Piece of Beauty vs. Broken Shell: I am What I am

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Try Googling the words, “I am what I am,” and you will come up with crazy results—from Popeye the sailor, to lyrics by the Jonas Brothers and La Cage Aux Folles! And yes, I confess I know all of these “sources,” having watched the original 1978 La Cage Aux Folles movie when it came out.

But I digress.

Something –and nothing in particular, recently reminded me that…

I am not as smart as I think I am and

I am not as funny as I think I am and

I am not as strong as I think I am and

I am not as young as I think I am and

I am not as together as I think I am and

I am not as spiritual as I think I am and

I am not as pretty as I think I am and

I am not as insightful as I think I am and

I am not as honest as I think I am and

I am not as generous as I think I am and

I am not as contemplative as I think I am and

I am not as nice as I think I am…

I am also…

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Not as dumb as I think I am and

Not as dull as I think I am and

Not as weak as I think I am and

Not as old as I think I am and

Not as discombobulated as I think I am and

Not as irreverent as I think I am and

Not as ugly as I think I am and

Not as dense as I think I am and

Not at dishonest as I think I am and

Not as selfish as I think I am and

Not as unreflective as I think I am and

Not as mean as I think I am.

By the grace of God, I am who I am.

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“The only one to be ‘fully human’ was Jesus—with Mary a close second. So it is easier to say what it is not than what it is. Essentially, it means accepting our full body—soul creation with its inbuilt limitations…

I’m not putting this very well. Our desire for God can betray us into angelism: that perfidious and subtle form of pride…

But we should listen to what is found wanting in us and sweetly and trustfully look to Jesus for him to transform what he wishes. Often ‘not fully human’ refers to our relationships. We can only strive, with all our sensitivity, to make them warmer, more loving.”

~Sister Wendy Beckett

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“I am what I am, and that’s all that I am.”

~Popeye

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I am delighted that a perception of your wretchedness and your weaknesses and a consciousness of your nothingness are your normal preoccupation during prayer. It is thus that you gradually acquire complete distrust of self and utter trust in God. Thus, too, you are firmly established in that interior humility which is the enduring foundation of the spiritual edifice and the chief source of God’s graces to the soul.

You must be neither surprised nor grieved at the destruction your self-love fears: if it were free of this fear it would not be self-love. Only souls already greatly detached from self long for this utter death and, far from fearing it, desire and command it unceasingly of God. In your case you will have done enough if you endure patiently and peacefully the various stages which bring it about.”

~ Jean-Pierre de Caussade, S.J.

Copyright 2014, Maria de Lourdes Ruiz Scaperlanda

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About Author

María Ruiz Scaperlanda writes regularly at DAY BY DAY WITH MARIA: http://daybydaywithmaria.blogspot.com/ María is an award-winning author, journalist, and retreat facilitator. Her books include, “The Seeker’s Guide to Mary,” “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Mary of Nazareth,” and “The Journey: a Guide for the Modern Pilgrim,” co-authored with her husband of 33 years, Michael.

María has been published broadly in the U.S. Catholic Press, traveling on international assignments in Central America and the Caribbean, Israel, Turkey, Jordan, and throughout Europe. Perhaps her favorite assignment was covering Pope John Paul II’s historic visit to her native country, Cuba. María and Michael reside in Norman, Oklahoma. They have four adult children, and are expecting their sixth grandchild!

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