Healthy Soul/Living Out Your Faith/My Life/Teen Life/Witness and Evangelization Be Who You Are: Sharing God’s Heart by Thomas Clements Something that I always enjoyed at the end of every school year was to receive my yearbook, look through the many pages of pictures, and have my friends sign their names and write notes like “H.A.G.S.,” “what a fun year,” or “I can’t believe we made it again!” One of my memorable notes occurred when I was much younger in which my friend thought it would be funny to write, “God made rivers, God made lakes, but when God made you, He made a mistake.” While it had a clever rhyming scheme and clear message, this poem could not be the furthest from the truth! I know it was just a joke and I did not believe this lie at that time, but unfortunately, I remember certain times in my life when I felt like I was a mistake. I thought I was a mistake, because I did not understand my identity, who I was meant to be. I thought my identity was what I could do with my hands, like in sports, on a stage, or on a test, and because I saw other people doing better than me in these areas, I thought I must not be good enough. It took me a while to finally understand that who I am is not what I can do. I learned to find my identity in God’s love for me and understand that He made me with a certain personality, different traits, qualities, and skills to reflect His heart to the World. I can reflect God to the world in a completely unique way that no one else can. Truthfully, every created person possesses a unique part of God’s heart that He wants the world to see, so trying to be like someone else is denying the world part of God’s heart. This truth has allowed me to better recognize how I can be God’s Heart for the World and how others can too, as God intended. Nature is Designed to Reflect God We see this beautiful intentionality of God, His desire to design and create with purpose, in the world around us as well. Every part of this incredible world in which we live is designed to reflect God to mankind. He is reflected to us when we look out to the booming waves of the ocean and see His power, or lie in a field of wildflowers and see (and smell) His beauty, we can look into the vastness of outer space and contemplate His infinitude (God’s pretty big), or study the rain forests and meditate on the richness and complexity of the very Life of God. Because God is so vast, there are many aspects of Himself that can be reflected. This is why we see such a diverse collection of created things in the world, to show off, in a sense, God’s very self. And among the many examples we can list, the best is found in the crown of God’s creation, humans. It’s actually quite incredible to look at the many differences we can find in one another. God has truly highlighted His creativity and ability through giving every human his or her own unique combination of specific qualities, features, temperaments, and abilities. On top of all of these, He made us each even more unique by adorning every single human person with a unique soul; each person has his or her own sole identity given to us by God. Humans Can Reflect God’s Heart in Love You are unrepeatable, unreplaceable, never before existing, and nothing like you will ever exist again. Sure, many people might share some of your qualities or can do similar things as you. However, no one can speak with your voice the thoughts and ideas that you have had and no one can love with your love. Keeping this in mind we can see that God made each and every one of us unique in our qualities, abilities, and personalities as well as giving each of us, on top of all that, a unique soul that can know, have it’s own memory and life, and has the amazing ability to love. In our design to reflect the Creator, we reflect His Love through our love. When we love one another as God loves us, with our own unique personalities that God has given us, we participate in God’s love for the world, by simply being who we were created to be. . . Our Individuality Makes Unique Aspects of God’s Heart Known In making us in the way He did, God’s hope for us is to discover and develop ourselves so that we can reflect the specific aspect of who He is that He created us to reflect — in this way, we can look at one another too as different windows with a beautiful view of God’s Amazing heart and His love for us. Truthfully, every person created possesses a part, a unique reflection of God’s heart that exists in no one else, so trying to be like someone else is denying the world part of God’s heart. Other people have been designed to make other parts of God’s Heart known to the world and if we are all trying to be like each other and not the way God made us, then the world is missing out on that unique expression of God’s love.. Set the World on Fire In the 1300’s, St. Catherine of Siena said, “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the World on fire.” If we are who we were made by God to be, then we will make His Heart known to the world and others will come to know more of who He is through us. We do this by seeking Him in prayer, staying close to His grace in the Church, and striving to live a virtuous life. No one is perfect. We must accept that we have faults, but we each have many positive qualities as well. To be who God made you to be means to accept your good qualities and talents together with your flaws and limitations. That is part of being human and to accept the person who God made you to be is to trust in His Beautiful plan for your life. God does not make mistakes and designed us the way we are for a reason. And so we know for certain that we have His blessing to be ourselves. In a way, we have been given a duty to be ourselves because God truly wants the world to know the aspect of His Heart that He created us to reflect. It takes courage to carry out this mission because it is pure vulnerability. We might hide our true selves because we are afraid of being rejected or made fun of. However, if we remember that God’s plan is at work in our lives and seek first to please Him, He will give us everything we need to overcome any rejection we might experience. Furthermore, being our true self might even allow those who are meant to be our real friends to find us. An amazing example of this is none other than the God made Flesh Himself, Jesus. All throughout the Gospels, Jesus is rejected by those He opens Himself up to. However, He never shies away from doing what He knows He is supposed to do or speaking what He is supposed to say. Jesus was who He was meant to be and look at the fire still blazing 2,000 years later that He left behind. Some might say, “Yeah, well He is God. Of course He can do that”. That is a good point but are we not meant to imitate our Lord? This is what many saints through the ages have done and they too, St. Catherine of Siena included, have left fires roaring. If we seek Jesus, trust in His loving plan for us, and remember that we have been perfectly created to glorify God in who we are, we will discover our true selves and share it with the world. If we do this and love like Him, we will find the peace that we have been looking for and a brighter world from our witness. God longs to share His heart with the world through you. Let Him. To enter more fully into the mystery of the Heart of God you can pray the Heart of God: A 28 Day Personal Retreat.