Saturday, October 13, 2018

Reason no. 12 why I remain Catholic: Forgiveness and mercy

I could write for days on this topic. I could write from so many angles, but I will have to stick to one. I. AM. IMPERFECT. This is my recourse to God's mercy. I cannot strive towards holiness, heck I cannot even strive towards getting through one day without losing my patience. I can't do this on my own.

Forgiveness is a beautiful thing. It is one of the most difficult things to do and one of the most humbling things to ask for, but there is a wellspring of healing and goodness in forgiveness. Forgiveness flows from God's mercy.

God is the first to forgive us. As long as we are sincerely sorry, God will always forgive us, no matter our sin. I have experienced many times over people asking me "What is the point? If you are going to continue to sin, what is the point of asking for forgiveness (going to the Sacrament of confession)?

We are broken. We are weak and we need a lifetime of learning and grace to overcome our sinfulness. But asking for forgiveness (sincerely), time and time again is not a waste of time. In it comes healing and grace. God's graces gives us the strength to try and overcome specific sins and it also gives us the strength to continue to ask His forgiveness. Indeed it would be much easier to just give in to our sinfulness and say "I am too weak. I am doomed to fail."

I myself have experienced this healing grace through the sacrament of confession. There was a time in my life where I could not overcome a certain sin. I took it to confession, over and over again. It was not until a few years later that I finally noticed that, with God's grace, I not only had overcome this particular sin, but I had done so gradually and gracefully without even noticing. Time and time again, God had cleansed me with his healing balm and slowly but surely I became stronger and more faithful to choose good rather than sin. I had been healed!

This was my story of forgiveness. Through that, I have learned and I am still learning to forgive others. God's mercy has shown me that I must forgive others if I seek to be forgiven.

Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:24

I have learned to forgive more swiftly and sincerely. This has taken years, and I still have a long way to go in learning to forgive all those who have offended me. However, God's grace is taking me one step closer to the Cross where he cried out the greatest forgiveness of all:

Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34

I too must forgive from the cross, from the places where I hurt most and to those who hurt me most. Forgiveness flows from mercy and mercy is God's love for us.

Disclaimer: photo courtesy of pumukel @pixabay

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