Thomas McKenzie
by grace alone
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Repentance and Transformation

I'm an oblate of a Benedictine Monastery, Christ in the Desert in New Mexico.  Each week I read my Abbot's letter to their supporters.  This week, one of his paragraphs struck me.  I thought I should pass it on.

From Abbot Philip, OSB

One time in confession, a priest asked me how long I had confessed the same sins.  I replied that I have been fighting the same sins almost all of my life.  He then asked me if I had a true desire to amend my life and be changed.  I replied that I did have that desire.  So then he asked me why I was not transformed.  I replied that by myself I have to strength to transform myself.  Only God can change me in some areas of my life.  I did not want to argue with the priest hearing my confession.  He clearly thought that I should have been changed in my life after so many years of struggling against the same sins.

For some of us, the transformation of life seems to come about only in God’s time and not when we want it.  Others seem to have good resolutions and seem to receive some kind of transformation almost immediately.  Why?  I don’t know.  Perhaps we could think of Saint Paul, who talks about learning to live with one’s own defects and problems as an experience of God’s mercy.  There is a great grace involved in learning to accept my sins and still fight against them, but with complete trust that in time God will bring healing to me.