Thursday, 3 May 2012

Step Eight - O,Happy Fault

GospelJohn 12:44-50 

Jesus declared publicly:
‘Whoever believes in me
believes not in me
but in the one who sent me,
and whoever sees me,
sees the one who sent me.
I, the light, have come into the world,
so that whoever believes in me
need not stay in the dark any more.
If anyone hears my words and does not keep them faithfully,
it is not I who shall condemn him,
since I have come not to condemn the world,
but to save the world.
He who rejects me and refuses my words has his judge already:
the word itself that I have spoken will be his judge on the last day.
For what I have spoken does not come from myself;
no, what I was to say,
what I had to speak,
was commanded by the Father who sent me,
and I know that his commands mean eternal life.
And therefore what the Father has told me
is what I speak.’

Step Eight - Make a list of all persons you have harmed. Become willing to make amends to them all

Often, the need to enter the confessional box, be it literally or metaphorically, is guilt; an awareness that we have caused harm. The knowledge that we are carrying the unwelcome and persistent naggings of our wrongdoings forces us into dark places where we would rather not go though we understand the need to be there. Through being honest, we are able to name, acknowledge and detach from what has gone before. Reconciliation with a small or capital letter has the opportunity to begin.

Sometimes, we go into the dark place and stay there and then this is not guilt but shame. That the wrong that we have done to others is less important than what other 'others' will think of us. 

That it is less important than what we would like to think of us. Because of this we are not prepared to take the first step towards freedom and, after a while, it becomes a disability that no-one can remedy.

We don't suffer because we have done wrong; we suffer because we want to have control over what happens next.

It's a hard step to take; I have always been grateful to St Paul for his  insistence that sin is remorseless; that we will always do what we should not and not do what we should.

In the steps of accepting our powerlessness we have said that we put ourselves in God's hands. Be reassured by the image of the Prodigal Son forcing one step in front of the other, imagining the list of mistakes and harms that he would be making as he went; the fears of rejection in his mind and still the determination to return home.

Step Eight Prayer
Loving FatherI ask Your help
in making my list
of all those
I have harmed.

I will take responsibility
for my mistakes,
and be forgiving to
others as You are
forgiving to me.

Grant me the
willingness to begin
my restitution.

This I pray.


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