Our tendency is to immediately place ourselves in the shoes of the Good Samaritan and derive a moral lesson from the story. However, we are the one lying beaten and half-dead. Only when we have been loved back to life by the One "in whom all the fullness was pleased to dwell" and who "makes peace by the blood of his cross" are we able to "go and do likewise.”I was definitely feeling “beaten in spirit” and “half-dead.” If fellow Christians could bring me to this, what hope was there? The next day, I met my spiritual director, and after admitting my weaknesses through tears, Father reminded me that in allowing ourselves to be weak, Jesus can do his best transforming work in our souls. After more discussion, he guided me through how I might be able to politely bow out of the Twitter conversation to restore my peace. We ended our session with Reconciliation, and at the opening prayer, the irony occurred to me. For it was during a conversation about Confession that some of the most heated parts of our Twitter conversation had happened, and now, I was in the middle of doing the very thing my Twitter friends had spoken firmly against as false, as “unnecessary man-made tradition,” as superfluous and wrong. Not only that, I was about to confess my weakness in those conversations in the very mode they would scorn. But I felt a lightness at doing so, and as soon as I got home, I ran to my laptop. Though it was nearly dinner time, I asked my husband if we could delay things just slightly. I had something burning in my soul and needed to take care of it. “It won’t take long,” I promised. I proceeded to not only bow out of the conversation with my non-Catholic friends by unfollowing them, but, before doing so, explaining why. The grace I’d just received from Reconciliation flowed through me, and I was able to be honest and contrite in how I presented my apology and offer sincere prayers. I could part ways from the toxic conversation with a sense of total peace. Unlike previously, I had no desire to take another peek, seek out their responses, nor wonder if they were chatting behind my back — or even if they’d detected my sincerity. It didn’t matter. I’d given it to Jesus, raised it all up to Him, and was able to let go. My frustration and feelings of betrayal had disappeared. I can’t fully explain the new sense of calm I have felt since regarding this situation, but it’s clear I could not have achieved this on my own. It’s been a year or more of feeling unsettled about my friend’s departure from Catholicism, and I wasn’t getting anywhere in feeling hopeful. I needed Jesus. I needed him particularly through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The grace was so real to me that I knew it was, undeniably, divine, and I am unequivocally grateful. I have a long way to go in perfecting all this. But Jesus has forgiven me, time and again, for my own betrayals of him. The least I can do is go to him in these hurts that cut to the center of the soul and beg for his healing grace. That we even have this option is a supreme gift. As I reflect on all of this, I recall the ending words of that song I learned from our babysitter all those years ago: “Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so.” Q4U: What experience of Reconciliation stands out in your mind?
Copyright 2019 Roxane Salonen
About the Author
Roxane B. Salonen, a wife and mother of five from Fargo, N.D., is an award-winning children’s author and freelance writer who also enjoys Catholic radio hosting and speaking. Roxane co-authored former Planned Parenthood manager Ramona Trevino’s memoir, Redeemed by Grace. Her work is featured on "Peace Garden Passage" at her website, roxanesalonen.com