Advent: Sunday, December 23
Daniel Horan OFM has a series of reflections on the O Antiphons this week here.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled.
One of the components of the course I teach at a women’s prison is about making amends. This is a tough subject for anybody, and especially if the amends need to be made for something really serious. Amend-making is a complex undertaking, and though it often involves an apology of some sort, that isn’t all there is to it. We spend a lot of time preparing.
One part of the process is learning to forgive oneself. That can be one of the hardest parts, especially when it’s apparent that the consequences of our actions will be ongoing, perhaps for life, for ourselves and other people. Sometimes people think that forgiving themselves is somehow not allowed, or would be unacceptable to God, as if worrying and reliving the past somehow make a difference, or prove to God or others that we really are remorseful. But that’s not helpful, and it doesn’t do those things. What it does do is keep us from making amends.
Amendment is about making a change, taking action in a different way than before. If we believe that God loves us and wants to be in relationship with us, then we need to accept that and then do things differently. That’s a tall order, of course. How can God be so generous or forgiving? What’s really going on? What’s the hidden agenda here? Surely I am not worthy of such a response!
Well, maybe not, but it’s important not to get stuck in that theological loophole. It doesn’t matter, because God is already holding out a hand to us. Can we, like Mary in today’s gospel reading, “believe that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled?” In that is blessing, and in that is the way forward.
–Baya Clare CSJ
Photo of a heron fledgling taken in Vancouver, BC by Pat Manning CSJ. See more of Pat’s photography at her website: http://www.focusingonnaturephotography.com/