During one Saturday Mass this summer, a priest shared how surprised we might be that at the expensive, renowned institution of higher education where he was chaplain, how many students had deep doubts about their own dignity and worth. This is why Pope Francis pleads with us to know that we are loved children of God, loved sinners, to whom he so passionately wants to grant eternal mercy and peace to.
Magnificat on Thursday, the same day that the pope’s interview first big interview was released, included a meditation from Catherine de Heuck Doherty which complements the Holy Father’s interview quite well. She is a mother who is not afraid to remind us, just like Pope Francis does, that Satan is real. But thanks be to God we have a Savior! From de Heuck Doherty, founder of Madonna House:
When you have an inferiority complex — and who of us hasn’t — you say things like, “I just don’t believe that what God made is good. Look at me, I’m a louse.” Don’t dare to challenge God like this. Everything he made is good, including yourself. Don’t listen to that serpent who is giving you apples that look red on the outside and are full of inferiority complexes on the inside. Don’t eat that apple, or else you are going to go down into a pit prepared by Satan for you for your whole life.
How can you have a wrong image of something or someone that God touched? God touched you and he created you. You passed through his mind and you were begotten. Anyone of us that passes through God’s mind, anyone of us that God touched, cannot be this horrible person we think we are. No! Each one of us is beautiful– we’re beautiful because he touched us.
Sometimes this is very difficult for us to accept. We look at ourselves and say, “He made us in his image, equal to himself in a manner of speaking, heir to his Son? This just can’t be. He hasn’t looked into my heart. He doesn’t know what I’m made of!” We say those silly things because our evaluation of ourselves is very poor.
We haven’t looked at ourselves with the merciful, tender, compassionate eyes of God. So we walk in despair half the time. As a result, the ability to realize that God is both in our midst and in us — a realization that is the fruit of faith — fades and disappears.
This is the main reason, it seems to me, why the Father sent his Son to us, why the Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us as one of us. The Father, having given us the fantastic gift of faith, wanted to help us accept this awesome gift. He sent his Son Jesus Christ so that we, unbelieving, might believe. We are like children; we need to touch.
Every human being is a mystery. The mystery of man enters into the mystery of God, and bursting forth with great joy, comes faith and understanding. When faith is there, all is clear, and a love relation with God enters into your heart. When you have faith, it is such a simple thing to accept his love, even if you do not understand why he loves you.
That’s what Pope Francis is inviting the world into.
From the interview:
“I see clearly,” the pope continues, “that the thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity. I see the church as a field hospital after battle. It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars! You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else. Heal the wounds, heal the wounds…. And you have to start from the ground up.
We must remember, he said:
God is in every person’s life. God is in everyone’s life. Even if the life of a person has been a disaster, even if it is destroyed by vices, drugs or anything else—God is in this person’s life. You can, you must try to seek God in every human life. Although the life of a person is a land full of thorns and weeds, there is always a space in which the good seed can grow. You have to trust God.”
As the world seems to read the interview in political terms, consider the personal. We won’t get to Heaven without it — without humility and discernment, awareness of the presence of the love and mercy of God in our daily lives.