FAILURE. When it comes to the spiritual, we often feel like complete failures. But listen, Christ suffered and died precisely for failures. To sin is to fail… to fail to live up to the image in Whom we are created. And so, in that regard, we are all failures, for all have sinned.
Do you think Christ is shocked by your failures? God, who knows the number of hairs on your head? Who has counted the stars? Who knows the universe of your thoughts, dreams, and desires? God is not surprised. He sees fallen human nature with perfect clarity. He sees it’s limitations, its defects, and its proclivities, so much so, that nothing short of a Savior could salvage it. Yes, He sees us, fallen, wounded, weak, and responds by sending a Savior. That is to say, He sees that we cannot save ourselves.
CONQUERING HIS HEART
Yes, God knows that we cannot conquer our own hearts, that our efforts to change, to be holy, to be perfect, fall to pieces at His feet. And so instead, He wants us to conquer His heart.
I wish to tell you a secret that is really no secret at all: it is not holiness which conquers God’s heart, but humility. The tax collectors Matthew and Zacchaeus, the adulteress Mary Magdalene, and the thief on the cross—these sinners did not repulse Christ. Rather, He delighted in them because of their littleness. Their humility before Him won them not only salvation, but also the affection of Christ. Mary and Matthew became His close companions, Jesus asked to dine at Zacchaeus’ house, and the thief was invited into Paradise that very day. Yes, the friends of Christ were not holy—they were simply humble.
If you are a terrible sinner, then know that this day Christ is passing your way with an invitation to dine with Him. But unless you are little, you will not hear it. Christ knows your sins. Why do you hide them, or attempt to diminish them? No, come to Christ and expose these sins in all their rawness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Show Him (who already sees them) exactly what a wretch you are. Lay before Him your brokenness, your weakness, your futility, with honesty and humility… and the Father will run to you and embrace you as the father embraced his prodigal son. As Christ embraced Peter after His denial. As Jesus embraced doubting Thomas, who in his weakness yet confessed, "My Lord, and my God."
The way to conquer God’s heart is not with a long list of achievements. Rather, the short list of truth: "I am nothing, Lord. I have nothing, save, the desire to love and be loved by You."
This is the one whom I approve: the lowly and broken man who trembles at my word. —Isaiah 66:2
Should you fall, then return again to Christ—seventy seven times seven times if you have to—and each time say, "My Lord and my God, I need you. I am so poor, have mercy on me a sinner." Christ already knows you are a sinner. But to see His little one calling, his little lamb caught in the brambles of weakness, is too much for the Shepherd to ignore. He will come to You, in full flight, and pull you to His heart—the Heart you just conquered.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn. —Psalm 51:19
…and He who was victorious over sin will conquer your heart for you.