Saturday, July 30, 2011

St. Peter Chrysologus asks...

"Why then, man, are you so worthless in your own eyes and yet so precious to God?"

This line from the Office of Readings for the feast of St. Peter Chrysologus surprises me every year.

Why am I so hard on myself? Some would say that it is because I have an inordinate sense of self, a self-love that hates to admit of failure or weakness and yet constantly accuses me of them anyway. This is not the way to honor the wonder of my being, which is only God's free gift from start to finish. He created me, He redeemed me, He loves me, and therein lies my dignity, a dignity that can never be annulled or effaced by anything that I do or fail to do.

Here is the quote cited above in its fuller context: "He who made man without generation from pure clay made man again and was born from a pure body. The hand that assumed clay to make our flesh deigned to assume a body for our salvation. That the Creator is in his creature and God is in the flesh brings dignity to man without dishonor to him who made him.
Why then man, are you so worthless in your own eyes and yet so precious to God? Why render yourself such dishonor when you are honored by him? Why do you ask how you were created and do not seek to know why you were made?" (From a sermon by Saint Peter Chrysologus, bishop).

I am precious to God. I have not earned His love, nor could I ever. For if love can be earned, then it is not love. When will I learn to live freely in the light of this truth? It is easy to think in my mind and say with my lips but hard to live with my heart. In fact, one of my yellow stars with ugly red words carries this blatant lie: 
"Love must be earned." And its partner says, "You are not worthy."  I have lived in the shadow of lies long enough. Love cannot be earned, but I am precious to God and honored by God. It may be true that I am not worthy of Him, it is true, but He is worthy of me, as He said to one of His saints (I believe it was St. Catherine of Siena). And so I hope in God's love.

Sweet Jesus, Jesus Love, I trust in You!

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