This post was originally shared on my Instagram account in August of 2019.
Have you ever been given a penance in confession that didn’t exactly have an end?
I’m not usually one to share publicly the details of confession or my penances, but this past Friday I was given a “never-ending penance.” I know that sounds a little crazy, but if taken seriously, it has the potential to be so impactful that I thought maybe it was something worth sharing.
I began by sharing some of the things I’ve been struggling the most with lately (that part I will keep to myself). We spoke for a few minutes, and then father asked me, “How much do you love yourself?” I’ll be honest with you just as I was with him. I’m embarrassed to say that I deeply struggle in this area; I told him that. After a few minutes of discussion father gave me my penance.
Are you ready for it?
Father told me to “Pray and ask God, ‘God, what is it about me that you love?’ every day until you no longer need to do it anymore.”
Yikes! Until I don’t “need” to do it anymore could literally be months, years, a lifetime…. Father then went on to explain that the way we treat others is a reflection of what we think of ourselves which also reflects our relationship with God. When we are able to recognize our goodness and beauty and see ourselves as God sees us we can then love ourselves like He does. And when we love ourselves as God loves us, we can love others better because we can see the goodness and beauty in them. It’s really hard to be “ugly” toward someone when we recognize our GOODNESS and see theirs as well. The recognition of God’s love for us and our inherent goodness spills over into all our relationships and interactions with others.
I absolutely needed to be reminded of this because I am majorly failing in the “loving others” department, and the root of that, is my lack of acceptance of God’s love for me. And, maybe I’m not the only one who needed to hear that.
“God, what is it about me that you love?”