Your sins aren’t that special

“Your sins aren’t that special.”

The girls giggle, perhaps a little shocked by what I said, simply because it came as a surprise.  They were concerned about going to Confession to a priest they knew.

“He’ll know my voice….”
“He’ll hear my sins and judge me.  Later, when he sees me, he’ll judge me more.”  She smiles and I know she is joking.  Partially.

“No, he won’t.  He isn’t going to remember your sins.  Your sins aren’t that special.”  I pause for a moment as they giggle.  “You’re special, but your sins aren’t.”

I myself was struck by that phrase, in a way.  How often I live my life as though my sins are special, as though they are my determining factor.  After thousands of years of beautiful, broken humanity, I doubt there is a way one could sin “originally” anymore.  Sin isn’t unique, novel, or groundbreaking.

Do you know what is special and unique?  Virtue.  It has a depth, breadth, and richness that cannot be matched by any vice, no matter how shocking or seemingly gratifying it may be.  We think our sins set us apart, for better or worse, and make us into the individuals we are.  We find our flaws to be infinitely more memorable than our strengths or triumphs.  

We are wrong.  It is our virtue and our quest for virtue that truly distinguishes us.  Look at the vast array of saints in the Catholic Church.  The ways they reflect God are manifold but each is different, highlighting a different attribute of the ineffable God.  We see in them incarnational realities of God’s love, mercy, forgiveness, patience, and more.  They are unique because of their holiness and their particular way of manifesting it.

Your sins aren’t special.  Quit acting like they are and return to your Father.

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