I haven’t been posting much on my blog of late. My writing life has been spent on other endeavors, primarily my new book.
But I just received an email today from a reader which prompted me to pull something out of my archives on my computer and post this for him, and for others with the same concern.
Essentially he mourns the loss of his innocence, something I understand as well.
I’ve reached a point though where I realize that God isn’t so concerned with my past, or my lost innocence. Rather, he’s concerned with today and wants me to focus not on what I might have done in the past to sully my innocence, but rather what he does today to make me “white as snow,” as Isaiah says:
Come now, let us set things right,* says the LORD: Though your sins be like scarlet, they may become white as snow; Though they be red like crimson, they may become white as wool.
I love how Isaiah puts it, “Come now, let’s fix this stuff.”
It’s no big deal to God to clean us back up, to mend our wounds and to wipe away the ways in which we might have sullied the innocence we had in our youth.
I’ve learned to be gentle with myself along with my repentance. Should I ever be surprised that I screw up? I have to say to myself, “I’m a weak man. Did I forget that so quickly?”
And then run as quickly as possible to the Sacrament of Reconciliation where the becoming white as snow happens once again, thanks be to God!
I’ll close with two thoughts about lost innocence from the Church Fathers.
From St. Clement of Alexandria, speaking of those who once lost their innocence, who are reborn in “spiritual virginity.”
For he who has exercised concupiscence and then restrained himself, is like a widow who becomes again a virgin by continence…For they are virgins, in respect of their abstaining from what is evil.
And from St. Basil the Great, written to a woman who lost her innocence:
We can escape now. While we can, let us lift ourselves from the fall: let us never despair of ourselves, if only we depart from evil. Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.
O come, let us worship and fall down; let us weep before Him. The Word Who invited us to repentance calls aloud,
Come unto me all you that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 There is, then, a way of salvation, if we will.
Death in his might has swallowed up, but again the Lord has wiped away tears from off all faces of them that repent. The Lord is faithful in all His words. He does not lie when He says,
Though your sins be scarlet they shall be as white as snow. Though they be red like crimson they shall be as wool. Isaiah 1:18 The great Physician of souls, Who is the ready liberator, not of you alone, but of all who are enslaved by sin, is ready to heal your sickness. From Him come the words, it was His sweet and saving lips that said,
They that be whole need not a physician but they that are sick….I am not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. Matthew 9:12-13 What excuse have you, what excuse has any one, when He speaks thus? The Lord wishes to cleanse you from the trouble of your sickness and to show you light after darkness. The good Shepherd, Who left them that had not wandered away, is seeking after you. If you give yourself to Him He will not hold back. He, in His love, will not disdain even to carry you on His own shoulders, rejoicing that He has found His sheep which was lost. The Father stands and awaits your return from your wandering. Only come back, and while you are yet afar off, He will run and fall upon your neck, and, now that you are cleansed by repentance, will enwrap you in embraces of love. He will clothe with the chief robe the soul that has put off the old man with all his works; He will put a ring on hands that have washed off the blood of death, and will put shoes on feet that have turned from the evil way to the path of the Gospel of peace. He will announce the day of joy and gladness to them that are His own, both angels and men, and will celebrate your salvation far and wide. For
verily I say unto you, says He,
there is joy in heaven before God over one sinner that repents. If any of those who think they stand find fault because of your quick reception, the good Father will Himself make answer for you in the words,
It was meet that we should make merry and be glad for this my daughter
was dead and is alive again, was lost and is found. Luke 15:32