YOUR IDENTITY DEPENDS NOT ON HOW MEN SEE YOU NOR HOW YOU SEE YOURSELF! Prayer Reflection for 4th Sunday of Advent, Yr. A

Have you been jilted, insulted, or disparaged by someone (a friend, an employer, superior, spouse, parent, or child, etc) who do so just to spite, intimidate and make you feel inferior or less important? Experiences such as these have caused several suicides, heartbreaks, poor self-image, low self-esteem and poor self-confidence. If you're wallowing in this condition, then this message is for you. The central message of Advent and Christmas is about God who takes on our wounded identity in Jesus Christ in order to heal and dignify our identities. Therefore your identity or destiny does not depend on anyone, not even on how you see yourself. If you wish to understand this read slowly...
C.f Luke 1:26-38
The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. He went in and said to her, ‘Rejoice, so highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’ She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, ‘Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favour. Listen! You are to conceive and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High... Know this too: your kinswoman Elizabeth has, in her old age, herself conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God.’  ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord,’ said Mary ‘let what you have said be done to me.’ And the angel left her.

POINTS FOR REFLECTION 
1. Child of God your identity (who you are and your purpose) is not a function of the knowledge of what people make of you or what you think about yourself, but of what God designed or knows about you. Now hear this: Mary saw herself as a handmaid (a servant) of the Lord (Lk. 1:38), but God sees her as "Highly favoured" and Elizabeth her cousin and elder in terms of age, under the influence of the Holy Spirit will address her as "blessed among women" and "Mother of my Lord" (Lk. 1:42-43). Apart from Mary's humble self-image, the people as well see her as nobody in the society. Her marriage to Joseph a poor carpenter who could not afford a comfortable place for her at childbirth will further create in the minds of her neighbours the opportunity for intimidation. No wonder her son, Jesus will face intimidation and disparagement from his kins when they said "Is this not the carpenter's son? Isn't his mother's name Mary..." (Matt. 13:55; Lk. 4:21-25; Jn.6:42). But does this define who Mary or Jesus truly is? No!
2. Again let's take another example from Angel Gabriel's revelation to Mary about Elizabeth. The Angel described Elizabeth as one "whom people called barren". That is what people call her or know her to be, but that is not how God sees her. God sees her situation as a testimony to His Omnipotence- that the world may know that nothing is impossible for Him to do! 
3. Child of God, I ask you: What have people said about you? They may have defamed and discredited you in public or in secret. But no matter the negative word they have used against you, it does not define you. What defines you is what God says about you. The bible says in Psalm 139:14 that you are "fearfully and wonderfully made". Therefore no word or thought of man can interfere or change your identity and purpose in life. Nothing can stop you! No one can stop you!
TASK: Get rid of every bad thought, feelings or negative energies now; it could limit your progress and output. IF YOU ARE FOND OF INSULTING AND DISPARAGING OTHERS, STOP IT. You could kill a soul. Since your Identity depends on how God defines you, do you think God is happy the way he sees you now? Amend your ways and be aligned with your God
For every negative word, others have used against you speak up now and declare positive words over your life with the Word of God for the Bible says in (Isaiah 55: 17) "that every tongue which rises against you in judgment, you shall condemn; for this is a right of the servants of the Lord". Declare positive words in your life now, Yes now!

I pray for you: May the positive words in your mouth now have the power to effect healing and positive change in your life now in Jesus' name. AMEN

© Fr. SimOne Madu, OSJ 

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