I need to retell a story Mother Angelica told. I heard it about two months ago, and it's been resonating with me since (though it was a re-broadcast of 'Mother Angelica Live' from about 1997).
Mother had been to a conference on the east coast, probably the Carolinas, somewhere. During a break, she was taunting the waves. "C'mon, is that all you've got? You can't even get my toes? You can do better than that." Suddenly, a larger wave surprised her. It splashed up to her knees and spattered her whole self. As she was flinging the water droplets back to the sea, Our Lord spoke to her, though I don't know if she heard it with her ears or her heart. He said, "My daughter, did you see the size of the that droplet flung back to the sea?" "Yes, Lord, it was very tiny!" "That droplet represents your sin. Do you see the size of the ocean?" "Yes, Lord, it's ENORMOUS!" "Daughter, once you flung the droplet, was it distinguishable to you any longer?" "Oh, no, Lord! The ocean is too large!" "The ocean represents the ocean of my Mercy. Do you not think the ocean of My Divine Mercy is not large enough to absorb and obliterate your sin? It only remains to be asked of Me."
During Lent, there's usually a theme that keeps appearing to me, unsolicited. Last year it was forgiveness for others. The year before it was unconditional love.
What I keep realizing THIS Lent, through overheard snippets of conversations, radio programs, and words that catch my eye from a page, is that I am worthy of forgiveness. I struggle with that, even though I shouldn't. I mean, is that the absolute affront to the Passion and Cross, or what? Once in confession, I told this to Father. He said, "You know that that's your pride, right? That you think YOUR sins are so big. That you think YOU have the worst past. How can YOU be forgiven these terrible things. What do you think Jesus thinks about THAT, hmm? You MUST accept your absolution,,that is what He died for!" Boy, was I chastened! Now, I think he misunderstood to a degree, as I never questioned when absolution was administered that I was absolved,,I was trying to convey that I didn't feel worthy, though I did get him, and know that we are all worthy. See, He made us. That alone makes us worthy. It makes ME worthy.
There are times still, though, when I'm ashamed, even of things I've confessed and promised to change with a firm purpose of ammendment. Sometimes these terrible, horrible, evil things haunt me. That is why Mother Angelica's story touched me so profoundly. "Do you not think the ocean of My Divine Mercy is not large enough to absorb and obliterate your sin?" Whoa. Oh, thank you, dear Lord,,thank you for this, when I need it most, because I call upon it often now. This is the clarification of Father's admonishment. You, oh Lord, are bigger than my worst sin, confessed with contrite heart, and You have forgiven me, and I am worthy of Your forgiveness. Thank you for coming to me as Merciful Savior, not as Just Judge.
For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us, and on the whole world.