My apologies for neglecting my blog lately. Between university, my job and preparing a talk for a retreat my youth group just had, I have been a little strapped for time. That being said, I wanted to share a short extract from my talk with you (I say this is short because the finished talk was 14 pages!) . I really got a lot out of writing it and I hope you may get something out of reading it.
When we look at ourselves and see all our flaws, shortcomings, weaknesses and failings it can be very easy to feel worthless and to feel that we have nothing to offer and that there is nothing in us of value. How do you react to the idea that God loves you individually completely and unconditionally? This concept, and my changing attitude towards it, has been a huge, even a pivotal, part of my journey over the last few years.
My reaction to the idea that God loves me personally and has a plan for my life used to be one of doubt or disbelief, or even shame. Why would God, the Creator of the entire universe, care about miserable, pathetic little me? What did I have to offer? How could I ever be worthy? If a holy man such as St. John the Baptist wasn’t even worthy to untie the sandals of our Lord where did that leave me?
The thing is, I was missing half the picture. Yes, St. John the Baptist may have been unworthy, yet Christ exalted him far beyond the level of untying His sandals to the position of being the one to baptise our Lord. And just as Christ exalted St. John the Baptist, so too does He exalt us. Purely through the incredible grace of God we become worthy in His eyes. So much so that our Lord gave His life so that we may have life everlasting. Christ paid a debt He did not owe because we owed a debt we could not pay, and He did this purely because of His love for us. On top of that He gave us the sacraments, including giving Himself in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. Maybe you already know this, or maybe you’ve forgotten or never knew in the first place, but as Catholics when we celebrate the Mass, the bread and wine are not just symbolic representations of our Lord – they actually become Christ, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, right there on the altar before us. More incredibly, we are actually able to receive our Lord in the Eucharist. You have to admit that’s pretty amazing – Christ loves us so much that He humbles himself, taking on the appearance of bread and wine, so that we may receive Him into our bodies and our hearts. In the words of Marc Barnes, author of the renowned blog Bad Catholic:
“If we Catholics ourselves fully grasped what we believe about the Eucharist, we would not dare approach it. If we Catholics truly understood the Eucharist, if it was revealed to us in all its glory, there would be a long line of unconscious people leading up to the altar.”
We are worthy of God’s love because He makes us worthy, and His love bestows on us immeasurable dignity as we become His sons and daughters and receive His grace though Baptism. Even before He created us He loved us and had a plan for us, and He knows us better than we will ever know ourselves.
Oh Lord, you have searched me and know me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away. You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways…For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.