March 10, 2016
“The works that I do speak on my behalf, says the Lord. They prove that the Father has sent me.”
Do you ever feel like you can’t get it right? Do you ever feel like you’re a total and complete failure? I think all of us can relate to these feelings. Sometimes, we fail. Aidan wrote last night about the distinction between guilt and shame. Guilt is a transient, useful phenomenon that is usually directed toward an action. It helps to color our experience of failure and help us make reparation and possibly avoid future failures. Shame, on the other hand, is like a poison, managing to manipulate and distort other areas of our lives, it thrives on changing our whole perspective of ourselves by permanently magnifying our wrong doings and coercing them to the center of who we think we are.
The antiphon above is from today’s gospel canticle in evening prayer. These words of Jesus’ remind us that our works speak on our behalf. They point to, but do not make up the entirety of, who we are. Jesus’ works prove that the Father sent Him. That is His identity: the one who was sent as expiation for our sins. Our works are also reflective of our identity: God’s chosen ones who live with the burden of original sin. Our good works manifest the goodness of the Lord who made us and calls us to action. Our bad works manifest the brokenness of sin. We must never let our good works blind us to the fact that we are sinners, and it is just as important that we never let our bad works blind us to the fact that God loves us and will invite us to do his work despite our failings.
I invite you all pray that you might see the truth behind the works that you do: those you do consciously and those you do unconsciously. Let God show you in the reality of your daily living who you are and let Him love you no matter how you feel about what you see. He wants us all to be better and to grow in holiness, and it is His love alone that can begin or complete that process. With what remains of Lent, let us pray for the grace to see clearly, to be real, and to just let Him love us and He pleases.