Kids so easily get wrapped up in their world that they forget their surroundings and in their carelessness hurt themselves. When our kids get hurt, as a method of teaching them, Katie and I ask “why do we have rules?” If they got hurt, we probably already had a rule to protect them from what they were doing. Knowing our kids’ tendencies, we anticipate the injury and through that foresight we gave them the rule. Nonetheless, kids are careless and forgetful, and when they get hurt the answer we have taught them is “we have rules to keep our bodies safe”.
This simple example applies to our heavenly Father and His care through the commandments, prophets, church and only begotten Son. Everything He gives is directed to protect our being, the masterpiece of his creation. Nonetheless, we are careless and forgetful and when we sin we confront the unavoidable reality that sin always produces pain, and sin only leads to sin. Unless interrupted, this cycle of sin and pain continues to feed itself, as the two burrow into our mind, will, and soul.
In our western society, guilt carries a negative connotation, but stemmed from a formed conscience, it is a powerful medium for self-examination. It dedicates space within our mind to reflect on deviation between our current path and principles. Even if guilt may not produce with us perfect contrition, it is an effective countermeasure to pride, the underlying fuel of our fallen nature. When pride is removed from sin, all that remains is the pain. Taken to a confessor, he extends the mercy of God by helping us offer up the guilt and refine our state of contrition to repentance.
“God sympathizes in thy hopes and thy temptations”, a quote by Blessed John Henry Newman, sheds light onto our loving Father. To have God not only objectively judge our falls, but is compassionate to our temptations and hopes gives such confidence to approach confession and reconciliation. This confidence is grounded in the sonship we have through the Holy Spirit as St. Paul exclaims in his letter to the Romans “When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God.”
This week’s basilica hymn raises two questions “What excuse will I find? And where can I beg for forgiveness?” To answer the first, we will not find a fitting excuse before the throne of the Lord and none exists besides our own carelessness. As for our refuge for forgiveness, we have our Lord and High Priest Jesus Christ, the cornerstone of our sonship to God, and the Holy Spirit the never ending fountain of Grace and newness of life to all repentants.