My crisis of repentance and faith came about because I sinned in a certain way. In ancient Israel, this transgression was a capital offense – though for all of us sin brings death, death is its “wages”.
13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
But my transgression was probably more selfish, reckless, careless, and cruel than the sins of many other people who are more decent and caring. How I longed to put everything right! But God showed me that nothing could fix things. Life was changed for everyone in any way touched by what I’d done – what we had done.
I didn’t “get” that I’d sinned against God directly, though I did ask for His forgiveness. God didn’t care that my contrition wasn’t perfect – perfect contrition is something that as a Catholic I was taught to strive for. And He wasn’t silent, speaking to me through my circumstances and through people He brought my way, people who believed His Word and told me that I needed to believe it too. They didn’t care that I was a Catholic and had no need like they did because I was a member of The One True Church. This was such a settled fact for me – the True Church – that I didn’t need to even have answers for anyone who questioned it. But the Gospel began to get to me; it was new and different and not focused on me but on God, Someone Whom they spoke of as “the Lord”, a habit which irritated me, that is, that they acted as if He was someone they actually knew personally.
God showed me many things through circumstances, removing my props, so to speak, showing me for instance that my Mom couldn’t step in and fix what I’d done – in fact she had warned me not to sin and ‘prophesied’ disaster over me. My actions had consequences as unyielding as rock. I might be her darling child (though grown), but that meant nothing because I was like any other mother’s darling child – this fact didn’t work with God. Like others before me I’d come up against the pitiless nature of the Law, whether human or Divine. For awhile still, I remained blind and dead in my sins, deluded that I was a special case because of being me. . .