When I was in high school, I attended a Steubenville conference in Houma. This was the second conference that I went to, and something moved me to go to confession. At first, I was hesitant, I hadn’t been in a few years, and I was afraid to confess my sins to a priest. However, finally, I mustered up the courage and got in line. However, the line was too long, and I didn’t have time to go. When the evening was over my youth minister told me the first priest you see ask him for confession. Amazingly the first priest I saw was a bishop I approached him and asked him to hear my confession. He graciously accepted, and it was a powerful experience. However, I was nervous as I was confessing my sins. Even to this day, there are always some nerves going into the confessional. In the back of my mind, I still fear the priest is going to give me a hard time for the sins I committed. However, 99 out of 100 times the priest is loving, caring, and forgiving. Even in those rare instances where a priest is hard on me, there is one thing I try never to forget. God is indeed on the other side of that confessional, and it is God himself who loves me and forgives me.
We just heard from St. Paul explains to us what love is and how important it is to our lives. St. Paultells us that without love we are nothing. We can have faith to move mountainsbut not have love, and we are nothing. Paul makes it clear to us, we need tohave love beyond all things.
While I certainly believe this is true for our own lives, I think this is even more true for our relationship with God. I’m not talking about how we are called to love God, as we should,but rather how God loves us. For me, this is what I want to try and remember not only when I go to confession, but also in every way that I approach God inmy life. I need to ask myself, how do Iapproach God and how do I see him looking at me. Do I approach him with fearbecause I think he is looking at me with anger and disappointment? Or do Iapproach him with confidence, knowing he looks on me with Love, kindness, andmercy?
St. Paul is not only describing what love is but to he is explaining how God loves us. God is patient with us; God is Patient with us, God is always kind in the way he treats us.God is slow to anger; he never broods over our injuries, he never rejoices whenwe do wrong, and rejoices in the truth! God bears all things, believes allthings, hopes all things, endures all things. God never fails!
I struggle with sin, and there are many thingsthat I’ve gone to God for forgiveness a countless number of times. However, Igenuinely believe that God will never tire of forgiving me or showing me hislove and mercy.
St. Therese of Lisieux uses abeautiful image that I believe we can all relate. Many Saints explain thatprogressing in the spiritual life is like going up the stairs of holiness. Therese would look at this spiritual journey like she was an infant unable to climb up it. She explains when Jesus sees us trying to make the effort of climbing up those stairs, but we can’t do it ourselves he stoops down to pick us up and bring us to the top!
Jesus loves us so much that he is willing to come to us in our lowliness, our struggles with sinfulness, ourlittleness and he raises us to union with him. Pope Francis puts it nicely for us.
The Lord does not disappoint those who take this risk; whenever we take a step towards Jesus, we come to realize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms. Now is the time to say to Jesus: “Lord, I have let myself be deceived; in a thousand ways I have shunned your love, yet here I am once more, to renew my covenant with you. I need you. Save me once again, Lord, take me once more into your redeeming embrace”. How good it feels to come back to him whenever we are lost! Let me say this once more: God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy.Evangelii Gaudium 3
May we never tire in going to God when we need his love and forgiveness because Jesus will never hesitate to love and forgive us when we go to him.