“Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again: for forgiveness has risen from the grave!” ~ St. John Chrysostom
I’m fairly certain that I have shared this before; however, it bears repeating. One of the best reflections on forgiveness was given by a priest in our diocese quite a number of years ago (I was still in college.) He mentioned that people often come to confession and are quite despondent because, as they say, they have the same sins over and over again and they begin to feel that God will think that they are not redeemable.
He shared with us what he learned from a professor in theology. That person stated that he was absolutely convinced that God does not count the number of times that we have fallen throughout our lives. The professor continued that God only counts the number of times that we have gotten back up on our feet to try again. He asserted that as long as the number of times that we got up exceeds the number of times that we have fallen by one instance, we’ve got it made.
St. John Chrysostom would seem to agree with that position. “Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again: for forgiveness has risen from the grave!” We should not become mired in our sin. Rather, we should reflect upon God’s forgiveness and grace, get up, and continue the struggle again and again. God is pleased with the soul that does not give up.
If we were really honest, we would all admit that there have been times when we were ready to give up on ourselves. There have been times when we have said, “God must have given up on us already. He cannot possibly forgive me again and again.” You know what? The voice that tells us that is very real. However, that voice does not come from God. That voice comes from the enemy.
It is our enemy who wants us to give up on ourselves. It is the enemy who wants us to think that we are unforgivable and unredeemable. God would simply look at us when we feel that all is hopeless and say to us, “Why do you think I sent my Son? I sent Him for you.” Trust in that. Do not give up on yourself. When you fall, get up and try again.
FAITH ACTION: As Easter draws nigh, seek God’s forgiveness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.