Women and mothers: we are our own worst critics. Living with ourselves all day and all night, often deprived of the company of rational adults who might function as buffers, or at least moderators of our excesses, we have ample opportunity to display and to deplore our vices—and to see our failings reflected in the child-mirrors that are before us all the day.
The seriousness of this sin cannot be dismissed. These are no mere mistakes, nor simple moments of weakness, nor unfortunate confluences of events beyond our control. My sin is my fault, my own fault, my own most grievous fault. Most grievous!
Darkly alone amid the children’s clamoring, a woman can begin to feel lost in the cyclical grievousness of her own faults. Resolutions once made are broken a moment later by an impatient word, an angry glance, a downward spiral of despair. Confession itself can begin to seem a dreaded burden when the very selfsame sins comprise the list time after time, not even bothering to disguise themselves or to affect a more creative flair, but parading brazenly through in the same old rags, week after week. A woman’s heart grows heavy, and her words weary of reprising the tiresome theme.
But! Confession is an important word, a crucial word, a daily word—but not the last word. No, the last word is not confession, nor is it “just try harder…or at least sin a bit more creatively so that it seems like you’re getting somewhere.” The last word is sweet, sweet absolution. No matter how spectacularly awful or tiresomely trivial the offense, grace has the last word—if only we can shut our mouths and still our hearts long enough to hear it.
“Your sins are forgiven. Christ has made you whole.” Depart the confessional (whether that of a father confessor, of corporate confession, or of two minutes’ sobbing in the bathroom), go in peace, and sin no more. God’s mercies are new every morning—every hour—every moment.
Dwell in the exhilarating deluge of Baptism. Feast on His forgiveness. Pass the grace, please, and hold out your hands to receive a lavish portion as it goes by.