“God Loves You.” How many times have you seen this written on T-shirts, bumper stickers or billboards? It’s more that just a happy thought or cute little saying. It’s the Truth – and what a powerful Truth it is. I’m pretty sure I’ve quoted St. Augustine on this subject before, but it does bear repeating : “God loves each one of us, as though there were only one of us.” The moment that I really came to know this truth and accept it humbly, things began to really change for me.
I used to have terrible self-esteem. As many humans do, I picked myself apart – sometimes mercilessly. This is not how God views us. In fact, God said the prophet Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.” Think about that – God knew you before He created you. He brought you into being in your mother’s womb out of love. He paid the ultimate price to give you the gift of eternity with Him – He died for you. Isn’t that what we dream of – to find someone who loves us so much that he/she would die to protect us. That’s what we have in God, our loving Father, and in Jesus, His Son.
Several years ago, I was sitting in St. Patrick’s Church on Camp Street in New Orleans. Our beloved old priest, Monsignor John Reynolds, was saying the mass. His health had been in steady decline for months, and he was often in great pain. On this particular Sunday, during the homily, he forgot what he had prepared to say. He paused briefly trying to reconstruct his thoughts, but the pain would not allow him to do so. He began speaking, then lost the words once again. With a tear rolling down his cheek, this once vigorous man, hunched over the altar, bracing himself. He said, “What I’m trying to say is,” God Loves You.” “GOD LOVES YOU,” he said again with such passion that I believed him. That memory remains burned in my mind. It sparked a fire in my soul. I didn’t realize it at the time, but his words and the way he conveyed them set me on a spiritual journey, that I continue today.
I wish that I could replay that special memory of mine for you on a big screen. Maybe if you could see Fr. John’s sincerity, his desperation to get the message across, then you would believe it too – deep down in your heart. Proceed today with the knowledge that You are cherished by Your Heavenly Father. He loves you completely, purely – faults and all. He created you to know, to love and to serve Him in this life so that you may be happy with Him for all eternity! (Catechism of the Catholic Church ) Now, let that thought bring a giant smile to your face!