A Contrite Heart

The day that Judas Iscariot betrayed his leader for thirty pieces of silver has lived in infamy. Chrysostom said that Judas had no idea of what they would do to Jesus. When he found out, it was more than Judas could bear. Suicide is not the right form of contrition. It shows the same short sightedness of the first bad decision.

David, a man after God’s own heart, murdered a man so he could take his wife. When he realized the severity of his deed, David fell on his face and wept. Then he wrote, “Have mercy on me o God according to thy great Mercy, according to the multitude of thy tender mercies, blot out my iniquity.” David knew that “a broken and contrite heart, God will not despise.”

Two men in ignorance flung themselves from the face of God, one returned, the other died.

On my way to the cross, these thoughts whirl around in my mind. How often I must have disappointed, even hurt God. Ignorance is not bliss, it can be fatal. It is so easy to think all is well and right when beneath this crusty layer of ignorance could be rot and infestation.

David was grateful, to be told of his failure, Judas couldn’t bear it to see it. Lord, send your angels to awaken me to any thought, word, or deed that would separate me from your life giving image and likeness. Show me the way through the valley of tears and repentance to the tiny Mark, so hard to find, so hard to stay on.

I think that God must have an army of angels in heaven who are assigned to cry day and night over the evils that ignorance pours upon mother earth.

With every word that I read and every word that I write, the same simple message shines through. Learn the commandments, love them, eat them and drink them until they become woven into the fabric of our being. To think like God is to stay alive. When I fall, get up again, when I wander, return with contrition, ask for mercy and try once more. Even if I fall and rise a trillion times, hopefully the moment of my last breath and heartbeat will find me nearer to Life than ever. 

I Spy


Many many years ago I heard a man on the radio tell about the I Spy game that he played with his family. At the dinner table each person took his or her turn to report how (s)he spied God that day: speaking in his heart or protecting him or guiding him or her. I just loved that and I wished I was in that family so I could have my turn to be the blabbermouth spy.

I know that faith is like radioactivity so that even though you can’t feel or smell it, it is very powerful, and I know that Jesus said to Thomas that particularly blessed are those who didn’t meet Jesus in person or feel the nail wounds in His hands. But I also know that Jesus and His Father did not have such a ‘senseless’ relationship but instead they actually heard each other and that the Father’s guidance was crystal clear and loud. I also know that Jesus said that He had to go away so the Holy Spirit would be able to live inside each of us to comfort, guide, and strengthen us aspiring immortals.

I think it is important to be aware of the miracle of having the Holy Spirit co-living within, as aware as I am of the activity of my brain and stomach. I wonder what I would do different if I was more aware of God in me and me in Him. I don’t like being ignored, especially if I am doing something really nice for someone and I’ll bet the Holy Spirit in me doesn’t either.

When I am in Christ (and He is in me) during Holy Week, I want to stay awake when He is taken prisoner, I want to feel the beating, the humiliation, the exhaustion. I want Him to know that I am not a fair-weather friend who only loves Him for what He can do for me.  I want to be in Him when He needs me the most.

Jesus had never felt forsaken by God before, but I have. So maybe I can help strengthen Him while He is hanging by His wrists. That’s why it is so important to me to spend this precious Lenten time away from the world scrubbing the scales from my eyes and heart so I can be awake, aware, and hurting, with his pierced hand in mine. Maybe Lent is nothing more than getting ready for Holy Week.

“A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. At that day you will know that I am in My Father and you in Me, and I in you. He who has my commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” John 14:20-21. It is a red letter day when God manifests Himself to you personally. When we speak to God, we expect that He actually hears us. Likewise He expects us to be able to actually hear Him. Maybe if I raise the bar higher, someday I’ll be able to jump into His loving arms.