Joyful Noise: As Lent Approaches

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It’s hard to ask others for forgiveness. Sometimes it’s even harder to forgive yourself. Sometimes you keep going back to those sins you already confessed–those you thought you left behind.

Yet in The Pilgrim Continues His Way, the Pilgrim is chided for confessing sins he already confessed and of which he repented. “It shows a lack of trust in the power of the sacrament of Confession,” the spiritual father tells the Pilgrim (p.112, in the translation by Olga Savin, published by Shambhala Classics).

And he’s right. We’re not meant to dwell on our sins or in a state of turmoil, but to move forward into repentance and leave the sins behind.

This dwelling-in-turmoil is captured in the colloquialism, “beating yourself up.” Imagine yourself standing in place, taking a hard object or clenched fist to parts of your own body. Consumed by this action, unable to walk forward, distracted from finding nourishment, or evening noticing another. It does not make you worthy of God’s love, or undo whatever has been done. When we do not ask God’s forgiveness or forgiveness of each other, we put ourselves in a prison. We cannot experience true peace.

And so, as we approach Lent, don’t let yourself be imprisoned by grudges and lack of forgiveness. Let yourself truly repent, to move forward, and show that your truly believe in God’s love.

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