A Knapsack and Walking Stick

St. Francis of Assisi said, “When the brothers go through the world, let them take nothing for the journey, neither knapsack nor purse, nor bread, nor money, nor walking stick.” [Early Documents, Volume I, page 89]

As we approach Good Friday, it is good to realize we are on a journey…a journey to God. What are we taking with us? Me…I’m lugging a lot of stuff, far more than can fit in a knapsack. Mostly, I am carrying my sins. They wear me down, slow me down.

Slowly as I travel, I am learning to see that my sins do not erase from my soul the fundamental dignity that God stamped on it at my conception. God does not want to see my demise. God’s mercy continuously desires to give me new life. Sin alienates me from God. But God does not reject me because of my sin. God simply wants me to refrain from sinning, because my sins prevent me from experiencing the love God wants to shower upon me.

For so long, I thought my sins were beyond redemption. They had me bound so tightly, it was impossible to free myself from their choking control. But I did not understand the power of grace. I underestimated the unlimited power of God.

Dimly, I am beginning to see that God can overcome my personal weakness. All I have to do is let Him. But before God can work, I must wake up and admit I need God’s help. Genuine, sincere contrition is always fully embraced by God’s tender loving mercy.

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me a sinner.

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