Posted: 09 Mar 2009 12:00 AM PDT
Dn 9:4-10 / Lk 6:36-38
As any priest could affirm from years of hearing confessions, most of us don’t see ourselves all that clearly. In assessing our progress as followers of Jesus, we tend to focus on peripheral matters and miss so much of the core. How many times has our examination of conscience sounded something like this? “I was late for mass. I had distractions in my prayers. I forgot and ate meat on Ash Wednesday. And twice I had a little too much to drink. I’m sorry for these and all my sins.” Fine, so far as it goes, but there’s usually more, if we have the eyes to see.
Lent is a good time to look through a wide-angle lense and examine our lives in larger terms, for example, in terms of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. Following Jesus means more than just staying out of trouble. It means holding ourselves responsible for living according to his big vision.
Honestly facing our shortcomings according to Jesus’ criteria of a good human life will lead us to a wholesome humility which will in turn beget a generous compassion for others. Seeing ourselves as God sees us is a quick solvent for any temptation to judge others or to cherish grievances, for it underscores poignantly our own urgent need for understanding and forgiveness.
If your heart has owned the truth about yourself, forgiving others will come naturally, and that forgiveness will come back to you in abundance. It never fails, and it’s the rock on which all family and all friendship is built.