Reflection on Baptism of Jesus: 12th January 2020

You are my Beloved

At the beginning of his public ministry Jesus chooses to be baptised by John and it is significant that as he begins his mission he hears the words that every human being longs to hear and needs to hear: ‘This is my beloved….’ It is the experience of who we are in God that enables us to carry out our mission in life even in those times when it is difficult to experience love because of experiences of failure, humiliation, suffering and difficulties in relationships.

It is true that we not only are the Beloved, but also have to become the Beloved. It is true that we not only are children of God, but also have to become children of God. It is true that we not only are brothers and sisters, but also have to become brothers and sisters. If all that is true, how then can we get a grip on this process of becoming? If the spiritual life is not simply a way of being, but also a way of becoming, what then is the nature of this becoming? Could it be that:

  • our growing awareness of being the beloved will gradually lead us to stop identifying ourselves with our jobs, our emotions, our life situations? These are not who we really are.
  • finding people and places where we are reminded of our deepest identity will renew our experience of what is already within us?
  • celebrating our belovedness with gratitude and wonder for our many daily experiences of love, we will fully live even when life is full of hurt?

When we claim and constantly reclaim the truth of being the beloved, we soon discover within ourselves a deep desire to reveal to others that they are also beloved. Once we deeply trust that we ourselves are precious in God’s eyes, we are able to recognise the preciousness of others. At the beginning of a new year, today’s gospel tells us that being the beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence. Our main mission in life is to embrace our belovedness and to become who we are.

Henri Nouwen: Life of the Beloved. Adapted