“I am going to open your graves; I will make you come up out of your graves, my people, and bring you back to the land of Israel. You shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and make you come up out of them, my people! I will put my spirit in you that you may come to life, and I will settle you in your land.” (Ezekiel 37: 12-14)
So often I can identify as the dry bones, without breath, hopeless and despairing, as good as dead, lying in my grave, the grave I very often create for myself.
Maybe I am consumed by anxiety or weighed down by the troubles of daily life, but more often than not, I have allowed my stony heart to become hard with sin.
I have recently recommitted to monthly confession after a period of time when I didn’t regularly frequent the Sacrament. I can always feel it in my soul when too much time has passed since I have participated in this sacrament of healing. I find it enlightening how quickly my heart can be hardened to the promptings and guidance of the Holy Spirit when I don’t allow Him to breathe life into my soul, and when I don’t allow myself to access all the avenues of grace available to me, especially in the Sacraments of Eucharist and Reconciliation.
I become the dry bones referenced in Ezekiel.
Jesus tells St. Faustina, “Daughter, when you go to confession, to this fountain of my mercy, the blood and water which came forth from my heart always flows down upon your soul and ennobles it. Every time you go to confession, immerse yourself in my mercy, with great trust, so that I may pour the bounty of my grace upon your soul. When you approach the confessional, know this, that I myself am waiting there for you. I am only hidden by the priest, but I myself act in your soul. Here the misery of the soul meets the God of mercy. Tell souls that from this fount of mercy souls draw graces solely with the vessel of trust. If their trust is great, there is no limit to My generosity.”
How desperately I am in need of this mercy and bountiful grace to live my daily life with virtue.
When I trust God and approach Him in humility and courage in the Sacrament of Reconciliation I allow Him to breathe life into me. I allow God to shine light into the darkness of my life. I allow him to remove my heart of stone and replace it with a heart beating with love for Him. This is a love that I can share with others. This is a love that helps me to choose virtue over vice.
In seasons of struggle, whether through the consequences of my own sin or just the circumstances of life, I find it refreshing to know that God can breathe life into the driest of bones. Nothing is too difficult for God or at such a loss that God can not breathe new life into it. He is a God of hope and restoration.
He is a victorious God who makes all things new, and He can redeem anything.
He just needs an invitation, such as active reception of the Sacraments of the Church. In returning to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the more frequent reception of the Eucharist, I am finding the grace to live a daily life of more virtue and less vice. It is the small daily decisions to choose kindness, mercy, humility, and generosity over selfishness, hate, judgement, and pride that orchestrate the greatest victories. My strength to strive for these victories is in the Lord, who has defeated all darkness and sin. He is my fortress. He is my victor. All goodness comes from Him who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He has an abundance of mercy for us and wants to help us win our battles. We only need the courage and humility to invite Him into our lives.