…..breathtakingly beautiful, or horrendously ugly?
The saints tell us that a soul in the state of grace looks so exceedingly beautiful that it could even be mistaken for Almighty God! They also tell us that a soul dead in sin is repulsively ugly. When we were baptized we were filled with grace and became God’s children; our souls were breathtakingly, magnificently beautiful. But we can lose that grace by sinning.
Everyone wants to be happy. Sadly many look for happiness where it can never be found: in money, illicit sex, drugs, alcohol, other people, etc. In our fallen human nature, what is evil can appear very attractive. We can be deceived into thinking that what is contrary to God’s law will bring us happiness, contentment, joy. But that can never be the case. God gave us the commandments not to make us miserable, but to keep us from being miserable. He made us in His own likeness, in His own image. God is love, and only what is lovely can bring us true joy and peace. We were created to be perfect, as God is perfect. We were created to be good, to be holy. What does it mean to be holy? It simply means to love God and to do His will. When we sin grievously we die spiritually. In this state, no matter what good we do, we cannot gain Heaven. It is God Who is the source of eternal life, and if we are cut off from Him we have no hope of life, of Heaven.
In His mercy God has given us a great gift that enables us to be restored to life if we have fallen into serious sin: the gift of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. When we have the faith and humility to confess our sins to one of God’s representatives, a priest, we are not only restored to life, but may even leave the confessional with more grace than we had before we sinned. When we repent, are determined not to sin again, and want to love and please God, God lavishes grace upon us. We find a figure of this in Scripture in 2 Kings 5:1-14. Naaman had leprosy. When he humbly went to the prophet Elisha and followed his instructions to bathe seven times in the Jordan, his flesh was not only healed, but he emerged from the water with skin like that of a little child. Sin is leprosy of the soul. When we humbly go to a man of God and follow his instructions, God rewards us with more than we asked for. Acts of faith and humility are extremely pleasing to God. Why? Because pride and unbelief are the greatest barriers preventing God from being able to bestow grace upon us.
Today there are many souls dead in sin from acts of fornication (sex outside of marriage), contraception and homosexuality. He longs to shower His People with grace, but He can’t unless they are in the state of grace. Jesus said to the apostles, “Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven. Whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.” This power that Jesus gave to the apostles has been passed down throughout the centuries to those on whom the apostles laid their hands, that is, ordained. Today our bishops and priests have received that power in an unbroken succession from the apostles. The Catholic Church has this claim of succession from Jesus to the Apostles to present day bishops and priests. The power comes from God. It is given to the men God calls to lead His People. It is one of the greatest gifts God has given His People. After confession , restored to the state of grace, of union with God, one need only ask and God will joyfully shower His beloved child with the graces needed and asked for. It is very important to ask God’s grace in everything we do.
Only when we are alive in grace can we be God’s instruments to bring light into the world.
Only when we are alive in grace can we have peace and true joy.
Only when we are alive in grace can we go to Heaven.
You are thirsting for God’s love! Deep within you is an ache to love and to be loved unconditionally, infinitely. And God is thirsting for your love. Even if your sins be as scarlet, He tells us in Sacred Scripture, He will wash you whiter than snow. He will fill you with His divine grace and draw you close to His beautiful, Sacred Heart. All you need do is take advantage of the great gift He has given His Church precisely for this purpose. Go to a Catholic priest and confess your sins. Know the great peace and joy that comes when you hear these words: “I absolve you of your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Your sins are forgiven you; go in peace.”
Then the Holy Spirit comes, and He brings peace, a peace that the world cannot give, a peace that only God can give. You will know the sweetness of union with Almighty God, and then you can approach the Sacred Banquet Feast He has prepared for you: His Sacred Flesh and His Precious Blood. Saint Faustina prayed, “Lord, divinize me by means of the Holy Communion I receive each day.” And He will do that, if you go to receive Him with love. He will change you into Himself, another Christ, to go out and help bring His Kingdom to earth. To benefit from this Sacred Food, you must be a faithful Catholic and in the state of grace, for it is a sacrilege to receive Him in Holy Communion in the state of serious sin. So do not wait, confess your sins and be freed from the sadness and misery that accompanies sin.
Go, my beloved brothers and sisters. Let nothing stop you. Nothing. It is worth selling all you have and giving your life in order to participate in this Sacred Feast in which the Food is our living Savior.
For an examination of conscience and information about confession, go to http://www.ewtn.com/library/Prayer/examconscience.HTM