Wednesday, February 17, 2016

First Wednesday of Lent: Opening One's Heart to Forgiveness

 "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

The act of reconciliation is one sacrament that continues to fascinate me. Growing up in a household of strict rules, the idea of confessing your sin and to be forgiven was unheard of in my family. It seemed too good to be true. How could God be that understanding?

I was always afraid of confession as a child. The church where I grew up hosted a burning of the sins once a year during the Lenten season and I made sure to attend annually. During this particular mass, all were given an index card and pencil to write down their faults. After the homily, we lined up by the altar to lay down our confessions into the fire and were all forgiven.

As years passed, I thought reconciliation would be easier. However, I was mistaken. The years did not help my fear of confessing my flaws and shortcomings. In fact, I became more shameful of my actions. The spiritual examination prior to confession made me question why I would do the things I did. What was I thinking? If I cannot 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’ message and encouragement of making room in our hearts for those who have sinned, made mistakes, and are in jail.

Lord, help me learn how to forgive and open my heart to the forgiveness of others.

Katherine Tran 

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