Peter and Judas: A Lesson in Hope and Humility
Judas? Of course it was. But like everything Jesus gives to us, it must be taken by us freely. We can't cling to sin with one hand and forgiveness with the other, believing we are pious and humble. And it is Satan, not Jesus, who berates us with our failings til we are stuck in prideful despair. Judas only lacked hope because he lacked humility.
It doesn't matter how many times I fail or fall down or deny Him provided I run back to Him each time and humbly begin again without indulging in "oh, woe is me." Jesus knows I will do the very thing I vowed not to do; I will sleep when I promised to keep watch with Him; I will leave when I promised to stay. Yet He is always waiting for me to return and ask for His grace once more. This does not give me an excuse to sin or a "free pass" to go my own way, do my own thing and then come insincerely to take forgiveness when my conscience is guilty – that is simply rebellion.
But if I truly desire to follow Him, if I say I love Him and mean it, then my sorrow over my sin must compel me toward Him, like Peter as he ran to the tomb. Seeing how Peter was received by Jesus, with forgiveness and love, gives each of us confidence that He waits for us with mercy and affection.
"Don't be anxious to condemn yourself every time you fall. Instead, patiently, gently, pick yourself up and start all over again. Why are you surprised when the weak turn out to be weak, and the frail, frail? When you turn out to be sinful? When you fall, be gentle with your frail, weak heart. Lift your heart gently, accept your failure without wallowing in your weakness. Admit your guilt in God's sight. Then with good heart, with courage and confidence in His mercy, start over again." St. Francis de Sales
Jennifer Hartline is a grateful Catholic, an Army wife and mother of four precious children (one in Heaven). She is a contributing writer for Catholic Online on topics of Catholic faith, family, Life and politics. She is also a serious chocoholic. Visit her at My Chocolate Heart.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
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