Completely unworthy and imperfect PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 03 April 2016 14:53

REFLECTION

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

This is to show how entirely gratuitous and tremendous God’s love for us is. He created us out of pure love and goodness. There was no necessity at all for him to create us and the whole universe.

Besides, among all his creatures that can include very beautiful, complex beings, we alone, together with the angels, have been chosen to be created in God’s image and likeness. God took a big risk in doing so, but that did not stop him.

And when we freely and responsibly damaged the original plan he has for us, by committing sin, by disobeying and rebelling against him, he continues to love us, unrolling a very complicated plan of redemption that involved nothing less than God becoming man himself, Jesus Christ.

And that God-man, our savior, did nothing less than to offer his life on the cross, which is already the ultimate of love, for as Christ himself said, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lays down his life for his friends.” (Jn 15,13)

We are floored by all this manifestation of divine love. No matter what we do, even if we are the saintliest of all the saints, we can never repay him fully. We can never equal what he does to us. We will always find ourselves unworthy. And even in our best efforts to correspond to his love, we will always find ourselves short, with imperfections all over the place.

This condition, however, should not sadden us nor put us into extreme situations of tension and nervousness. Being a good father, God does not want us to feel that way toward him. He wants us cheerful and truly free.

As St. Paul would put it: “Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor 9,7) This should be the standard of our life, of our attitude and relation with God and with everybody else.

We have to guard ourselves from the danger of perfectionism which is nothing other than a sign of pride on our part. While it’s true that Christ commanded us to love God with all our might and strength, and to love everybody else as he has loved us, and we try our best to follow these commandments, we should not forget that our unworthiness of God’s love and the imperfections of our correspondence will always be with us.

We just have to understand ourselves and one another and not worry too much about reaching that perfection that in the end can only come more from our own idea of love than the gratuitous and tremendous love of God for us.

Christian perfection, or better said, the fullness of charity, is not in never committing any mistake nor fall nor sin. It’s in having to rise again after every fall, to say sorry often, and to move on, doing as much good as one can, without unduly carrying the burden of past mistakes and sins. Holiness is not so much about avoiding sin as it is in loving and doing as much good as one can.

That’s the reason why God’s mercy is infinite. Christ told us to forgive one another not only seven times, but seventy times seven times. In all instances in the gospel where he forgave sinners, like the one of the woman caught in adultery, he did not make many conditions before he gives his mercy. The repentant thief, we can even say, had it easy.

This is not, of course, trying to say that we should not be serious with our repentance before we get forgiven by Christ. We should be truly sincere with our contrition. But we just have to make sure that our repentance does not end up being a tedious and inhuman exercise of remorse.

Our repentance should be a repentance of love, and not so much because of the ugliness of our sin. All sins are ugly, always with some uglier than others. But that ugliness should not be the prime motive for being sorry. It should be love that comes as a result of having offended one who loves us beyond all telling.

At the moment, we have cases of sinners who are unduly traumatized by their guilt feelings that are based not so much on God’s love but on some distorted personal, social or cultural misconceptions about sin and God’s mercy.

We need to examine this issue more closely to know more about its tricky nuances and to come out with appropriate remedies and guidelines.