“When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way, he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them; he did not carry it out.” Jon. 3:10
One of the key to Catholicism that always fascinates me is the act of reconciliation. Growing up in a family with strict rules, the idea that confessing one’s sins and be forgiven for it was unheard of. It all sounded too good to be true. How can God be so lenient? Can He talk to my mother?
I was always afraid of confession. The church where I grew up had a burning of the sins once a year during the Lenten season. During this mass, all the parishioners were given an index card and a pencil to write down their confessions. After the homily, parishioners lined up to put their confessions into a BBQ grill that was placed by the altar which was then lit on fire by the priest. All was forgiven. I made sure to attend this mass every year.
I thought reconciliation would be easier as I get older. I was wrong. The years did not help my fear of confessing my flaws and misdeeds. In fact, I think it made it worse. I was more shameful of my actions. The spiritual examination prior to confession is always a struggle. I question why I would do the things I did. What was I thinking? If I can’t forgive myself, how can I ask God to forgive me? Do I deserve to be forgiven?
Today’s reading reminds me of God’s great love and forgiveness. It echoes Pope Francis’s message for the Lenten season for “people to make room in their hearts for those who have sinned, those who ‘have made mistakes and are in jail.’”
Lord, help me learn to forgive and open my heart to the forgiveness of others.
Reflected by Katherine Tran