The Grace of Forgiveness

Abba Antony, said to Abba Poemen, “This is the great work of man: always to take blame for his own sins before God and to expect temptation to his last breath.” Centuries later, Thomas Merton said: “We can only become saints by facing ourselves, by assuming full responsibility for our lives just as they are, with all their handicaps and limitations, and submitting ourselves to the purifying and transforming action of the Savior.”

Every sin we commit is instantly accompanied by the grace of forgiveness. God is not an implacable judge demanding absolute obedience. Nor is God constantly ready to slam us with a guilty verdict for every transgression. God is love, which would make it impossible for God to be primarily concerned with punishment. God, of course, is fully aware of the weakness and illusions that are part of human nature; but, in Christ, God is generously inviting us to transformation. But before any transformation can happen, we need to recognize our weaknesses. This happens in stillness and silence, and in an honest and prayerful spirit of introspection. Little by little, more truth about ourselves is revealed. God knows, we could not take more than a little at a time. But as we learn more about our flawed selves, God is also affirming our basic goodness. The more time we spend with God in prayer, the deeper our relationship becomes. And as a result, we, in time, no longer occupy the center most space within our hearts, but that holy space is slowly turned over to God. True healing and transformation is taking root.

As we grow in our awareness of God’s goodness and mercy, two things happen: we become more thankful and more generous.

“Prayer is then the first and most important step. All through the life of faith one must resort constantly to prayer, because faith is not simply a gift which we receive once for all in our first act of belief. Every new development of faith, every new increment of supernatural light, even though we may earnestly working to acquire it, remains a pure gift of God. Prayer is therefore the very heart of the life of faith.”
– Thomas Merton
Life and Holiness

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1 Response to “The Grace of Forgiveness”


  1. 1 GOvideoHAWAII May 10, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    I especially appreciated the line in your post “Every sin we commit is instantly accompanied by the grace of forgiveness.” It is most insightful!
    Danny


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