Every girl wants to be a princess. (True, some may deny this, but we all know deep down, it’s true ;). Girls, whether they recognize it or not, possess this desire in themselves to be beautiful, admired and loved. We crave to be desired, needed, to be useful and special. We may not always express this desire in the best way, but it is present in each of us. This is why I think one of the best ways to describe what a girl’s relationship should be like with God, is to say that she is His princess.
Unfortunately, we don’t always feel like a true ‘princess of the Lord.’ We make mistakes, stumble over our temptations and sins, and can do things that are far from princess-like. This often leaves us with a low self-esteem, a feeling of unworthiness – too wretched to be a daughter of the King. Worst of all, though, we develop fears because of these failings, which only lead us to fall even more. We fear others’ judgments about us, we fear rejection, we fear failure, and many girls find themselves even being afraid of God Himself. We become too afraid to allow Him to love us as His daughter; His princess.
I recently read a seminarian’s homily that truly inspired me on this topic. Incorporating the idea that we are royalty of the Lord, this seminarian, Eric Mah, tied in the new movie, Tangled, to explain his point. (And if you haven’t seen Tangled yet, you must! – I wasn’t sure if Disney could pull off a classic ever again, but I think they did this time!) Anyhow, here is an excerpt from the homily that I most enjoyed:
“In the movie Tangled, the main character, Rapunzel, is abducted as a baby from her parents – the king and queen of the land – by an evil witch who puts her in a tower where she is to be kept for the rest of her life. Interestingly, Rapunzel is kept in the tower not by physical means (e.g. chains or ropes), but by being kept in an on-going state of fear. She is told that the world is unsafe and that the world will hurt her, such that she must stay in the tower, which is said to be the only thing that can keep her safe. And so, while she appears to be living a good and orderly life, she is actually not living at all: she is trapped in a tower built upon her own fear.
And yet, God intervenes and Rapunzel feels a secret longing for something more – which focuses on a series of lanterns which are released into the air every year on her birthday, which she can see in the distance from her window. She doesn’t immediately understand why she feels this connection, but she does. Eventually, she discovers that the lanterns are released every year by the king and queen in the hope that their daughter – the lost princess – will one day return. Part way through the movie, there is a very dramatic scene when Rapunzel realizes that she is the lost princess, that the lanterns were always for her – they were always for her – and that she has wasted the majority of her life being afraid, with no real basis for her fear.
When the evil witch realizes that her old tricks no longer work, she tries to physically drag Rapunzel to a new type of prison. But Rapunzel recalls the many years she lost needlessly because of her fear, and refuses to give in. As so, the witch says: “Really, Rapunzel! Enough already! Stop fighting me!” But Rapunzel responds: “No, I will not stop! For every minute for the rest of my life, I will fight. And I will never stop fighting until I get away from you!”
At the end of the movie, Rapunzel is finally reunited with her parents in a scene that is beautiful for a variety of reasons, but particularly because of the look of pure joy on the faces of the king and queen, which makes us realize that, despite seemingly impossible odds, they have never stopped hoping – and praying – that their daughter would one day return.
They say that an important task of ministry is to remind the royal people of God who they are. And I guess that’s the point of this homily: to remind each of us that, in each of our lives, God sends us a series of lanterns to remind us that He is thinking of us, He loves us, and that we are the royal children of Christ the King. And so, if you feel a secret longing to renew your commitment to Christ, do not hesitate and do not be afraid. But realize that, to the extent that we can rediscover our identity in Christ, we can seek to live the fullness of life and acquire a new freedom that breaks us away from our fear because our self-worth is no longer based on our ability to produce, but on our unconditional acceptance by God – which no one can take away from us.”
“God send us a series of lanterns to remind us that He is thinking of us, He loves us, and that we are the royal children of Christ the King!” That thought is so beautiful to me. Even when we fall, feel stupid, clumsy, messy and unfit to be a princess, God is always longing for us to come back to His castle, if we just take His open hand. We have nothing to fear when we accept that Christ is our Father and our King. But so long as we are trapped in sin, these fears are almost impossible to overcome. We are so fortunate, though, to have a Father who loves us so much to send us lanterns, in the form of grace, to beckon us back to His safety. All we have to do is follow the “lanterns” – and accept His loving grace.