Struggling with Guilt and Shame? Time to stop!
Devotional Thought of the Day:
15 While he was saying these words to me, I turned my face toward the ground and was speechless.t 16 Suddenly one with human likenessu touched my lips. I opened my mouth and said to the one standing in front of me, “My lord, because of the vision, anguish overwhelms me and I am powerless. 7 How can someone like me, your servant, speak with someone like you, my lord? Now I have no strength, and there is no breath in me.”
18 Then the one with a human appearance touched me again and strengthened me.y 19 He said, “Don’t be afraid,z you who areG treasured by God.aa Peace to you; be very strong!” Daniel 10:14-19 CSB
To be angry at ourselves after the commission of a fault is a fault worse than the one committed, and will be the occasion of many other faults; it will make us leave off our devotions, prayers, and communions; or if we do practise them, they will be done very badly. St. Aloysius Gonzaga said that we cannot see in troubled waters, and that the devil fishes in them. A soul that is troubled knows little of God and of what it ought to do.
Too many of us dwell haunted by the past.
It could have been yesterday, or back when we were a teenager, but what happened cause us to be ashamed, to feel guilty about what happened. Sometimes we had no choice, sometimes we were victims, and sometimes, yes, we chose to do what we knew was wrong.
We bear incredible guilt and shame.
We deny it, we buty it, we hide it.
But coming into contact with that which is holy… well that shows us, just as it did Daniel, the man whose fiath sustained him in the lions den, and with emperors, and against those who hated him, because he listened to God.
And he still, encountering an Angel, wwas terrified, He knew he didn’t belong in the presence of God.
Cleansed, he heard the incredible words… you are treasured by God.
de Ligouri knew what it meant to be haunted by guilt and shame. He didn’t come to his conclusions above through academic knowledge, but experience. HOw many times have I been angry at myself for my failures and sin? How many times have I thought I will never be holy enough? How many times will Stan use that guilt and shame to convince me that prayers are worthless, that I could never be welcome.
And I know that I am not alone.
We need to hear that God treasures us, much as Daniel’s Visitor said to Him. We have the advantge – we can look to the cross, we can receive Him in the Lord’s Supper, and have tangible evidence of how much God does treasure us…
knowing that, we can come, confess and find the treasure again – as God does as promised – and wipes away our sin. We need to hear God’s voice, declaring we are justified – by the cross of Christ.
then the guilt and shame are swept away, and we can begin again.
We are treasured by God…
Alphonsus de Liguori, The Holy Eucharist, ed. Eugene Grimm, The Complete Works of Saint Alphonsus de Liguori (New York; London; Dublin; Cincinnati; St. Louis: Benziger Brothers; R. Washbourne; M. H. Gill & Son, 1887), 322.