Madonna House

We Are Saved Sinners

by Catherine Doherty

Baptism washes away our sin, but we can, of course, still sin any time. The Lord … left man free to make his own decisions (Eccl 15:14). God knows that after Baptism we will continue to sin, that we will fall down flat on our faces all the time. He knows we’re sinful; so he gave us the sacrament of Penance.

We are all sinners. “Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord. Behold my day. I haven’t swept, I haven’t dusted, I haven’t tended to my children. I have double-crossed my husband; I have been taken in adultery. Behold me!”

And a Man is writing on the sand, “Woman, has anybody condemned you?”

“No, sir.”

“Neither do I. Go and sin no more” (Jn 8:8–11).

God loves sinners.

Yes, we are all sinners. But never forget that we are saved sinners. We are going to fall down a thousand times between birth and death; that is rather obvious.

But immediately, we look at the Gospel and see that God came for sinners, not for the perfect ones, if there be such. He said, “I did not come to call the virtuous, but sinners” (Mt 9:13). That means every one of us.

Three cheers! You don’t have to be perfect to be loved by God.

Yesterday, somebody was talking to me, and she said, “But I lack virtue. I am not up to par in fidelity. I am not good in this and in that.” She really felt deeply that she wasn’t worthy of God, because she wasn’t full of all those virtues. But is that what God wants?

I said, “Have you ever considered that God loves sinners? And that we are all saved sinners?”

She said, “Yes, I know we are sinners; that is what bothers me.”

I said, “That is what should cheer you up.”

Christ came into the world to save sinners. The majority of people say yes to this with their lips but not with their hearts. They do not believe completely, totally, and without a single doubt that Christ came to this world to save sinners.

They think that they should work hard so that God approves of them. They think that they are going to get to heaven on their own efforts, instead of remembering that Christ said, “Without me you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5). The result is a great tragedy.

Sure, we are sinners. We will fall down. But the arms of God are immense and embrace everybody. When you are guilty, say so to God through a confessor.

Acknowledge your problems and sins. The moment you have stated them, God puts his hand over you, and you are as innocent as a newborn babe.

Cheer up, especially, you who are young and eternally worrying about the unnecessary things. Don’t wallow in guilt.

Wallow in the mercy of God. With God, every moment is the moment of beginning again.

Adapted from Beginning Again, (2004), pp. 101-103, available from MH Publications