We have special junk removal trucks up here in New England because most people have waaaaay too much junk. The business must be doing pretty well because I see their trucks everywhere. You pay the guys to remove your junk and then they either bring it to a dump/recycling center or they sell it to someone else so that the other person has your junk too. When they decide to get rid of it they then pass your junk along with some of their own junk to the next person. Soon, a number of people have some of your "junk" along with their own and that of others.
Sin is like this. If sin is not stopped in its tracks through repentance and reconciliation with God it spreads like a disease infecting those around us. We can see manifestations of this infection throughout our country and world today. It didn't happen overnight and we are all responsible because we all fall short. And with God's grace we have to repair the mess we've made - this is made possible through Christ who obtained every sort of grace and blessing for us by His life, death, and resurrection. Reparation is an important aspect of our lives here on earth.
I know I've written about this before but I want to share it once again in a bit more detail.
Years ago I had a dream. Someone led me to the edge of a high cliff and told me to look down. When I did I was stricken to the core by what I saw: there below me was what looked like an enormous dump, but instead of trash it was filled with the sins of humanity. Looking down into this dump I could see drugs, needles, pornography, TV's, condoms, the Pill, books, weapons, and the list goes on and on. All the things we misuse were there. Our sins stretched as far as the eye could see. I don't know how to explain it but I also saw sins like rape and murder in this pile. What really, really got to me was that strewn amongst the filth of our sins there were thousands and thousands of tiny little dead babies and even body parts. Someone was holding my hand and as I looked down into the pile I shook my head and said, "No hope. No hope."
But hope was holding my hand. I felt the strength of that hand despite the shaking of my head and my words as I looked into this cesspool of vice. The Lord was simply showing me in a very clear manner just how far we've fallen today. We are even leading children away from Him through our refusal to correct our lives.
This dream was so vivid that I've never forgotten it. Who could?
It's time to turn back to the Lord. We have strayed far beyond what may be termed "human weakness". Yes, we have natures prone to sin but we can't simply sit on the fence and watch as our brothers and sisters fall all around us. It's our job to help them up.
We cannot be like Cain and say, "Am I my brother's keeper?" We have been given the responsibility of lifting others up through our prayer, words, and actions. Each of us has a mission here on earth and bringing others to the Lord is part of this mission. He gives us the grace to accomplish our missions if we trust in Him. Abundant grace. More than we can even imagine.
I came across a beautiful prayer in my Magnificat this month:
O God of mercy and compassion, all our guilt lies open to you, all our secret sins are known to you, all our ugly ways are clear before you, yet you never cease to offer us your redeeming love. Have mercy on us in our pitiful attempts to cloak our sinfulness with false bravado, and grant us the joy that comes with full repentance, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
God sees all things as they are. In His mercy He reveals our sinfulness to us slowly over a period of time (though not always) so we won't feel overwhelmed. However, when we die our entire lives are laid bare before us all at once. There is no gentle lifting of the veil. We will see everything we have ever done (or left undone), thought, or said, in the clear light of truth Himself.
Are we ready for this?