I know that when we are not open to God's graces, we shortchange ourselves. God LOVES US!!! He knows our struggles, and He yearns to hear our heart. He knows my sins - and He is simply waiting to absolve me from them in the sacrament of reconciliation.
So many times, before I became Catholic, I heard that "Catholics can do anything they want and then they go to confession and confess their stuff and then they go back and do exactly the same thing."
How can that be I often wondered. Well - it was an untruth about the Catholic Church, like so many other things that are oft repeated. The truth, and the Church is TRUTH, is that when I sin I break my connection with God. No one sins in a vacuum. When I sin I hurt the Body of Christ. I distance myself from God with my sinfulness.
As a Christian, I am all too well aware of my sinful nature - can't help it! It is the way us humans are. What I do with my sinful nature is what is important.
Do I sin and continue on without regard to how it has affected those around me? That is me, selfish and unconcerned. . .without using the God-given grace that was imparted to me within my baptism and confirmation.
Do I sin and reflect on that sin, ask for pardon and move on? That is also me, self centered and having a Jesus and me attitude irregardless of the graces I have been given.
Do I sin, reflect on the sin, recognize I am at fault (mea culpa), speak the fault to my confessor, ask for forgiveness in a sorrowful act of contrition and be absolved through Holy Mother Church? YES! That is also me - taking complete advantage of what God has set up for all Christians. I recognize and speak the words in the act of contrition, that I am agreeing to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin. I strive to do better not to sin, not to repeat that sin - not on my own, but with the help and grace of God, who loves me so.
The three "me's" all rolled up into one. For those times I have sinned, through my OWN fault, and been the first "me", I recognize my pride. Those times when I have sinned and not gone to confession, I recognize my pride and my select theology. For the times when I have availed myself to confession - WOW! Those are the times, that I know that we do indeed have a Loving God who has given us all we need in this life...and am so grateful that me, all three of my "me's" is Catholic!
Mea Culpa and Deo Gratis