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Friday, May 19, 2017

"You're Awesome!" And "Fearfully, Wonderfully Made"

I was reading my Magnificat before Mass this morning and it got me thinking about one of my little granddaughters. She loves to come up to people, look them in the eye with a big smile on her face, and say in a breathless, little voice..."You're AWESOME!" It's almost a family joke. We always smile and reply. "Oh, Josie, you are awesome too."

The reading that reminded me of this little sweetheart was a reflection on Magnificat's cover art, a bas relief by Donatello depicting Mary and Jesus in an intimate gaze of love, or, as the writer puts it, -- "Two gazes immersed in one another wherein each contemplates an original, unique mystery."

That, however, wasn't what made me think of my granddaughter. It was what the author wrote next:

If we could read the gaze of others we would have no need to search for a meaning to life. For, in the look of each person we can contemplate all the infinite beauty of their resemblance to God...To look one another straight in the eye is like, in an admirable exchange, beholding one another through the eyes of the Creator, who, at the dawn of creation, looked at the man and the woman, the fruit of his benevolent design, and pronounced it very good!
Wow! As I thought of the folks in the pews around me, I had a real sense of my failure to appreciate God's great gift of other people, each one unique and made in His image and likeness. How often I have failed to see it in my parish family -- to see how awesome each one really is.

Over there is a fellow who really annoys me by his officiousness and there's the chatterbox who comes in and starts visiting with her neighbor. Oh and there's so-and-so who once refused to do me a favor for what I considered a trivial reason. I carry around those memories of real and imagined hurts and let them pile up like dust on a mirror that hides the image of God in those around me.

Even those who are immersed in the worst sins were made in God's image. Perhaps if they are reminded of it by the way they are treated by Christians, they will remember. Mother Teresa used to talk about Jesus in disguise and what it means to be a contemplative in the world: 
“Seeking the face of God in everything, everyone, all the time, and his hand in every happening; This is what it means to be contemplative in the heart of the world. Seeing and adoring the presence of Jesus, especially in the lowly appearance of bread, and in the distressing disguise of the poor.
Josie, you're awesome!
The poorest of the poor are poor sinners. They may look prosperous and happy and without a care in the world. But they have forgotten their incredible dignity as children of the King and have traded their birthright for a bowl of soup: power, money, pleasure. No matter how rich or powerful, they are the poorest of the poor.

At Mass I prayed to look at everyone today as a child of God reflecting even if dimly the image of  God in whom they are made. I want to treat the poorest of the poor with the respect their being deserves even if their actions are worthy of condemnation. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could say, "If you only knew how awesome you are, you would come to your senses, repent, and return to the Father."

Thank you, Josie, for reminding me that every one of us is created in the image of our AWESOME God. And thank you, Magnificat, for your wonderful little prayer book. I recommend it to all my readers.

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, save souls!


  1. My parish priest has a frequent visitor who is mentally and somewhat physically handicapped. He can be loud and bothersome. But my priest looks at him always and says "here comes Jesus". I think that is so beautiful.
    God bless you and your family.

  2. Indeed it is beautiful. It reminds me to be a little less grouchy and impatient. I always try to go and take a nap when others annoy me because It is often when I am tired, even if it is in my locked car in the parking lot of a store where it is safe.