Living a holy life is hard work. It is not something that comes easily to anyone. We need to ask ourselves — are we prepared for what a life of righteousness will require of us? If we are not ready to commit to the life of discipleship, then maybe we should wait before saying that we are ready to begin. The woman caught in adultery in today’s Gospel receives a truly remarkable grace in the forgiveness of her sins – but it does not come without some sort of challenge. Jesus is very clear about her responsibility – “go away and sin no more!” This is not something to take lightly. The same should be true of our intention every time we avail the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
True conversion and repentance require our commitment to do away with all the sin in our lives. This means that when we ask God’s forgiveness, we do so with the firm resolve to avoid all of those sins in the future. If we are not committed to this end, then what integrity is there to our repentance? There is none, or at least, very little. The call to live a life without sin is not an easy one. It must be possible to avoid all mortal sin (some say Therese of Lisieux managed to avoid all mortal sin). Surely the grace of God is strong enough if we surrender to it to help us avoid falling into temptation and sin?
Even if we do sin we know we can repent. This is a fantastic gift to us that comes from the depth of God’s heart. There is no doubt in my mind that God’s desire is to give us the grace to do away with sin forever. However, it seems that we are too easily and too often seduced by sin and drawn into its ugly presence. We need to pray for the grace to be drawn towards all that is good and noble, holy and perfect, rather than allow ourselves to be fooled into giving ourselves away to the lies of the devil. Let us now try to put these principles into action. Fr. Steve Tynan
What is the sin that I struggle with the most? What am I doing to try and overcome it? Do I really think that this will be enough to defeat it?
Holy Spirit, I am relying upon You to convince me of the sin in my life, and for the grace to repent of it as I struggle to grow in holiness every day. Help me to surrender everything I am to God.
St. Macarius of Jerusalem, bishop, pray for us.