A reflection, one of which I will be posting each Sunday of Lent:
The flesh humiliates us. That is perhaps the means by which it can serve us the best. But it should not rouse despair in us. There is in us a purity of desire which is seen by the One who measures better than we do the part of heredity and what belongs to pathology, and all that makes us understand more clearly, when we think of it, the look of affection and pity with which the Lord embraces all Marys and all lepers. He has harsh words only for the hypocritical Scribes and Pharisees, not for sinners. I have always been moved by what I read of Abbe Huvelin, the vicar of Saint Augustine, who converted and guided Pere de Foucauld, and who wanted to absolve every man he met.
We Catholics have within our reach this source of forgiveness. It keeps us from being sucked into the mire. It gives us the measurement of what the Lord meant when He said we have to forgive more than seventy times seven — because He remits our suffering and obliterates it. He has already paid up for it. No matter how heavy our past, we have given it over to His mercy. The older I grow and the closer I move to the last shore, the more easily I can measure with my eyes all that has been accumulated in a long life, if it has been honorable in terms of the world, and the more easily I can measure as a writer the responsibility of every being who speaks and writes and influences the minds of people, and, if a novelist, his influence on the imagination, on the heart, on the heart that is flesh. And yet the closer I come to that terrible day of reckoning, the less I fear it, because the love of God which is in us has been given to us by Him. This love comes to us from Him and is the irrefutable testimonial that we ourselves are loved and therefore forgiven. And even if we do not feel this love, if it remains completely within our will, if we move ahead into the night and touch, as the poor woman did, the hem of the robe — and the Lord does not turn around — that love also should be enough to reassure us. The sentimental does not count as much as what is lived. What we do for Christ is what counts.
– Jacques Maritain