“Forgiveness does not mean that God says to me: Your evil deed shall be undone. It was done and remains done. Nor does it mean that he says: It was not so bad. It was bad – I know it and God knows it. And again it does not mean that God is willing to cover up my sin or to look the other way. What help would that be? I want to be rid of my transgression, really rid of it. Again, were one to say: Forgiveness means that I remain a sinner, but that God is his magnanimity attributes me with sanctity, thus giving me a share of his own unimaginable divine grace, the though would be so complicated and so full of reservations that it would be untenable with the meaning of Scriptures. Forgiveness also does not mean that God gives me the strength never to repeat my sin. Even if this were so, my old sin would still be there; forgiveness could never spirit it away. That would be deceitful and impure. How could God’s immaculateness ever reconcile itself to such a thought?
What possibility then does exist? Only one: that which the simplest interpretation of the Gospel suggests and which the believing heart must feel. Through God’s forgiveness, in the eyes of his sacred truth I am no longer a sinner; in the profoundest depths of my conscience I am no longer guilty. That is what I wanted – only that! If such complete eradication of my sin cannot be, then it should stand. But it can be; that is the sense of Christ’s message.
Whether or not such forgiveness is possible cannot be determined by you or me according to any ethical or religious principles. The question can be answered by revelation only, which clearly reveals who God is. He is the God of Justice, who not only rejects sin, but absolutely condemns it; the holy one who hates sin with divine hatred; the true one who neither veils nor covers, but penetrates to root and essence. And now, Christian revelation continues, in a mysterious and supremely holy sense infinitely far from mitigating the majesty of virtue, God lives beyond the reaches of good, and therefore of evil. He himself is the good – but in inconceivable freedom; freedom from all ties, even from ties as ultimate as the conception of good. Such freedom renders him more powerful than sin. It is the freedom of love. Love is not only kinder, more alive than mere justice, it is more than justice – higher, mightier, in sense and essence. Such then the love that enables God to rise and, without in the least impairing truth and justice, to proclaim: Thy sin no longer exists!”
Monsignor Romano Guardini
“At the end of life the door to eternity stands open; no one can pass through unless he carries a cross.”
Blessed John XXIII
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