My journey into ministry began with devout Catholicism, the religion of my childhood. I was particularly fascinated by the Sacred Heart of Jesus. As a child, this image represented to me God’s unconditional love for all humanity and the forgiveness of our sins. As I grew into adulthood, and eventually moved away from the religion of my childhood, I still carried with me this image. It is this symbol—a heart so vulnerable and exposed, so open with divine love—that calls me into ministry.
When I got sober over fourteen years ago, I completed the 12 steps of AA with the help of my sponsor. Step Four and Five were the most profound. These asked me to create a fearless and searching moral inventory of myself, and then speak this inventory aloud, to share it with my sponsor and with God. This process, of sharing my deepest shame with someone who offered me unconditional love and acceptance, was a life-changing gift. This was divine love working in my life. And as it continues to work in my life, it calls me to offer this gift to others.
Seven years ago I became a Unitarian Universalist. And I am called through my faith to uphold the UU seven principles. The first and the seventh principles are the two pillars that provide a foundation for the rest. These are 1. The inherent worth and dignity of every person and 7. Respect for the interdependent web of life, of which we are all a part. During my ministry I have found people who are suffering, judging themselves for their choices and mistakes, and often judged by others as well. And I have been lucky enough to sit with them and give them the gift that was so freely given to me. And when this gift is given, and accepted, we find ourselves on holy ground. We are vulnerable, our hearts exposed, and in this space we connect to the transformative power of divine love.
In this way, our access to the Holy doesn’t occur in spite of our brokenness. It occurs because of it. Our wounds are the pathways through which the Light enters. And it is out of this place that I am called to ministry.