This week Letitia writes….
You know “those people”, the saintly people, the ones we want to be like but the thought of being a saint seems so far fetched. We just think they are a separate species of people that are good, and we are not part of that species. They were just born to be saints! Many of us are so broken and carry around so much baggage that being a saint just seems impossible. Especially since people know our baggage. We think that we can’t escape our past. Or can we? Oscar Wilde once said that “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future”.
I think many of us wrongly judge the power of God to work in us. We do not hope anymore. We do not give God even the slightest opening in our hearts. We fall into the temptations of sin and then we throw in the towel. God calls us to lift ourselves up and to ask for forgiveness and begin again. So many of the great saints had very sinful lives but began anew with the mercy and forgiveness of God. There are very few of us who can say we murdered Christians, like St. Paul. How about St. Augustine who did not believe in God and had quite the immoral life with women. His
mother spent her life praying for his conversation and the rescue of his soul. He was far from a saintly man. What about the women saints? St. Mary of Egypt took great pleasure in corrupting young innocent men. She loved seducing men
and once seduced an entire ship of men going on a pilgrimage. Before they could get to the Holy Land, she had seduced every single man, the whole ship, pilgrims and crew. Yikes! When they got to the Holy Land she visited a chapel and there had a feeling of remorse for what she had done and for her sinful ways. She turned to God at that moment and began her new life. Jesus told the woman at the well her sins were forgiven to go and sin no more. And so it is with us, we are given that moment to go and sin no more. We just have to seize the moment.
It is true that every sinner has a future. We were created out of love by God to be saints. If our goal is heaven, then our goal is to be saints. St. Thomas More once said, “Earth hath no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.” All sins and sorrows are the desire of God to heal and forgive. We have to come to him with only our sorrowful hearts and a willingness to accept his Mercy. If the only thing we have to offer him is a heart that is beaten and broken but repentant, that is all he needs. God can do so much with one sinner who is open to his mercy.
Gather all your baggage and bring it to him. Open it up and offer it to him. The gift of your sins offered for mercy and redemption may be your best offering to God who in his great mercy will take them and turn them into your salvation. After all, this is exactly what Jesus did for us on the cross. He redeemed our sins, all of our sins, not just the “little” ones. He gave us salvation.
I often get a good laugh when this one particular deacon sees me. I went to school with him and his sister. I actually graduated with his sister. He often laughs as he says his sister still finds it hard to believe that I have six children and am married to a man who is a deacon. My response is always, God can do so much with so little. There is no shame in giving God the glory for all the work he has done in me. He wants all of us to come to him with a repentant heart so he can extend his great mercy to us. If we accept his mercy and live the life he offers to us, asking for forgiveness when we fall into sin, then we will become the saints with a past.
“Lay down your burdens, lay down your shame. All who are broken, lift up your face. Oh wanderer come home, you’re not too far. So lay down your hurt, lay down your heart, Come As You Are” Lyrics from “Come As Your Are” by the David Crowder Band