Section 2090 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church writes,
When God reveals Himself and calls him, man cannot fully respond to the divine love by his own powers. He must hope that God will give him the capacity to love Him in return and to act in conformity with the commandments of charity. Hope is the confident expectation of divine blessing and the beatific vision of God; it is also the fear of offending God’s love and of incurring punishment.
If you are aware of my writings on my own blog and throughout social media, you may be aware that I am a huge proponent and advocate for the Divine Mercy message – that God’s Divine Mercy is vast and infinite. And, it’s simply there for the taking – all we must do to “earn” His mercy is to simply seek His forgiveness for our trespasses, and ask for His mercy. God wants to give us His divine mercy.
The theme for Everyday Ediths this month is “Hope.” And, as much as I love the message of Divine Mercy, as I read the statement from the Catechism today, I was struck by the last part of the final sentence – “[Hope] is also the fear of offending God’s love and of incurring punishment.”
In society today, we often bristle when our faults and flaws are pointed out. Perhaps worse, though, is the tendency to normalize our flaws. We rationalize losing our temper, we point out that someone else “made us do it,” or we write it off as not being as bad as doing something else. Most of us squirm a bit in our seats when we hear something is immoral, but then too often, we charge out of the gate, engaging in the action without the thought of a lasting consequence.
I previously wrote about sin over at CatholicSistas.com, with a reminder, “Sin, no matter how small, separates us from God. The small sins begin with a single flake, compounding to an avalanche if we are not careful.” The more I considered hope in preparation for this month’s theme at Everyday Ediths, the more I squirmed in my seat.
This is a difficult time in society. Our tendency is to cast the first stone, without thinking of our own sins… or, our own contribution to the sins of others. Perhaps we should have kept silent when we chose to speak out. Or, perhaps we stayed silent when we should have spoken up. In fact, when we pray the Confiteor at Mass, we include the lines, “…that I have gravely sinned. In my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done, and what I have failed to do…” Because failure to act when we should can result in a separation from God.
So, what does this have to do with hope?
Hope is a double-edged sword. One side of the sword shares the excitement and optimism, and expresses the belief that God’s will shall indeed be done in the world. The other side of the sword recognizes we are but sinful creatures, and therefore, must remain vigilant against offending God and against actions which will separate us from God.
We must acknowledge our sins, and proceed with the hope that our sins will be washed away by the infinite ocean of mercy God offers all of us. We must live a life worthy of the sacrifice of Christ, confident that He will show us His will in all areas of our lives. And, we must guard against the distractions which will suck us into despair, doubt, criticism, and negativity, focusing rather on the hope that God’s radiance will shine brighter than the dark times in which we live.
God wants us close, but He does not impose Himself on any of us. Rather, we must invite Him in – and, we must learn from our mistakes and sins. Only then, will the darkness turn to light, and the hope we maintain as the Christian faithful spread far and wide.
Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world, seeking the ruin of souls.