Question: Can I, as a Catholic woman, love myself? Or is it a sin?
Answer: St. Hildegard von Bingen, German Benedictine Abbess, mystic, author, poet, musician, natural healer, and recently proclaimed one of the few women doctors of the Church, provides us with this encouraging and affirming answer. Yes!
Quoting from SCIVIAS, page 442 in her 8th Vision, Book Three she says,
“You shall also love yourself. How? If you love God, you love your salvation. And, loving yourself in all this, you shall also love your neighbor, who is each faithful person who is joined to you by the Christian name and faith.”
But how can we love ourselves when there is so much evidence against us, evidence proving how we are most unworthy of love from ourselves or from our fellows?
We can trust Jesus and His words in Mark 12:31, “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”
If we do not first love ourselves wherein we recognize our innate goodness and dignity that we receive being made in the image and likeness of God, then we will not be able to recognize and honor this same dignity in our fellow man.
In Evangelium Vitae by Pope St. John Paul II, we find he discusses, “The incomparable worth of the human person.” In this document, we find his defense of life at all stages and how we are all joined to God in varying levels. And if this mighty God lives and lowers Himself to union with us His creatures, then should we not acknowledge and love ourselves as vessels bearing Christ?
Isaiah 43:4 says it beautifully.
Because you are precious in my eyes
and honored, and I love you,
I give people in return for you
and nations in exchange for your life.
He loves us. Let us then love ourselves.