"As proof that you are sons [and daughters] God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son then also an heir, through God.” – Gal 4:6-7
People in Western world name this day as the first in the New Year: 1.1.11. Today, the Catholic Church celebrates one of its oldest traditions since the third century: the naming of Mary as “Mother of God.” Historically, the name given to Mary — the mother of Jesus — is in the Greek form Theotokos, or God-bearer. This name not only affirms who Mary is; it confirms who Jesus is, as God-with-us; it also attests to who we are: as children of God, as heirs of God.
It is easy to say that we are children of God, even as easy to proclaim it with our lips. But to believe this within our hearts, that is a challenge for a lifetime.
It occurs to me that an inception takes place in everyone’s life. As in the movie Inception, this simple idea can transform a person’s life. If planted deep enough within a person’s consciousness, it will change everything. The simple idea is this: God loves you as you are, personally, uniquely, without condition, without limit. Moreover, you are God’s Beloved, no buts and ifs. When we believe this and embrace it, our lives will be changed. For the past 25 years, this simple idea is taking deeper root within me – this inception through the Holy Spirit.
To be honest, I cannot say that most of my waking moments, or even everyday that I live out of this awareness. But I can say that it is happening more, through most days, and more and more moments of my life. I can tell the difference when it happens: I am more patient with the negative feelings that flow through me (anger, lust, jealousy…); I am more compassionate (willing to suffer-with) others and desire to live in greater solidarity (standing-with); I can laugh at myself more and give others the benefit of the doubt; I react less, respond more; I am less selfish and willful and more self-giving and willing to be lead; I put less pressure on myself and place more trust in God; I identify more with Mary’s “yes” in gratitude even though I do not know the “how” in uncertainty.
This inception to become God’s beloved takes a long time. Yet, the journey of a thousand leagues begins with one step. I find a joyful and hope-filled freshness to live this way, this first day of the year.
It is strange: when we take the risk to believe ourselves as God’s Beloved, we become like Mary, Theotokos, God-bearer.
Let us begin this first day of the New Year asking for this grace & embracing this gift:
“Lord, help me, this day, to trust that I am your Beloved. Help me to trust that you-are-with-me, especially in difficult moments today.”