“If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world ablaze!” St. Catherine of Sienna
From an early age, I have always struggled with this concept of who I was to be.
When I was young and day dreaming, in my head I was transformed from a fat, glasses wearing teen no one wanted to date into a beauty queen who could also argue the law like Perry Mason. ( I think Megyn Kelly got that gig.)
When I won a California Newspaper Publishers Association Award for my paper early in my career, I should have been destined for more than a six-year gig on a local paper. Or so I tell myself looking back on my lack of courage to try for a fully realized career as a reporter.
When I was married, I was sure I was eventually supposed to lead some sort of “Please Don’t Eat The Daisies” kind of existence, where I was both the perfect mother who baked cookies every day and was the winner of a Nobel Prize for Literature on the side.
Whatever the “label” I have worn in life, I was always sure I was supposed to be more than I was, and constantly disappointed in myself that I wasn’t.
The same is true of my Christian life. No matter how many ministries I pour myself into, no matter what Christian counseling or teaching duties I take on, I always feel I was meant to be better than I turn out.
I am a gingerbread cookie whose form always seems to crumble when put to the ultimate tests.
Yet the Bible clearly tells me I am made in the image of God. If so, why have I not better reflected that in what I have tried to achieve?
Today’s First Reading is about the predicted downfall of the prince of Tyre, who had a haughty heart and said “A god am I.”
I think we all set ourselves up to be little “g” gods at times in our lives. As you can see from my preceding account, I certainly have. At least in my own mind.
But an “image” is a reflection of God, not God himself. It is not that we are supposed to be God, but that others see him in us.
What, precisely, does that mean?
Fr. Thomas Merton wrote: “To say that I am made in the image of God is to say that love is the reason for my existence, for God is love. Love is my true identity. Selflessness is my true self. Love is my true character. Love is my name.”
I still feel I am not all I was meant to be. I am not completely loving, not totally selfless. My character is still in formation. At 65 years old, I still wonder who it is I truly am. Who I am meant to be in this last phase of my life.
I have one name – Cheryle. It translates to “beloved.”
I still have work to do before I can be known as simply “love” itself.
Mary, Mother of God, pray for me.