We, however, seem to count all the things we do wrong, and feel bad, guilty, not worthy.
There is a quote from an American Indian, Don Coyhis. He says, “The Creator designed us to learn by trial and error. The path of life we walk is very wide. Everything on the path is sacred – what we do right is sacred – but our mistakes are also sacred. This is the Creator’s way of teaching spiritual people. To criticize ourselves when we make mistakes is not the Indian way. To learn from our mistakes is the Indian way. The definition of a spiritual person is someone who makes 30-50 mistakes each day and talks to the Creator after each one to see what to do next time.”
Reconciliation is like that. We look at our life, both the good and the mistakes, talk it over with someone, The Creator, a Confessor, a Spiritual Director, to see how we can change, to enter into the transformation of our lives – our hearts, our minds - so we can live with open arms, so we can receive the gifts the Creator gives us and use them well.
Hosea urges us to “return to the Lord.” Luke reminds us that we are to “Be merciful, just as our loving God is merciful.” Talking over our lives with God each day is one way to grow into being merciful, returning to the Lord. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is a bodily and communal way to know God’s merciful love, and God’s presence within all of us that is always helping us to receive the gifts needed to grow into being fully human.
So let us enter into this sacred conversation with God, encounter God, listen as God tells us, “It is love that I desire, not sacrifice, and knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” Then we will be able to discern when and how to use them, and then give away all the gifts we are given, so we can forgive others, not judge others, not condemn others, and work for the betterment of the community. Then we will be filled with God’s love, and can give that love away.
As Scripture reminds us, “Come, let us return to the Lord.” And “Be merciful just as your loving God is merciful.”
Anne Wilson Schaef, PH.D. NATIVE WISDOM FOR WHITE MINDS. A One World Book, Ballantine Publishing Group, 1995. Quote from Don Coyhis on page for March 27.