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'God, be merciful to me, a sinner'

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The problem with most sinners is that we don't feel God's Love.

This isn't an indictment of God; it is, rather, an indictment of the whole human system apart from God. For we are born into families immersed neck deep in the popular culture--whether we like to admit it or not. We are also, quite often, born into families which struggle, within this secularist milieu, to remain faithful to the calling of the Lord in a life detached from worldly attractions.

Sometimes this creates saints. Most of the time, however, it creates conflicted sinners.

A full fledged immersion in secularism usually creates the tax collector, totally for the world, usually antagonistic toward the Church. The more incongruent heart, however, reflecting the elder sibling in the parable of the Prodigal Son, manifests in the judgmental sort--judging evil harshly because of the discomfort of the evil within.

Therein lies our dilemma.

"For it is love that I desire, not sacrifice, and knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:1-6

So, God desires, in a reverse order, 'knowledge of God,' the Merciful God, for the tax collector in us. Yet, He also desires love, the Merciful-forgiving kind, for the Pharisee in us.

For truth be told, we have a little bit of both of them in all of us.

"My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn." Psalm 51:3-4, 18-21

Therefore, our goal this Lent, and beyond, should be to bring our tax collector within to the true religion of God's Love in humble sacramental repentance while, simultaneously, reigning in the religion of our Pharisee in the Spirit of repentance in solidarity with the sinfulness of all humanity--to include ourselves.

"But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’ I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 18:9-14

Nuff said!