As we begin our journey through Lent we should be examining our habits of sin (we all have them!) and begin lamenting those sins just as Daniel laments in today's poetic First Reading. (See Daniel 9:4-10.)
I know I try not to spend a lot of time thinking about my sins. But something that's helped is beginning the habit of Ignatian reflection at the end of the day, to use the Examen to notice where my greatest failures and God's greatest gifts were in every day. But if I'm honest, I skim over my sins fairly quickly. Usually if I'm being even more honest, I go over my sins as quickly as possible because I don't think they were that big a deal, or conversely, I don't want to dwell on the hurt I've caused others.
But all the small sins of my day, the inner sins of judgement, ill-will, the outer sins of unkind words, rash anger, or lack of charity to those closest to me are evidence of my departing from God's will and rebelling against His commandments. These sins may seem small, they may happen in an instant, they may leave no visible damage or injury, but they deserve lament.
If we begin to see and treat our sins as they really are, serious departures from our relationship with God and His will for us, then we can appreciate and understand all the more what Christ calls and gives us in today's Gospel.
He calls us to to be as merciful and as perfect as our Heavenly Father is.
God's compassion is so great that He continues to forgive us for the many times we fail to live up to His commands, not because our sins are small but because with each one we move farther away from Him, and that is of monumental importance. This type of forgiveness can only come from the Divine, and we can only live and offer it to others if we ourselves are living fully in God's grace. Let us live this today, sisters!
This free online version of Saint Augustine's "Confessions" is a great read.
Christy Isinger is a wife and mom to five lovely, loud children and lives in northern Canada. When not homeschooling, she is a devoted reader of English literature from Jane Austen to Agatha Christie. She writes about the beauty of faith, life, and the home at her blog and is the co-host of the Fountains of Carrots Podcast. You can find out more about her here. She is the author of our Blessed Conversations: The Ten Commandments study found here.