In From the Vine

By Katie Taylor

 

My husband and I are not gift-givers; bluntly, it is not our love language, but he has surprised me with a handful of jewelry gifts over the years that have brought much joy. One of these is a simple yet priceless pair of pearls. In the military, my accessory options were minimal, but we were allowed to wear small studded pearl earrings. He took time and care in selecting these, and they remind me of today’s readings.

What is Worth Selling Everything?

Today’s Gospel from Matthew 13:44-52, highlights the merchant who searches for fine pearls, and when he finds one of great price, he sells all he has to buy it. What is the pearl of great price?

At a conference I attended last year, Father David Pivonka, the President of Franciscan University, highlighted that “You are the pearl of great price, you are worth everything to Jesus.” He is willing to give and sell everything for you. God searches for every part of you.

He desires to give you his blessing. His arms are reaching out, reaching out on the cross, where we gave up his life for you. The love God offers is unconditional. We struggle to comprehend and accept this love, which is contradictory to many of our personal experiences. These real experiences and wounds leave us with walls of self-protection.

The world is full of ifs, and we continually hear whispered, “I will love you, if…” The inability to accept God’s love and the desire to earn it results in an anxious struggle of what defines us. Only through healing and relearning can we indeed find our dignity in being a beloved daughter of God.

We must learn that we are the pearl of great price, not our accomplishments, financial success, or what others think of us, and it is regardless of our mistakes, sins, and brokenness. We are still worth everything to Jesus. He seeks for you to know this love, to allow him to find and restore even the most hidden parts of you.

Truly Comprehending Our Worth

This relearning will not occur overnight, but above all else, it requires that we ask for it. We have to be willing to get uncomfortable, not settle but work towards the growth of breaking down our walls. John 14:13 tells us that “whatever you ask in my name, I will do so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” This verse can be hard to accept because many of us have asked God for things and have not received what we desired at the time.

How do we understand this? We can look at today’s first reading and Psalm. Solomon, feeling inadequately young, asks for understanding, and right judgment. The Lord is pleased that he has asked for the “right thing.” Not for personal rewards in long years or riches. He has discerned what will glorify God, what his will is (1 Kings 3:5, 7-12). As a result, God grants his desire.

Furthermore, King David, in Psalm 119, highlights that “every false way I hate.” Above all else, he seeks to follow God’s precepts and, therefore, he can ask for the right things (Psalm 119:128). We must also learn to recognize things of great worth and hate the counterfeit because not all love is equal, and what God offers is far beyond what the world attempts to give. The merchant does not sell everything for a fake pearl.

We may not understand the answers to our prayers instantly, but our God loves us so personally that he wants what is best for us. So, how do we grow to learn what God desires to give us and follow his way? We need to get to know the voice of God in his Word.

“The revelation of your word sheds light, gives understanding to the simple” (Psalm 119:130). No matter how inadequate, young, and simple, we feel God desires to shine light into our hearts and help us to learn and comprehend the breadth, length, depth, and height of his love (Ephesians 3:18-19). This love will sanctify us, and ultimately allow us to see our worth and receive an abundant life here and in all eternity.

Application

Relearning requires personal reflection. Take a moment, reflecting on how these verses and words apply to you. May they bring light and truth that you are loved and worth giving up everything.

  1. Spend a moment reflecting on what you think God requires to love you, complete the sentence, “I will love you if….” Surrender these lies to the Lord, know that he loves you regardless of requirements. Maybe he is calling you to more, to let go of something but know that he is not withholding his love from you until you fix this. God is offering his love as the healing medicine to help you overcome and be made new.
  2. Ask Jesus for the wisdom to grasp his love for you, to help you turn from false ways, and bring you into truth. Reflect on all the requests he has already answered, even if they weren’t precisely the way you would have planned. Surrender your desires for his, as an act of trust in his love for you.

 

About the author:

Katie Taylor is passionate about equipping leaders in the New Evangelization through living awesome Catholic lives and providing light and truth. She is an Air Force veteran and has a Master’s in Marriage and Family Counseling. Her husband is a fighter pilot, and they have three amazing kids. They love running retreats and Catholic leadership workshops.  Reach them at thickerskinsandbiggerhearts@gmail.com and learn more at Catholic-Link.org.

Showing 2 comments
  • Robin
    Reply

    This past Sunday we were back to having mass online again as we were restricted to our homes in Okinawa. Shortly, after Father read the Gospel someone hacked into the feed and the screen went blank, leaving me to ponder on my own, but I kept coming back to the words, never quite feeling at peace with my interpretation. So imagine my surprise to read From the Vine, Pearl of Great Price, the very next day. I was so grateful and am now reflecting on comprehending my worth. Love you and thank you for your timely words. I guess you never know who needs them.

    • Allison Gingras
      Reply

      Robin, wow, what a powerful witness to God’s amazing love and care for us, YOU never know what or who he’ll use to assure us. Thank YOU so much for taking the time to share you experience with From the VINE – and prayers the restriction is short, and that this week the stream is strong!!

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