Mission Objective #6: To encourage people to live as God sees us
Having spent several weeks reflecting on how God sees us, we finally get to put things in action. As Missionaries of Saint Thorlak, we are called to encourage others to live as God sees us. True to our style, let us take this objective apart in order to understand it fully.
To encourage: At the root of this word is "-COR," referring to the innermost feelings of the heart. The prefix "EN-" suggests the action to put in . We are called to put the idea of how God sees us into the innermost feelings of our hearts, and the hearts of those around us. Wow.
To encourage people to live as God sees US. Not how God sees them, but how God sees us: ourselves, and, collectively, every person, as His beloved children.
A good number of us have difficulty believing that God is in love with us and longs for a relationship with us. Traditional logic says this is a matter of self-esteem. The messages of our culture constantly hammer us down, and the temptation to compare and compete with one another pervades nearly everything we do. Self-esteem is an important and valid reminder to each of us that we are valuable as ourselves, and that it is healthy to acknowledge our talents, assets and achievements. To the degree we are willing to believe in our worth, we are able to celebrate our uniqueness, abilities and station in life. With enough trust and practice, everyone can learn to believe they are worthy of being loved - so the logic goes.
Yet there are many among us who have reasonably good self-esteem, and who genuinely believe God desires a relationship with us... and still hold back. Why? If we believe we are worthy, and we crave the thrill of unconditional acceptance, why hold back?
Consider this personal testimony:
Awareness is the first step to seeing that fear is not an absolute barrier, but is more like a countercurrent we ford as we choose the course that will lead us to the realization of our true selves in God’s eyes.
Our ability “to encourage people to live as God sees us" can only come after we have taken the leap of belief ourselves. Only then can we know the moments between certainty and trust, and how long it takes for that wave of unknowing to subside. Our Mission is not to change minds or change behavior. Our Mission is to reassure ourselves and those around us that the resistance we feel toward seeing ourselves is just the startle of realizing who we really are in God’s eyes; that, “it’s okay, it’s only me.”
Pray: Heavenly Father, help me to hear and recognize Your voice until I no longer feel afraid.
Contemplate: What obstacles in my spiritual life are rooted in fear?
Relate: Am I ever afraid to see my reflection through others’ eyes? Notice… and, pray about it.
May the power of Divine Love shine in and through my weakness, so that He might be glorified in and through me, and that in my weakness, His power may reach perfection. Through Christ Our Lord, AMEN.
Fr. Mark P. Nolette - Spiritual Director for the Mission of Saint Thorlak