We’ve all heard the expressions…”earn your way”… pull yourself up by your bootstraps….. put something in the pot”…. bla,bla,bla. Unfortunately we can attribute this mindset to God himself. If we want to be part of his family and be in his favor, we need to “put something in the pot”; if we’ve screwed up, we better earn our way back.
Fortunately that’s NOT the way the Lord thinks. He loves us and love doesn’t act that way. Speaking of St. Paul, St. John Chrysostom said “the most important thing of all to him (Paul) was that he knew himself to be loved by Christ.” (Magnificat, Sept. 23, 2022) So shipwreck, stoning, flogging, sickness, and the “thorn in the flesh” did not deter him and he continued to press on. In all the ups and downs of his life, he knew he was loved by God.
When we sin and disappoint our self, we can think we also disappoint God and need to “earn” our way back. “Maybe if I show him I’m sorry by living an exemplary life for the next 6 months, maybe God will welcome me back.” The Lord doesn’t think that way. He seeks us out like the father of the prodigal son… running to us, restoring our dignity immediately. Bishop Barron recently quoted the lovely phrase from Catherine of Siena, “pazzo d’amore”— God is crazy in love with us, including the lost sheep and the prodigal sons.
St. Faustina says “proclaim that mercy is the greatest attribute of God. All the works of My hands are crowned with mercy.’” (St. Faustina Diary,No. 301) “In our lives we always hope that people see us at our best. We pose for pictures by turning our good side to the camera. Do we try to hide our unsightly sins from God? He is an all-powerful God, Who is Truth, Beauty, and Justice; yet His greatest attribute is mercy. Mercy is the side He most wants all of us to see! Go to Him in your trials as well as your failures—His mercy heals and saves. It is our only path.” (Sarah & Justin Kraft, 10 Inspiring Quotes on Mercy from Sr. Faustina)
So the next time we fall on our face, let’s not go into a shell and take 6 weeks coming up with a plan to get back into God’s graces. Let’s quickly ask forgiveness knowing that “God is crazy in love with us”. He is racing to us to pour out his love and mercy. And that is very good news.