Date: December 20, 2021
By: Maria N.
“The glory of God is man fully alive."
One day, while looking at the above picture and quote, it surprised me how much I wanted to believe those bold words. I wanted them to apply to me, but I had to be real, I wasn’t feeling it.
It was winter, and as I was staring out my window, the more applicable circumstance was that I felt as dormant as the poplar trees in my yard.
But I desired more than anything, to know, and to experience that freedom the woman pictured above experienced. Was it possible to live fully alive? Or was it another platitude that you tape up on your wall?
I remember someone saying, “You know a person is living in freedom when you see how they are living the fruits of the Holy Spirit.”
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control...” (Gal 5:22-23).
So I did a self-check. Going down the list, I could tell you there were a lot of fruits lacking in my personal life at that time.
And that’s when it begun, my decision to be open to receive a deeper freedom from God. I can say that for myself, it meant starting to have a different mindset, since it was my thoughts that could sometimes paralyze me because of fear, worry, and anxiety.
Going in search for deeper freedom for me meant having to be honest with myself. Oh yes, I was the great pretender, I was pretending that I was doing well. I had to face the fact that there were past hurts in my life that I hadn’t addressed that needed to be recognized and needed healing. I needed to make room in the inn of my heart for Jesus to grow. I had kept avoiding this truth for years and it was leaving me exhausted.
My journey of healing began to take deep effect when I started therapy. It helped me face head on the pain and false conclusions that I had made about myself from those hurts.This helped me to find the root causes of why I felt this fear, worry, and anxiety. I discovered that one of the main causes was having a lack of self-worth.
This idea that we are worthy is a reality. It’s not wishful thinking. It’s what God says about us, that we are made in His image and therefore have dignity. Believing in His love and living in this mindset births freedom.
It was His love that set me free and continues to set me free. It was His truth that set me free. It was the uncovering of my fear and self-depreciation that set me free. I had to bring this into the light so He could heal it. In turn, He replaced these lies with truth. I had to realize that I needed saving from myself for me to be saved.
I know that I need saving everyday. I need to tap into the certitude and conviction that He loves me, that He finds me worthy, that I have dignity, and that I am His beloved daughter. I need this reminder everyday, several times a day.
Isn’t this what Advent is about? Making room for Christ to come in to the barn mess of our lives and humbly becoming the centre stage of our manger so He can speak truth into our hearts? Giving Him more of a home and resting place in our hearts? Allowing Him into the rooms of our heart that have been so cluttered and filled with hurt all while we’ve been telling Him we’re all good, our rooms in the inn are full. But thankfully He keeps knocking...
"O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel"
“Healing is an essential part . . . of Christianity...it expresses the entire content of our redemption.”(Pope Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth)
The thing is, I thought I was inconveniencing God by asking Him for healing, but the opposite is true! He desires our healing more than we desire it! He is in the business of healing. It seems so obvious now that I’ve reflected on it. But how many times did He heal people knowing that the Scribes and Pharisees were going to criticize Him and rebuke Him? But He healed the sick anyway.
“Freedom exists for the sake of love.”(St. John Paul II)
Another thing that affirmed my determination towards the path of freedom and healing is that I realized that I am not as present to the people around me if I myself am not present to myself. I can’t be intentional in my actions and decisions when I have a cloud of negativity hanging over my head.
“You can’t pour from an empty cup.”
Drawing from the font of living waters, that is, taking the time to gaze in Jesus' eyes, touching and resting on his heart, fills us. It fills our empty cup and consequently, this cup overflows and spills into how we see ourselves and how we love others.
What is not intuitive is that we can be more present to people and think less of ourselves after taking care of ourselves. Therefore, it is loving to take care of ourselves by drawing from the fountain of living waters, which is Jesus.
"Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses." (St. Paul VI, Evangelization in the Modern World)
If we want to be evangelists, if we want to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world, if we want to set the world on fire, we need to start with evangelizing and healing ourselves.
“The glory of God is man fully alive.” Healing ourselves by receiving Jesus like the simple manger in Bethlehem, and then in turn giving that love back to others is how we can give glory to God. Take courage to make the journey that God wants you to make. Be open to ask for help to the many people who Christ wants to work through to heal the areas of your heart which have ‘no room in the inn’. Allow Christ to heal you and open your heart to really welcome Him at Christmas, ‘fully alive’.
Helpful Healing Resources:
Restore the Glory Podcast
Being Human Podcast
Interior Freedom, by Fr. Jacques Philippe
Be Healed, by Bob Schuchts