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  • Sarah Raad

Corruption

“You accuse yourself: God excuses you. You excuse yourself: God accuses you.” (Saint Augustine).

Christ in Majesty (Stavelot Bible)

The other day, I read a short anecdote about the Prussian King Frederick the Great…


Once, when King Frederick was touring a prison in Berlin, he asked each of the prisoners the same question, “Are you guilty?” One by one, each of the prisoners replied that there had been a mistake, and that they had been falsely accused. One by one, each of the prisoners tried to convince the King that they were without blame. And for each prisoner, the King listened and nodded his head, and moved onwards along the row of cells. Finally, the King arrived at a prisoner, who gave him a different response to his question. When he asked that prisoner whether he was guilty, that prisoner responded, “Yes, indeed. I do deserve my punishment.” The King’s response was immediate. Calling the guards to him quickly, King Frederick cried, “Release this guilty wretch at once. Otherwise, he will corrupt all the fine innocent people who live in this prison.”


And I have been reflecting on this corruption (and this anecdote) very much over the last few days and weeks. You see, admitting fault take courage. I suppose this is why courage is given to us as a Gift of the Holy Spirit – for without courage we would be unable to face our own weaknesses...


After all, what could possibly be more terrifying to the human soul, that the realisation of its own miserable weakness?


And when I reflect on the courage of the prisoner in the story and I reflect on his response to the king, my reflections focus on the wisdom of Saint Augustine, who said, “You accuse yourself: God excuses you. You excuse yourself: God accuses you.” For that is what happened with the earthly king, just as it happens with Our Blessed Lord…


I have been thinking about what is required of me so that I can truly accuse myself of the terrible weakness of my soul. You see, in exchange for my weakness, justice would demand that I am punished… And God is – after all – perfect Justice. Therefore, it takes great courage to stand before my Creator and admit the weakness of my soul (even knowing that my Creator knows all my faults before I speak them).


And yet, Christ – in His apparitions to Saint Faustina – asked her to record his words in her Diary as follows…

“Write this: before I come as the just Judge, I am coming first as the King of Mercy… O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of mercy for us, I trust in You!” (Diary 83-84).

And this is something extraordinary – because The PERFECT JUDGE will FIRST come as KING OF MERCY… And if I can appeal to the Infinite Mercy of God – I really have nothing to fear…


After all, it was His Infinite Mercy that caused the Son of Man to suffer and die for my sins – for yours too… And how could I ever fail to have courage, when I know that?


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

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