Friday, March 11, 2016

My Apologies Dear Lord...

Happy Friday.
Happy Feast day of Saint John Ogilvie. One of the lines I read in his Bio was this:
"John came of age when neither Catholics nor Protestants were willing to tolerate one another. Turning to Scripture, he found words that enlarged his vision. Although he became a Catholic and died for his faith, he understood the meaning of “small-c catholic,” the wide range of believers who embrace Christianity. Even now he undoubtedly rejoices in the ecumenical spirit fostered by the Second Vatican Council and joins us in our prayer for unity with all believers."
How blessed are we to live in a time where we can respect other religions and find our similarities in our love of Christ and certain traditions?! Can I get an AMEN?

During Lent, we draw nearer to Chris. I like to think of it as a time of apology. Sigh. There is no way I could ever do enough to show how sorry I am for past sins. There is no way that I will ever be HOLY. But my sins of the past don't have to RULE my life.... and for so long, they did. I am sure I will always have a moment here or there where they will creep up. But I read this line in yesterday's Lenten Magnificat (ok, I read it this morning because yesterday was a crazy morning and I never got to it)....
"The difference between human and divine wisdom is that we generate the one, God give us the other. Faith, then, is a word spoken to me by Another (capital A), the Eternal word, whose impact strikes me square between the eyes as something I could never myself speak. And it lays an obligation upon me. "I think philosophy," wrote Joseph Ratzinger, "I receive faith."" ~ Pope Benedict XVI
Thank you Father. Thank you Papa!

Oh ya'll... are you ever doing something and an image of yourself in your youth and wild days smacks you right in your face and you shudder at your ignorance and lack of humility, grace or really ANY virtue? It happens to me. I was a very confused 20- and early-30-something person. If I was doing a 7 Quick takes on your worst sins, it would be:

7. Lack of Humility
6. Lack of Respect of self and others
5. Lack of Self control
4. Gossip
3. Sex before marriage
2. Abortion
1. Knowledge of God, but not following HIS Commandments!

Sure, according to society, I was a physically, mentally and sexually abused child; I basically raised myself, and for a while, my siblings too.... our family life was extremely chaotic, as you can imagine. And I was LOST. And so society would likely give me a pass.... but these are still sins, some mortal sins. I was good at faking it... I was good at making other people thing all was well and that I had it together... but if they were paying attention, they must have seen how really out of control I was.  I did stupid things to get people's attention. Every relationship I had was based on money (that is how adults in our family behaved, do this or you won't get ___") or sex. There was love on some levels of parenting and relatives. But I wanted the Walton's... you know?!

What is my point? I have one - I promise. The point is, I have learned that those really UGLY images that cross my mind all these years later are NOT of God. They are not part of the Lenten Process of drawing near to Christ and asking for continued forgiveness for all He has done for us. They are the evil one, trying to make me think I am not good enough... trying to steal my joy. There have been times that sneaky jerk has succeeded. There are times I feel not good enough.  The devil/evil one knows that sin separates us from God. And he wants you to think you are separate. This is ME, not trusting, "generating my own truth".... this is NOT of God. NOT NOT NOT!  GOD wants us to live in Him, with Him...He loves us. He wants us to love ourselves because He made us. He wants us to accept His forgiveness and be whole, in Him.

Here is a graphic:

The evil one hopes we won't ever read the 2nd column, right?!
  • The fear that my sins will affect my child or husband.
  • The fear that my parent's sins and other relatives sins will affect me.
  • The fear that I am not good enough to be friends with all these great Catholic women, for fear they will find out my past and not accept me. 
  • The fear that God will turn his back on me, because surely I am not as good as ____ or ____.
Things of that nature are NOT from God. You see, He forgives. God the Father sent His Son to die for our sins. How much more proof do we need that we are forgiven? God gave us HIS word! We are forgiven. We do not have to continue to apologize and lament past sins we are forgiven for. We don't have to beat ourselves up or fear we aren't good enough. We can be peaceful in His Truth and Love!

The bottom line, it is arrogant and divisive when we do not forgive ourselves as God has forgiven us. We must learn to let it go! *not the frozen kind.

Which brings me to, The Gift of Confession.  You say, "wait a minute... we must confess our sins?!" Yes - you must. If you are not Catholic, you are missing out on the gift of Confession. I need to go more regularly. Truly, it is awesome. We are so blessed to have this precious gift.

I just read this passage to my CCD Class, this past Sunday.  You know, our Catholic Faith is the first and oldest Christian Faith. Jesus made the Apostles the first Priests, here:
John 20: 1When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
And so I say to you... examine your conscience and your heart. Go to confession. Get "right" with God. The devil will attack you as you draw closer to our Lord, but when you calm yourself, you will know that this is NOT of God.

Examination of Conscience for Kids. Now, this one says it's First Communion Prep. But honestly, I think it is good to talk to children from toddlerhood about right and wrong. They understand.  It is a free download and I have given this to my CCD children.

Examination of Conscience for Adults. This is from a site called Beginning Catholics, and it is thorough. If you have a favorite Examination, please link it in the comments. 

If you don't believe in confession through a Priest, you can still examine yourself and ask God's forgiveness. It's a great tool to peace, through Jesus. TRULY! I am told it is a good nightly tool... and I really need to get back to doing it. 

What I hope you have taken from this post is that God tell us we are forgiven if we repent. Don't generate your own truth, stick with God's truth. He is, after all, Our Father!

Have a blessed weekend ALL!
Hugs, Love & Blessings ~ 
I leave you with this....

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