May 2, 2016

R. The Lord takes delight in his people.

Let them praise his name in the festive dance,
let them sing praise to him with timbrel and harp.
For the LORD loves his people,
and he adorns the lowly with victory. 
R. The Lord takes delight in his people.
—Psalms 149:3–4

Today's psalm reminds us of a simple truth we often forget: God, the almighty Creator of the Universe, delights in us—in you, individually.

Another insight from last week's retreat that I had scribbled down in my journal was about God's relationship to us as Father. In our workshop discussion, we talked about Pope Francis's advice to families—to waste time together—and how our fixation on productivity can sometimes overshadow the attention we give to the people we love. Alyssa brought up studies on child behavior, saying that often parents feel pressure to spend every minute they have with their babies doing something "productive," like doing leg exercises or showing them something educational. But the children who really thrive are the ones whose parents are attentive to their babies' cues instead of pushing their own agenda of productivity. They respond to what catches the baby's interest and go explore it with them, together. They simply delight in their child, resting in their presence, instead of focusing on other goals.

God delights in us as a parent delights in their child, and He follows our cues as we explore the world He created for us. He wants to share in that experience with us; He wants to see us discover beauty so that we can marvel at it together. He doesn't force us to move in a certain direction; He wants us to take in the world He has created for us with a sense of wonder and move toward whatever draws our hearts. He does not desire to control us; rather, He wants to be in relationship with us as we navigate the wide world around us. If we open our arms to Him, He will hold us in His arms and carry us wherever we wish to go, as long as it is safe; He will lead us away from danger and help us to recognize the beauty before us. He longs to see the joy on our faces and to feel the trusting grip of our hands as He walks with us. He delights in each one of us, no matter how small or insignificant we might feel sometimes. In fact, He delights in our littleness, in our simplicity.

 
The splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not rob the little violet of its scent nor the daisy of its simple charm. If every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness....
So it is in the world of souls, the living garden of the Lord. It pleases Him to create great Saints, who may be compared with the lilies or the rose, but He has also created little ones, who must be content to be daisies or violets, nestling at His Feet to delight His Eyes when He should choose to look at them... What delights Him is the simplicity of these flowers of the field, and by stooping so low to them, He shows how infinitely great He is. Just as the sun shines equally on the cedar and the little flower, so the Divine Sun shines equally on everyone, great and small.
—St. Therese of Lisieux, Story of a Soul
Frassati NY