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Our Father's Mercy, by Pope John Paul II
Sometimes I just feel like a dumb ole' sheep wandering around looking for some food to eat. My shepherd is trying to lead me to this great feast of lush grass just over the hill, but on the way I spot this thorn bush with some super-tasty food in the middle. The shepherd has warned me time and time again about the dangers of the thorn bush. I know I'll get stuck if I try to get the food, but I'm growing impatient, so I shove my big, fat, fleecy body in that stupid bush anyways. Of course I get stuck. In fact I can't even really reach the food, except but to nibble the edges. When I try to get out on my own, my fleece just gets more and more ensnared in the thorns and I even get cut. Now I look like a stupid idiot with my sheep butt poking out of this bush, helpless and self-ensnared. Finally I realize I'm going to have to start "baaa"ing for help. Part of me doesn't even want the shepherd to see me like this, but I know there's no way out without his help. I must humble myself and call upon him.
Have you ever felt like this? Maybe you made a mistake and gave into sexual temptation. You feel the pain of your sin, whether it's great or small, and you feel so stupid. You knew better, right? The other sheep can't rescue you. You need the Shepherd to save you. Only He can pull you out and bandage your wounds.
Let me encourage you. Some of the most awesome saints, like St. Augustine, struggled bitterly with sexual sin. The only answer is God's mercy and love, and there is no better way to receive it than by going to Confession. If you are embarrassed, it's OK. Sometimes we need to be reminded of how easily we can fail without God's grace. Besides, you're not going to shock your priest. Chances are he's heard it all before anyway.
There are of course the smart, trusting sheep. If you're one of 'em, please help us dumb sheep out. If you see us heading for one of those bushes, block us! Talk us out of it, pray for us, distract us, do whatever it takes. Challenge us to have patience and wait for the grassy meadow just over the hill. We need you!
Until next month, I remain...
Your Eucharist loving, Blessed Mother petitioning, rockin' Catholic Church obeying, Pope John Paul II devotee and fellow sinner in need of God's grace and mercy,
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The Sacrament of Penance offers the sinner a new possibility to convert and to recover the grace of justification won by the sacrifice of Christ. The sinner thus enters the life of God anew and shares fully in the life of the Church. Confessing his own sins, the believer truly receives pardon... Let us therefore look to the future. The merciful Father takes no account of the sins for which we are truly sorry (cf. Is 38:17).
- Pope John Paul II in "Incarnationis Mysterium"