"To those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man's decision but of God." from John 1:1-18
As a child, when I'd become upset with my parents over some perceived injustice meted out to me, I'd often yell out "Well, I didn't ask to be born!" In their wisdom (and probably because they might had heard this same retort many times by my eight older brothers and sisters) they usually met my smart alecky words with silence.
Thinking now on those words meant to hurt my parents, I see that whether or not it was my choice or my parents choice that my life began, none of that matters, because I am of God. He gave me the power to be His child.
In my youth I couldn't see that I was living at St. Bernard's First Degree of Love-love of self for self's sake. I foolishly thought that I was the center of the universe-that whether or not I lived and what choices I was given in life were all of my doing and/or based upon my particular lot in life, such as who my family members happened to be.
How often I erroneously continue to live in that selfish state, thinking that I can control my life, that I can choose my moods and emotions, believing that I am in charge of what happens to me. I behave childishly; not childlike.
I am powerless....without Him.
He gave the power. I am His child.
Oh, glorious childhood where I am free to let go of all control, where I can place all of my cares into His wondrous and holy hands! Why should I worry, He will care for me. He has always cared for me. He has given me all that I could ever need or want and even more than that.
With the knowledge of this God-given power, I can easily move forward to the second degree of love-love of God for self's sake. How can I not love Him when I see how greatly he has blessed me, how many gifts He has bestowed upon me so generously? I didn't need to ask to be born-He gave me that power without any effort on my part-all I need to ask for is the grace to deeply accept this life of mine with love and gratitude, for Him.
Sometimes, as I've learned last year, acceptance is hard to come by, sometimes I want to give in to despair and callously toss aside the gifts I have been given and look for an escape from this gloriously beautiful life.
Forgive me, Lord-how often I fail to know what it is that I am doing. Help me to put my whole life, this powerful gift from You, back into Your hands where you will care for me as Your little child. Amen.
St. Bernard's Four Degrees of Love
1. Love of self for self's sake
2. Love of God for self's sake
3. Love of God for God's sake
4. Love of self for God's sake