By Fr. Roy Cimagala
THERE are times when our conscience confronts us with our sinfulness, usually the hidden and persistent ones, the way Christ confronted the sinfulness of the leading Jews of his time. (cfr. Lk 11,47-54) Instead of reacting the way these Jews did—they reacted with hostility toward Christ—we should be humble enough to acknowledge our sinfulness and start to do something about it.
What we actually have at hand when these times take place is a golden opportunity to have another real conversion and recover our true dignity as children of God. Let’s take advantage of it. God is calling us back and he would be most happy if we decide to return to him in earnest.
We cannot deny that we are all sinners. We are very fragile since, as the gospel says, we are vessels of clay and we have feet of clay. Just a little disturbance and we are likely to collapse.
Besides, we are ranged against powerful enemies of our soul. Our weakened flesh, the devil and the deceiving allurements of the world all conspire to take us away from our true happiness which is to be with God and with others. They often force us to live in our own world, thinking that it is where our joy would be.
Yes, we may manage to appear good in the eyes of the others, but it’s an incontrovertible fact of life that we still manage to sin. And sometimes, we sin precisely in a manner that is hidden and persistent. We can manage to cover them up with some good work we do.
This is when we are given a chance to develop and grow in humility which is a constant challenge for us. With that humility we can manage to admit our sinfulness and start to seek forgiveness and to do some atonement for our sins.
We should not hesitate to do so, knowing that God’s joy is to forgive us. He is all too eager to forgive us, in spite of the gravity of our sin. As St. Paul once said, “Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more…” (Rom 5,20)
Let’s remember that Christ never tires of forgiving us. It is not his delight to see our spiritual death. Rather, he is happy when we go back to him like the prodigal son. This should give us an idea about what would make God happy with us.
Remember Christ’s words in the parables of the lost coin, lost sheep and the prodigal son: “There shall be joy before the angels of God upon one sinner doing penance.” (Lk 15,10)
It surely would be good if we develop the habit of making regular examinations of conscience at the end of each day, and end our day asking for forgiveness. Going to frequent confession is very much advisable, as well as availing of spiritual direction where we should lay all the cards on the table, unafraid and unashamed to show ourselves as we are and ready to carry out whatever piece of advice is given us.
The world would be much better if each one of us manages to deal with our sinfulness properly. That’s when we can see things more objectively and contribute in putting the world in general in its proper direction.
So, when our conscience confronts us with our sinfulness, let’s welcome it!