As often happens to those of us who stray from the Church, I recognized my son as a gift from God. He needed to be raised in the faith and God was calling me home.
But my progress was painfully slow. Had He truly forgiven me for my past transgressions?
We assume that God’s love has limitations, like ours.
It’s hard for us to grasp the concept that He is Perfect Love. St. Faustina tells us that His “mercy is endless and the treasury of (His) compassion inexhaustible” (Diary, 950).
But in order to receive God’s mercy we must ask for it. This means humbly accepting that we aren’t perfect and acknowledging our sins.
Yes, sin does exist! It’s as real now as in the past even though Satan has done a great job of persuading the world that sin is an old-fashioned religious hang-up that modern man can safely ignore. Not so.
Refusing to acknowledge our sinfulness means we're too proud to ask for God’s mercy, and are therefore unable to receive it. As Our Lord told St. Faustina:
“The greatest misery does not stop Me from uniting myself to a soul, but where there is pride, I am not there” (Diary, 1563).
The surest way of obtaining forgiveness is by going with a truly contrite to hear Confession, where the priest is in persona Christi. It is Jesus Himself who is listening to you.
This Sacrament is also a powerful tool against Satan:
“First, do not fight against a temptation by yourself, but disclose it to the confessor at once, and then the temptation will lose all force” (Diary, 1560).
We aren’t alone in our battle against the devil. God wants us to rely on His help, and the aid of His Mother and all the Saints.
“Second, during these ordeals do not lose your peace; live in My presence; ask My Mother and the Saints for help. Third, have the certitude that I am looking at you and supporting you” (Diary, 1560).
Temptations are not a test sent by God to see if we are strong enough to overcome them alone. They are a chance to prove our fidelity to, and trust in Him.
“Fourth, do not fear either struggles of the soul or any temptations, because I am supporting you; if only you are willing to fight, know that the victory is always on your side. Fifth, know that by fighting bravely you give Me great glory and amass merits for yourself. Temptation gives you a chance to show Me your fidelity” (Diary, 1560).
Christ gives us the strength we need and makes up for our deficiencies, as long as we appeal to Him for help.
No sin is unforgivable, save despair of God's forgiveness if we ask Him for it.
“My mercy is greater than your sins and those of the entire world” (Diary, 1485).
God’s Perfect Love forgives us, if we repent and are sincere about mending our ways.
And if God has forgiven us, how arrogant of us to say we aren’t forgiven! How much that hurts Christ, who told St. Faustina:
“..My heart is even more wounded by their distrust after a fall” (Diary, 1532).
In her beautiful Conversation of the Merciful God with a Despairing Soul St. Faustina records the following words of Jesus:
“My child, all your sins have not wounded My Heart as painfully as your present lack of trust does – that after so many efforts of My love and mercy, you should still doubt My goodness” (Diary, 1486).
It is deeply troubling to Christ when we are embarrassed by our failure to be perfect and refuse to believe that He can forgive us yet again. Our pride becomes our stumbling block.
We are not each allotted a ‘lifetime limit of forgiveness.’ If we humble ourselves and come with trust to Jesus asking for forgiveness over and over again, He will give it over and over again without reserve.
His mercy really is endless!
“He who trusts in My mercy will not perish, for all his affairs are Mine, and his enemies will be shattered at the base of my footstool” (Diary, 723)
“The graces of My mercy are drawn by means of one vessel only, and that is – trust. The more a soul trusts, the more it will receive. Souls that trust boundlessly are a great comfort to Me, because I pour all the treasures of My graces into them. I rejoice that they ask for much, because it is My desire to give much, very much. On the other hand, I am sad when souls ask for little, when they narrow their hearts” (1578)
So we should be willing to “ask for much” mercy.
No matter what we have done, God will forgive us if we confess our sins and ask for mercy. Under those conditions, He will give us a clean slate, and peace in our hearts – every time.
Remembering our blemished past helps us remain humble, but we shouldn’t let it prevent us from accepting God’s forgiveness. He came into the world not to condemn us, but to save us (John 3:17).
Many people think that Confession (the Sacrament of Reconciliation) is a convenient way for Catholics to obtain forgiveness for sins which we fully intend to commit again after confessing them. They perceive Confession as our carte blanche to sin without fear of consequence, because God will forgive us anyway.
This is not at all what the Sacrament means!
For someone to receive forgiveness, he or she must be contrite (regret having committed the sin) and have every intention of not committing that sin again. Otherwise they are not forgiven.
In fact, they are in a worse position than if they hadn’t gone to Confession, because it was done under false pretenses. God is unimpressed by white-washed sepulchers.