Have Confidence That You Are One of His Pearls
“'His words and His smile are not for everyone. To have heard His wonderful philosophy only once is to hold it in great respect. No, He does not speak frivolously about music or pearls. He has great respect for value and the beautiful things of the world. He has never mentioned jewelry and trinkets, which dazzle your eyes, but He does have the great power of knowing your most secret thoughts. People are His pearls and their thoughts His music. His great gift of knowing the human mind proves to me, without a doubt, that He is the Messiah. I think you had better meet Him; you may lose your soul if you refuse.'" - The Refugee from Heaven by Cora Evans
He does have the great power of knowing your most secret thoughts.
“Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew 6: 8b)
A few years ago, I was dusting the television stand after noticing a pile of dust gathering at the corners. Sighing heavily to myself, I briefly thought, “It would be nice to have some help cleaning the house now and then.” You see, my husband, Ben, and I were in the thick of taking our middle daughter, Sarah, to several surgeries the first three years of her life. She had six of them. So I had very little energy left to do regular chores like dusting.
As quickly as the thought came to my fore, I had forgotten it. Only days later, I was walking my dog, Lily, through our old neighborhood, and when I arrived back home I received a text message from a friend that read, “I was thinking about you yesterday, and I felt like the Lord wanted me to help you clean your house.”
Was this a coincidence? I have never believed in them. Every detail, even the minutiae, is known by our loving God. I knew instantly that He had taken that thought – a genuine need of mine – and touched the heart of my friend who was both able and willing to respond.
If ever you are inclined to doubt His love for you, remember the “coincidences” you’ve experienced when He has come through in such a way that communicates how precious you are in His eyes. It’s so much like how intimately we know our children. We caress their little fuzzy hairs, trace the lines of their noses and ears, kiss those chubby cheeks. They don’t know themselves like we know them, at least not as infants.
We are the babies cradled in God’s hands. He is the One who knows everything about us – every desire, longing, need – far more deeply than we are aware of it ourselves. So don’t hesitate to ask Him when you need something, because He already knows. But He waits for us to tell Him. He loves to hear our voice.
“God cannot inspire unrealizable desires.” ~St. Therese of Lisieux
I’ve told this story in one of my books, but when I was a very young girl – about age five or six – I remember a conversation I had with God in my bedroom one day after school. I was playing around with a little ceramic baby booty someone had given my parents when I was an infant. It traveled from my nursery to the “big girl room” I eventually transitioned to before kindergarten. Inside, I placed some of my dearest treasures: a Christmas tree necklace from my great-grandmother, a rare coin from my dad’s old collection, a few holy cards, and a Miraculous Medal.
Gazing at those holy items I cupped in my hand reminded me to speak to God – and listen – frequently. And in that particular conversation, I said, “God, I want to do great things for you when I grow up.” I wasn’t sure what that meant at the time, but I meant it wholeheartedly. Then, in the older grades of elementary school, I longed to become a writer, a published author of children’s books actually. It was a lofty dream, one that I didn’t relinquish with ease.
Eventually, that dream faded into oblivion when I “grew up” and entered college to become a counselor. But I never stopped writing. Every day, I took up my favorite pen and a clean sheet of paper in one of my many journals, and I’d write. I’d pour my heart out to God in the form of letters, poems, musings, essays, reflections. The dream remained latent, though I believed it was just a hobby.
Twenty years later, I am a published author. And I’ve always remembered the words of St. Therese the Little Flower, who somehow knew that God planted the seeds of our most sublime dreams. He was the One who gave me the desire to become a writer! And He fulfilled it – in His time.
When we look in retrospect at our lives, what dreams has God fulfilled for us? Perhaps you are in the midst of an unrealized yearning. If it tugs at your heart, even if it has not yet come to fruition, don’t give up. God is speaking to you in those nudges. Listen to Him. Be faithful to what He is asking of you now. Chances are, He is preparing you in unimaginable ways for the dream to surpass your wildest expectations.
People are His pearls and their thoughts His music.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.” (Matthew 13: 45-46)
It’s hard to imagine that every person is a pearl to God and that the thoughts of all resound as music to His ears. As I write this, our nation is in constant tumult from increasing racism, mass shootings related to terrorist attacks – or just bizarre, psychopathic rampages – and health care laws are changing about which persons deserve care and which do not.
For these people, and even myself at time, are my thoughts more cacophonous than harmonious? I’d like for my thoughts to be tender melodies that soothe His heart. But I have to admit, many days I am choosing to think very negatively about my kids or my current financial condition or whatever.
