September 26, 2021
People often complain of Catholic guilt. The readings today may seem an example. What is valid in this criticism? Is there a positive role for guilt?
- Catholic guilt: feeling constantly badgered about sin, by a sense of God who is angry, vindictive and wants to condemn us.
- Good guilt is like a spiritual nervous system that calls us to repentance and be healed of sin and evil.
- Bad guilt is feeling guilty without having actually done anything wrong. It can stifle our spiritual and emotional maturity and cause more confusion.
- We need our conscience to be formed by God’s word. Without it, we are tempted by sin, prefer our own judgement and reject what the Lord is saying.
- Through the Gospel, Jesus is making us aware of what is truly dangerous for our souls. But what really matters is the eternal health of our souls.
- What is most important is believing in Jesus, loving God and loving others.
- It is very important to examine our conscience before Jesus crucified to reveal the reality of sin.
The Bible’s warnings against sin are not the expression of an angry and vindictive God. On the contrary, they’re a sign of God’s love. What Jesus is showing in this gospel is, what is the greatest danger. And what would be worth sacrificing everything He says, even parts of our body to avoid the danger of losing eternal life. Jesus’ whole message in the gospels, what really matters, even more than physical health, is believing, and loving God. And out of love for God, loving and serving our neighbor, that’s what’s most important.
A passage of Jesus to a sinful soul in Saint Faustina’s diary tells us, “My Mercy is greater than your sins and those of the entire world. Who can measure the extent of my goodness for you? I understand it from heaven to earth. For you I allowed myself to be nailed to the cross for you. I let my Sacred Heart be pierced with a lance, thus opening wide the source of mercy for you. Come then, with trust, to draw graces from this fountain. I never reject a contrite heart. Your misery has disappeared in the depth of My Mercy. Do not argue with Me about your wretchedness. You will give Me pleasure if you hand over to Me all your troubles and grief. I shall heap upon you the treasures of My grace.”