In last Friday’s blog, I shared a profound gift that Jesus gave me years ago in a vision of my heart. Today’s post is a further look into one part of the vision.
As the blood of Jesus so gently broke away that wall around my heart, there were visible holes in my heart. These holes are an important part of the story. They were pain, sin, and injuries. They were the paths that I had taken away from God in my thoughts, words, and actions. They were the reasons I had built the wall around my heart — to hide them and keep myself from appearing so broken before God and others.
With a heart of flesh, we want to keep ourselves pure and healthy, but our weak human nature tends towards pride and sin. How do we balance the guilt and condemnation caused by our sins with the love of God?
Jesus taught me in my vision and over the years a little bit about this:
- Our sins hurt us. They damage our relationship with God and ultimately cause our separation from Him. They cause pain both spiritually and physically that God wants to prevent. Sins cause us to want to hide like Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden or even put a wall around our hearts to avoid being seen. Sins bring shame, guilt, and punishment. If there was no loss or punishment from sin; then why would we want to stop sinning? Our sin should shame and motivate us into being better and to seek the mercy of God. God’s love for us (just like our love for our children) requires that there are consequences. When we turn away from God and remove Him from our hearts, we risk losing Heaven and eternal life in God’s loving embrace. Good “old-fashioned” Catholic guilt is good and necessary for our souls. That is our conscience telling us we chose the wrong path. May our fear of punishment and death drive us to avoid temptation and sin.
Reflect for a moment on Proverbs 6:16-19: There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers. What areas in our lives can we focus on removing sin, especially in this coming Lenten season?
- Jesus teaches us there is more than just God’s wrath. He teaches us that we must walk away from sin and that only God can heal us. We need Him to cleanse us and restore us to the person He created us to be. Reconciliation is an essential gift of healing and restoration. Let us make use of this gift He gives us so that we can continually cleanse our souls of all sin. Jesus also reminds us that the greater the sin, the greater the reason for love. We cannot make amends on our own for our sins. We cannot save ourselves no matter how “good” we are. Only Jesus Christ can take on our sins and free us from the eternal punishment our sins deserve.
Consider Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord and rejoice that Jesus saves us!
- These sins that create “holes” in our hearts remain with us and are a part of our journey to God. I am the person I am today because of the paths I have taken — the good and the bad ones. My sins have motivated me to have a great pursuit for love and virtue. My sins have softened my heart from pride to humility. They have changed me from a haughty Pharisee singing praises of myself to a humble beggar for God’s mercy. My past already forgiven sins are certainly not badges of honor but rather scars of memories. There is a more genuine yearning inside of me to love and forgive others because God has loved and forgiven me so much.
Consider the words of Jesus in Luke 7:47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” Jesus loves so deeply a repentant soul!
May this reflection guide our hearts closer to Christ. May we not hide our sins from Jesus but rather with a contrite heart seek to be saved through Him. In just a short time the penitential season of Lent will begin. May we use this time to honestly face our sins and seek salvation through Jesus.
From St. Faustina’s Diary, Jesus wants all of us to know —
He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice… Diary 1146 (17 Things)
Jesus, have mercy on us, poor sinners; and increase Your Mercy towards us!
17 Things Jesus Revealed to St. Faustina About Divine Mercy retrieved from https://www.ncregister.com/blog/17-things-jesus-revealed-to-st-faustina-about-divine-mercy
Author: Laura Stephens, FF Sacrament Preparation Catechist