by Katie Sahm
This can be a difficult time of year, the holidays are over, the sun is not up for long and we have a vitamin D deficiency, it’s so cold that we’re stuck inside watching Netflix marathons and praying for summer, Feb. 14 approaches and we are reminded of the unquenchable thirst we all have to be loved fully. And this is not just for the single folks out there, we all feel it. During the harsh winter there is plenty of time for self-reflection and we are reminded that nothing in this world, not another person, a vocation, a career will ever fill our aching hearts.
However, this season of scarcity can be a blessing, because the longing we all have points us to where our true fulfillment and happiness lies… in God alone. I’m writing this reflection for one reason: to remind you that you are a beloved son, a beloved daughter of the God of the universe! Yup, it’s true. The God who is LOVE created you out of LOVE and constantly wants to be united in LOVE with you.
We’ve heard it a thousand times, we celebrate it each week at mass… and yet, if you’re anything like me, it’s one of the first things I forget when I’m weighed down by sin or have fallen into despair. I too easily forget that I am beloved, that Jesus came, died, and rose for me. The beauty of this mystery is far too great for my feeble mind to comprehend. Still, when I begin to contemplate this love, my soul is reawakened and my heart is filled with the impossible truth that I am TRULY loved by my creator, my savior, my comforter. So much so that He would do anything to be with me forever, even unto death.
What would happen if I let this truth of the Father’s love sink into the depths of my heart? How different would my life be if I lived each day in light of this love? For starters, I would not despair, I would not worry about the future, I would walk around with grace overflowing out of me to everyone I encounter! We all have good days and this may happen once in a while. But the reality is we are also sinners and fail constantly, which makes the Father’s love for us even more amazing.
There are no qualifications, checklists, or stipulations to His love. There is nothing you or I can do to earn or make God love us more. He already loves us completely, totally, faithfully. PERIOD. EXCLAMATION POINT! We are his beloved, even in the midst of our mess, Jesus came and made a way for us to be united to the Father. Not only did God love us at our creation, He is “in love” with us and wants nothing more than to be one with His beloved for eternity. And in the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist, we have the opportunity to be reconciled and reunited, body and soul with our Lord. That’s crazy amazing love right there.
So what is our response to this great truth? First, BELIEVE. If you struggle with truly believing that God’s unfathomable mercy and love for you are real – you’re not alone. This is where faith comes in. We must will ourselves to believe and ask for the grace to feel and know it in our hearts. Repeat this truth every day, multiple times a day, until it becomes a part of you. On our last young adult retreat, I wrote a reflection that the whole group did during adoration. It is written from the perspective of God speaking to each one of us. It’s a good meditation to take with you in prayer to remind you how much God really loves you. Find a quiet place, go to the adoration chapel, read slowly and let the truth of His love wash over you. Click here for full reflection. It only takes a few minutes!
Second, BE GRATEFUL. Respond to the love of God with a heart of gratitude. This is not easy when we are struggling or frustrated that life hasn’t turned out the way we once dreamed it would. But practicing gratitude changes our perspective; it reminds us that everything is a gift (even the hard stuff) and sheds light on the wonderful blessings that already exist in our lives. If you need help practicing gratitude, take a few minutes, calm your mind, and watch this video, it’s totally worth it!
Remember, you are loved, you are a gift, and you have a beautiful messy life. Let the Lord into your imperfections, ask for forgiveness, remember the miracle you are and respond to the God of love by giving him your all. It’s not easy, but nothing worth anything in this life comes easy. I think a bunch of famous people said that. 😉
We have come to believe in God’s love: in these words the Christian can express the fundamental decision of his life. Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction. -Pope Benedict XVI
Katie Sahm is the Associate Director of Young Adult and College Campus Ministry and belongs to St. Joan of Arc parish in Indy. Katie is dedicated to nurturing the spiritual and moral lives of young adults, especially women, and is founder of the St. Catherine of Alexandria Women’s House. She is also an artist and loves discovering God’s beauty in the arts and nature.