Delight or Disappointment?

Editor’s Note: The following reflection appeared in the June 2016 issue of OFS News, the newsletter of the Mother Cabrini Regional Fraternity of the Secular Franciscan Order.

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Recently, while on retreat, a question was posed that rocked me. The question was simple, but the effects of the answer touched basically all areas of life. It affected how I view others and how I ultimately view God. The question was, “Do you think that when God looks at you, He sees a Delight or a Disappointment?” Now we were instructed to choose one side or the other. We were told that we could not sit on the fence saying that sometimes God sees me as a little of both. No, we had to choose. Are we a delight or a disappointment to God? How does He see us?

I knew intellectually that I should choose to say that God saw me as a delight because God is Love. God loves all and is always perfectly good, so He has to see me as a Delight. If I was honest, though, I had to say that I thought God sees me as a Disappointment. Wow! That is not what I wanted to admit. I thought about this some more and what that view meant and I came up with a few more ideas. If I thought that God viewed me as a Disappointment then I would be forever under the impression that I could just do a little more to earn God’s Love. Maybe if I worked harder at holiness, I could earn God’s Love. As I write this, and as I thought that, I realized that that was both foolish and impossible. I cannot jump to Heaven on my own and I cannot “earn” God’s Love. I know that I do not need to, but I hadn’t really thought about it this honestly or in this way before.

If I viewed God as being so difficult to please, then this could also lead to seeing those around me with less love. Maybe this is more honestly put as being judgmental of those around me.

The priest, on our retreat, went on to read the scripture, which became a soothing balm on my wounded view of God. (Hebrews 12). He asked us if we would have fallen in love with God if He was a God who was disappointed in us? No, I would not have. Rather, it was the sweetness of His Love that drew me to Him. This is not a God who would be disappointed in me.

Why did I think this way? I do not know, but I decided, timidly to accept that God saw me as His Delight. This was a little difficult to do. It was hard to let go of God seeing me as a disappointment, but it required only a small step from me over that fence that divided Disappointment and Delight.

What did I realize? At the next Mass, that Iattended, I was walking up to Communion and waiting for the people in the rows ahead of me. As they filed out, the Holy Spirit inspired me when I looked at each of them. Delight! Delight! Delight! Delight! Delight! Delight! Delight!

Praise God! It was a joy! By accepting that God saw me as His Delight, I accepted also that He sees each of us as His Delight. So I pose the question to you…How does God see you? As a disappointment or a delight? (Remember, no fence sitting. You have to choose one side.)

Tirzah Spang, OFS, is the minister of the St. Clare Fraternity in Oakbrook, IL

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