Unconditional Love

We call priests Father.
Why?
Spiritual fatherhood. This means that priests can truly show us what being loved by God the Father actually means. It’s a real thing.

I think as Catholics, we hear this all the time, but when we truly encounter what it means, it is a beautiful thing. And today, I am so grateful to be able to say that I had such an encounter.

Confession is one of those things that I personally love, but is also really difficult for me. It is SO hard to go in there and confess that I am less than perfect. I get so nervous when I’m in line, I drag my feet, and sometimes (usually when I most need to go) I straight up dread it. But being forgiven of my sins and the peace that comes from that reconciliation with the Lord is ALWAYS worth it.

Today I knew it was time to go to Confession, so I dragged myself into the chapel and asked the Lord to help me make a good confession. But what I didn’t realize as I walked into the chapel was that the Lord was about to show me in a very real way that priests truly are spiritual fathers and through them we can tangibly see the love of God the Father.

As I stood in line waiting for my turn, it hit me that I had never completed my penance from the last time I had been to Reconciliation. I remembered it had been a very difficult one – involving initiating a tough and humbling conversation with someone I had hurt – and I realized quickly that I had been avoiding it since it was a really tough one. I figured I would have to reluctantly tell Father when I got into the confessional – dreading the whole topic – because I figured the penance would have to be even harder now that I had avoided it out of fear.

But the thing is, when I walked into the confessional, I was greeted by a merciful and loving Father and not the stern and disappointed one that I had anticipated. I timidly told him how I hadn’t completed my penance from last time, and after asking me some questions to understand the situation better he changed my penance from last time, as well as gave me my penance for this time.

What mercy. As any loving father would, he noticed that what had been asked of me previously had been too much for me. And out of mercy he gave me another chance. Fathers don’t like to see their beloved children fail. I had failed in what had been asked of me, and he had mercy on me for that.

As I think and reflect on this exchange, all I can see is the love of God the Father. Our hearts are longing for this unconditional love that is available to each and every one of us.
Our Father provides for us. Our Father loves for us. Our Father forgives us.

Mary, Mother of All Priests, Pray for us!

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