If today I meet the Lord what recompense shall I need?
It is hard to think that at a moment of death we will be able to seek an advocate to defend our failure of confessing any sin or finding a way to make up for our lack of seeking forgiveness. As Catholics who recognize their requirement for sacramental confession is a manner of receiving the love of Christ when he says: “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.” (Jn 8: 11).
Throughout the gospel accounts we see how often Jesus spoke to penitents these same words. “And they came, bringing a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above Him; and when they had made an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic lay; and when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “My son, your sins are forgiven.” Immediately, Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question thus in your hearts?” Which is easier to say to the paralytic, your sins are forgiven, or to say “Rise, take up your pallet and walk?” But that you may know that the Son of man has authority to forgive sins” he said to the paralytic, I say to you, rise, take up your pallet and go home.” (Mk 2: 4 - 11).
We could indicate the many scripture passages where Jesus constantly alluded to the genuine mercy his Father promises to each of us if we will only turn and ask for forgiveness, no matter how often we sin and especially as with sinners their sin usually remains the same. In spite of the repetitious manner of our sinfulness God never pulls the rug out from under us. A simple truth is we sin and acknowledge the failure we hold onto. Seek God’s forgiveness and without any requirements his forgiveness is joyfully granted. There never is a need of being forgiven only once, even for the same sin.
It is so easy to find the release from the guilt we may be tempted to hold onto, yet God has always been beside us just waiting for us to turn and find a loving God holding his arms open to embrace us. “But while he was yet at a distance, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, “Father I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son. But the father said to his servants, bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet; and bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us make merry; for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.” (Lk 15: 20 - 24).
Feeling the same words from the Church, our relatives, and the expression of deep release from a sin that has had a grip on us must be the most efficacious feeling knowing there is no other grace from God than his mercy which should bring tears of joy and peace in no other manner than, “Through the ministry of the Church, I absolve you! Go and sin no more.”I have experienced this very feeling of recompense and am aware of the depth of God’s Love.
Any recompense should have been made before our death. Pray that this is already a done deal for yourself.
Ralph B. Hathawa