Good afternoon from Smota (Saint Mary of the Angels).

Last night Séamus and I went into Soho and enjoyed a very nice evening. A friend invited us and we even got free entry to a club where we watched a show.

The show consisted of quite a few acts which were a curious mixture between gymnastics and stripping and whatever about the moral aspects, some of the talent was amazing and everyone there is just as much a child of God and loved by Jesus as you or I.

Watching the girls perform and twist and turn gave me a new love and awe for the beauty of the human body and the gift of life. We truly are magnificently made and life itself is an amazing gift despite its challenges.

Anyway today someone asked me for prayer as they were having a bit of a down day and what came up was how wounded that person felt from growing up catholic.

With an over emphasis on sin and evil this person felt utterly condemned by God.

It’s true that many Catholics act like this. If they do something good they take no credit for it and say it was Jesus while if they do something bad they take full responsibility for it and almost make themselves out to be the devil!

Humility then becomes a competition of who is the most evil and as a priest recalled jokingly, once an old irish lady said to him

“I father will be the last of God’s children to enter the kingdom of heaven!!”

With such a lack of trust and utter exaggeration of her sins perhaps she will be!

Growing up as Catholics we do hear a lot of negativity. We are constantly trained how to put ourselves down.

From being a sinner to being nothing to being a vile worm in comparison to God’s beauty, the focus is so often on the negative.

And of course all these things are half true! We are all sinners, we are all nothings, we are all like vile worms in comparison to God’s majesty but that’s only half the story…

We are also infinitely loved children of God and this is our root identity.

Yes through our brokenness at times we can do bad things but this doesn’t make us inherently bad.

Yes we are nothing in the sense that God keeps us in existence but the fact is that He does and that we are extremely special to Him.

And yes, if we compare ourselves to God’s majesty then we may be like little worms but worms can be beautiful too right?!

And so today as we are called to be apostles of love, we most urgently need to know who we are and how much we are loved.

Through sheer gift we are beautiful and magnificent creatures made in God’s image and likeness and knowing and being convinced of this in our hearts is what makes us true catholics!

So next time you hear someone putting themselves down in the name of humility, remind them of who they are and teach them to thank and praise God for the gift of their lives and gifts while ever trusting in His mercy for their faults.

Thanks for reading you beautiful and splendid being who is the apple of God’s eye and may He bless us all with the graces to feel it, experience it, believe it and know it!

Michael