Tuesday, February 21, 2012

erasing the board

As I stand poised at the edge of Lent, I find myself reflecting upon the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  Today I stumbled across this from Charles de Foucauld: 

“When you want to write on a blackboard, you must first wipe off what is written there.”  

Several things occur to me as I read this.  First of all:  chalk is not permanent.  Nor are my sins.  Once the “board” has been erased, the original mistakes can no longer be read. 

Second:  a blackboard cannot be erased unless something is done.  Someone has to actually take action and clean the board.

Third:  a chalkboard eraser is not a steel wool pad.  It is soft.  It’s made to clean the board, not harm it.  If a blackboard could feel, I doubt it would cry “ouch.”

“God,” wrote St. Gregory the Great, “scourges our faults with strokes of love, to cleanse us from our iniquities.” 

Strokes of love.  Not lashes and paddles, but strokes of love.

Jesus wants to erase every one of my sins.  He knows I cannot do it on my own.  He has given the Sacrament of Reconciliation as a (gentle, loving, healing) Eraser.  I pray, on the eve of this Lenten season, for the grace to “confess my sins, do penance, and amend my life."  May Our Lord write what HE wants on my life; may He make it totally His own. 

(This post is part of Catholic Blog Day.  Clicking on this line will take you to another site, where you can find other bloggers' reflections on Lenten penance and reconciliation)