It will always be so that we look for consolations to affirm that we are loved by You. But again, we are so often sad about traits of our own personalities that seem surely to make us less than loveable.
Recently the feast of St. Jerome was celebrated. Highlights of his life were read at Mass and they intrigued me enough to do some further research on him. To put it kindly, he seemed something of a curmudgeon. Two words kept popping up while reading about his life: “abusive” and “irascible.” But he’s a saint!
I tend to think that I often come off as something of a curmudgeon. I can be abusive and I’m often irascible. I am consoled by the fact that a saint struggled with the same things. Maybe us curmudgeons have found our patron saint.
The point, I think, is that even those who are canonized saints had to deal with human foibles and personal flaws which, through effort, they overcame – but not always. When we encounter an irascible, abusive curmudgeon the one thing we don’t see is how much or how little that person is struggling to overcome those parts of his/her life. If we knew that struggle and all it entailed we might be more likely to consider the saintliness of an individual. While I do give credence to the exterior demeanor of a person as it is influenced by his/her inner self, I can also see the possibilities of an interior life that struggles mightily with exterior flaws.
Julian of Norwich says that you lay on each person you love some particular thing which, while it carries no blame in your sight, causes them to be blamed by the world.