God’s mercy can heal our sinfulness

HINTS AND TRACES - Fr. Roy Cimagala - The Freeman

THAT stinging rebuke Christ made on some leading Jews of his time (cfr. Lk 11,47-54) reminds us that we actually are all sinners no matter how much we profess to be good persons and even holy ones.

“Woe to you who build the memorials of the prophets whom your fathers killed,” he said. “Consequently, you bear witness and give consent to the deeds of your ancestors, for they killed them and you do the building.” (Lk 11,47-48)

We should have no doubt about this lifelong predicament of ours. As St. John said in his first letter, “if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1,8) Even our first parents, created in the state of original justice, managed to sin in spite of the many supernatural privileges given to them.

The right thing to do is to acknowledge our sinfulness and immediately go to God asking for forgiveness and for the grace to make us grow stronger and more resistant to temptations and sins. We should have the same attitude that is spelled out in the Book of Proverbs: “The just man falls seven times and rises up again.” (24,16)

Let us remember that we can always expect God’s mercy no matter how grave our sins are. Precisely, St. Paul expressed this truth when he said: “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” (Rom 5,20) It’s always worthwhile to keep this assurance of St. Paul in mind given our earthly condition so prone to temptations and sins.

We should just acknowledge our sinfulness which is a clear mark of a good, humble, if not a holy a person. When one acknowledges his own faults and weaknesses, and more so, of his own mistakes and sins, he is truly getting real and is not deluding himself into living a self-contained, make-believe world.

And if he does something about them, being sorry and atoning for them, learning from them and developing the appropriate virtues, then he is corresponding to God’s will, which is what is most important in our life.

This is the beauty of this attitude which we should try our best to cultivate in ourselves. Acknowledging our sinfulness attracts God to us. Ever full of mercy and compassion, as shown by Christ himself, God can never be indifferent to our weaknesses and predicaments. He will rush to help and comfort us, and always offering forgiveness.

Acknowledging our faults and sinfulness does us a lot of good. It deepens our humility, very crucial in our life for without it, practically no other virtue develops in us. It keeps us simple and prevents us from falling into complications, since we would then have no need to come up with a web of excuses, rationalizations and other unnecessary self-defense mechanisms.

Acknowledging our faults and sinfulness leads us to have a working spirit of penance that purifies us and makes up for them. It puts us in the proper condition for further spiritual growth. It gives us greater intimacy with God and closer relationship with others. We would become more objective and fair in our views and outlook, since our own faults, defects and sinfulness would make us more understanding towards others.

We have to learn to be quick to say sorry to God and to run to him once we feel the sting of our weaknesses and defects, and especially when we fall. We should end our day with an examination of conscience that concludes with that word so endearing to God: Sorry.

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