We all have that one sin, the one that plagues us, the one we’d rather not speak about outside of the confessional…like…ever. If you are anything like me (a.k.a. human), then you’ve probably battled against that one sin for years. Sure, we have other sins that seem to follow us around, but even as you read this you know that one nasty sin that popped into your head and maybe you’ve wondered if I’m talking directly to you. I am.
I wish I had the courage to expose my sin in the light of day, to call it out and lay it bare outside of the confessional, but I don’t. For the sake of this blog post, let’s just say that my deep dark sin is that I’m addicted to eating black licorice (I’m not, and I don’t actually like black licorice, but go with it, and, as the title says, insert your sin here). Now, eating black licorice isn’t a sin. However, the level to which I feel the need to eat black licorice is a sin. Some might even argue that my extreme desire for eating black licorice is a mortal sin because I give in freely, I know that it is a sin, and it is grave matter (again, insert your sin here). The grave matter part is where Satan most likes to trip me up. “Is it really grave matter?” he whispers. Then, as we all do, we begin to try to “reason” our way out of it being a mortal sin (I put reason in quotes because true reason leads us to holiness, not sin).
A few weeks ago, after having a really good confession I resolved that my eating licorice was, in fact, a mortal sin, mostly because of the level of the need I feel to eat it. Then the choice became clear in my head: eat black licorice OR receive communion. Period. I’m a black and white kind of girl so I hoped that this clear distinction would help me finally kick my gluttonous addiction to black licorice. It did. For about 10 days. Then I heard that little whisper, “It wasn’t grave matter before, why should it be grave matter now? The jury is still out anyway, so go with whatever feels or tastes good. Eat the licorice.” So, I ate the black licorice. After, I felt awful (like I knew I would). I gave in and when I returned to actual reason, I told myself that I couldn’t receive communion until I got my butt back to confession.
Now, you should also know that in recent months I’ve started going to daily Mass every day. The morning after the black licorice incident, I woke up and seriously thought about not even going to Mass (for the first time in nearly 4 months). What was the point if I couldn’t receive anyway? In that line of reason it was pretty easy to see Satan working, so I got up and went to Mass. I sat there broken-hearted at the reality of my own sin, and I sat there ready to cry because all I really wanted was Jesus, and my heart was aching for Him, to receive Him and be received by Him. The words, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed…” took on new meaning that day.
Then, it came time for communion and something truly beautiful happened. As I prayed and watched the people in front of me receive Him I could almost hear Him say, “My darling Amanda, the desire you have for Me, the longing you feel to receive Me is nothing compared to My desire for you. Receive Me. Don’t deny yourself. Feast on My love because you need Me if you are ever going to kick this sin for good.” He was exactly right (as He always is). Satan would have loved for me to (1) have given into the black licorice desire, (2) not go to Mass, and/or (3) not have received communion. He wants us as far away from Jesus as possible. But in those moments of approaching the altar to receive Him, my true love, I began to cry. I realized, once again, that on my own I am not worthy, but He makes me so.* His love is bigger than all of my sins, even my extreme desire for black licorice. He, in all of His worthiness, enters into my unworthiness and cleanses me, from the inside out. He gives me strength. He reminds me who and what my truest desire is: Him. I am not worthy that He should enter under my roof, into this vessel which I profane more often than I care to admit (even to my confessor), and yet He enters. He longs to enter, to heal me, and to love me.
We shall never know how deep His desire is for us, how patiently and lovingly He waits for us, but He does. This Advent, give Him a chance to show you how great His love for you is. Go to confession. Go to Mass (and not just on Sunday). Loving God is like looking up as the vast and beautiful night sky: the stars make you feel so small, and yet so wonderful just to be a part of it all.