The priest’s words rang in my ears, “Do you know God loves you?” I burst into tears. Yes, I replied slowly. “You know it in your head, but do you know it in your heart?” he continued.
How often had I heard the words, but not truly absorbed them. Wow! How awesome! God truly loves me and you and the whole world. To be sure, we have heard the words a million times before, “For God so loved the world that he gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life” (John 3:16). However, somewhere between my head and my heart, the words lost their meaning.
I recall all the former feelings of low self-worth sneaking up on me. I thought I had triumphed over this, but certain situations and traumas send me reeling back to the same place. I wrestle with father’s words. It is difficult to believe yet, it is true! God loves us and although often we do not deserve that love, the Creator loves His creation always and forever. Nothing can change that.
For younger to older people who feel in despair, know that God truly loves you. It doesn’t matter where we’ve been, how much we’ve messed up, how many times we’ve fallen, in the end, Jesus still loves us. When we sin or deny him like Peter, he takes us back into His arms.
When thoughts of doubt assail you from all angles know that God cannot stop loving you. It is in his nature because He is love itself. “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly,” Jesus promised in John 10:10.
Sometimes we are like the prodigal son. We take what is not ours and foolishly waste it: like our talents, love, time, etc. What did the father do with the wayward son? “But when your son returns who swallowed up your property with prostitutes, for him you slaughter the fattened calf. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found” (Luke 15:30, 32).
Are you lost? Have you edged God out of your life, or become too busy for Him? A sticker reads, “God allows u turns.” Truly, He does. “I tell you in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance” (Luke 15:7). He goes in search for you, but God never forces you to come to Him. He wants you to come with a free heart.
How fitting then, that Pope Francis declared this the Year of Mercy. Sometimes we do not accept His love or forgiveness. We feel God holds us to the same standards that we hold others. This is simply not true. According to St. Faustina, Jesus said of the Feast day of Divine Mercy, “The soul that will go to confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment; on that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet” (Diary, 699).
How many addictions including drugs, alcohol, food, money, popularity, would be checked if we saw ourselves as God sees us? How many suicides would be averted if we only saw the truth?
For instance, contrast the queen in “Snow White” with Cinderella. “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” the queen asks daily. She is quite pleased until the mirror tells her Snow White is the fairest. The queen sees herself in a narcissistic way. Cinderella also incorrectly views herself as a dirty beggar made to live in cinders. Therefore, she felt less becoming than her step sisters. Both images were wrong. The fact is that God loves the truth about us, not our skewed view.
Next time you see yourself through the world’s dirty lens, put on spiritual glasses, your vision will be sharper. “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him” (1 John 3:1).
Copyright 2016, Mary Mitchell