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A Jesuit Catholic University
in Omaha, Nebraska, since 1878
Reflections on the Daily Readings
from the Perspective of Creighton Students

October 19th, 2013
Olivia Marks
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“When they take you before synagogues and before rulers and authorities,
do not worry about how or what your defense will be
or about what you are to say. 
For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you should say.”

Today’s reading is quite the challenge. We are given some pretty high expectations.  God is asking us to put aside our worries and trust that God is going to work through us. Even as I am struggling to find the words to put into this reflection I am to trust that God will speak through me.  Why is trust like that so difficult? I think it is because trust means sacrificing our pride. By trusting in something outside myself (and in this case something that I have no empirical evidence for) I am making a bold statement that I don’t have all the answers or skills that I need to do this. We are being challenged to recognize how limited we are, and that we can’t do all these things on our own.  I must have the humility to see my own limited scope and knowledge.  I must put aside my pride that I have got it all figured out and allow the space for God to work through me.

In contrast however, allowing God to work through us requires us to recognize our own greatness. God will never find a place in our words and actions if we are set on minimizing our worth. Our culture often criticizes those who point out their own talents and achievements.  Unfortunately this has fostered a generation of people who are afraid to recognize how capable they are.  If I am unable to really see my own goodness and potential then I am going to have a very difficult time getting anywhere worthwhile.  Most importantly, if you are worthy enough to be an instrument of God, then there is something pretty spectacular in each of us that is just waiting to get out into the world. God is there within you. You just need to allow yourself to shine. There is a delicate balance of course, as with all things, between healthy pride and egotism, between humility and self-destructiveness. Finding that balance is a lifelong struggle but in it we find God working through us to make the world a more beautiful place. 

I want to end with this thought by Marianne Williamson. I think it paints a beautiful picture of the importance of our own greatness:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”       Marianne Williamson

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