A lot has happened since I last posted, two weeks ago. Certainly, a lot has happened throughout our world. Riots, peaceful protests, an earthquake....If you are reading this from New Zealand, please know of the many prayers for you from me as well as the rest of the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity. We are well aware of the events of the world because we make the effort to know about them, and we carry them with us to prayer.
Within my personal life, I traveled with the postulants and other sisters to attend the First Annual Feminine Genius Conference at St. Pius X in Appleton, WI. It was based on Pope John Paul II's apostolic letter, "On the Dignity and Vocation of Women." It was a wonderful conference, and I just wanted to share some reflections based on the talks.
One of the first things they shared at the conference was that God created us for a purpose. They asked us a question from the Baltimore Catechism. It is the only question in that particular catechism that I actually know the answer by heart, so I was able to respond:
Question: Why did God make you?
Answer: God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next.
The postulants and I were smiling because Sr. Judanne had taught us all that question and response. I think it is a crucial thing for everyone to know, because it helps to answer our search for meaning, and reminds us of the value of our own lives. What matters is not power, prestige, wealth, or "success" in the eyes of the world. Love is what matters.
One of our society's images of "success" is to look a certain way. As we are in the middle of "Love Your Body Week," I include a paragraph from the Catechism of the Catholic Church that helps us to see how obsession with our exteriors is unhealthy and is counterproductive to our purpose in life:
"If morality requires respect for the life of the body, it does not make it an absolute value. It rejects a neo-pagan notion that tends to promote the cult of the body, to sacrifice everything for it's sake, to idolize physical perfection and success at sports. By its selective preference of the strong over the weak, such a conception can lead to the perversion of human relationships" (CCC# 2289, emphasis mine).
Here is a Christian song that follows the same theme: "More Beautiful You" -Jonny Diaz
We need to love what God created and nurture it, because God loves us as we are. Do we call God a liar when He tells us that we are beautiful? What about when He tells us that He loves us no matter what?
Our "feeling" of God's love does not make it real or not real. God is love. God is goodness. That is His nature. He cannot act in contradiction to His nature, so there is NOTHING that will remove us from His love. Nothing!
"For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." -Romans 8:38, NAB
"As far as the east is from the west, so far have our sins been removed from us." -Psalm 103:12, NAB
As Catholics we are blessed with the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We don't go to confession because God needs it. God doesn't need it. We go because we need it. There is something incredibly consoling about hearing the words, "I absolve you from your sins..." and something even better about the graces that come with the Sacrament! God desires to heal us; He desires to set us free!
Satan wants to hold us in slavery to sin. He manipulates us by saying, "I know what you did! I know who you really are!" And he is wrong. The Devil does not know you. No matter what you have done, whether it is lying, stealing, abortion; anything, you are a child of God, and God wants you to be free because he loves you more than you can imagine! We can find this freedom through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. (By the way, our sins are not as unique as we think they are. The priests have heard it all and they won't be surprised.)
There are no sins that are greater than the grace of God.
God bless you.