Will You Please Come To Me?

Joel 1
Chapter 2:12-13

Even now, says the LORD, return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning; Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the LORD, your God. For gracious and merciful is He, slow to anger, rich in kindness, and relenting in punishment.

As I write this, Ash Wednesday is a mere 30 days away. I used to dread Lent. It was time to remember all the wrongs I had done and feel miserable, guilty, unworthy, and shamed. Now I look forward to that time. The mercy of God is as boundless as His great love.

Since my return to the sacrament of Reconciliation two years ago, I have often found myself in conversation with people who tell me that they couldn’t possibly come back to God. Not to a confessional. Not to a church. To God. It breaks my heart every time I hear it because I remember so well what that pain is like. It is a loneliness, an emptiness, and a longing that cannot be assuaged.

I’ve had people tell me that I have an “in” with God because I go to church or because I pray. Somehow to them that means that God likes me better. Kind of like the perfect older sibling that Mom and Dad always told you to emulate. It took me a long time to figure out that God doesn’t work that way. I didn’t have to measure up. I didn’t have to fix my whole life all at once. I couldn’t fix it. I needed God’s help. I was so far gone, I needed God’s help to see where I needed His help.

I look at this way, when would I be most grateful to see a trained paramedic: when I’m perfectly healthy or when I’ve been hit by a bus? In life, we all get hit by the bus sooner or later. God is the only one who can find the wounds and begin the healing. He can show us what needs healing and then how to mend it. He is the paramedic, the surgeon, the dedicated nurse and the physical therapist we need to get back to health.

As your sister in Christ, I urge you to take the next 30 days and just think about where you are with God. Maybe Reconciliation seems like a leap off a cliff and returning to church seems like trying to swim across an ocean. But maybe, just maybe, spending a little time talking to the Eternal Therapist would ease those fears a bit. If nothing else, it opens the dialogue. It can’t be any worse than lying on the side of road bleeding to death.

I’ve been there. I was lonely and scared and in desperate need of God’s understanding. I finally found it in the Confessional. The silence wasn’t enough to make His forgiveness real for me. I needed to see a friendly face and hear a reassuring voice. There was no judgment, no shock, only understanding and guidance.

In the Diocese of Bridgeport, every parish will offer the Sacrament of Reconciliation on Tuesdays from 7-9 PM. In other areas, call your local parishes for more information.

Think about it. Pray on it. What else do you have to lose?

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