electives, you chose whatever you thought was going to be an easy “A.” So, I remember one year I chose pottery and that was going to be my easy “A” for the year.

It was neat because we got to pick whatever project we wanted to create as our final project. I had a little dog. Her name was Lacey. She was a cute little dog, so I thought that would be really cool if Lacey could be my pottery project.

We had to run all of our ideas by the teacher and have it approved. He said yes to mine and asked, “Well, how big were you thinking?” He was thinking like a little miniature thing. I said, “No, I want to carve the whole dog.” He let me do that and that became my final project for pottery.

The neat thing about pottery is that you take a piece of clay and you do one of two things to it. You either take away from it, by carving it away or sometimes you have to moisten it and then add pieces to it. So, for the dog, I primarily took things away; but then, at times, I would have to add. I had to add to the tail, and to the ears, and to the little eyes.

Anytime I would get stuck, I would go to the art teacher, and he would help me figure out how to make it look like an actual dog as opposed to what I was creating.

When you think about that, we tend to create the things that we love and the things that we are passionate about. We hear in the second reading from St. Paul that we are God’s handiwork. We are God’s handiwork.

Each and every one of us was created because God loves us. He created us because he just gets wild about us. He cannot get enough of us. And the wonderful thing is that God continues to create us and shape us. We are his handiwork. We are the work of his hands, the most beautiful creation that he has brought into this world.

Ultimately, he wants to pattern each and every one of us after his own beloved Son so that we can be Jesus for the world today. Now, remember, whenever you are creating pottery, you have to sometimes remove and sometimes add. And so, Lent is an ultimate time for us to let God really work on us. We do that primarily through our prayers, through our fasting, and through our almsgiving.

As you can see, I’m wearing rose today. We are halfway through Lent, and we still have half of Lent to go. This is the halfway marker. So, I just offer you the question “How is our Lent going?  How is our prayer, fasting, and almsgiving going?

What is it like to know that we are God’s beloved one? That we are the works of his hands?” And, just like I took such pride in creating that little dog (I still have it home in my bedroom by the way), God takes even more delight in creating you. Sometimes he has to take things away from us and sometimes he has to add.

And I think the sacraments are a wonderful way in the center of it all. The Eucharist is where he is adding. We will receive the Eucharist today. We are moistened by his Precious Blood. He is adding to us. And then I also think that Confession is a wonderful way to have Him remove things from us.

We will be celebrating communal penance here soon, so if there is any sin in our lives we have not been able to grapple with on our own, confession is a wonderful way to be forgiven and allow the sin to be removed from our lives.

Ultimately we are his handiwork.

The Lord wants to continue to shape us and fashion us and mold us because he adores us. God loves us so much. So, during this season of Lent, allow God to work on us – to take things away and to add as he sees fit.

About the Author Fr. Michael Denk

Fr. Michael was ordained into priesthood in the Diocese of Cleveland on May 12, 2007. He is dedicated to helping others encounter Christ through the celebration of the Eucharist, preaching, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, spiritual direction, and prayer.

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I'm Father Michael J. Denk, a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. I am a contributor of content to The Prodigal Father Productions, Inc., a non-profit corporation functioning in accord with the traditions and the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. The corporation and I are separate, it doesn't speak for me, the parish, or on behalf of the Diocese of Cleveland, and I do not speak for it.