All of us have a story we never really fully tell to other people. It is one of the worse spiritual abuses that a church that should set us free keeps us a prisoner. Encourages us to be honest, and open. Bring our past, or deepest secretes of the present moment to their doors but then uses it canons to tell us while all that leaves us outside God's grace, or unable to receive the sacraments It encourages us to confess our sins, but when it suits it then brings our past up and uses it against us. Often what is falsely perceived to be bad, wrong, and ugly in us is discerned by the Christian Community. It is openly discussed behind our backs. Paradoxically by the same people who remind totally blind to their own faults, and become very angry and reject us if we were ever to mention such things.
We often as a consequence then go through life only telling half the story. Playing our cards close to our chest to avoid the pain of rejection again. Some simply give up and conclude the only way they can continue their Christian journey with any honesty and integrity is outside the walls of the institutional church. And that is not just a reaction, but a spiritual choice. The woman alone at the well with Jesus was told that she would not worship in the temple with other people, but alone in spirit and in truth.
Let us never forget Jesus died outside the walls of Jerusalem the Heavenly city. One of those dying with him a thief only said one sentence " Jesus remember me when you come into your Kingdom ." He was told, " Today you will be with me in paradise ."
How comforting to know when we pass from this life we will come before Him who is most merciful, and compassionate. The one who truly knows understands, and loves us. Who knows the secrets of all our hearts. There will be no need for words. He will look at us, love us, and see Jesus in us. And how can God condemn Himself?
Richard Smith Hermitage of Saint Michael and All Angels.