Am I Worth It?

Published: 24th December, 2014

Am I worth it?

There is a cosmetics advert that ends with a line saying that I am. This probably means the product being advertised is quite expensive!

But seriously, am I worth it?

One of the great dangers we can fall into is to have a very negative attitude to ourselves and think we are of little or no value. This is not to say that we should be full of pride or throw our weight about but it does mean that we should be aware of what stuff we are made.

Pope Saint Leo the Great (AD c.400 - 461) wrote some wonderful homilies about Christmas. One of the most powerful things he said is that the true meaning of Christmas helps us to realise the wonder of what it is to be a human being.

We take our humanity for granted - after all we share it with billions of other people. But it is worth stopping and pondering what a tremendous thing it is to be human - with our capacity to love, to hope, to trust, to share, to feel compassion, to think and to give of ourselves for others. We can see these powers in the animal world but they are present in us to such a huge degree and what's more we recognise them in ourselves and in others.

The Collect for Mass during the Day for Christmas is very ancient and was probably written by Pope Leo:

O God, who wonderfully created the dignity of human nature and still more wonderfully restored it, grant, we pray, that we may share in the divinity of Christ, who humbled himself to share in our humanity. Who lives and reigns...
© ICEL 2011

We believe that the dignity of human nature is one of the wonders of creation. It is important to think about that when we look at the beauty of flowers and trees or when we gaze into starry skies. We are one of the great wonders of the world.

It is often at the moment a baby is born that this truth really hits us. A mother and father staring at their tiny child are filled with a rush of emotion which seems to rise out of a well-spring deep in their nature. At the same time it leads them to wonder at the amazing idea that this perfection of life should happen at all. Yet it happens every day as child after child is given to the human family.

At Christmas we see this daily wonder in a special way. The birth we celebrate on this day is something wondrous beyond wonder.

Saint Leo reminds us that God has become human in order to restore humanity. He is speaking of that other side of being human that at times can lead us into the dark.

Sadly even as we rejoice in the birth of another child we know that for every human being there will be not only laughter and love but also tears and rejection. We are all too familiar with the fact that we are not completely perfect and no matter how much we may try we will often make a mess of things.

But the birth of Jesus is our hope because God has come to 'restore' humanity. The coming of Jesus is really the centre of the long story of the human race because his whole purpose is to mend and heal us so that we can be truly happy and truly loving.

There is something even greater. This restoration that Jesus brings about is 'more' wonderful than the creation in the first place. It is summed up beautifully in the last line of the prayer where it asks that we may share in his divinity. The whole point of God becoming human is so that just as he shares our humanity we in our turn may come to share in his divinity.

You will have recognised the line. It is said silently at every Mass by the priest as he mixes water and wine in the chalice. Centuries ago the Church very deliberately took Pope Leo's words for Christmas and put them on the lips of the priest to be said every day.

It is in connection with what the wine is to become - Jesus Christ. We understand that in Mass we share in Jesus Christ and as we do this he shares with us his divine life.

And this takes us to the truth that is at the heart of it all.

Jesus is not just for Christmas - he is for always.

And he says, 'Yes, you are worth it'

A Happy and Holy Christmas

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Am I Worth It?

Published: 24th December, 2014

Am I worth it? There is a cosmetics advert that ends with a line saying that I am. This probably means the product being advertised is quite expens...

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