(Context is important. The writer was born Catholic and attended Catholic school in the pre-Vatican II, Baltimore Catechism world, where right from wrong was made very clear, as were the consequences and remedies to sin.)
“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see.”
Despite our failings, we must carry on, relying on our faith in God to see us through whatever lies ahead. When we fall down again, some of us might connect a current disappointment to past sins, as if a setback may be an atonement for our past failings before God. Accordingly, doing good for others and giving of our time and treasure for the greater good might achieve some atonement as well. Over time, falling down may not feel so bad, because we are paying a price on earth and clearing our debt as we go, so to speak.
If we pile up enough pain in this life, perhaps our consciences will be reconciled to the ups and downs of our sinful nature, and even conform to our proclivities, and we don’t feel as bad about sin. Going to confession regularly and receiving absolution, being in a state of grace, may give us a sense that we have done our best, which is good enough, yet our tendencies may continue to live. Somehow, we want to be conformed to virtue and be in good shape when the hereafter is staring us in the face.
We are blessed in this life with divine grace, which is undeserved and flows freely from God despite our cycle of sin and perceived unworthiness. Grace gives us strength to carry on and not give up. Grace brings us consolation in the worst of times. Grace gives us hope, knowing that Jesus died on the cross and arose from the dead to erase our sin debt and make life everlasting in heaven possible. Hope through God’s grace can bolster our resolve to do better and put aside our mental scorecards as we may tend to want to square things away in this life with God, having figured out somehow, we are good enough to share eternity with Christ.
Grace can suppress the mental exercises and reassure us that we were created out of God’s abounding love, and that total dependance and surrender to God may be the best way to answer all of our questions about sin and set our course to an abiding peace and joy in this world, and the next.
Would love to hear your thoughts about this series of reflections, “Dealing with the Bad Stuff in Our Lives”. Please leave a comment below or reach out to me via email with feedback.
Have a Blessed Sunday!