Fr. Nate Bostain

Dear Editors,

Life can be difficult, and we all have days when we wonder who we are, why we are here and if any of this matters. And when I have days like this, here is something that reminds me why I matter. Perhaps this insight might help you on days like this, and help remind you why you matter. And it starts with God:

God is not just outside of you as a detached and transcendent observer. God is within you, experiencing through you. The Holy Spirit dwells within each of us. We are members of Christ’s Body through which God acts in the world. In God, we live and move and exist (according to Acts 17), and all things are currently held together in God’s life (according to Colossians 1). So not only is God over us as Father and not only does God walk alongside us as Christ, but God also acts in and through us as Christ’s Spirit. And I think this is true for everyone because all things are from God and through God and to God so that nothing in all creation will be able to keep us separated from God’s Love (according to Romans 8 and 11).

That means that what we feel, God feels. What we experience, God experiences in us and through us. We are not alone. But even more than that, we offer God a unique and unrepeatable opportunity to unite our particular experiences with God’s universal presence. God cannot experience what it is like to be us abstractly and universally. We must exist, and be a particular manifestation of God’s Life in the world, for God to know what life is like as us, from our perspective. In no one else, in no other place and time, in no other personality or collection of memories and experiences, is God able to experience exactly what it is like to be me or you or us. We add depth and richness and beauty to God’s Life, even as God makes it possible for life and beauty to exist anywhere at all.

This also means that not only do you matter. All your neighbors matter too. The people you love, and the people you merely tolerate. The people you like, and the people you don’t like to be around at all. The people who adore you, and the people who despise you. God lives in each and every one of you. You have never met an “ordinary person.” Every person you have ever met is a vessel of God’s life, full of Divine potential to do amazing things, if they choose.

This is why we hear Jesus tell us things like “whoever welcomes you, welcomes me.” When we include and care for and encourage others, we are including and caring for and welcoming God’s life in others. And as we learn to realize how much other people matter to God and in God, we begin to understand how much we matter to God and in God. By loving our neighbors in healthy and life-giving ways, we learn to love ourselves in healthy and life-giving ways. Allowing God’s Love to flow through us benefits others, benefits God and benefits ourselves.

This ties into our December virtue of Service: Because when we serve others we serve God in them. Perhaps the ultimate revelation of this comes from Jesus when he tells us that “whatever we have done for the least of his brothers and sisters, we have done to him.” Anytime we share our time and talents and resources to lift others up, we are lifting everyone involved into the abundant life God desires for us all.

So, you matter. You matter to God. You matter to others. You matter in the unfolding history of the Universe. You would not be who you are without God living in you. God would not be the fullness of who God is without God working through you. The world would literally not be the same without you. This is part of why it is important for us, for God and for the whole universe, for each of us to realize that we are children or God and God lives in us. And because of that you are beautiful, you are valuable and you matter.

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