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Wonderfully Made


YOU ARE WONDERFULLY MADE - by Fr. Francis Chukwuma

A month can be significant for a person because of one reason or the other. It could be because it is one’s birth month, or wedding month, or the month a loved one passed or a month they experienced some life-changing events. For instance, the month of May might be important to some because it is the month of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or even because it is the month to celebrate Mother’s Day. Now for me, this month of May is special because not only is it the month of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, but also because it is my birth month. And since it is my birth month, I want to reflect on the wonder of our being, as God’s creation. Here, it is possible to think of how beautiful, pretty, or handsome we look. Of course, that’s okay; for to hear ‘you are wonderfully made’ (cf. Ps 139:14) can certainly refer to our external endowments. However, we know that there are more to the statement; including our inner beauty from being created by God who is goodness itself. So, where lies the wonder of our being? To start with, let us look at the creation stories.

The Creation Stories


The insight from the scriptures tells us in Genesis about two creation accounts, which seem confusing just as also the picture they paint. For instance, some have asked: ‘Who was the wife Cain and the wife of Seth?’ (Gen 4:17,26).  ‘How were the days counted if the sun and moon were created on the fourth day to separate the day and night, and to mark the seasons, the days and the years?’ (Gen 1:14).


In any case, the fact that there are two creation stories already tell us that there’s something relational about creation and not just linear. This point is made to emphasize that the Bible is not about scientific truth and historical truth, but about the important revelations of God to the world, especially when one looks at the primeval narratives of Genesis 1-11. About these, Fr. Spitzer, SJ, stated thus: “The narratives are biblically important not because of their scientific or historical content but for the salvific truths they are - truths about God, creation, human beings, human purpose and destiny, disobedience and sin, and God’s mercy – all of which are needed for salvation” (Spitzer, R, Science, Reason, and Faith, 38).

Human Creation


Now, specifically on human creation, in the first creation story we read that man was created on the 6th day when God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, after our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the tame animals, all the wild animals, and all the creatures that crawl on the earth. God created mankind in his image; in the image of God, he created them; male and female he created them.” (Gen 1:26-27).


And in the 2nd account we read: “…the Lord God formed the man out of the dust of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” (Gen 2:7).


Now, the main point from the two accounts of human creation is that God endowed us with our identity as human beings, and also with the freedom of choice for good or for evil. In the same vein, when we become new creations through Baptism, we are gifted with the identity as Christians and with the freedom of the children of God: “for creation was made subject to futility…in hope that creation itself would be set free from slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God” (Rom 8:20-21). Again, we read: “For freedom Christ set us free; so, stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery” (Gal 5:1). In other words, each person is created uniquely, specially, and freely, which accounts for our purpose in life as human beings and as Christians. For, “God blessed them and God said to them: Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that crawl on the earth”. (Gen 1:28). And the Catechism articulated this more fully by saying that we are created to know, love, and serve God here on earth in order to live with him forever in heaven (CCC, 31). And it is here that we find the wonder of our being.

The Wonder of our Being


This refers to the dignity we possess as the children of God. So, when we talk of the wonder of our being, first we must speak of our place in the hierarchy of creation. The Catechism says: “Of all visible creatures only man is able to know and love his creator. He is the only creature on earth that God has willed for himself, and he alone is called to share, by knowledge and love, in God's own life. It was for this end that he was created, and this is the fundamental reason for his dignity” (356).


We are made for who we are and for what we shall become: true sons and daughters of God, and servants that will be where their Master is (Jn 14:1-6). So to speak in a figurative way, we share God’s DNA. St. John wrote: “See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be, has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” (1Jn 3:1-2).

It also speaks of the love and care God has lavished and continues to lavish on us. As Jesus said: “As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love… No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (Jn 15:9, 13). And God’s great love defends his people always. Thus, Judith declared her praise after she assisted King Uzziah in killing and defeating Holofernes and the Assyrians: “I will sing a new hymn to my God. O Lord, you are great and glorious, wonderful in strength, invincible. Let all your creatures serve you, for you spoke and they were made. You sent forth your spirit and they were created; no one can resist your voice” (Judith 16:13-14).

It also speaks of being saved from sin and death, so that we can reunite with him in heaven after our life of love here. “Now there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has freed you from the law of sin and death” (Rom 8:1-2). In other words, we face challenges of evil and death in life as God’s creation, but we are wonderfully cared for. Hence, “We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Cor 4:8-9).

Also, it speaks of the life of obedience to the will of God expected of us. It is this obedience that leads to success, progress, and healing in fulfilling and living out the purpose for which we are specially made. This is the life in union with Christ in love since we are intimately connected with the Trinity (cf. Jn 15:1-8). As already noted above, God made us his sons and daughters who keep his genealogy alive in what we do, since we have, so to speak, his DNA. Now, to understand this is to discover one’s own purpose, for “If you consider that he is righteous, you also know that everyone who acts in righteousness is begotten by him.” (1 Jn 2:29).


In other words, each one’s purpose is to be open to God’s will, for being open to God is when we are considered righteous as we then manifest the wonder of our being. St Francis the Sales says: “What becomes of man’s will when it’s entirely abandoned to the divine good pleasure? It does not wholly perish, yet it is so engulfed in and intermingled with God’s will that it no longer shows forth and has no further desire apart from God’s will.” (Introduction to Devout Life). The wonder of our being lies in the gifs of our creation and in living according to this will of our creator.

Two Highlights of the Easter Season: Pentecost followed by the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church.


In a way, these two feasts point to the birth of the Church. And we can certainly point out that the Church is wonderfully made, given birth on Pentecost by the out pouring of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and living her mission according to the will and design of her founder. Hence glorious things are said of the Church, the new Jerusalem: “His foundation is on holy mountains. The Lord loves the gates of Zion more than any dwelling in Jacob. Glorious things are said of you, O city of God!” (Ps 87:1-3).


And we as her children are also new creations in Christ, for “whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Cor 5:17).

The Misidentified Eaglet


The Native American Indians have a story about a man who finds an egg of the eagle and puts it in the nest of a prairie chicken to hatch. The eagle hatches with the chickens and like the chickens lives and scratches the ground to find food. One day he lifts up his eyes and sees an eagle flying majestically across the sky. He remarks to one of the chickens: ‘What a magnificent bird!’ The chicken says to the misidentified eaglet: ‘That’s an eagle, the chief of all the birds. But don’t even give it a second thought because you can never be like him. We can only fly a few feet high; and that’s it’. So, the eagle chicken grows old and dies thinking himself a chicken, and never flew any further than only a few feet above the ground for his entire life. This is a sad and unfortunate story since his false self took over and suffocated his true self due to lack of true self-awareness occasioned by nurture and absence of helpful resources.

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