This I Believe

Kassandra - Garden Grove, California
Entered on October 27, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

“See who you are, and be who you see.” The first time I heard this line, I thought it was just some quirky quote that held no real meaning. Later I realized that this quote changed my life. It let me believe finally that God loved me for me, and nothing would change his love. Sergio Lopez paced the old wooden floors of the auditorium at Green Oak Ranch. The once glossy floors were scuffed by shoe marks and dull with dirt from tired feet after a long hard day of games and play. All around him were young and weary faces, eager to learn and listen. I was among these high school students, awaiting Sergio to speak.

The silence was deafening. Sergio paced back and forth for a moment before speaking. Though he was talking to a large group of students, I felt just he and I were alone and he was talking to me. He told me about his life and his hardships with his father. Finally he said that quote to me.

“See who you are and be who you see.” He said.

He tried to explain it to me, but I didn’t understand even though I really wanted to. What did this line mean to him? What was it supposed to mean to me? Though he tried to explain, I’m so glad that I didn’t understand. The next day, I interpreted and figured it out myself.

As I headed home from church retreat that weekend, I remember vividly sitting on that bus, ignoring the dull roar for confirming students talking to each other. The trip had already been life changing, but I wanted more. I wanted so much more. That odd little quote still nagged at me, even during mass. I sat quietly, listening to the priests’ sermon, understanding, learning, and loving. It wasn’t until the Eucharist did my understanding of the quote finally hit home.

I stood, walking quietly down the front pew of the church, eyes locked on the large crucifix at the front of the church. The soft singing of familiar worship songs filled my eyes and my heart. I stepped forward slowly, step by step, making my way closer and closer to the stairs at the base of the tabernacle.

“This is the body of Christ.” The priest stated.

“Amen.” I whispered in return, gratefully taking the body of Jesus Christ and placing it on my tongue, not forgetting to bow to the large cross before making my way slowly over to the cup of wine held by a female Eucharistic minister.

“This is the blood of Christ.”

“Amen.” I stated once more. I took the cup from her hands, taking a deep breath as I took a look into the wine. I saw my own reflection staring back at me from inside the deep burgundy liquid. At that moment, I realized what Sergio had meant.

“See who you are, and be who you see.” That quote has stuck with me for over two years. I still remember vividly that moment in church – the moment I realized that God wanted nothing more than for me to be me and become the loyal and faithful Catholic that I was deep down inside. I knew that He loved me because He chose to, not because of my accomplishments or because of my faults. He loved me because He chose to love me. He loved me so much that He left me with the choice, actually more like the privilege, of loving Him in return.