Many of us feel inadequate in one way or another in this life. Perhaps in our professional work, family life or within our friend groups. My mother constantly reminded me that this type of thinking was not from God. When I close my eyes I can still hear her say “God loves you just the way you are…today.”
It is fitting then that at her funeral Mass last Thursday, Monsignor Tosti leaned over to my nephew Johnny, the youngest grandchild, during the procession of gifts and whispered “you bring the gift of yourself.” When 3 of the youngest grandchildren approached the gift table during Mass there were only 2 gifts, so Johnny (age 8) quietly folded his arms in prayer and approached the altar – as himself. What a beautiful gift to Nona. I can just see her beaming with pride from her heavenly home, gazing lovingly on her beloved Johnny as he confidently approached the altar of the Lord to honor the grandmother he adored.
Confidence like this comes from only one thing – LOVE. Little Johnny has been loved unconditionally by his parents, siblings and most importantly by his grandparents. He knows who he is in the eyes of God and feels very comfortable bringing the gift of himself anywhere – even at age 8.
Nona and Papa instilled this “confidence from love” in my siblings and me and we have tried (and still try) to instill it in our children. There is no greater gift than to know deep in your heart that you are loved as a son or daughter of God. Once we know that, Nona taught us that we can do anything, because with God, all things are possible. We can reach the highest mountains or deepest seas and attain whatever goals we set for ourselves. It all begins with love.
So be like little children and bring the gift of yourself to whatever life situation you find yourself in today. Nona would want that for you. She would want you to love yourself just as you are, right where you are – because that is where you will find peace and happiness – that is where you will find the face of God.