Chill, breathe, and open your heart. Here we go,
Recall that infamous scene in cinematic history where the girl is asked out by her crush and in order to prepare for the date she frantically runs around worrying and agonizing about how she will make the date “p e r f e c t.”
She can’t decide on an outfit, her hairstyle, and she becomes so giddy, nervous, and on-edge that she can’t seem to soak in the reality or the moment. The worst part is when her date finally comes to the door and we watch how for the entire night she can’t even enjoy herself because she’s trying too hard to be perfect. This disorientated perception of reality, exciting and disheartening as it can be, stops her from enjoying time with her guy because she’s too focused on making sure every thing is, as mentioned, perfect.
At the end of the night she finds herself in a safe place, face to face with this “dreamboat” of a guy babbling and exploding on him asking if he had the best night of his life. All he wants to do is adore her and soak in their time together but she keeps blabbing that gibberish. To shut her up, he smiles, leans in, and kisses her to show his affection, and, well, in the most respectable way, to shut her up.
In the spiritual life, prayer seems disoriented by an inability to “take a chill pill” (similar to this girl from this popular movie scene). I know I find myself trying to frantically rush around, day by day, to make sure I’m perfecting myself for the Lord wondering if He’s enjoying my efforts.
“Hey, Lord, did you see that, huh? How about I get time off in purgatory for that, eh?”
And while our striving is an ideal to work for — to better ourselves and practice virtue– there is an essential truth about why we are even striving in the first place; to attain union with God.
God, like the “dreamboat” in the scene I described, doesn’t want us to exhaust ourselves to win His heart. By being born and living in His kingdom already won His heart because He knew us before we existed. Even when we sin, we are special in His sight. He wants us to firstly be an exchange of love with Him, before we do anything for Him.
“As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.” Isaiah 62:5
God will “shut us up” with a gentle kiss in order to remind us to be still so He can just be and we can embrace and contemplate that. I once read, “If Religion is man’s search for God, Christianity then, is God’s search for man.” When we have an immense desire for holiness and strive in all that we can to achieve it, we tire ourselves out if we forget to let divine love penetrate our hearts and be the force of all actions.
Our nature is incapable of going where we want it to if we are not being drawn out by His love. There is power, refreshment, unity, and motivation in letting ourselves be loved — loved by Love Himself.
“True humanism consists in the fact that man, through a life of fidelity to the one God, comes to experience himself as loved by God and discovers joy in truth and in righteousness.” -Pope Benedict
Holiness, then, is not firstly doing anything but simply letting it “be done unto you.” that is, being loved. Jesus didn’t come to be served, but to serve, and that means YOU.
Those people you see who are holy and “love God” didn’t inherit some special gene, they received the love God offered. Even sin is not this idea that we are ‘doing something wrong/immoral’ it’s breaking relationship with God. Seeking an avenue of love that wasn’t Him or His plan. Every sin permeates our ability to initiate and receive exchanges of love with God our father.
“Holiness is measured according to the ‘great mystery’ in which the bride [you] responds with the gift of love to the gift of the bridegroom [Jesus].” (CCC 773).
Our Lord won’t impose His love on you, for nothing imposed can be loving, but like the guy does to the girl, He asks us to spend some time together. He awaits our choice to choose to partake and accept His offer. He’s awaited through the ages, from His blood-bath of a sacrifice on that cross, and lies with open arms for you. He proposed Himself to you in that moment, with unspeakable love. All that is left is how we accept or deny that proposal in our life.
Talk to God today.