I went to confession this evening finally and it was AWESOME!
For the first time in a long time, I examined my conscience. I started thinking about my sins on the drive to my parish, which I don’t recommend because I almost got in a wreck, and when I got there I used the notes app on my phone to start writing them up. I wanted to confess them all and get them out. After I finished, Father had some words of wisdom for me that were really good, they always are, and he gave me my penance. Then the greatest words ever said, the words of absolution. How merciful is God that He knew just how much we humans need to hear the words “I absolve you of your sins, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit”? He made us after all, so of course He knows just how much healing comes to the human heart when we hear those words.
Before I left the confessional, I asked Father a question. Fr. J ,the priest who had been with my since the beginning of my conversion, told me that St. Ignatius actually had two conversions. The first time he was very much in love with Jesus but he was really about how good he was and then he had another conversion where he got out of his own way to allow God to work in him. I asked Father Uche “How do I get out of my own way?” He told me to pray and ask God to help me and the Holy Spirit would convict me every single day about what is and what isn’t God’s work and when to get out-of-the-way when it is.
I left, said my penance and then drove home. That is when it hit me: being a saint has absolutely nothing to do with being better than anyone else at anything. It is about being better than my own self. Saints love God more than they love anything else and the work they do is all about doing it to love God. Kind of how I buy my husband zebra cakes because I love him, not to be a better wife than some other woman, but because I love HIM.
Mother Teresa didn’t live among the poorest of the poor because she wanted to be the greatest nun ever, she did it because in each person that she served, she saw a person that was loved by God and out of her love for HIM she didn’t want them to be hungry or alone.
That is the difference between saints and the rest of us. The rest of us have all these idols that we love and who’s love we work for; saints only love God and do everything from the moment they wake up to the moment they go to sleep to love Him.
It has nothing to do with judging others, nothing to do with awards and nothing to do with being recognized by anyone as “good”. It is all about knowing God, loving Him and knowing who we are because He loves us.
I’ve looked at this whole saint thing all wrong. I’ve worked so hard to be good. And I’ve been in my own way. I have thought about all the hard work that it is to be Catholic and how much all these sacrifices cost me. How I would rather take a nap or zone out on Facebook than cook dinner for my kids. How I want to sleep for an extra hour instead of getting up and cleaning my house. I have thought of me, me,me. I’ve also been pretty annoying in lamenting about how effing hard life is on me.
I have acted as if this life is a huge cross when the truth is that it is a gift from God and I’m just too busy worshiping myself to realize it.
The crazy thing is that Mother Teresa is my saint for the year. Elizabeth Scalia said to ask your saint to tell you what they know, and I think that Mother is answering me because never in five years has it never occurred to me that the woman did everything she did purely out of wanting to love God.
I don’t do that. I want to be right, forget loving God. I will tear someone up in a heartbeat in an argument because I have.to.be.right!
Talk about a 2×4 whack in the head. I am still thinking about it as I type. Any thoughts?