Over fall break, I had a realization of faith as I sat in the pew at my grandmother’s church, thinking about the upsetting events that had occurred in my life that morning. A fight had erupted and a friendship to someone that I really cared about was severed, all happening just a few hours before my plans for the evening began. I spent my day in tears, confiding in some of my closest friends, but I was still unsettled, confused, and anxious. I felt like the worst version myself after everything was over. However, as I sat in that pew listening to the words of the priest, something dawned on me. It seemed that every time something went significantly wrong in my life, the homily always related to how I was feeling. It was like God was there, trying to give me hope in what seemed to be a hopeless situation. This homily told me how life sometimes causes a person’s heart to harden and how we must learn to love ourselves before we can truly love others.
Look closely at today’s second reading and you will see the connection I made with this situation. In this Letter to the Hebrews, we are addressed and called to understand that God’s word is “living and effective.” It fills all of us, our entire being, our hurting souls, and our broken hearts. We cannot hide ourselves from God, though we may be confronted by others for running away from our problems and hiding in fear of ourselves. As much as I shy away from others and as much as I detour around my obstacles, God always finds me. He catches me even if I am out in the openness of confidence or cowering in a corner of self-pity. None of us are perfect people and we all make mistakes. God is there to help us through our struggles and our faults, so we can find ourselves and become who He wants us to be.
You may think that God’s word just comes from the Bible. But we are wrong to believe that. God’s word is shown through our experiences and downfalls, what we learn from them, and how we share it with the world. God wants us to use our mistakes, not only to fix ourselves, but to teach and better others through them. He wants us to take our disabilities, our struggles, and our emotions and embrace them. It may be hard to accept yourself as you are, but never let that come between you and your faith. Through that young priest at Saturday night mass in Wilmington, God helped me realize my heart was hardening and that I needed to find peace within myself. Your struggles, failures, ups, and downs are your most valuable possessions and that value is meant to be shared with others. This is truly God’s word.