I would like to share with you all something that happened to me a few days ago. I made this new commitment this past fall to spend more time in silent prayer everyday. This means that everyday I will spend one hour in our tiny chapel here in Gaming. To be completely honest there have been a few days when I enter the chapel I would have liked to be somewhere else, but after a few minutes when I realize that I am in the presence of a God that is so powerful and amazing I thank Him for allowing me to have this time to be with Him.
There have been some realizations that I have had over these past few weeks in this chapel. Some have been big. Some have been small, but they have all been significant to my relationship to the most important person in my life: Jesus Christ.
The realization that I had in prayer a few days ago has probably been the most profound that I have had in a while. What I came to realize in prayer that day was two-part. The first was that the forgiveness of the Lord is unfathomable. I have done things in my life that I have not been proud of. Any one that knows me well can attest to the fact that I have had a profound change in my way of living from when I was younger. I have hurt many people in my life because of bad mistakes. When I came to the Lord in 2000, I came to Him broken and on my knees. I was sobbing the day I handed my life over to the Lord, because I could not understand the love that God had for a sinner like me.
The conclusion that I have come to over these past nine years is that the Lord has loved me since the moment I was conceived. He loved me in my sin, and He loved me the day I gave my life to Him. There has never been a time that He has not loved me, and there will never be a time when He ceases to love me; even when I see myself as unloveable. He loves me regardless of whatever it is I think. How amazing our Lord is. I know that I could never love that way (unless He gave me to ability through His grace to do so.)
On top of Him loving me so immensely is that with this unfathomable love comes a willingness to forgive that is equally as immense. I am reminded of the prodigal son as I write this, with the Father waiting anxiously for the lost son to come home. The Father, at the sight of His lost son, runs to him first (even before the son can react) with open arms. The Father is not concerned with the wrongdoing of the son, but instead joyful and excited to have the son home. When I fall (as I do everyday) through my sin, it is not the sin the Lord sees when I come back to Him asking for forgiveness. He only sees my heart that longs to be back with His. The Lord sees not our sins. He sees us as we are intended to be- His sons and daughters. How amazing.
I know this is long, but the funny thing is that I heard this message preached to me twice in one day. Once at noon mass in our Church, and the second time I read it in the scripture during my daily prayer time. The third time I heard it was when I was sitting on my couch reading the book Brothers Karamazov, Dostoyevsky (my current read). It was so suprising to me, because I would have never expected to hear it through a book on Russian literature ☺ But this is what I read:
(This is between the Elder Zosima and a woman who tried to kill her husband...I know... weird.)
“Be not afraid, and never be afraid, and do not be in misery. Just as long as repentance does not grow scarce within you – then God will forgive anything. And indeed there is and can be no sin upon all the earth that the Lord will not forgive the truly repentant. And there is no sin that man could commit so great as would ever exhaust God’s infinite love.”
Wow. Thank you Dostoyevsky confirming God’s word to me.
There is no sin a repentant person can commit that the Lord will not forgive. Thank you Lord for loving us that much.
The second thing I realized in the chapel that day was this.
Walking the narrow road to Christ is difficult. No scratch that. It is impossible. It is only made possible, because Christ has walked it before and He gives us the grace to follow. But it has been done before. Actually it has been done many many many times by people like you and me. Men, women, child, elder, Jew, Greek, black, white, disabled, strong, weak, slave, master, etc. All these people have walked the road and are now in divine reality of heaven. They have run the race and completed the course, and their victory and reward is eternal life with God. These people have made it and done well. These people are the saints. They know our struggles, because they have faced them and overcome. We cannot lose hope brothers and sisters in our journey towards the Lord. I know at times our faults and shortcomings may seem greater than the love and mercy of Christ, but when this happen we must look to the men and women who have faced the same challenges and ask them for their prayers and supplications.
The Lord is good brothers and sisters and He loves us more than we can ever imagine. Let’s take some time to be joyful in that ☺