Rosemary Agwuncha, Senior Anchor Intern
I’m currently taking a class titled: “The Meaning of Life”. A slightly overwhelming question to address for a 50 minute class that meets twice a week. No one ever has come up with a definitive answer, and I’m not sure if anyone ever will. Our life’s purpose will never seem perfectly straightforward. But I’ve been told an answer that comes pretty close: “To love and be loved is what we were created for.”
That’s a beautiful, poetic idea of how life is supposed to work. There’s one small issue though: People are so hard to love. Myself included.
No joke, my sister called me around 12:30 a.m. a couple of days ago. Fortunately, I was still awake doing homework, but I hesitantly answered the phone because I didn’t want to be interrupted. I eventually picked up and said, “What do you want?” She replies, “Dang, chill. I just wanted to see how your exam went.” Ouch. That gave me some serious guilt. Looking back on that, I realize how easy it is to take our loved ones for granted.
As relationships with friends and family evolve over time, I am growing more and more aware of how difficult it is to love others. But at the same time, I am also being reminded of the sacredness that lies within every single one of us because we are the Beloved of a merciful God.
The next day, I ran into a friend that I hadn’t seen in weeks. She asked how I was doing. I said, “I’m good. Just been busy and kinda tired, but doing fine”. She responded, “That’s nothing new though. I’ve never known you to not be tired. Tell me something new”. I was shook… to the core.
My constant busyness and the resulting tiredness had become inseparable from my identity. Things had really gotten that bad over these past couple of years and I didn’t even realize how serious of an issue it was. Friends have told me time and time again to slow down and live life, but I admitted to them that I find it hard to be still because I always want to be actively doing something. These are real life issues in the life of a Notre Dame student. My constant fatigue, feelings of overwhelm, and restlessness come from not living out the truth of my identity: One who is Beloved. One who is doused in mercy.
We often fall into the trap of believing that our worth comes from how much we can accomplish in a day, the score we get on an exam, the prestige of our job title, and the list goes on. But… none of that matters to God. It’s not that He doesn’t care, but God is just delighted in YOU as you are.
Wouldn’t it be an incredible and transformative thing if we were able to constantly live out of our true identity: Beloved and Forgiven? If in every moment, the way we regard others and ourselves was rooted in the love and the mercy of God that surrounds us? It’s like the air we breathe though, it constantly surrounds us so we often become desensitized to it and forget it’s there.
St. Paul knows we need this reminder, so he tells us in his letter to the Colossians that “as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience” (Col. 3:12).
Recognizing our Belovedness gives us a more correct way of seeing others and seeing ourselves. It would change so many of our actions to be more merciful and compassionate to ourselves and to others. We could then be much more authentic to who we were created to be and help others to do the same.
As we consider how we relate to others and to ourselves, I think this incredible quote from C.S. Lewis’ book, The Weight of Glory, can be helpful in giving us the perspective to understand how significant our every interaction with each person truly is.
“It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption… (like) in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree helping each other to one or the other of these destinations… There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.”- C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory
How much we recognize our Belovedness as well as share mercy and compassion with others is the true foundation of our spirituality. Recognizing Christ to be present in ourselves and in the other, leads us to respond in only one appropriate way: with love and joy. Acknowledging the glimpse of God standing before us when we look in the mirror or when we encounter another: this is the basis of our life as Christians. “Beloved, we are God’s children now…” so let’s collectively live into this truth (1 Jn 3:2).