(The following is a journal entry I wrote to my own kids – who won’t read it now, but who will at some point need to hear what I want to say today.)

I pray that by the time you read this, you finally “get it.”

Countless times you’ve rolled your eyes at me when I tell you how beautiful you are, how special you are, and how God has designed you so perfectly.

To my eldest, you once asked me, “When are you gonna stop telling us all how beautiful we are?”

I pray that my response is etched in your memory, “Until you believe it… and then I’ll just remind you.”

And why, you may ask, is this constant reminder of your beauty and dignity so necessary? Has your old man just lost it? Is senility finally catching up to my premature gray hair?

No, not senile yet. I’m afraid I just understand all to well what you seem not to fully comprehend yet… namely:

You are incredible.

You are special.

You are beautiful.

You are a gift from God.

You are made for more than this world can comprehend or appreciate.

You are made for more than you are ready to admit or accept.

You are made for greatness.

You are not just my child, you are His child.

Don’t believe me? The Sacraments prove it. You have the life and power of God inside of you. It is true and real and undeniable. Deal with it. So don’t play small. False humility is true pride. True humility, however, is the very power of God unleashed on a world desperately in need of it.

Yes, as you grow up, many of your friends will reject truth. You can’t control that. They will make bad decisions, especially with their bodies, and blame the “moment” or drunkenness or “freedom.” All are lies to make themselves feel better. They will sacrifice their bodies and dignity on altars of conformity and public opinion. Don’t be like them. Pray for them. Love them – but don’t emulate them. They are seeking a love that you already have and know – a love from the Father. Exemplify that love by the way that you love and respect yourself.

God is within you.

Know, too, that people seeking “freedom” through sex is not a new concept. It’s ancient in both its origin and its shortsightedness. For thousands of years people have been seeking a forever love in a “for now” relationship and it just doesn’t work.

People (your Dad included) love to quote St. Paul’s famous verse “your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:19) but, rarely, do they understand exactly what he meant by it. Never forget that Corinth was a city of absolute degradation where women were treated as sexual objects by men who knew and cared little about them (kind of like our culture today).

Corinth’s main export was not fabric, or food, or weapons… Corinth’s primary trade was sex. There was a huge temple dedicated to the Greek goddess of fertility and the town was filled with temple prostitutes. Men went to Corinth for a moral holiday; women were used by boys in men’s bodies. It still happens today, sadly. It’s what allows and permeates our pornographic culture.

Now, picture St. Paul saying “your body is a temple” while he is standing on the steps of the pagan temple, looking into the eyes of prostitutes and the men who sought them. He’s saying, “Don’t roll your eyes at me. Don’t you get it?!? YOU are the temple of the Holy Spirit… not this pile of bricks!”

I know, I know… there goes Dad, again, quoting Scripture and tying to make your life miserable. Or is it something more than that? Is it, perhaps, that your Dad sees a beauty and dignity and worth in you that you don’t yet see in yourself?

Is it possible that your Dad isn’t just trying to keep you safe but to help you to know and trust in the ONLY love that will never abandon you, betray you, or let you down?

The truth is that you are a temple of the Holy Spirit. You are grace incarnate. You are a walking tabernacle. You are more beautiful (inside and out) than you will ever know, fear to believe, or be willing to imagine.

I believe in you. I love you. I pray for you, daily, and I know that God rejoices when He looks at you. Go ahead, roll your eyes again, but I’m not going to stop saying it. I may be long gone by the time you realize what I’m saying but I pray I’m not.

God has huge plans for you – and before you can fulfill one of them, you have to believe that you were made for greatness. I do. He does. Now, we’re just waiting on you.

Remember these words: I love you… now deal with it.

About the Author

Mark Hart

My childhood plan was to be a jedi. My teenage plan was to be on Saturday Night Live. God's plan was to have me in ministry. God won - and I'm glad He did.

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