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  • Sarah Raad

Multitude

God has no need of our regret – only of our remorse.

The Procession to Calvary (Pieter Bruegel the Elder)

The other day a dear friend contacted me to tell me that she was suffering a great spiritual distress. She was filled with regret for her choices and was consumed with self-loathing for her past mistakes.


When I heard her words that morning, my eyes filled with tears. Tears for her, but also – in a way – tears for me. For I too have felt the bitter hopelessness of regret. And regret – after all – is a terrible terrible burden.


And yet – now in the months since my conversion through Grace and no merit of my own – I have come to realise that regret is a temptation of the Evil One. You see, we are called to live as CHILDREN of God. That means, like CHILDREN we must live day by day. Children do not regret their choices of the pervious day. Children simply embrace their new life and move onwards and upwards with their hope for the future. Christ came to GIVE US RECONCILIATION. A sacrament that washes us clean. He TAKES AWAY our sins. He does not cleanse them. He does not judge them. He does not store them away to deal with later. HE TAKES THEM AWAY.


All you need to do to achieve this miraculous gift is to REPENT – to be sorry for your sins and to confess them to a priest. THAT. IS. ALL.


After that, your sins are TAKEN AWAY – borne away for love of us as they were KILLED on the Cross with GOD HIMSELF…


And so it is that I have come to realise that God has no need of our regret – only of our remorse.


In fact, Christ Himself told us clearly that we should take rest and comfort in Him – He who is Prince of Peace…


“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30).


I have been reflecting on this passage ever since speaking with my friend because it is a paradox. After all the Cross was heavy – surely the heaviest burden of all – and we ourselves are called to take up our Cross…

“Then He said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow Me.” (Luke 2:23).

And sometimes, when we are carrying our cross, the burden seems overwhelmingly heavy and we are tempted to give up...


Saint Faustina wrote in her Diary of experiencing a terrible spiritual great difficulty to pray. However, she persisted in her prayer for hours and she wrote…


“I persisted by sheer will. After a while, I took the ring off my finger and asked Jesus to look at the ring, that sign of our eternal union, and I offered Jesus the feelings I had on the day of perpetual vows. After a while, I feel my heart inundated with a wave of love. A sudden recollection of spirit, the senses quiet down, and God’s presence pervades my soul. I know only this: that it is Jesus and I. I saw Him just as He had appeared to me in that instant after my perpetual vows, when I was likewise making a Holy Hour. Jesus was suddenly standing before me, stripped of His clothes, His body completely covered with wounds, His eyes flooded with tears and blood, His face disfigured and covered with spittle. The Lord then said to me, ‘The bride must resemble her Betrothed’. I understood these words to their very depth. There is no room for doubt here. My likeness to Jesus must be through suffering and humility. ‘See what love of human souls has done to Me. My daughter, in your heart I find everything that so great a number of souls refuses Me. Your heart is My repose. I often wait with great graces until towards the end of prayer.’” (Diary 268).


I have been reflecting on the periods of spiritual dryness that I have experienced in my own life – especially during times of great suffering or sorrow – and of the experience of my friend the other day and I weep…


For how many times I give up – right before the end – throwing my cross down right before I reach Calvary… How many times do I give in when AN ACT OF WILL would strengthen me to endure through grace… And how many times I fail to feel my Lord and my God deeply in my heart during those times and justify my weakness because I could not sense Him there...


But when I read those words of my Beloved about the lightness of my load, and I follow the words of the Gospel in taking up my Cross, and when I see the example of the Saints who persisted just a little more on their journey to Calvary, I am overcome…

For my Beloved is there – waiting for me. He is just a step away – a single breath away… All He wants of me is a moment more of persistence and a moment more of will... That is all that He ever asks…

And in return, what a multitude of GRACES He reserves for miserable me… A multitude of Graces, if only I have the persistence to continue – just a little more – a few more steps… Along the way of the Cross…


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

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