Capable of Great Forgiveness: In Church Tradition
All of Christianity is grounded in forgiveness. When Adam and Eve first sinned in the garden, God did not abandon them. Yes, there were consequences for their actions, but God did not destroy them or say “to bad, so sad, looks like you’re all on your own now.” No, in God’s infinite wisdom and mercy, He forgave them and put in place His ultimate plan for the redemption of the world.
Throughout His preaching career, Jesus forgave those who came to Him. He healed not only bodies, but souls. Jesus’ final act upon the cross is one of forgiveness:
Then [the thief] said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
The truth of the matter is, we all sin. We all mess up and need to be forgiven. We are forgiven by others, but that isn’t enough. When we sin, we injure not only our relationship with the other person, we also injure our relationship with God. St. John encourages us:
If we say, “We are without sin,” we deceive ourselves,* and the truth is not in us. If we acknowledge our sins, he [Jesus] is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing. – 1 John 1:8-9
As we are in the Year of Mercy, forgiveness is a timely topic. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says: “Christ has willed that in her prayer and life and action his whole Church should be the sign and instrument of the forgiveness and reconciliation that he acquired for us at the price of his blood” (1442). Jesus created the path of forgiveness through His sacrifice on calvary. The Church strives each day, in every generation, to faithfully walk that path.
Consider receiving the sacrament of reconciliation as part of your Advent preparation.