The first thing Adam and Eve did after they sinned, was to go hide…. to run from the presence of God. I guess it’s a combination of guilt and shame and fear, and lack of trust in the goodness of God. They must have thought that, “I’m in God’s favor as long as I toe the line and don’t screw up…. but if I do make a mess of things, I need to figure out how I’m going to fix it before I show my face again.”
I’m kind of embarrassed to say that I can tend to act in this way…..although I know that is not the right way to think of God and his mercy. The classic recommendation to the repentant husband is to bring flowers to his wife as a peace offering…”honey, I hope you like the flowers…I’m sorry”. We don’t need to bring flowers to the Lord, he has plenty already.
Archbishop Martinez, the first official primate of Mexico, said it well….. “The first thing that many souls do, as soon as they have had the misfortune to commit an offense, is to withdraw from the Lord…and when do they plan to return to him…perhaps after their confession? Yet, he is the only one who can cleanse us…so no matter what kind of offense (venial or mortal sin), the first thing we should do is cast ourselves into the arms of the Lord, filled with grief, but also filled with confidence.” (Luis Maria Martinez, Magnificat 10-26-20) He goes on to say that when we have offended a man, it may be good to delay a bit while things cool off … but not with God. With God, “the sooner the better”.
As much as we may feel like hiding, we need to run back to the Lord as the prodigal son did… and we will not find a retreating, scornful father, but a welcoming father with arms outstretched, running to us. St. Catherine of Sienna says that “God is more ready to pardon than we have been (ready) to sin.”
And let’s remember the beautiful passage from the book of Hebrews….“For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16)
With God, the “sooner, the better”.