Sunday, December 16, 2012

Only three know

The expression ‘common knowledge’ refers to things that are known by nearly everyone. A large part of what we know on a daily basis falls into this category. At the other end of the spectrum, there are things that are known by relatively few people, specialized knowledge perhaps. At the opposite extreme from common knowledge there is a zero point for shared knowledge in every individual human being. These are things that only three know. Who are these three? They are yourself, your confessor, and Christ.

We take great care to hide our sins from ourselves and from other people. We’re aware that God knows everything about us, yet we sometimes try to hide our sins even from Him. We are no different from Adam and Eve who covered themselves with fig leaves and hid among the trees of the Garden. Yet the fact is that we sin, and we don’t want to admit it, either from shame or because it would spoil our good reputations. But there is a remedy to our dilemma, to let only three know, and see what happens.

The one to whom we choose to divulge our great secret, that we sin, who can it be? Is it the parish priest, who is always there but not always available? Perhaps if we told him ‘about that’ he would look at us differently, he’d know too much about us and, even though we know he wouldn’t tell anyone, could we stand to look him in the eye after telling him ‘about that’? Maybe it’s a priest in another parish whom we don’t have to see on a weekly basis. That way it could be somewhat anonymous.

I can’t tell you who should be your confessor, the one to whom you confess your sins, but I can tell you this: It should be someone whom you trust, someone who will still love you no matter what you tell him, and that person can be anyone.

It should be someone whom you know will love you and respect you even more after you have confessed your sin than he did before you confessed. It should be someone who loves you enough to wait with you until your heart is ready, and whose gentle coaxing, ‘Tell me,’ loosens the words in your throat. He will not shame you, he will rejoice with you. He will not punish you, he will reward you. He will not bind you, he will free you. He will not let you remain blind, he will give you sight. He will not let you remain sick, he will heal you. He will stand aside and let Christ receive you to Himself. He will let Christ clothe you in the wedding garment of His righteousness and put His betrothal ring on your finger. And he will forget your sin just as Christ does, and invite you to sup with him, and with Him, at the wedding feast of the Lamb.

This is what happens, when you let only three know.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

1 John 1:7-2:2
I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Luke 5:32

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