Devotional Thought fo the Day:
Now please forgive us the wrong that we, the servants of your father’s God, have done.” Joseph cried when he received this message.
18 Then his brothers themselves came and bowed down before him. “Here we are before you as your slaves,” they said.
19 But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid; I can’t put myself in the place of God. 20You plotted evil against me, but God turned it into good, in order to preserve the lives of many people who are alive today because of what happened. 21You have nothing to fear. I will take care of you and your children.” So he reassured them with kind words that touched their hearts. Gen. 50:17-21
Consider, in particular, the sin of ingratitude towards God, which is a general sin, and extends itself over all the rest, making them infinitely more enormous. Consider, then, how many benefits God has bestowed on you, and how you have abused them, turning them against Him, to dishonour Him. And, in particular, how many inspirations you have made unprofitable. But above all, how many times you have received the sacraments, and where are the fruits of them? What is become of all those precious jewels, with which your dear Spouse adorned you? They have all been buried under your iniquities. With what preparation have you received them? Think on your ingratitude; that God having run so far after you, you have fled from Him to lose yourself.
Joseph forgiving his brothers is a great story of grace. It is also, for one such as I am, very convicting.
I have to admit that I am a hold a very advanced certification in resentment, and am accomplished at being merciless.
It’s not that I don’t appreciate grace, or struggle to depend on the grace of God that is demonstrated in my being counted righteous and forgiven. I depend on that daily, and it provides hope for this sinner that I am.
I find myself likewise confronted by the parable of the debtor is forgiven millions and has a very definite style of collecting the $150 bucks owed him the very same day.
Do we have to grow into people that imitate Joseph? Can’t we just count on God’s mercy, even for our mercilessness? Does it not extend out that far? Surely Jesus understands the pain of being betrayed, the agony of being hurt, the horrible hurt that comes as someone sinning against us.
After all, I am just a broken sinner, one He is healing gradually, how can I be expected to be the Messiah or one of the great faithful people in scripture? How would I find the strength, the inner power to desire to be, and to become that merciful?
I think St Francis de Sales comes up with a reasonable explanation for our inability. It is because we don’t take the time to consider God’s actions in our lives that deserve gratitude, from our Creation, Redemption and Sanctification to His daily present that waits for our prayers, to His revealing His presence through His word and sacraments and those we encounter, as we think somehow we are ministering to them. When in reality, we are simply exploring the incredible dimensions of His love.
As we begin to appreciate the amazing love of God who comes to us, who picks us up and begins to heal our brokenness, as He invites us to dine with Him, and are welcome into His peace, that is when our resentment breaks, when the tears flow, when we look to Him and ask if these relationships, as dry as dry bones can live.
It is only in understanding that He has brought us back to life, that He is healing us, that He is making us whole, that we find ourselves allowing the resentment to slip away, our grip on the anger and pain to painful to keep up. Looking to Jesus – seeing His love, how His plan has blessed you, even the sin committed against you, leads resentment a burden to cold, too hard to bear into the light of His glory.
Devotion to God who loves you more than you can imagine, or hanging on to the pain?
As we come to Advent, as we find the need we have fro Christ’s presence, as we begin to desire more and more the peace and love He he has to share with us, may we desire to set aside those things that would drags us down, and with joy, may we hold out our hands for those who once betrayed us, to join us in the journey.
Francis de Sales, Saint. An Introduction to the Devout Life. Dublin: M. H. Gill and Son, 1885. Print.