I approached the Sacrament of Reconciliation with a heavy heart that I attributed to the sins that I would be confessing. Proceeding with my usual routine, I listed off the habitual sins that had kept me coming back to the confessional over and over again.
As I reached the end of my litany of imperfections, I took a deep breath and anticipated the standard penance of three Hail Marys that would hold me over until next month’s confession. However, my expectation was met with silence and then a piercing question:
“Do you believe that God loves you?”
I fell silent. I didn’t have a confident answer.
The priest then gently explained the root of every sin I repeatedly confessed: insecurity. This difficult explanation revealed the fact that I was not living my life from a place of confidence in the Father’s love for me. Instead, I was living in constant pursuit of affirmation that sustained a life of insecurity.
I was attempting to endure the pressure to prove myself worthy of life that was never mine to begin with. So instead of my usual Hail Marys, I found myself repeatedly praying, “Jesus, I believe that You love me. I trust that You created me for goodness. Give me the grace to see it.”
In today’s Gospel, Jesus explains the importance of aligning our hearts to the path of righteousness and not sowing those tendencies that lead us to sin and shame. He promises, “the righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father,” and that is a reason to rejoice (Matthew 13:43).
Sister, I can’t tell you how often I come back to that prayer I received in the confessional. But with each act of surrender, I can see more clearly the life that we are all created for. And let me tell you, it is not a life of insecurity.
We are called to shine. We are invited to live from the Father’s house.