“It’s who I am”

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Franciscan Friars of the Atonement, Graymoor, at dusk.

Lately, i’ve been reflecting on that song by Chris Tomlin, “Good, good Father”. It’s a fairly popular song among Catholic and Christian circles right now. I first heard it at Catholic Underground in September, and it has been stalking me ever since. Since I’m doing a year of service, I see a spiritual director about once a month. And as we were talking about my past, and my struggle with a consistent prayer life, my love of this song came up. He asked me to reflect on this song and why it resonates with me.

As I’ve reflected, and listened, and prayed, I’ve realized something. And to be completely honest with you, I think it’s because I have a hard time truly believing the lyrics. But I’m a sucker for repetitive prayer, this is something else I have learned about myself from SD. It makes me actually think about what I’m praying (taize or praise and worship), or think about what I’m meditating on (the rosary). This song is very repetitive and that’s a big part of why I find myself wanting to sing it over and over again.

The chorus reads:

You’re a good, good father, it’s who you are, it’s who you are. And I am loved by you, it’s who I am, it’s who I am. God, you are perfect in all of your ways. Because you’re a good, good father.

Now you may be asking yourself, but Mary these are basic Christian principles. You know, God so loved us (John 3:16). Why is this hard for you to believe?

Well, dear reader. Think about how radical this Love is!

I had a wonderful experience at DDA, or Day by Day Agape, (a student led encounter retreat that CYFM runs). One of the things that I realized about my relationship with God is that I am often reluctant to accept God’s love and the love of others. Often enough. I’d rather remain closed off. I would rather be completely independent.

And I am loved by you. It’s who I am, it’s who i am. You’re a good good father.

But we are so loved by Him.

Often enough, I am reminded of how the world sees Love. And I begin to believe it. That I can’t be loved. That no one can truly love me that much. That love is based on merit. That it can’t be unconditional because we live in a broken world.

but He is Love, and this has become my prayer.

I recently finished reading Tattoos on the Heart by Fr. Gregory Boyle, SJ. In the last chapter he reflects on that song “O’ Holy Night”. Everyone has heard it. It’s a Christmas classic. Fr. Greg reflects on this phrase:

Long lay the world in sin and error pining
‘Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth

Fr. Greg talks a lot about how once the homies (the gang members he works with) realize their worth, they turn their lives around. Now, I won’t spoil the book for you, because you need to go out and read it because it’s incredible, but this part resonated with me. Just like the Chris Tomlin song.

He is love. He loves us with a perfect love. Even if it’s hard to comprehend in such a broken world. He appears and the soul feels its worth.

As we move to the end of the liturgical year, it is darker, and we become more aware of the new beginning that will be here this upcoming Sunday. Advent begins. It’s easy to commit to something for 30 days. So, will you commit to deepening your faith? I am. It’s kind of like homework because my SD will expect to talk about it in December when we meet. But, it’s good homework. And I’ll be sure to try because I’m being held accountable.

I’ve already started in a way. I’ve reflected on this song. I’ve read a wonderful spiritual book. And I’ve been trying to read the gospel of the day and do an examen with The Jesuit Prayer App, which I love. (It reminds me to pray twice a day!) It’s funny how God works because each day, the examen opens with this prayer:

God, I believe that at this moment I am in your presence and you are loving me.

And I am loved by you, it’s who I am, it’s who I am.

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