Friday, March 2, 2012

Its not how you start that counts - its how you finish - Let us begin!

Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again; for forgiveness has risen from the grave.--St. John Chrysostom - Easter sermon

Ezekiel 18:21-28
Thus says the Lord GOD:
If the wicked man turns away from all the sins he committed,
if he keeps all my statutes and does what is right and just,
he shall surely live, he shall not die.
None of the crimes he committed shall be remembered against him;
he shall live because of the virtue he has practiced.
Do I indeed derive any pleasure from the death of the wicked?
says the Lord GOD.
Do I not rather rejoice when he turns from his evil way
that he may live?

And if the virtuous man turns from the path of virtue to do evil,
the same kind of abominable things that the wicked man does,
can he do this and still live?
None of his virtuous deeds shall be remembered,
because he has broken faith and committed sin;
because of this, he shall die.
You say, "The LORD's way is not fair!"
Hear now, house of Israel:
Is it my way that is unfair, or rather, are not your ways unfair?
When someone virtuous turns away from virtue to commit iniquity, and dies,
it is because of the iniquity he committed that he must die.
But if the wicked, turning from the wickedness he has committed,
does what is right and just,
he shall preserve his life;
since he has turned away from all the sins that he committed,
he shall surely live, he shall not die.

"All's well that ends well."

Because our ending is all-important, some people wait until the end to convert to Christ and live in His ways. This is a serious mistake.

The Lord wants to forget your sins through the sacrament of reconciliation, and He wants you to forget them too. Your memories will no longer sadden, confuse, or torture you. The memory of His forgiveness will wipe away the memory of your sins.

Reconciliation begins with experiencing sorrow and asking for forgiveness. Saying, "I'm sorry, please forgive me," is a wonderful breakthrough moment. However, there is much deep, rich reflection and personal conversion that can, and perhaps must, accompany this level of reconciliation. Why did I do what I did? What was I choosing, reacting to, or making a point about? In what part of this conflict was I being selfish, stubborn, wanting it my way? What part involved a call to surrender, let go, or compromise? Is some part of this fight a "cover-up" for some real sin on my part? Am I being dishonest in this relationship, in some way? Was my anger really about something else? Did it come out of an insecurity, a tender spot, a vulnerable place because of past hurts? Is some part of this fight revealing a need for healing in me, a need for me to turn to the Lord for forgiveness and mercy?

Always remember, the "good thief" lived a miserable life, but ended well and was in paradise with Jesus on the day they both died (Lk 23:43).

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