Archive for the ‘Retreat’ Tag

unconditional love

If you are looking for a good devotional for Lent, check out the daily “3 minute Retreat” from Loyola Press. It is a lovely way to find a few moments of peace each day.  This morning, I sat with my freshly brewed cup of coffee and prayed today’s retreat. Today’s theme is “unconditional love,” using the story of the Prodigal Son as the focal point.  I find that each time I hear the story of the Prodigal Son, I hear something new.  Today the story got me thinking about how blessed we are to have such a loving, forgiving God.

I love being Catholic, and I have to say, one of my favorite parts of Catholicism is the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I have to admit that I didn’t always see the need for Reconciliation.  As a child (and let’s be honest, as an adult as well) I found it difficult to acknowledge when I was wrong.   I remember one afternoon before Mass, many years ago, my Mom made my brothers and me go to Reconciliation, and I felt that I had absolutely nothing to confess.  Since I was a perfect little kid, (ha!) I really could not think of a single thing to confess to this priest. So, I lied. I made up all kinds of sins.  Then, after receiving absolution, I marched right out of that confessional and got back in line. When I returned to the same priest a few minutes later, he looked at me quizzically but didn’t acknowledge that I had been there a mere five minutes earlier.

So I mustered up my courage and said, “Bless me Father, for I have sinned. My last confession was five minutes ago.”

“What would you like to confess?” he asked with a hint of a smile.

“I lied to a priest,” I admitted sheepishly.

He laughed, and gently explained to me that I was forgiven for all of my sins, that God knows what is truly in my heart. I felt much better after that.  If God would forgive me for lying to a PRIEST, he would certainly forgive me for being mean to my brothers.

Unfortunately I no longer have trouble coming up with my list of sins for confession! But I feel humbled that God loves me unconditionally. All I need to do is acknowledge to God that I have failed, and God lovingly welcomes me home. Imagine how different our world would be if we could each forgive each other in such a way.  If we were to humbly accept God’s forgiveness and mercy and then extend that same forgiveness and love to others.

Today, how can I express unconditional love?

Bob Rice

Catholic speaker, musician, author, teacher

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