Judas and Hope

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No, I don’t necessarily want to discuss the latest Lady Gaga tune, however, it does provide a jumping off point for this next formative lesson I had with my Thinker, just a few days ago.

The video for this Gaga song is interesting. As a Catholic, and I believe she was raised Catholic as well, it was interesting to see her artistic flavor in this video. It seems to be a visual representation of the battle between hope and despair. While some may not even consider watching it, (I had my reservations as well), I did end up seeing it, and the instinct is to quickly dismiss it as a Madonna-like mockery of our Faith. (Which could be her intent, I don’t know her mind.)  I ordinarily wouldn’t have given it much thought, however a recent discussion with my Thinker got me contemplating the virtue vs. vice concept, and how even as a mother I can find myself between these two opposites.

For about a week now, I had noticed my daughter, nicknamed Thinker, age 10, acting unusual, not herself, a bit disobedient, distracted and overall I knew something just wasn’t right. After dinner one night, I sat at the table alone with her, while she finished her meal, and began to dig a bit to help her along.

“What’s going on with you, sweetheart, how’s school going?”

She shrugged, mumbled something like, “Fine, I guess.”

“Is there anything you want to talk about? Are you thinking about something?”

She shrugged, mumbled again incoherently.

“You know, sometimes, it helps to talk about it. To God. To me. To Dad?”

“I just seem to be getting in trouble a lot.”

“Yes, I know. I’ve seen that.” I told her.

“Why?”

“Gosh, honey, I don’t know why. But sometimes when we stray from God, we start to notice that we keep getting further and further apart from Him, and it upsets us. Deep down we know we are far from Him.”

“Are you saying I should go to confession?”

“It couldn’t hurt. Has it been a while?”

“I don’t remember. How can I start if I don’t know how long it’s been. ‘Father, bless me for I have sinned….I don’t know how long it’s been’.”

“Sure you can say that. I’ve said that sometimes. You are just being honest.”

“I’m embarrassed.” She hung her head.

“Why?”

“I think mine are pretty bad.”

“Oh, honey, we have all thought that sometimes! But if it is bothering you this much, then it’s even more reason to go. I am sure Father has heard it all. You won’t surprise him.”

“Yeah. Oh,…… Mom?”

“Yes?”

“Is there a sin that God won’t forgive you for?”

The ultimate of ultimate questions. The question that even Judas struggled with. Does there exist an unforgivable crime?  How have I gone this long without having told her that God will forgive anything, if you have a sincere regret and sorrow for the crime. How can she doubt in God’s mercy, if penitence is true? Have I not demonstrated through my own parenting that I forgive any disobedience.

“He will forgive anything if you are truly sorry.”

“Even the worst sin ever?”

“Give me an example.”

“Burning down the house.”

“If you are really sorry for it, yes, God will forgive you.”

“Burning down the whole town.”

“If you are really sorry for it, yes, God will forgive.”

“Killing someone.”

“If you are really sorry, then yes.”

I quieted her barrage of questions with her small, “wow”.

“Honey, the most important thing here is not to lose hope. Remember Judas? He turned Jesus over to be killed. He did regret what he did. He tried to return the 30 pieces of silver, because he knew he had done wrong. If he had only asked God for forgiveness, but he didn’t. He didn’t trust in God’s mercy. He thought there was an unforgiveable sin, and it lead him to despair. That is what ultimately destroyed Judas: despair. We can never despair, we can never give up hope. We must trust that God has mercy for us, no matter our sin. If we are truly sorry, then we must ask for forgiveness, as nothing is too big for God.”

She was quick with the take, “Hum, except despair?”

“Ok, I’ll give you that. If you allow despair to creep in, and turn your back on God completely, you are exercising your free will. God gave you the choice to choose Him, or not. But….

And that’s a BIG BUT,…..

Honey, you can always return. You can always come back to Him, confess your despair, and be sorry for leaving Him. Only if you die in despair will there be trouble.”

She sat quiet for a few moments. True to her nickname, she mulled over my last words and I resisted the temptation to go on, repeating the same. She just nodded, brought her plate to the sink, and started to walk back toward me.  Not wanting the conversation to end without resolution, I asked her when they offer confession at school.

She said, “Tomorrow.”

I asked her, “What do you think?”

She just nodded and quietly said, “Okay.”

One small victory for Mom,
One giant win for God.

Copyright 2011 Sahmatwork

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1 Comment

  1. Thanks for sharing this vignette from your home. I am always working on discovering the beauty of the sacrament of confession in my own life and your story reminds me to always share that with my sons as well. Thanks!

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