Our guest blogger today is Jeremy Harrington, OFM. He coauthors the popular, free e-newsletter A Friar’s E-spirations. To subscribe, click here.
I hate to see people suffer because they worry about the wrong things and misread what God thinks of them. They feel guilty for past sins—sins for which they have been forgiven. They worry that a fleeting emotion, an uninvited feeling, or a persistent temptation is a sin. They demand of themselves inhuman perfection. All these worries keep them from feeling the warmth of God’s love.
With God’s help, we face up to our sins and weaknesses, beg pardon for them, and never forget that we are “beloved beyond all measure.” As St. Francis of Assisi said, “I am what I am in God’s sight. Nothing more, nothing less.” What he’s saying is this: I am a sinner, but a forgiven sinner. I am a work-in-progress. God, in both patience and love, is still helping me to be more like his Son.
Franciscan theologian Michael Guinan asks the crucial question: “What does it mean to be human before God?” He finds two answers in Scripture. One, “To be human is to be a weak, fallen creature prone to sin and death. We cry out to God and God enters our world to save us. . . . As true as this answer is,” Father Guinan notes, “in itself it is inadequate.”
He calls the second answer the blessing tradition: “To be human is also to be created by God, to be God’s image entrusted with responsibility to share in God’s dominion over creation. We have not only been saved by God, we have also been blessed by God.”
Van Breemen follows the blessing tradition in reminding us “to see ourselves as God sees us—beloved beyond all measure.” St. Paul says “the love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit.” He adds, “where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more.” We are coworkers, co-heirs, daughters and sons of God.
Do you find it easy to “see yourself as God sees you—beloved beyond all measure”? I welcome your reflections or comments. Peace!