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  • Sarah Raad

Atonement

Because God understands that I am weak and cannot atone for my own sins, and so He sacrificed Himself for me – for only God can make atonement God.

The Crucifixion (Dedalo Saatchi)

A few weeks ago, I had an argument with one of my sisters. It was over nothing important and it was resolved as quickly as it had escalated. Perhaps we argued as the result of stress and emotion that had been building for some time and just needed an outlet? Or perhaps there was another reason? I really do not know…


Now, as the eldest child in a family with five younger sisters and a couple of younger brothers I am no stranger to arguing with my siblings.


But this argument was different for a couple of reasons... Firstly, I have not lived with any of my siblings for many many years now, and because of the physical distance between us and the general busyness of our lives, I have found that our arguments have grown less and less frequent, which means that to argue at all is upsetting. And secondly, we were not arguing about anything of value or importance. We were arguing over simply nothing at all, and in this case, because the argument was pointless and a waste of time, it upset me that it had even happened in the first place – especially as I generally spend so much time and energy trying to avoid arguments in the first place…


And while things are all patched up now, as they should be with any family member, I have been reflecting on this feeling of sorrow for having offended – albeit unintentionally – my sister who I love, because it has caused me to reflect on the need for atonement…


And this is because one of the thoughts running through my head has been – but how do I make it up to her? How do I atone for what I have done? How can I show her that I did not mean to upset her and that the offence that I gave was unintentional?

And as I wonder how to do such a thing for my sister, I really have to wonder how I could ever do such a thing for God…

Of course, just as I apologised to my sister after our argument, I attend the Sacrament of Reconciliation and say sorry to God – who forgives my sins with INFINITE mercy – after I sin… But still there is something there, something that makes my soul restless…


You see, though I know my sins are forgiven, in much the same way as my argument with my sister was forgiven, I also know that my sins cause damage in much the same way as the argument did. And it is because of this I ache to atone for those sins.


I ache to deliver to God something to repair the damage that I have done. And having nothing of myself to give – in my miserable weakness – I offer to Him the celebration of the Sacrifice of the Most Holy Mass…


Because God understands that I am weak and cannot atone for my own sins, and so He sacrificed Himself for me – for only God can make atonement God. Only God can fix all the damage that I have done and continue to do, and He does it INFINITELY for LOVE of me…


Now, how could I ever thank my Lord and God for that? How could I?


For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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