A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Suddenly Seeing

Posted on: February 12, 2015

Last night, as I prepared dinner, I couldn’t believe the allergy warnings on a couple of packages. Buyer, beware: the peanut satay sauce may contain peanuts and the pork and shrimp dumplings may contain shrimp. Yes, really.

Sometimes things are so obvious they don’t need to be pointed out. But sometimes we need a gentle reminder.

I’ve been reading Epiphany: True Stories of Sudden Insight to Inspire, Encourage, and Transform by Elise Ballard. Among the interviews of famous and not-so-famous people, Ms. Ballard includes the story of Maya Angelou.

Ms. Angelou, at the time in her twenties and taking voice lessons, was asked to read out loud. Several times, her teacher asked her to read this line: “God loves me.” And the fact that it was the truth suddenly sank in. Her story ends with these words:

I could weep with joy at the knowledge that I am loved by Love itself.

embroidered card

One of my Great-Nanny’s embroidered cards from WWI

How many people know that God is love and that he loves us but don’t know it deep in their hearts? How many people feel unworthy of God’s love because of the things they’ve done or are afraid to trust in God because of hurt they’ve suffered in relationships? How do we help them to see?

We can be with them where they are and just listen.

We can invite them to come with us to parish events and Mass—whether they’d be visiting our parish for the first time, or for the first time in many years—so that they can learn more about God’s great and merciful love for all people, whoever they are and whatever they’ve done.

We can remind them that the Bible tells us of God’s love for us in many places, such as 1 John 4*:

Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God; for God is love. (v. 7)

God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. (v. 16b)

And we can pray that God would fill their hearts with the knowledge of his love.

As Valentine’s Day approaches, may we know—really know—that God is love and loves us.

Nothing is sweeter than love; nothing stronger, nothing higher, nothing more generous, nothing more pleasant, nothing fuller or better in heaven or earth: for love proceeds from God, and cannot rest but in God, above all things created.

~ St. Thérèse of Lisieux, quoted in “Celebrate February 2015,” Catholic Digest, January/February 2015

(*Scripture quotes taken from the Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition.)





Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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