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A young Catholic’s insights on a deeper, more virtuous life.

“The only people who are never bored are lovers.” 

Friend,

Do you have any idea how insanely amazing you are?

Sometimes I am so unaware of what depths, what beauty, what goodness, what mysteries my body, my identity, and my life is capable of *heart eye emoji*

Right in my own body, and yours, lies the power of … anything.

For years my body felt like a dark cloud. I thought that all I am is a body. I was seen for was my image and all I needed to do to win the approval of others was to be a skinny-mini with nice hair and pretty eyes.

I also lived under the pressures of high school. Should I play a sport? Should I join the drama-club? Should I sing? I don’t even like singing.. aka I cannot sing… I have nothing to offer anywhere.

Lastly, I lived as if all of my worth was what others said about me, especially the boys who wanted to [and did] date me. I always became enamored with looking, seeing, and noticing some really awesome people in my life and the habits, language, and confidence they carried.  I was captivated by celebrities. Every time I saw models of masculinity and femininity that captivated me I wanted to possess the charisma they carried. I learned from others what is appropriate and worth modeling after.

Humanity, at it’s truest core, involves a tendency to attach to anything and get caught up in those things which we value and devote ourselves to. Sometimes I have to look back on my life, on what I filled my body with (thoughts, images, words, people) and laugh, learn, smack myself silly, and grow.  Everything I do, I choose, I participate in, I spend money on, is shaping me… making me. It’s all molding me into what I become. It is a gift of beauty back to the world. When you realize, deep within your heart and soul, that you have depth, you have beauty, words, expressions, and actions to uniquely show the world and to put on display all that God created through you, you radiate beauty. And some of us are afraid of that. 

We’re afraid because people have a lot to say about our actions, behaviors, and more. We are (unfortunately) in a generation where people like to compliment, but don’t actually mean it. We are afraid because it will always cost something to be true to truth (of ourselves and our reason). It will always hurt to awaken our souls and admit our darkness, and (gulp) let someone in to share all that with us. We would rather be admired, and we soak up the admiration so much that it guards all our authenticity into praise that eventually ends and we burn out.

The root of all this is to love, be loved, fall in love, have someone love us in return. We want to see, taste, touch, smell, and feel the love — which is ultimately God Himself — that this world hides in places we have to seek out or be surprised by. I mean, for Jesus to give and continue to give Himself in the Mass, the Eucharist, the sacraments is way too personal, too intimate to even wrap our heads around!

We even tremble at the thought of putting ourselves in pews on Sunday because the purity of sacredness is real. By avoiding Mass and prayer time we run from something that challenges us to be more of who we are.

His life and love IS breath that fulls our lungs and dwells in the songs we sing and shimmers in the sunsets and starry nights. His voice echoes and smashes our miseries and penetrates our hearts with words through scripture. It is all to heal, renew, love, and fill us with an everlasting truth that we are His and we are beloved by Him.

How mysterious and breathtaking it is that we participate in that through our bodies.

We fill our breath and lungs –even if it is just a droplet of grace — with the glory of God’s indescribable, incomprehensible goodness and in return radiate that in profound, UNREPEATABLE ways because you will never be repeated. Let me say that again, you will never be repeated. Own it.

When one person encounters the breath of God it does something. It shapes your perceptions, thoughts, your entire life.  You walk differently, speak differently, live differently. Reading the Bible is like teaching a dog new tricks. Everything in us, simply and somehow dramatically, begins to speak differently, to think differently, and to attune our ears to hear only the healing, meaningful words of God.  We can begin to filter out the rest of the lies, fears, and insecurities.

Ahh, humanity… it’s all about that deep, filling, imbuing love of God that seeks us out and which we choose to either let in and soak up like the rays of sun, or not.

Looking back on those dark and painful things I filled my head with, obsessed over, and was (admittedly) addicted to, I started to crash and burn because of their hold on me.  I felt empty inside. When I turn to Our Savior, to save me from the gripping hold of anything, I embrace His mercy and compassion that feels like it has never been felt before.

I thought Jesus would take the suffering away and finally give me a life of paradise, but He didn’t.  He did something different.  He filled me with His love. His presence, in me, through me, and with me, wrapped itself around me with such a sweet and tender love that nothing, nothing could be stronger than that love.

“Now to Him who is able to do more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the Church throughout all generations. Amen.” -Ephesians 3:20

Everything is art. You are art in motion. You are holy ground. You are precious. You are the masterpiece of God’s own hands that was chosen, from the dawn of the age, to be something incredibly amazing and beautiful.

To drown in love, His love, and the love of this life. Everything about you is beautiful, an exquisite and good piece of artwork. Even on the cross Jesus did not hide Himself. All was exposed, seen, and shown to the world, and anyone who can’t look at the crucifix without an ounce of love will have a hard time loving altogether.

So, stop apologizing for feeling (anything). Stop apologizing for “being weird” (what does that even mean?) Stop trying to please everyone.

Invite the Lord in, breathe Him in, let Him sanctify you, save you, inebriate you (yup), wash you clean, sustain you, strengthen you, defend you, and come through for you. We give ourselves up for others out of love and there is nothing loving about being less than you long to be. Shape your words to mean something. Shape you body for strength and energy. Wear clothes that express your beauty. Delight in beautiful things and people. Spend time with good company. Eat food that doesn’t make you feel lousy about  yourself. Train for that sport and see that even when you lose you are still growing and changing.

Our. Body’s. Are. Amazing. And it all starts in your heart.

Don’t underestimate the power, beauty, goodness, and love you carry right in your presence. You have the ability to walk into a room and radiate the atmosphere with joy, laughter, peace, compassion, humor, and encouragement. At the sight of your beauty, someone marvels and awakens. Someone gains hope. Someone has renewed spirits. This is what we carry in us, and the insecurities should run away at the realization of those things.

All of creation needs YOU to witness the presence of unique and unrepeatable beauty that bespeaks the Creator and His handiwork.

Fear will harm you. Perfection will kill you slowly, and hurts unhealed will eventually get to you. The unending mercy is the waterfall of Jesus’ life will be the quench of an everlasting thirst.

You are beautiful and good. You are holy ground.

Love,
Your friend who sees your beauty

 

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