Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Becoming The Best Me

I have been reading 'Rediscover Catholicism', a fantastic book by Matthew Kelly (get a free copy here: Rediscover Catholicism). In this book, Matthew continually suggests that we become 'the best-version-of-' ourselves. While that is certainly a striking and memorable idea, it was made even more powerful for me because I had just read in Dave Stewart's book 'Why Trust Jesus?: An Honest Look at Doubts, Plans, Hurts, Desires, Gripes, Questions, and Pleasures', that we should strive to become the person God created us to be. And, again, both authors reflect and re-express the words and ideals of Saint Paul 'that you should put away the old self of your former way of life, corrupted through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth.'  Saint Paul's exhortation was reiterated by Saint Catherine of Siena, who stated 'Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.'

The call to renew ourselves to be the person God created is a recurrent theme among many saints and prominent Christian writers.  My understanding of these thoughts is as follows: God created us, in his image, to be a perfect person. We are to love God, and do his will to spread the good news of the Gospel. We are to live a life of holiness. However, because of Original Sin, we have become separated from God. And, the sin in our lives continually acts to distance us from God, pushing us to become what the world wants us to be. Our struggle in this life to to become again what God created. Simple, huh?

Becoming the person that God created is really the hardest part. The way I see it, to grow closer to God (again) requires constant prayer (as suggested by Saint Paul) and a constant effort on our parts. I find myself thinking (or at least trying to) during the day 'how can I become the person that God made me to be? Am I doing all that I can?' I think about possible interactions in the future, trying to visualize how best to get my ideas and thoughts across in a loving supportive manner, not showing condescension or impatience. I've taken to reflection on interactions I have had with others. Did I respond the best way? Or could I have been better, expressing more love. And, when I reflect on past interactions and realize my failures I (try at least) to pray to God, asking for forgiveness.

I know I have much more work to do to become the person that God created, and not the person the world expects. I am glad that authors such as Matthew and Dave have written their books in such a way as to reach me. I am happy for the saints who provide excellent examples of how to be holy and not worldly. I am happy that God, in his love, has provided these gifts and the gift of his only begotten Son, to act as guideposts for sinners like me. 

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