Start with the One Person You Can Change

Start with the One Person You Can Change…

During the season of Lent, we are focusing on our parish theme “Pray-Fast-Give; Healing the Wounds of Injustice.” Each week during Lent we have had a different focus which has invited us to make sacrifices on behalf of healing our broken world.

In this last week before Holy Week, our focus is shifts away from the macro-level injustices of global and national poverty and even away from the local-level concerns of hunger. Instead, we turn inwardly, towards ourselves.

A number of years ago I had the chance to do a lot of travelling around the world to mission sites of the Church in the places of the deepest poverty. Fueled by an ambition to change the world (a passion I still have) I had to face an uncomfortable discovery in myself and in others. I became cognizant of a catchphrase which bears a great deal of truth “Everyone wants to change the world, but few people want to change themselves.”

I realize this little proverb is an indictment of us all but rather than casting stones at others, I’ll start with myself. That is, after all, the point. How foolish of me to think that the world is going to change but everything about me is going to stay the same. How ludicrous that I can condemn the world for racism, sexism, poverty, greed, lust, gun violence, etc… but if you dare judge me for being part of the problem? Woe there! Now you’ve gone too far!

I had to realize that I am the source of the change I seek. The world won’t change if I don’t do it first. I also came to realize that there is a treasure in the Catholic Church which empowers us to make that change. It is called the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

I know for many people, including myself, there has been an unfortunate avoidance of this Sacrament. Perhaps my reason was that I thought I was too busy (a good thing to change), or had a lack of trust in the structures of the church (a good thing to change), or fear of being imperfect (a good thing to change).

Personally, I have discovered that almost every roadblock I have put up towards going to confession is a “good thing to change.” The Sacrament, at its root, is about changing and growing to be better person through transformative power of God’s love. If you are like me, I’ve tried a dozen things to fix problems in the world. I’ve donated money to good causes (a good thing to keep doing), I’ve volunteered at food pantries (a good thing to keep doing), and I’ve gotten involved in political advocacy (a good thing to keep doing). But at the end of the day, what have I done to change myself?

When I go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, change is at the heart of it. In partaking in the Sacrament, I take personal responsibility to transform the world by transforming myself. In that tender and delicate space where I can be vulnerable and accept God’s love for me, I begin to see a better future for myself and the world around me.

It is in that spirit that I encourage others to accept that same grace, to be a part of this incredible sign of change, and to do it together. Let us be a community, not of people who are perfect, but of people who are getting better. Let our sign of that be our willingness to ask God for forgiveness and the power to reform our ways.

We normally have the Sacrament of Reconciliation available on Saturdays at 3:00pm in the church, but in a special way, we want to invite you to the communal celebration that we are sharing with Saint Benedict Parish on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 at 6:30pm at Saint Benedict Parish.

Reasons on why to go can be found at as well as instructions on how to participate in the Sacrament (especially if it has been a long time). I am grateful for God in showing me through my own self-discovery how I needed to start with myself in order to bring more justice into the world. I pray God will bless you as you journey through your own self-discovery in knowing how to change and the steps to take in making those changes.

-David Heimann, Pastoral Associate

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