by Ken Rolheiser
God calls us from our unworthiness

“Bobby, you are my good boy. Come back here. We have so much to shop for yet. Come and help me get the rest of the groceries,” a mother calls to her child in the grocery store. He is following his heart and heading down the candy aisle.

A mother speaking to her errant child loves him in spite of his failings and inclinations. She cheerfully calls to the best inside his soul. He is just being his natural self.

We have an inclination to focus on our failings and sins. We see everyone else as normal while we are stuck with these weaknesses. “If only I could be as carefree as—,” we think to ourselves. “If only I was as good as—," we say. “If only I were as happy as—."

It struck me recently that everyone is imperfect. Only Jesus and Mary were free from the touch of sin. That may not be good news for us, but it is reassuring in our journey to perfection and heaven.

St Paul claimed to be foremost of sinners (1 Corinthians 15:9), and he had proof to the effect. His violent persecution of Christians was unparalleled. Yet Paul gives thanks from God’s calling him from the error of his ways.

The lives of other saints are reassuring as well. St Margaret Mary Alacoque offered her life to Mary after her recovery from serious illness through Mary’s intercession. Jesus himself visited St Margaret as she prayed before the Blessed Sacrament. Jesus told her his Sacred Heart is consumed with love for us, and for her in particular, though he called her “an abyss of unworthiness and ignorance.” 

God knows us in our lowliness and still calls us in love to follow him. We are his favored, each of us. Sin does not exclude us from his divine favour. Jesus came to offer his blood as a sacrifice for my sins and your sins. That sacrifice goes on every hour of every day in all the Masses being offered around the world. 

As a teacher I spent many years going to conventions listening to speakers. I know that in order for a speaker to change you, he or she has to touch the core of your belief system. Only then can real change result. 

Spiritually the same principle holds. The Holy Spirit has the power to touch the center of our beliefs, where we live, and bring about change. The word of God is how Jesus can touch our very being and transform us.

Daily scriptural reading and prayer is a good start to building a Christian life. As a teacher I had a goal to improve my craft a little each year. Then in twenty or thirty years I would be closer to being a Master Teacher. The same principle applies to our growth as Christians. 

 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11).

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-17).

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