With Mercy Sunday being yesterday I had been reflecting on the words printed at the bottom of the Divine Mercy Painting given to us through Saint Faustina. I realized that for the most part when I said the words it wasn’t true. I am much more prone to depend on my own abilities then to cooperate in the grace that Christ gives us. When I come out of confession I might have the attitude of I will not let myself fall into that sin again, but I invariably do. Even though I prove to myself time and time again that I am unable to overcome even the most minor venial sin by myself, I soon forget this.
Coming into the church from atheism I had an almost magical view of religion. Once I truly believed not only that there was a God but that specifically Christianity was true I expected magical things to happen. When I first started to read the bible I kind of expected to almost hear a choir of Angels singing and some kind of visual effects to occur, kind of like a laser light show put on by God for my behalf. I also expected conversion to magically change me into another person.
Thanks be to God, many sins that I had struggled with my whole life did go away and I have not been drawn in any way to return to them. But it has been like an onion where once the outer layers were removed I became aware of sins and faults that I had not realized were there before.
When my son went to school for the very first day he was a real trooper and handled it well. When we woke him up to go to school the very next day, he said “what! again?” He was under the impression that school was a one time event. I had been under the impression that conversion was a one time event. Jesus did not say pick up the cross once but he said to pick it up daily. I can well understand the attraction of the concept of Once Saved Always Saved practiced by some Protestants. It would seem to be so much easier to have faith initially and not have to keep cooperating in grace towards sanctity. Conversion and Santification are a continuous process that must keep going on until we draw our last breaths.
Continuously working to truly put my trust in Christ I realize is also a lifetime process. So similarly to the father of the child in Mark 9:24 I say:
Jesus I trust in you , help my lack of trust in you