Fr. Bob’s Corner - SORTA
YOU ARE GOOD because God created you. He loves you without strings attached.
In a world saturated with criticism and competition, our hearts yearn for acceptance and affirmation. We seek to be loved not just in our doing or having, but in our being. Yet, because we do often believe ourselves to be the measure of our failures, we can approach ourselves with self-contempt.
But God does not look upon us with contempt, and he doesn’t want us to either. On the contrary - he invites us into the heights and depths of love! A great doctor of the church, Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, names for levels of love:
1st level: loving myself for my own sake
2nd level: loving God for my own sake
3rd level: loving God for God’s sake
4th level: loving myself for God’s sake
The highest degree of love we can attain is actually self-love for God’s sake!
Wait… What?! We can look at it this way: when we really love someone, we love what they love. Christ loved us so much he died on the cross for us-each of us. So, because he loves me so much, I will love myself. Now, this doesn’t mean egoism, indulgence, or self-flattery. It means being held by the truth that God made me - no matter my failures–as a good gift, worth loving forever. And it’s only when we truly love ourselves that we are able to truly love others.
Loving others as God loves them
This love overflows into Jesus’ call for us to love others as he loves them. What does this mean, practically? It means making the person in front of us more important than the clock or task to get done. It is letting our bodies communicate that we are with and for the other - warmth in our eyes, a kind smile, receptive posture. It means taking a sincere interest in the other, ultimately listening not because we are good, but because he or she is good. Before us is not a problem to be solved or an argument to be won, but a beloved child of God as we allow ourselves to be moved by the goodness of the person before us, we can then reflect back to him that reality, so that he, too, experiences himself as good. A psychologist Conrad Baar says, “I affirm another when I recognize that the other is good, worthwhile, and lovable- precisely the way he or she is-period.”
Now, affirming another and their identity doesn’t necessarily mean affirming their behavior. God never affirmed sin or disorder, but he seeks to heal, restore, and raise up. But others threw stones at the woman caught in adultery, Jesus stooped to her level, looked at her in the eye, and summoned her to a life of greater freedom: “I do not condemn you. Your past mistakes do not define you. You are made for infinite love. Now go and sin no more” (cf. Jn 8:1-11). Love means helping others flourish as God desires.
The Sisters of Life, Imprint (Magazine) Fall 2021Issue
At the start of a new year let’s do as Jesus! He calls us to live in the awesome truth that we are good, made to love and to be loved. Let’s live it.
On this feast of the Epiphany we see Jesus’ love welcoming the kings who acknowledge him as a newborn king. They present their gifts as a loving sign of their reverent respect. We thank you for all the reverence you show to Jesus by your generous Christmas donations this year. Fr. Bob and Fr. Mulranen also wish to acknowledge the many gifts they received from you and express their gratitude not only for your thoughtfulness but also for your love and service of our parish. May we begin this new year with Hope looking to Mary, Mother of God and our Mother, and Patroness of Visitation.