St. Peter assures us that as temples of the Holy Spirit, we “come to share in the Divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4). But how can that be? What does that look like in real life? A long-forgotten memory brought back a way to think about how God’s very life is shared in ordinary ways.
I remember, as a five-year-old, looking up at my mother washing the dishes and begging her to let me help. I can imagine what she was thinking: “She’s gonna break something; there will be soapy water all over the kitchen and all over her.”
She didn’t need my help, but because I was a part of her and she loved me, she invited me to participate by letting me “help” with the dishes.
My mom and dad had to provide the means for it—I couldn’t buy the dish soap or pay the water bill. But by doing the part that suited me at that age, I could participate in a real way.
Pope Francis says to give “attentive welcome” to everyone—to enter their lives, even if just for a brief time, and let them enter ours with the love of the Holy Trinity. Because God is love, the sharing of my life with someone else is how I imitate the Trinity and share His mercy.
God doesn’t need our help any more than my mom needed help from a kindergartner to wash the dishes. But it’s not our “accomplishments” that evoke God’s Mercy, it’s our desire to do what He does in our limited way.
I was dependent on mom to give me everything I needed to participate in her life. And even though I brought nothing but my desire, the participation was real. It was real not because of what I accomplished, but because our two lives became one in the sharing.
Our pride may resist accepting God’s mercy, but if we do accept it, we’re receiving the core of who He is. We’re participating in his life in the deepest way possible for us “kindergartners,” who go on chipping plates and getting soapy water on the floor.
Scripture tells us, “The Lord takes delight in his people” (Psalm 149:4). God delights not in our accomplishments, possessions, or looks. He delights in sharing his life with us, asking only our desire to live his life more deeply in our most ordinary moments.