“Give it all to God,” the priest said after I described my struggles with sinfulness, my shortcomings, my stubborn selfishness. “Give it all to God,” he said, “and know that He loves you. He loves you. He loves you.

Let those words wash over you in a wave of mercy – He loves you. He loves you. He loves you. No matter what you have done, these are words to hear, know, and live by: “Give it all to God. He loves you.”

During Holy Week, Christians reflect in a special way on the suffering Jesus experienced for us, how he was scourged, crucified, and died out of love for us, to save us from our sins. Though we may betray the Lord with our lips, our actions, or our thoughts, we need not experience the despair Judas experienced: We can always return to God’s loving mercy.

And we can come back over and over, as many times as we need. We may become tired of falling and failing, of making the same mistakes over and over, but he never tires of loving us, of pouring out his mercy on us.

It can be easy for us to focus on ourselves, our own weaknesses, our own problems, but when we do this, we become wrapped in despair, shame, and ingratitude. When we give it all back to God, when we come to him just as we are, he wraps us in his love.

Easter Sunday, Jesus shed the burial cloths that wrapped his body in death and rose in glory to new life. Each time we return to him in repentance and surrender, he offers us this same victorious resurrection – to let us shed our old selves and be made new in him. He unwraps the shame and wraps us in his love.

On the Sunday after Easter (tomorrow, April 7th) we celebrate the Feast of Divine Mercy. In a special way on Divine Mercy Sunday, God pours out his love and grace on us when we approach him in faith. Jesus told St. Faustina, “I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the Fount of My Mercy. . . . Let no soul fear to draw near to Me. . .”

This is the beauty and grace of confession, that when we tell God all of our sins and sorrows, he tells us of his love and mercy.

May you come to the Lord as you are (on Divine Mercy Sunday and every day!) and let the waves of his mercy wash over you: He loves you, He loves you, He loves you.

Going Deeper

In a special way, on Divine Mercy Sunday all Catholics are called and encouraged to receive God’s grace through the sacraments of Confession and Holy Communion. Sadly, many Catholics have had a negative experience in confession at one time or another. Maybe we have felt judged or embarrassed and left the confessional feeling more shame. Maybe the priest was dismissive and made us feel like God was not listening or did not care. Maybe a negative experience has kept us from going to confession for a long time.

God does not want us to let our own failings – or the failings of others – keep us from seeking his mercy.  It is important to remember that priests are human and prone to the same sins as the rest of us. It is even more important to remember that when we approach the confessional in an act of faith and repentance, God always hears us and always loves us.

Hear Father Tim Fahey share an experience of the difficulty of going to confession and his encouragement to go anyway:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edP4icWbIOo

To learn more about the amazing Feast of Divine Mercy and the powerful devotion: https://www.thedivinemercy.org/celebrate/greatgrace

Check out some of the special Divine Mercy devotions happening in the Archdiocese: https://www.thecatholictelegraph.com/divine-mercy/57409

A guide to the Catholic sacrament of confession:  https://catholicworldmission.org/catholic-guide-to-confession/

Jesus, I trust in You!

~Jackie S., St. Vincent de Paul Society

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