“O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam.” This well-known statement from the Exsultet we hear each Easter is a favorite of mine. It reminds me of the unconditional and most generous love of the Father.
Even in sin, he offers hope.
I see this in this beautiful artwork titled “Mary and Eve” created by Sr. Grace Remington, OCSO, of the Cistercian Sisters of the Mississippi Abbey. While Eve bears much shame for her sinfulness, Mary draws her close to salvation – Jesus in her womb.
With sin, comes shame—which hopefully leads us to confession! However, we must be careful to recognize good versus unhealthy shame. A recent Bible study about shame led me to an internal discovery of how unhealthy shame has played a role in my life.
St. Paul’s letter to the Romans opened my eyes and heart about shame I have felt related to the sex abuse scandals in the Catholic Church. While I have had no direct involvement, I felt shame by association that this is occurring within my Church. I want to hide from it in such a way that I hope it doesn’t get brought up in gatherings.
I don’t want to talk too loudly about “Catholic” things in public.
In Romans 8, we read:
If God is for us, who can be against us?
…For your sake we are being slain all the day; we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered.
…For I am convinced [nothing] will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The Catholic Church and we as its members are being “slain” in judgment. It is this judgment that caused me, and my pride filled heart, to want to hide in shame. But upon reading this passage, God opened my heart to this unhealthy shame and helped me realize that he is always with me, guiding me through the turmoil.
O happy fault that brought us the love of Jesus and his bride, the Church. Jesus comes to us in our faults and offers love, hope, and grace.