Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Unburdening Your Heart

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Dear Friends,

Do you sometimes feel trapped in your own problems? Or perhaps unable to forgive yourself for some of the things you've done or choices you've made in the past?

In the last post, I wrote about the value of forgiving and forgiveness. Here, I wish to share with you something that my confessor has told me, which I hope would also help you in your prayer life and free you from the feelings that bind you and prevent you from being your best.

Two weeks ago, our daughter had her first Reconciliation together with other 2nd graders in our Parish. It was a wonderful experience for her, for our family, and in fact for the entire faith community.

We all sensed the excitement in the children's faces as they were getting ready for their "one-on-ones" with the priests. And we all witnessed the inner glow radiating through their faces as they each completed their individual confessions.

The adults too were invited to the Holy Reconciliation. And I welcomed the opportunity as I've learned that Reconciliation is a gift from God, and one that we should take full advantage of.

Indeed, it is a gift...and a truly special one! After I've confessed my sins, I felt a tremendous weight lifted from my chest...and my mind suddenly cleared out.

It was one of the most amazing things that happened to me recently. I completely felt the love of God and could almost hear Him say, "My dear child, everything will be okay. I am your Father, who loves you dearly."

So you may be wondering, what transpired during my one-on-one with the priest, Fr. Paul. I know a lot of people would rather keep the discussions confidential (it ought to be, right?)...but in this case, I wish to share the Fr. Paul's comments to you.

Here's what he said:

"I know that it's hard to forgive oneself -- just as it's difficult for us to forgive others. So ask God to change you. Pray to Him. All you need is 4-5 minutes of alone time with Him. Tell Him what's in your heart. Unburden yourself to Him."

Fr. Paul is a man of few words...but his words were powerful. He zeroed in on what was matters the most, and what he said pretty much covered everything I needed to hear. .

Please take some time to read his words again. I know that whenever I think about Fr. Paul's words, they answer a lot of my own questions and problems.

"So ask God to change you." We all are humans. We make mistakes. We sin. So when we find it hard to forgive ourselves or to change ourselves, we should turn to our Almighty Father. And ask Him to change us.

Isn't that easy? Wow! I honestly never thought of that! I've always tried to do things myself and to even 'change myself.' The process has always been long and ardous. But apparently, there is a better way. And that is seeking God's help in changing us. As in everything else, this 'better way' enables us to humble ourselves before God, set aside our egos, admit our limitations and welcome His healing power into our lives.

"Pray to Him. All you need is 4-5 minutes of alone time with Him. Tell Him what's in your heart." Again, Fr. Paul offers a simple formula for connecting with God. God wants us to be honest with Him. Of course, He knows what's in our heart. But when we acknowledge and surrender our own problems, hurts, sufferings to God, we begin the healing process and we make room for Him to perform His miracles in our lives.

"Unburden yourself to Him." Indeed, God said "Come to me all of you who are tired of carrying heavy load, for my burden is light."

God offers a simple solution to our problems. Give them up! Give them all up to Him. Offer them all to Him and allow Him to touch us and help us with our problems.

No, this is not a cop out! It's an invitation from God. He wants us to come to Him, to be closer to Him - our very own Father - who will soothe us, comfort us and provide for our needs.

When I find myself trying to complicate things by worrying or feeling guilty, I try to recall Fr. Paul's words. This way, I'm able to sleep soundly at night and not long after I pray with the full force of my emotions...I begin to experience God's miracles in my life.

So, back to my questions. Do you sometimes feel trapped in your own problems? Or perhaps unable to forgive yourself for some of things you've done or choices you've made in the past?

Our God is a merciful and loving God. He's always watching over you and waiting for you to take notice and to take His gifts.

Go ahead...what are you waiting for? Ask. Seek. Knock.

And let God work in you and through you.

Blessings!

Ann

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