Friday, February 13, 2009
Jesus Died for You
This morning I was feeling quit dejected and frustrated. It's been a difficult week, and the worst part about it is that I haven't handled it well. I've been awful, and I can't wait to get to Confession so that I can get rid of all this "yuck" that encases me.
And yet, I'm also dreading Confession. I know what I deserve, and I know I need to confront myself before God, honestly, without reserve, and it's never a pleasant experiece to recognize how holy I'm NOT.
Until I get there, though, I feel, spiritually, almost physically, like Pig Pen in the "Peanuts" comics; I'm all dirty and I've got a nasty smelly cloud surrounding me, and everything I touch is soiled, too.
Sin does that. Nothing is hidden. God sees all, knows all. And all we have to do is come to Him and ask for forgiveness, because we agree, too, that we've sinned.
I had to take a quick run to the store this morning, and en route, I was mentally reviewing my week, hating the sense of being so soiled. My own sin was weighing heavily upon me, and truth be told, still does. As it should; I'm in need of sacramental healing. I need to hear the words of absolution.
Then I passed a church, and happened to glance at the sign adjacent to the road. The words were simple, but they were just for me, in that moment:
"Jesus Died for You"
I mentally stopped my torturous mental inventory and focused on that one all-important Truth: Jesus died for me.
He saw me from even before His conception, and still willingly chose to be conceived and suffer this life. He took me upon his shoulders when He entered the waters of the Jordan, giving His very conscious fiat to God and to us. He saw me in the Garden of Gethsemane, and sweated blood in order to take on my just punishment. He saw me as He was scourged at the pillar, and met my sin head-on, gazing at me with compassion, even as His flesh was visciously stripped from Him. He saw me when He was crowned with thorns, and uttered not a word of protest, taking my own rebellion into His own skin, letting it rip His own flesh. He saw me when He carried His cross, and did not condemn me, for He was suffering that I might not be condemned. And He took the nails meant for me into his own hands and feet, and died so that I would not suffer the eternal agony to which I have deserved time and time again.
He took on my sin. He saw everything, and still died...for me. He became accursed...for me.
Jesus died for me.
It matters that I've sinned, and it's important that I accuse myself before God, and to the priest, of my sin in the Sacrament of Confession. It's important that I keep the suffering face of Christ before me, remembering His uncondemning gaze, so that as I accuse myself, I remember what matters even more; that Jesus died for me.
Over and over again, I consider these words, and realize how much I need to remember them, how much I need to focus on them, especially when considering knowledge of my own personal responsibility. There is nothing we can do that will cause God to not love us anymore. He saw everything, and went to the cross without protest, because it was the only way to expiate our sin. We can't do it ourselves.
We need to depend on Him.
And the more I go to Confession, the more I understand my sorrowful condition. With a deepened understanding of my own wretched propensity towards sin, the more I love God. And the more I love God, the more I hate my sin, and the more I understand the suffering of Our Lord.
And the more I understand His suffering...the more I understand what real love is all about.
Thank you, Jesus.