Meredith was a person who liked to plan. And these plans would cover every aspect of her life, from her job, to her home, to social events on the weekend. And if her plans were changed, she would not handle it well.
Meredith was also very hard on herself. She would blame herself for wrong decisions that she had made, and she would go through days of feeling guilty if she thought that she had disappointed someone, especially a family member or friend. The bouts of guilt would leave her feeling depressed and irritable.
Meredith was a church-goer, and she would receive the sacrament of reconciliation at least every six weeks or so. Yet after she received absolution from the priest, she didn’t feel at peace. And when she would fall back into the same old sins she would start the whole cycle of beating herself up again and wonder what was wrong with her.
Meredith is like many of us I would venture to say. We have this desire to be “holy” but we just can’t do it. We don’t seem to have the power! And, as strange as this may sound, this is how it’s supposed to be. We don’t make ourselves holy, God is the one who makes us holy. Now I use the word “holy” in a particular sense here. I use this word in the sense that we try to do the right thing in the day to day situations of our life, but falter in our efforts. It’s not that we are all in line to be another St. Augustine or Therese of Lisieux.
There is something here that I think is very important for us to remember, especially if we struggle with perfectionism, or the sin of pride: What often blocks the actions of God’s grace is less our sins and failings, than it is our failure to accept our own weakness. We have to realize that the person God loves (with the tenderness of a Father), the person he wants to touch and to transform with his love is not the person we’d have liked to be or ought to be. It’s the person we are. God doesn’t love “ideal persons” (or) “virtual beings”. He loves actual, real people. God’s not interested in saintly figures in stained glass windows, but in us sinners.
So, don’t waste time wishing you were someone else. Or wishing that you didn’t possess a flaw or weakness. Better to acknowledge it (or them!) and allow the Holy Spirit to begin working in your life. What often blocks the action of God’s grace in our lives is less our sins and failings, than it is our failure to accept our own weakness.
For the Holy Spirit to begin to change us for the better, we must be willing to accept the fact that we possess weaknesses. God’s grace works in reality—the daily circumstances of life.
These past weeks we have been presented with readings from the Scriptures on the Eucharist. And the Eucharist is ultimately about relationship—relationship with God through and with his Son. Isn’t it a great relief to know that we are loved with all our flaws? That this is where Gods wants to send His Spirit to heal us and make us new!