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Forgive us

August 24, 2010

One need in particular

makes itself felt every day.

A mother has need of forgiveness:

for all the sins of my past

that weigh upon my children today,

for my sins against the children themselves,

and their father,

and their friends,

forgive me, Lord.

For all my sins which confuse in me the image of Thy Love,

the image so stunningly entrusted to me —

I myself am the image of Thy Love

for these new children of Love —

Forgive my sins, Lord.

I know you will,

and you will make me new.

No question in my mind, but the most powerful new element in Christian spirituality as compared with any other religion as forgiveness. Even if other religions speak of it at all, it is more likely to be a cultivated indifference, not an embrace of our enemies, so far as they are in need of love. And with this cultivated indifference to those who sin against us, comes a doubt about God’s love and forgiveness. Even Martin Luther spoke of Jesus hiding our sins from the Father; it is so hard to believe that we are known and loved.

So we start with asking — and expecting — forgiveness for the sins of our past which are certain to weigh on our children. Anyone can see that alcohol and drug use affect the unborn. Many recognize that children feel the disappointment that their mothers sometimes (inevitably) feel at finding themselves pregnant sooner than they had anticipated.

There is more. Remember: you are, for a substantial period of time, the universe of your child. The anger you carry during pregnancy, anger at anyone whomsoever, for adequate reasons or not, falls partly on your child. Any sadness that you fall into is felt by the child, so that you are as responsible for fighting it as if it were bears or lions. Your fear is scary for your child; you must try not to cower. This relationship continues for a large part of childhood — that your anger fear, and depression are felt by your little one, and partly felt as if the blame were his or her own.

None of this is beyond the reach of forgiveness. We may feel that is it, especially because our feelings do not immediately lift when we wish them to (!), and if we are guilty once, we are guilty a hundred times. But it’s not just the fear and anger that hurt the child — it’s the corridor of darkness that they imply. The moment you turn to the light of Jesus, even for a few minutes, a light appears on your path, and it appears for the child also. This is a lesson in hope.

So we seek forgiveness from our Lord for the failings of our interior life, and for our more specific and outward failings as wives, mothers, and friends.

God is faithful. He has made us in the image of his love, and everything, absolutely everything, will work together for his beautiful plan. You have not stepped beyond his reach.

I trust you, Lord. You will make me new.


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One Comment leave one →
  1. August 24, 2010 3:50 pm

    Amen. Thank you, Mary.

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