Imagine yourself as a child climbing onto the lap of your father and being embraced with such tender compassion. Whether this was your experience growing up or not, we know intellectually this symbolizes the love a parent has for their child. Do you believe in your heart you deserve to receive this same kind of embrace as an adult, broken, wounded, scarred, and in need of healing? This is how God wants to hold each of us, as His beloved sons and daughters, but so often we squirm around, fighting the embrace of a dad whose only desire is to protect us.
God doesn’t love us because of what we can do, or who we are according to a status: I cannot earn God’s love; thereby I can also never lose it. This truth brings my soul much consolation! In my poverty, I often struggle to believe I am worthy of God’s pursuit because of my weaknesses, but this is a lie from the evil one; do not even let the thought rest in your heart.
Who I am in the eyes of God (i.e. His beloved daughter) is the only thing that matters. God encounters us in our brokenness and gazes with such deep, intimate love, passionately embracing us in our wounds and begging us to let Him love us in the midst of our pain. “When we are ready to not repress our poverty and anxiety, but to welcome it freely, Jesus can become what his name signifies: the One who saves” (The Way of Imperfection, p. 4).”
Out of shame, I have wished to hide the addictions or imperfections I wrestle with from my past or present in order to keep the appearance ‘expected of me’, yet it has been in the mess of my poverty that God is choosing to make His dwelling.
Brothers and sisters, the pain of exposing the darkness of our lives can resonate feelings of being abandoned or rejected, so we seek to fill up what seemingly is lacking. This emptiness can be deafening and so we ‘make’ noise to satiate ourselves, yet find ourselves left even emptier. So often we try to fill these voids that have been deemed necessary by God with everything other than Him. Don’t fall into such temptation.
Ask the Father…Permit yourself to enter into the silence of night within your soul, discover your truest self through the lens of our God who is always present and do not be afraid of your own poverty. I promise you, I have searched for years to ‘find’ happiness but always came up short. It was only by accepting my utter dependence on God (i.e. surrendering all control), that I received His mercy in the midst of my misery. As I consented to the beauty of the cross, joy, peace, and hope were tangibly and paradoxically felt beyond human understanding. At times, I am still that child, fighting against His most gentle embrace for no other reason than fear. Fear is not of God! God has always pursued me first, and I am convinced it is because of my hurts, insecurities and open wounds that He makes Himself known to me in relationship with His own open wounds.
Imagine yourself as a child once more blowing one of those dandelion flowers (you know, the ones you loved to pick and blow all the seeds into your yard…why was that so much fun?). These seeds are God’s infinite graces that He blows all over you and your surroundings (for God can work even against allergies). He squanders these blessings, never holding anything back and flooding you with more than you can hope or imagine. God has divested Himself into our frail human nature for love of you; receive Him. Respond with your life. Your true happiness is found only in relationship to Him—to His hidden life at Nazareth, to His journey with family and friends, to His suffering, death, Resurrection and Ascension. Let the Father embrace you in your poverty and believe you glorify Him simply in consenting to exist, to just be--beautiful…broken, loved!
Hidden in the wounds of Christ, I remain your sister,
See you in the Eucharist!
~Sr. Marianne Giovingo
1 Peter 5: 7