Loyola Press has just published the children’s book, Shhh . . . God Is in the Silence, by Fiona Basile and illustrated by Alice Mount. It is designed to help children stop and listen for God’s voice in their hearts. When they do, they hear phrases such as:
- “You are precious.”
- “There is no one else like you.”
- “I created you.”
- “You are my child.”
The subtitle of the book is “A story for all ages.” And this is true. As adults, we might benefit from focusing on these simple statements.
You are precious.
When was the last time I believed this? Like so many people, I don’t feel particularly precious. Many days, I feel weary, uninteresting, and invisible. Yet, the Divine vision focuses on love, not appearance or feeling. Do I dare say to myself a few times today, “You are precious. Yes, you.”?
There is no one else like you.
Well, I suppose this is true from a genetic standpoint, but, in a practical sense, my energy and skills are replaceable in this world. Am I really so different from anyone else? Isn’t it rather self-absorbed to think of myself as special? Yet, no one has lived my life, has experienced the long string of events and my interactions with them that have become my story. When I am gone from this world, another me will not pop up. Enjoy me while you can, world! Maybe I should try to enjoy my existence as the only one of its kind.
I created you.
A person doesn’t have to imagine a wise old god figure mixing together all the characteristics with the intent of coming up with “me.” What about this: Divine desire generated the universe, and out of this universe, the creative energy continues its moment-by-moment work, which has resulted in, among other creations, me. It’s awe-inspiring enough to consider how many factors had to balance in just the right way for this planet Earth to be able to support human life. That’s already a miracle. But add to that the ongoing beauty and complexity of the human person and its infinite possibilities for appearance, personality, and capacity. “I created you” is no small concept; it is completely mind-blowing.
You are my child.
This one’s tough to believe, because I’m convinced that God is beyond our capacity to understand and will not be defined by any label such as father, mother, parent, king, and so on. But we can’t ignore the way Jesus talked about God. Jesus called God “Father” consistently. He wanted us to recognize that aspect of divine power, love, and intellect. Jesus certainly knew that God was more than a cosmic parent. Yet, he used the parent image to present to ordinary folks how God felt about them. God still feels that way about us. We can believe in being God’s children while acknowledging that God is more than our parent. We can believe that God deals with us as personally as a loving parent relates to children, even though we understand that this relationship with us makes up a fraction of who God is.
I encourage you to pray with these phrases this week. Ask the Holy Spirit to integrate them into your hope and vision, into the way you see yourself.
I am precious.
There is no one else like me.
God created me.
I am God’s child.