Coming Out of the Darkness...

"I can do all things in Him who strengthens me"                                                  
                                     Phil 4:13

As the New Year begins, I am struggling with the pace of life. This is a recurring complaint for me, I know. I was hoping to slow things down a bit, get organized, make a healthy eating plan, a realistic exercise schedule and de-clutter. I wanted to breathe for a moment and gather my thoughts.

I feel choked and my thinking is clouded these days trying to keep up with all I have to do. The year just started, how am I already behind schedule? Why do I do this to myself? I realized that my mindset has to change if I am to be successful in reaching any of my New Years Goals/Resolutions. I have to let go of my perfectionism and let God heal what is hurting.

I was at Mass this morning and came across today's scripture meditation in The Word Among Us. It was all so clear then. I have been fumbling around in the dark, stubbing my toe and running into things. I have gotten used to living like this. But I am tired and weary. I need sunshine. I need to be in God's light. So I will take a moment this afternoon, stop and plan for success.

Whatever ails me, God can overcome. If it's my eating habits or lack of exercise, he will correct what is in my heart, so I have the strength to make the better choice. I must continue to take advantage of the sacraments He provides for me, Confession and the Eucharist. He will help me come out of the dark and into His light!

Meditation: Matthew 4:12-17,23-25
It is amazing how we can become adjusted to the dark. Whether it’s the gradual shift from evening to nighttime or the way we grope around when we first enter an unlit room, we gradually become accustomed to the darkness and find some way to keep functioning.

We accept the limitations of the darkness and muddle through the best we can.

What a powerful metaphor for the Sacrament of Reconciliation! Long-standing or repeated sin can create a gathering darkness in our hearts that keeps us stumbling through life, muddling through the best we can. But this isn’t God’s desire for us. Through Confession, he invites us to step out of that darkness and into his glorious light.

We may think that we are doing okay in the darkness because we are accustomed to it. We have learned how to cope with it, and our lives seem to go on unhindered. So why bother dredging up the sin? Why bother trying to change? Because life is so much easier in the light. Because staying in the darkness limits our freedom and places a heavy shroud over our relationship with God. Just as we would be foolish to choose the unending darkness of night or an unlit room, we would not want to live in the guilt and shame of sin.

But there’s more to the Sacrament of Reconciliation than simply receiving God’s forgiveness. Confession also opens us to his healing power. Whatever our “sickness” is—whatever mind-sets we have that keep us distant from the Lord—Jesus wants to heal us, just as he healed the physical sicknesses of those who came to him. Scripture calls these mind-sets strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:4). In fact, there is a strong link between being forgiven for individual sins and seeing these sinful strongholds weakened or destroyed.

The good news is that the kingdom of heaven is at hand! It is there for anyone who steps out of the darkness of sin and into the light of God’s love and mercy. And it all begins with a few simple words: “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned…”

Holy Spirit, give me a soft heart that is ready to repent and to know the outpouring of mercy that you have for me.”

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