It’s easy to kneel in church to thank God for his goodness and beg healing for our family and friends. Easy because those prayers are not directed at our own faults. And on a kneeler, it’s like, “Hey, God, I’m in church—I’m good, right?”
It’s harder to invite God into our weakness and sin. When we realize we just yelled at our child or gossiped at the office, we’re tempted to think God is disgusted with us, so it’s easy to look away from him. (Because we know, that he knows, that we know better.) But according to Pope St. Leo the Great, during a temptation or after a fall is exactly when God most tenderly wants to be with us—he wants us to invite him into our mess.
Leo to the rescue
St. Leo says: “True reverence for the Lord’s passion means fixing the eyes of our heart on Jesus crucified and recognizing in him our own humanity.
“No one, however weak, is denied a share in the victory of the Cross. No one is beyond the help of the prayer of Christ. His prayer brought benefit to the multitude that raged against him. How much more does it bring to those who turn to him in repentance.
“The body that lay lifeless in the tomb is ours. The body that rose again on the third day is ours. The body that ascended above all the heights of heaven to the right hand of the Father’s glory is ours.
“If then we walk in the way of his commandments, and are not ashamed to acknowledge the price he paid for our salvation in a lowly body, we too are to rise to share his glory. The promise he made will be fulfilled in the sight of all: ‘Whoever acknowledges me before men, I too will acknowledge him before my Father who is in heaven.’”
I challenge you, as I do myself, to bring our mess to Jesus this Lent in Confession for a spiritual makeover, so we can rise with him brand-new on Easter. Amen?
Thanks for the paradigm, it is useful!
Glad it resonated with you!
I’m prompted to think about a Lenten talk I gave at my church in 2010 entitled “The Joy of Forgiveness.”
I wrote: So what’s it like going to confession? It reminds me of the comment I heard one time from a World War II P-51 Mustang pilot out on his first mission over Germany. He said “I threw up in my cockpit. And when I got back I just didn’t thinkI had what it took. When my line chief jumped up on the wing I apologized for the mess; “I’m sorry!” The line chief stuck his head in the cockpit and said “I’ve seen worse.” From that time on I knew I was O.K.”
So true that our “mess” isn’t anything Jesus hasn’t seen before (and worse) and He is literally “dying” to clean it up for us.