Misery leads to Confidence

Friends in Christ, today we encounter in the Gospel this great scene of the Penitent woman, anointing the feet of Jesus. Tradition has it, that this is Mary Magdalene, the sinner, who has, with confidence, sought out the mercy of Christ.
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The Pharisee that is there, he is at a loss to understand Jesus’ attitude toward her. But the lesson is: the more one has been forgiven, the more grateful a person will be. Let’s face it; if we have committed a very serious sin, it is then, after Confession, that we feel the most love and gratitude to God.
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St. Francis de Sales says,[i] ‘You have asked me if a soul who is aware of his own misery can go with confidence to God. I reply, that not only can that soul have great confidence in God, but that UNLESS it has this knowledge of it’s misery, it cannot have true confidence in him. For it is true knowledge and confession of our misery that brings us to God.’
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If we are trying to be great disciples, daily, then there are times when we – well, we just feel so bad about our past sins and present sins. This is the misery that St. Francis is speaking of, that can drive us into the arms of God.
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He says, ‘The more miserable we know ourselves to be, the more that we have to confide in God, since there is nothing in ourselves that we can trust.
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It is true that our frequent sins and faults should make us feel some shame, before the Lord. It is natural to feel embarrassment over our sins, before Our Heavenly Father. But we must not remain that way. That shame should propel us with confidence into the forgiving arms of our Savior.
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If we feel sadness or anxiety, then this is pride, because we are upset that we are not perfect; ‘how could I have committed this sin?!!’ it is pride.
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Even if we do not FEEL confidence, we should continue to make acts of confidence: ‘Jesus, I have no hope except in your goodness, therefore I abandon my self entirely into your hands.’
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Like Mary Magdalene, if we are acutely aware of our misery, it will lead to total confidence in our Savior. As St. Peter said, ‘Lord, to whom else shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.’

 

[i] The Art of Loving God, see chapter 1.

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