I recently asked my followers on Instagram to message me about what topics they wanted me to write about. I received a lot of great ideas but one response in particular struck a chord with me:
“How do you pray when you don’t feel worthy enough?”
My stomach dropped. I felt this pang in my heart as I read that. I am tearing up as I write this because I have been there. There was no way I couldn’t address that question. My heart aches that you even had to ask that. That you have felt unworthy of Him, of Christ. Let me tell you something, none of us are worthy, but His grace covers us regardless. He does not desire our perfection, He desires our love. If we had to earn it, we would all fail miserably, every day. I know I would. Look, here is the very vulnerable truth, I struggle. I fail. Often. I don’t like to admit it, but I struggle with confession. It has been longer than I want to say since I have been. I fully believe in its necessity and its redemptive power, but I still struggle with it. I curse more than I should. I have had one too many glasses of wine. I have missed Mass many times, justifying my absence using unimportant excuses. I struggle with pride, vanity, envy you name it.
When I had to go to my first reconciliation, I cried. I don’t mean one glistening tear on the cheek, I mean sobbing unconsolably. I was terrified. I had a lifetime of sins that I had to relive. Let me tell you something, I was not exactly a poster child for living a holy life as a teenager (understatement of the century). I had rejected Christ and I did what I wanted, not really caring about the consequences. It was a part of my life that I had stuffed into a small dark corner and tried to forget. I tried to pretend those years never happened – well now I was forced to relive them, to bring all of it to Him. Want to talk about not feeling worthy? I get it. Oh man, do I get it. I felt so unworthy, I could barely speak through my sobs. Can I also tell you how silly I felt and how humbling it was after I left that confessional and there was a line of about 15 people who got to witness my extremely puffy bloodshot eyes and mascara ran face? Despite my embarrassing blubbering, it came with a profound moment… there is literally no sin too great, no imperfection too vast, no wound too deep that you become out of reach of His love or His mercy. It is impossible. If there were two things I hope you walk away from this understanding, they would be these:
First, let me be really clear, you are so entirely valued and so immensely loved – more than you could even comprehend. That’s the truth. It is beyond our comprehension. You have never loved anyone or anything the way that Christ loves you. We see glimpses of it, reflections of it, but you cannot imagine the all-encompassing selfless, unconditional, redeemable love that Christ has for you. Every. Single. Person. on this planet has a value worth more than the sum of all the wealth contained on this earth – including you. Every. Single. Person. Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Atheist, etc. I don’t care who are, where you live, or what you believe. You are valued. You are worth it. If someone hasn’t told you that – I am so deeply and profoundly sorry. You deserve more so much more than that.
Second, there is nothing you can do that can make you unworthy of that love. There is absolutely nothing you can do to diminish your value. Nope, NOTHING. Your worth is not contingent on you have or have not done. There is also nothing you can do to earn it. It is freely given. Without caveats, without fine print, without conditions. It is wholly and freely given and has been given since before you were even born. The price for that love was paid long ago. Your worth is inherent in who you were created to be – perfectly made in His image. Never, ever doubt that. If you ever doubt your worth – you message me. It took me a long to understand my value, my immeasurable worth found in Christ. Sometimes we need people to help remind of us that and if you needed that – well, here is that reminder.
“Things have a price and can be for sale, but people have a dignity that is priceless and worth far more than things.” – Pope Francis