Repentance/Penance

Sometimes after I sin, I feel awful. Like, hating life for its futility and constant failure and pain, type-awful. Feeling that pain and suffering are all I deserve, type-awful. Sometimes…

And then there is a part of me, that is hating this, and wants all the good, and righteous and holy things; but also, I am angry that I want these things, and yet sinned, and see that I will probably sin again. I don’t even deserve to repent.

I guess at these times I’m like the prodigal son, feeling unable to ask for full forgiveness. But the father has already decided to accept his son back. And though the son asks to be accepted as just a servant, I don’t think his father ever stopped seeing him as his son.
Even when he was out squandering his father’s wealth, he was still his father’s son. He still had that inside of him, so that he could turn back, even though he had left and forgotten him.
Knowing his guilt, he didn’t even ask for forgiveness. For a criminal to be so bold as to ask that their crimes be forgiven would be offensive. But the father saw in him, that he is his son, and has goodness in him, and offered him full forgiveness and welcomed him home.

God sees us at our worst, and still knows we’re His children, with the divine breath in each of us. And He doesn’t offer us to be His children again, because we always were. Yet in our minds we were not, and must accept once more our Father.
And as we approach Him, He prepares celebrations to welcome us home. At His home we have life, but we must come back.

Asking forgiveness would only worsen our crimes, if God had not invited us to. God has shown Himself repeatedly to delight in mercy, and grace.
God shows us grace because He loves us, and because we are more than what we have become.

That is what I must remember when I have sinned. That in God’s eyes, I am still His child, and He wants to show me grace.

Still, I don’t believe it would be good to proceed this way immediately after sinning. Of course I should repent as soon as possible, but it must be sincere.
I don’t believe the father would be happy if the prodigal son had come back straight after the parties, thinking, “I probably shouldn’t have done that, but oh well, he loves to show me grace so all’s good. Plus he’ll throw a party!” The son is still denying his father, and will continue to go outside the home. He may be back each day, but he’ll return each night.
No. In leaving, he was denying his family, and leaving life. It is necessary for him to realise before he returns that he has denied his father, and is living in a land of death. Then he may return, and accept his loving father, and live at home.

When we repent, we must know our debt, know our death, and know His love. When we repent, we must truly know we are coming home. We must truly be seeking life over death.
This is why I chose to add “/Penance” to the title of this post. This word has a lot of connotations, but I think it is helpful as it suggests deep regret and sorrow for sins.

God bless you.

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