The above words of the centurion, ‘Lord, I am not worthy’ are words that have echoed through history in the lives of all those who have come to know Christ. There are no truer words than these and if we truly want to take up a life of discipleship, we will have to humble ourselves thousands of times over and repeat them until the truth of them is firmly set in our hearts without any doubts! Yesterday I reflected upon building our spiritual lives upon a firm foundation. Today we are given the very basis of the foundation itself – namely, it is God’s work, not ours; we are not worthy but God, in his infinite love, has chosen to work through each us even though we are weak and fragile vessels for his message of love.

In realizing the truth of our unworthiness we can either fall into despair or praise and thanksgiving for the mercy of God. Obviously, the latter is the correct response though it can be difficult to maintain it through the difficulties and trials of life. Despair is something we should always try to avoid, as it is a pit that is very difficult from which to extract oneself. Most of the more difficult counseling experiences I have had as a priest have had despair as a major element in the life of the counselee. Despair seems to be something like a very slippery spiral that once entered, it see ms that a person has to get to the very bottom before they are able to start thinking about climbing out of it.

Acknowledging the truth of our unworthiness has nothing to do with despair as we know that Jesus has redeemed us and shown us the way out of a life of sin! This is the source of the hope of all Christians, the sure knowledge of our salvation as long as we persevere in faith in the truth of the gift of our redemption. This is the Good News that Jesus came to proclaim – the Kingdom of God is at hand; there is no need for you to despair as I have come to redeem you and forgive your sins and show you a new way of living in truth and justice and love.

Do I struggle with despair in my life? If so, why? What am I going to do about getting rid of the despair.

Jesus, thank you for redeeming me from my sins. I know that this is a great sin of your love for me; a sign that will always overcome the temptation to despair.