Friday, July 24, 2009

Man's Worst Disease

The meditation below is taken from Fr. John Cioppa's In His Own Words.

Once in an interview with a reporter, Mother Teresa said that for all kinds of diseases there are medicines and cures. We have almost eradicated leprosy and we have medicines for TB and malaria.But there is one terrible disease she said which I don't think can ever be cured.That is the disease of being unwanted. Every human being wants to be loved. Not a cheap love, but a deep love, a love of being accepted for what I am. A baby who is not welcomed is often ill. A student who does not feel accepted will not learn. A worker who is not accepted by his colleagues will suffer ulcers. A Religious who is not accepted by her community will never be happy.

Acceptance means that people with whom I live give me a feeling of self-respect, a feeling that I am worthwhile, that I am good. They are happy that I am who I am. They don't demand that I be someone else. They don't insist that I be perfect. Each of us is born with many potentialities, but unless they are drawn out by the touch of acceptance, they will remain dormant. Acceptance does not mean that I deny the defects in someone or say that everything he does is beautiful. Only when I accept a person can I really see his defects. People who are not accepted crave , long for it and will do anything to get it. They boast in order to get praise. They exaggerate because they feel inferior and they tend to be rigid and afraid to risk... If I don't experience trust: being trusted and trusting others, my life becomes empty.

I am sure we have all experienced this lack of acceptance at times in our lives. Is there an answer to all of this? There is. And this is going to sound simplistic . But it is a genuine realization that I am accepted by Godㅡas I amㅡ as I am at this very moment and not as I should be. God doesn't demand that we be perfect before He loves us. He doesn't even demand that we be good. He just asks that we trust Him believe in Him, and accept His love.

Many of us spend our whole lives doing many things to build up merit so God will love us more. We believe that the more "I do" the more God will love me. We cannot earn love. Love is a gift from God. We cannot do anything to make God love me. He loves us already and He cannot love us any more because His love is perfect. "In this love, not that we loved God but that He loved us.... We love God because He first loved us." (1 Jn. 4:10) It is hard to believe but God knows my name. In the book of Isaiah God says: "See I have branded you on the palms of my hands." (Is 48:1216) Imagine that! God can never look at His hand without seeing my name and thinking of me. How many times have we said the words, "God loves me". But for most of us deep down in our hearts we have some questions. Does He really love me with no strings attached? Just as I am? With all of my faults? Let me answer. Yes, He does and most of us will spend the rest of our lives trying to understand and open our hearts to accept that love. It is called Faith.

At the end of the interview with Mother Teresa, the reporter said, "Now I understand why you gave up everything to work with the poor hoping that through your care , concern and love they might realize that they are loved, accepted and beautiful people."

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