Pre-Lenten Reflections: Preparing for the Mercy of God

Any excuse to begin an article with a quote from Miss O'Connor . . .

"Mr. Head stood very still and felt the action of mercy touch him again but this time he knew that there were no words in the world that could name it. He understood that it grew out of agony, which is not denied to any man and which is given in strange ways to children. He understood it was all a man could carry into death to give his Maker and he suddenly burned with shame that he had so little of it to take with him. He stood appalled, judging himself with the thoroughness of God, while the action of mercy covered his pride like a flame and consumed it. He had never thought him self a great sinner before but he saw now that his true depravity had been hidden from him lest it cause him despair. He realized that he was forgiven for sins from the beginning of time, when he had conceived in his own heart the sin of Adam, until the present, when he had denied poor Nelson. He saw that no Sin was too monstrous for him to claim as his own, and since God loved in proportion as He forgave, he felt ready at that instant to enter Paradise."

~ Flannery O'Connor, "The Artificial Nigger"

Why are we, at times, inclined to dwell on our past transgressions? Doing so only leads us to fear the inevitability of our weakness in the future. It is true that all of us suffer from vices that we have not yet overcome, vices that are likely to attack us again and again. And, to be quite frank on the matter, there is a more than fair chance we will fail against our vices many more times before the end.

We must, nevertheless, fear neither the inevitable temptations that we have yet to confront, nor the sins that we have yet to commit. Through the teachings of the Church and the wisdom of the saints, we can find rest in the certainty that God will give us all the strength we need to fight temptation. Yet, we still fear our weakness; why? What do our weaknesses matter when we know that, each and every sin of our past and future, be they are graver than all the sins in the world, will be forgiven completely, so long as we ask for it?

Have confidence. His love is fierce, His mercy infinite, and even the greatest sin of our lifetime could never even conceive to withstand the terrible power of His forgiveness. Do not doubt reality of God's love; it is far more real than any human love. Therefore, when sins and human frailty weigh upon you, forget the eyes of the world. Turn, instead, to the heart of God.


Belle36 said...

Beautiful! Thank you for sharing your heart!

Mike M said...

+ Thank you for your words of Hope in God's Mercy for all people.

-Mike M.