And tied to this idea, we must fully accept ourselves just as we are. Of course, this is not easy. We are a culture steeped in the "not enough". Most of us struggle with feelings of inadequacy, feeling that we are flawed, lamenting our defects and limitations, and wishing we were more gifted. But as Father Philippe points out, God's grace does not operate on our imaginings, ideals, or dreams. It works on reality, the specific, concrete elements of our lives. For only in the inglorious everyday of our lives can glory be found.
The person that God loves with so much tenderness is not the person that we'd have liked to be or ought to be. It's the person we are. God doesn't love "ideal persons" or "virtual beings." God loves actual, real people. And so all of our deprecating, envying, and lamenting is a sheer waste of time and energy — and it actually impedes the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
"What often blocks the action of God's grace in our lives is less our sins or failings, than it is our failure to accept our own weakness — all those rejections, conscious or not, of what we are really are or of our real situation. To "set grace free" in our lives, and paving the way for deep and spectacular changes, it sometimes would be enough to say simply "yes" — a "yes" inspired by trust in God to aspects of our lives we've been rejecting." - Jacque Philippe, Interior Freedom
These words came flying off the page this last summer as I spent time in solitude and silence. And I realized that there were parts of my life and even parts of myself that I was rejecting. Of course, there is so much I am longing for in my life, so much that I am hoping to grow into — but the simple truth is this. We can only transform reality if we accept it first. To receive the grace that will transform us, we must "receive" ourselves — and accept ourselves as we really are.
Accepting ourselves is much more difficult than it might seem. We have our pride, our fear of not being loved, our stories of wounding, and our conviction of how little we are worth. We are terrified to be found out, to fall, and to fail. These beliefs are deeply rooted in us, and yet they must be unmasked, not clung to. In consenting to be what we are, we accept ourselves in our poverty but also in our richness.
Only in the loving gaze of God can we fully and truly accept ourselves.
For it is in the mediation of another's eyes that we receive grace. It is here that I have received so much healing in my life as I hear these words that astound me every time, "You are my beloved in whom I am well pleased." [Matthew 3:17] "As a father or mother has compassion on their children, so I have compassion on you. For I know you inside and out. I know your frailty."[Psalm 103:13-14] "No more will anyone call you Rejected, and your life will no more be called Ruined. You'll be called My Delight, the one whom I commit to for a lifetime. [Isaiah 62:4] "You are precious. You are mine. You are honored and I love you." [Isaiah 43:4]
This week, may you hear these words spoken over you as you sit in the loving gaze of God. For it is the purest, truest, most tender, most loving, and hope-filled gaze. May you feel yourself loved so wholly and completely that you will receive the grace of accepting yourself — wholly and completely. And may this pave the way for deep and spectacular changes as you begin to simply say "yes" to the parts of your life and yourself you've been rejecting. And in doing so, may you "set grace free" in your life!
by Jessica Ketola