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Christ cleanses a leper

Christ cleanses a leper

I went to Confession this afternoon for the first time in two years. You read that last part correctly, my friends, two years! Looking back on it now, I’m not sure why it took me so long to go into the box and confess my sins. Yet I am happy that I did for my sins have been washed away.

In many ways, I like the metaphor of leprosy when it comes to sin. If you know anything about this disease, it usually begins by paralyzing the nerve cells in a particular part of the body. After a while, the body part disintegrates and falls off. Eventually, the leper becomes a stinky mass of wounds. When he or she dies, he is immediately buried and, usually forgotten.

Sin works similarly to leprosy. In the beginning, it paralyzes the nerve cells of our spiritual life. We become lax in prayer, we forget to pray as we should, maybe we skip Mass once or twice a month. Of course, it is a small leap from that to even greater sins. We become lazy, lustful, and angry, and things just getting more and more out of control. With every mortal sin, we continuously shut out God and the light of His grace. Then we find ourselves in the dark. Our limbs are on the verge of falling off, our face is a mass of sores. We wander looking for someone to comfort us, but we don’t find anybody.

If we had any sense about us, we would not allow ourselves to live this way. We would not allow our spiritual leprosy to become such a great part of our lives. We would find ways to prevent the disease from even occurring. We would find a vaccine.

The Church provides us that vaccine in the Sacrament of Penance. Every time, the priest absolves us we are cleansed from our sins and our slate is wiped clean. Imagine! Everything that you’ve done and confessed is forgotten in the sight of God. Even murder and other heinous sins are forgiven. You are washed in the Blood of the Lamb and you are set free! What a privilege this is! What a joy!

I know that when I went into the confessional today I was a complete mess. My heart was pounding like a jack hammer, new sins kept popping into my head, and I couldn’t think. But when I walked out, those nerves and the rest of the baggage had fallen away. I was cleansed. In the person of the priest, His representative, Christ had touched my face and told me, “My son, your sins are forgiven you!” Or to put it in the words of a famous Biblical father, “My son was dead and is alive. He was lost and is found!”

Our Lady of the Angels, pray for us!

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