Colleen Mallette reflects on the experience of forgiveness, which requires us to let go of the burden of our past sins.
Recently on the God Minute Podcast, Fr. Ron Hoye's Gospel reflection invited the listeners to imagine sitting in a chair with Jesus standing in front of them. Then they were to think of their most pressing burden, imagine placing that burden in their hands and looking at it for a moment.
Then they were told to place that burden in front of Jesus’ feet, and walk away. Of course, that symbolizes literally giving all our burdens to God knowing He is ultimately in control anyway and to trust that He will take care of it for us. But visualizing it helps the reality of really trying to let go of our struggles and letting God manage them as we should. The tough part is to walk away and never pick up that burden again.
It is our tendency to ruminate over and over when something bothers us or when we wish we could take back something we said or did. Or to keep trying different things to solve a problem that we don’t think God is answering quick enough. Or to have a hard time truly forgiving ourselves for a past sin even though we have confessed it and been absolved.
This envisioning process reminded me the Veneration Prayer Service we conducted as part of our parish RCIA journey. We would meet in the church, where candles were lit all around a crucifix that was laying at an angle on the sanctuary steps. During the prayer service we were asked to recollect our sins/burdens, then each person took their turn going up to the cross and kissing or touching the feet of the crucified Christ while imagining giving those over to Him.
The first time I experienced this service I remember being so emotionally relieved afterward. It was a similar feeling to walking out of a very touching Reconciliation experience of being absolved.
Like the podcast exercise, being forgiven by a priest gives one a freeing feeling that helps for a while -- at least until the next time we are confronted with the same or a similar troubling situation. Then it is difficult to remember that feeling of relief or even that we had already let it go at the feet of Jesus. Giving our burdens to Jesus and completely letting them go and never thinking or worrying about them again is so difficult.
Yet God loves us so much that He wants us to do exactly that. He sacrificed His Son so that we could live in freedom from sin, trusting in His complete love for us. He wants us to hand over our troubles and fears and sins, to let them go and never pick them back up again. He wants us to be happy and knows that we can’t if we don’t follow this exercise.
Imagine if one of your children spilled his milk all over your new carpet, and felt so terribly about it they kept apologizing repeatedly all evening and into the next day. Don’t you think after the second or third time you would want to just hug them and say “It’s really OK, just forget about it. I don’t want you to worry about it anymore, go outside and play.”
That is how God feels with us, He loves His children so much and doesn’t want us pulled down by anything bothering us. There is nothing God won’t and can’t handle if we remember to just lay it all at His feet.
Copyright 2020 Colleen Mallette
Image: Pixabay (2020)
About the Author
Colleen lives in Ohio and is the proud mother of three young adults. She loves being a full-time stay-at-home mom and a part-time bookkeeper for her husband. She likes to read, write, scrapbook, and volunteer, and is excited to use her talents to share God’s love and the hope of His promises through CatholicMom.com. Colleen is co-author of “In Godʼs Hands, Miracles in the Lives of Moms” and blogs at Colleen's Contemplations.