But we all want to be His pearl of great price, don’t we? Deep down, we all have an ache to be God’s cherished one. And we are. We don’t have to perform beautiful piano concertos. And we don’t have to be a glistening pearl fresh from the oyster. We are beloved, because He created us for some definite purpose. And He knows what that is, even if we don’t.
Believe you are that pearl. Know that He loves your thoughts, no matter how miserable they are. Perhaps over time you will become who you’ve meant to be all along.
“Even though he loves all people, he does not allow them to be easily certain or secure about his love.” ~Blessed Guerric of Igny
This quote seems directly contrary to the understanding that we can be certain of God’s love for us. It seems as if this means we cannot be sure if God really loves us at all. Instead, let’s look at it from the perspective of presumption. If we are always riding on God’s mercy, will we truly be cautious in avoiding sin? We might rationalize our behavior by saying, “God loves me, anyway.” This is true, but not entirely the point God wants to make in our lives.
It seems what Blessed Guerric means by this is that we have to be constantly aware of our tendencies toward sin. In light of this fact, we can then know that God loves us, but it doesn’t mean we give ourselves a pass every time we fail. We fall and pick ourselves up. We allow God to nurse our wounds. But we never forget that we are fallen by nature and need Him. We cannot survive without His love.
In addition to this, sometimes we don’t feel God’s affection for us. There are occasions when He chooses to hide particular emotions from us, usually to protect but also to prune. Don’t be alarmed if all you seem to notice are your shortcomings and faults. Do not doubt His love for you, but know that your insecurity in facing God is because He reflects truth back to us. And we cannot deny that we need Him for everything. So turn to Him, dear soul, all the more fervently. He will never forsake you.
I think you had better meet Him; you may lose your soul if you refuse.
“For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?” (Mark 8:35-36)
One of my closest friends from high school died of a drug overdose shortly after my husband and I were married. He had been dancing in the fire for far too long, and eventually he was burned. At one point in his young adult struggle with addiction, he attended a weekend retreat with my family. Nate and I were standing at the foot of a great hill that overlooked the retreat center, and at its base was a larger-than-life statue of the Blessed Mother.
It was night, and we were walking the Rosary path. At its completion, he stopped me, paused for a moment as he gazed upward at the night sky, and said, “Someday I want to become a priest.” At the time, he wasn’t Catholic, and in fact, he never converted before his death. But I think of this on occasion, because one of his favorite verses was the one about losing your life for God.
He lost his life to sin instead.
I have prayed for Nate’s soul, and I believe God’s mercy showered upon him. Even so, what of my soul? I am not an addict, but there are many cobwebs and shadows I try to hide from others. These are my struggles: the way I shout at my daughters when I am overwhelmed and exhausted; my selfish attitude about how our household money is spent; the sanctimonious air I present around people I have not forgiven.
We all must remember we are lost souls. Despite this, we belong to God and we turn to Him. Ask yourself if you are willing to lose everything you clutch in order to gain Heaven. It’s not just about renouncing your possessions. No, it’s far deeper than that. It’s about letting go of what you think you need to control, your sense that you are able to manage your sins without God’s grace.
When I think of this reality for myself, I want to run to Confession. It’s a good habit to counterbalance our concupiscence. Then, when we are faced with the mirror God presents us, we are strong enough to admit fault and make amends. That is what leads us closer to Heaven and further from losing our souls.
“His Sacred Heart will do everything for me if I let him. He shall will, he shall love, he shall desire for me and make up for all my faults.” ~St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
Here’s where the mirror God offers us also reflects the truth that He compensates for every mistake we make – by way of His grace and interminable generosity. As a mom, I go to bed at night and make a brief examen before falling asleep, and I usually am disappointed in the way I handled my day, beginning with my attitude and ending with the way I speak to my girls. There is immense guilt in being a parent, because I carry the uncertainty of whether or not I have gotten anything right at all. Plus, I bear the brunt of my own childhood baggage that I so desperately do not want to impart upon my own children.
Thus the war rages day after day within my heart. And I am battle weary most of the time. But the prayer I never forget to implore with determination is this: “God, please compensate for all that I lacked as a mom today.” And He does. I’m certain of it. It’s not presumption. It’s because I know He has given my husband and me these little souls to raise up for Heaven. He’s entrusted them to our care and protection.
And, in spite of the fact that I mess up beyond comprehension, His grace prevails. The grace of motherhood is bestowed on us when we become mothers. And it is given liberally throughout every harrowing moment of decision or indecision, throughout every argument, in the midst of our fear to let our children grow up and become adults, no longer extensions of us. Pray for this grace, as I do, that God will make up for your faults. And plunge yourself into His Sacred Heart. Every beat is for love of you.