This is the continuation of the reflection of the opening prayer, of the Third Sunday Of Ordinary Time, begun last week. This week, we pick up the prayer, was we pray,
"So that the limits of our faults and weaknesses may not obscure the vision of Your Glory or keep us from the peace you have promised."
Our Father-God is Always faithful to His promises. God never reneges on His promises. We as human beings, on the other hand, come up short again and again. We are told what we have in our everyday experience that is what we have with God, we therefore expect God to do the same. He cannot. God has to be forever faithful to his promises, because He has to be faithful to Himself. We are His Beloved forever, and, for always. We are His 'delight', and nothing we can ever do, will be able to change that. We may forget, or better, we will forget who we are. God can never forget who He is, and who we are, in His love. The scriptures are given to us, to remind us remind of the fact, "it is not that I love God but that he loves me, it is not that I give love, but that I accept it. We then, need to be reminded, again and again, our faults and weaknesses not only do not get in the way of God's love for us, they actually reveal how deep and mind-blowing that love is. Yes, indeed it is, mystery. Each and every time we are drawn into the mystery of our God's gracious love and mercy, we are further enlightened, and enlivened, for the continuation of the journey. We are forced to ask the question, "can it really be this good?" The answer is "yes", and what is more amazing, it is better than we can ever imagine. That is the reason I like to repeat, over and over the great words of Henri Nouwen:
"God's mercy is greater than our sins. There is an awareness of sin that does not lead to God but to self-pre-occupation. Our temptation is to be so impressed by our sins and failings and so overwhelmed by our lack of generosity that we get stuck in a paralyzing guilt. It is the guilt that says: "I am too sinful to deserve God's mercy." It is the guilt that leads to introspection instead of directing our eyes to God. It is the guilt that has become an idol and therefore a form of pride. Lent is the time to break down this idol and to direct our attention to our loving Lord. The question is: "Are we like Judas, who was so overcome by his sin that he could not
believe in God's mercy any longer and hanged himself, or are we like Peter who returned to his Lord with repentance and cried bitterly for his sins? "The season of Lent, during which winter and spring struggle with each other for dominance, helps us in a special way to cry out for God's mercy."
So then, our sins, faults, and apparent weaknesses are actually the
opportunities we afford God to be the God Jesus Christ came to reveal to us. Our God has a great love for us. A love we will never realize until and unless we begin to grow in the acceptance of our faults and weaknesses. A love that is freely offered, and a love that waits to be accepted. Is it always accepted? I am sorry to say, no. We make the mistake of keeping our eyes on the sin , fault, weakness, and never lift our eyes to the merciful, compassionate gaze of our Lover.