# Blessed

Today is the feast day of St. Augustine of Hippo, one of my favorite saints. St. Augustine was a privileged man, with wealth and education given to him. He was also son of St. Monica (who went through all kinds of struggles with him), but that didn’t mean he believed that he was a Catholic from the start. Instead, St. Augustine ignored the Word of God as the truth and lived his life however he wanted. Finally, after years of his mother praying and hearing St. Ambrose preach, he understood that Christianity was the ultimate truth.

Still, even knowing the truth, he decided he could not become Catholic because of his past. He lived a life of debauchery, deception and loose morals. He thought that he would never be pure enough to be Catholic. He saw all of his failures as reasons he could never be a good Catholic.

I truly connect with St. Augustine because I, too, often struggle with not feeling like I deserved God’s love. For the last two or three years, I couldn’t even bring myself to go to confession because I felt that if I confessed, I would feel so ashamed and verbalize the reasons I didn’t deserve God’s love. As some of you recall, it wasn’t until this past June that I asked God’s mercy and forgiveness back into my life.

That’s when it hit me; We don’t actually deserve anything.

Now, I know it’s only been a couple weeks since I last reminded you to be thankful, but today I want to take a new perspective. Not deserving anything in life sounds terrible, but if I really think about it, it’s freeing. We deserve nothing, yet look at how much we have! Understanding we deserve nothing is accepting your blessings for all that they are; gifts from Our Father. It allows us to see everything as a gift from God and a testament to his love.

We aren’t born deserving of a loving family or a happy life, so why do we think we deserve it?

It is the world telling us to take our gifts for granted. Just as St. Augustine had a former life of chasing “worldly ambitions,” so do we. We believe that because we are not pure evil, we must deserve big houses and fancy cars. We have been told by our consumerist nation that we deserve everything we want, so we should take it at any cost. Yet, this is not what God wants of us.

If we let go of our worldly expectations, we allow ourselves to fully realized how blessed we truly are. If we focus on what we have and not how much we want bigger and better things, then maybe we can see all that we have been given.

Yet, as St. Augustine says, “The words here are concepts. You must go through the experiences.” Therefore, let us pray:

Lord, help us to see our countless blessings.

Help us not to waste our knowledge of your mercy
and, instead, to use it to glorify you.

I am humbled at your name,
for without you, God, I am nothing.



My dad adds that last line to every one of his prayers as a humble reminder of our blessings. Try thoughtfully adding this to all of your prayers for the week.

Veronica Alvarado is a born and raised Texan currently living in Michigan. Since graduating from Texas A&M University, Veronica has published various articles in the Catholic Diocese of Austin’s official newspaper, the Catholic Spirit, and other local publications. She now works as the Content Specialist in Diocesan’s Web Department.