Friday, May 22, 2009

A Formula for Guilt-Free Living

“Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" (John 9.1) This question by the Disciples was a familiar one in their time but by today’s standards we no longer think of physical illness or disabilities in terms of being punishment for sins. BUT how often do we punish ourselves for our sins? Often times it would less painful to be inflicted with physical blindness than the guilt that we force upon our own lives for our sins. “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.” (John 9.3)

God does not give us pain or trials because of our sins so neither should we. God forgives us when we ask Him so we need to forgive ourselves also. God does not judge us for sins that have been forgiven so we also need to learn to forgive ourselves (and others) and not allow guilt to bring a dark blindness into our lives. Guilt, especially when it keeps us away from God, has the same effect as being blind and unable to see God’s love but God has the power to heal our blindness so we can live guilt-free lives.

If we are suffering from guilt because of a particular sin in our lives the Church offers us healing in the Mystery of Repentance also known as Confession. When we approach Christ in the sacrament and confess our sins and seek forgiveness, the Priest says: My spiritual child, who has confessed to my humble person, I, humble and a sinner, have no power on earth to forgive sins, but God alone; but through that divinely spoken word which came to the Apostles after the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, saying, “Whosoever sins you remit, they are remitted, and whosoever sins you retain, they are retained,” we are emboldened to say: Whatsoever you have said to my humble person, and whatsoever you have failed to say, whether through ignorance or forgetfulness, whatever it may be, may God forgive you in this world, and in the world to come.

No comments: