What does it mean to love the world?
This morning I am preparing to talk to an RCIA class on Mary and the Saints. This is one of the many classes the group will go through on their journey to reception into the Catholic Church at Easter. This is the third year in a row that I was granted this privilege.
I consider it a privilege to introduce parts of our faith to people journeying towards being received into the Catholic Church.
I want to make sure that I help kindle the flame of faith already alive in their hearts. I want to show them the best parts of our faith. I want to help them continue to say: “Look what incredible things this faith has to offer us!”
Today, one of the most important messages I have for them is the first line I will offer from Thomas Merton: “To be a saint means to be myself.”
This is something I learned through my own in-depth study of my faith as an adult.
God doesn’t want me to be anything other than me.
And to be myself means that I need to love myself… and offer that uniquely created and deeply loved person to the world… just as she is.
As I prepare for class, I find myself focusing on these two lines from Mary Oliver as my purpose and reason today… whatever I offer, let it be in love.
The poem these lines come from is long. The whole poem is like a journey of self discovery – as Mary Oliver discovers and shares with others that the best way she can love the world is to show up as her fullest self.
Each of the saints both named and unnamed loved the world in the unique ways God created them too. They came to God broken, human, and imperfect. They came in all shapes and sizes, from all races and cultures, with abilities and disabilities, and they offered themselves in the fullest way they knew how.
And we are invited to do the same.
To love ourselves, exactly as we are.
And then forget it.
And love the world.
[For some wonderful and very human stories of the saints follow @mhunterkilmer or better yet get her saints books! I’ll be showing them to the RCIA class today for sure!]