Spring is one of the most dreadful times for me with blooming flowers and pollens. I am allergic to a lot of pollen types (and in recent time, I found out that I am allergic to dust as well). I struggle throughout the year with constant allergies but I am glad for things like good air filters, air purifiers, and humidifiers. Even though there are air filters that say that they will last for 60-90 days, with the amount of dust and pollens out where I am at, they tend to be due within a month or so. By changing air filters for the HVAC system and cleaning the air purifiers regularly, I have learned some interesting things in the process.
First of all, dust and allergens are often times finer than what our optical vision can capture. We can sense that they are around when our body reacts to them, but we cannot immediately really see them in natural settings. Our lungs and air filters exist to filter these organic materials for us. Without them, our houses would not be clean and immune systems would not be able to function well. They catch and filter the finer materials that we cannot see by our limited optical sense. Nevertheless, a lot of times, we tend to underestimate how much dust and allergens actually exist until we pull them out to replace with new ones.
That is very similar to our own spiritual and natural life. Through natural osmosis and human tendencies, we tend to retain a lot of the things that this world tell us. Many times, we think that we are stronger than popular opinions, trendy stuff, or in control of ourselves. Perhaps for one day or a short time, but if we are constantly being bombarded by them, we will end up being naturally or subconsciously affected by them. We can see these things happening before our eyes by how anonymous groups and voices try to shape society through popular opinions and trends. They do not happen overnight, but through slow indoctrination, loosening of morality, relativizing matters, getting enough support from the academic and popular circles, people can pontificate anything and everything. If things are being repeated enough and have enough support, they will become “true” to typical listeners and audiences. We are so prone as a society to buy into what these anonymous voices are saying because they are popular or presented to be “true” instead of seeking the real truths. It is like us who are locked and chained against the wall and trying to interpret things from the shadows we see instead of seeking true liberation and freedom in Christ to see the highest good and truth. (cf. Plato, The Republic, “Socrates’ Analogy of the Cave”)
So the question is, are we allowing ourselves to be infected and affected by the things that we cannot see or are we seeking the highest good by eternal, everlasting, and real standards? One of the hardest things for us to admit that we do not know it all nor are we really in control as we thought we do. As social beings, it is very easy for us to go through life and be shaped by social pressures, influences, trends, and opinions without really taking the time to reflect on what is really going on and seek higher truths than what is presented. There are many ways to say things and present them, yet we have to take the time to really analyze and think about the motive, underlying message, and presupposition. Are they in line with God and His eternal truths or are they simply appealing messages and trendy matters? Again, we might be uncomfortable and reactive to them at first, but if we keep being bombarded and surrounded by them, they can easily become a part of us and we simply cope with them. Sins, false opinions, social pressures, ideological trends, and the likes do not happen just one day or can affect us in a short time; but with persistence and time, they slowly seep in and affect us.
It is very important to take the time to look at ourselves in order to see how many things had clung and affected the purity of our heart and soul. We can always do a little spiritual spring cleaning through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Confession cleans and purifies our soul from the stains of sins through the Lord’s own forgiveness of our sins! We all need to clean our souls just as we need to replace our air filters. However, much more than simply cleaning or wiping something off, divine forgiveness truly erases our sins away (unless we sin again). When God forgives, He truly forgives! This is not just a repetitive or mundane action for Him, but a loving act of mercy that comes from His own loving heart for us.
Therefore, I would just like to keep this short by asking you to take the time to look back, reflect, and see what state your soul is in. Do not be afraid. Turn to the loving mercy of God! Even if you have not gone to confession in a long time, do not let that be the only excuse that keeps you from receiving His mercy. I believe many priests would feel the same way that I do when we get the honor and opportunity to reconcile a person back to God. Our mission and purpose in the confessional are not to turn you away but to be the means and medium to reconcile you with the almighty and ever-loving Lord who is thirsting for your love and return. As much as the world is trying to influence us, we need to ground ourselves in God’s everlasting and never-changing love. As much as we have been affected by the apparent messages and ideologies of this world, we need to return, confess our sins, and purify ourselves through the grace of God. He is ever-present, waiting for you and me in and through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.