I read these words a second time, and a third, and I let their power wash over me. Time cannot conquer this astonishing love, death itself cannot separate me from it. No distance anywhere will ever be too far.
However, if I look closely at the "grille" (Scripture and the teachings of the Church), I do find one specific thing that can put a wall between me and the love of God.
"Sin sets itself against God's love for us and turns our hearts away from it. Like the first sin, it is disobedience, a revolt against God through the will to become 'like gods,' knowing and determining good and evil. Sin is thus 'love of oneself even to contempt of God.' In this proud self-exaltation, sin is diametrically opposed to the obedience of Jesus, which achieves our salvation." (Catechism of the Catholic Church n.1850)
"If we say, 'we are free of the guilt of sin,' we deceive ourselves; the truth is not to be found in us. But if we acknowledge our sins, He who is just can be trusted to forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrong." (1 John 1:8-9)
"If I cannot perceive God because of sin," I wrote here several years ago, "maybe it works both ways. Maybe He can't see ME. Maybe He'll forget all about me, and then He won't notice that I'm living in sin. Maybe there isn't any such thing as sin; I mean, all I have to do is turn on TV to know that today's 'social norms' do not even seem to recognize its reality.
"I can do a lot to hide that pesky wall. Add a bright coat of paint, plant some ivy, maybe even put up a hedge so I don't see the wall at all, in time. Sin can be made to look quite attractive and normal. Just a spray of denial and a dulling of conscience, and I'm all set.
"Except that I'm not. I'm not set at all. I'm walled off from God; and in my moments of honesty, I am miserable. If I find myself in such a spot, I don't have to stay there. If I am in serious sin, I daresay I know it. I might have tried fooling myself, playing some 'everybody's doing it' games in my head. But I know...."
Thank God, there is a way through that wall. "If we confess our sins, He who is just can be trusted to forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrong." (1 John 1:9)
Lord Jesus Christ, I confess to You that I am a sinner. In particular, I ask forgiveness for these transgressions___________. I am so sorry. If my sins have been grave, help me get to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Give me the strength to turn away from sin and temptation, and to avoid occasions that would lead me into sin. Thank You for Your grace and mercy. I ask You to break down any walls of sin that keep me from You. Jesus, I trust in You. Amen.
Painting: Artgate Fondazione Cariplo - Molteni Giuseppe, La confessione, courtesy of Wikimedia. Click here for link.