When I was a teenager I went on several retreats and was involved in my youth group. In my early 20s I served with a Catholic ministry for almost an entire year. I attended a Catholic university and lived in Rome for four months during my time as a student. I’ve done many, many Catholic things.
And yet, I have fallen away from the Lord many, many times. I’ve sinned willingly, out of weakness, and sometimes out of ignorance. But I’ve always sinned because of my pride. I have considered myself safe, above failure, and therefore not found it necessary to maintain and nurture my spiritual life. I have found myself drifting away at sea, no longer anchored in the safe harbor of His love.
I think that’s why today’s Gospel always leaves me uneasy. I’m afraid I am Judas, but I am most definitely Peter, zealous and unaware of my weakness. I fall over and over again, denying my Lord. It’s easy to say, “I will lay down my life for you,” but it's so much harder to actually do it.
My pride, it blinds me. It blurs my vision. It is the foundational sin, to think we can do anything without God’s grace, or that we are beyond His saving. When I’m entangled in my pride, I fail to see my true self and instead see a distorted version of reality. And what is that reality? That He offers His hand to me as I’m drowning in the sea.
What He wants, despite your sins, is you.
Open yourself to contrition. Over and over again, accept His hand. This week especially, make the effort to bridge the gap. He will you meet you there. It’s the only thing I’m sure of.
Jacqueline Skemp is a daughter, sister, wife, and mother who endures living in Minnesota after leaving California for her one true love. You can find out more about her here.