A few years ago, after six months of School of Life and two months of volunteer work, I finally came home with a big laundry to do. When I was about to start my huge workload, I noticed that I left a large plastic bottle of fabric conditioner in our laundry area. I realized that it has been sitting there for eight months and nobody ever touched it. When I checked, it was still half full, and I realized that it has maintained its sweet delicate fragrance in spite of the many months of non-usage. But one thing is wrong with this bottle. Perhaps because of humidity, or whatever physical conditions it went through, the bottle looked totally gross on the outside.
The once beautiful lavender bottle is now almost completely filled with dark spots that looked impossible to remove. I thought of just transferring the contents to another container and throwing the ugly bottle away. Anyway, we can easily buy a new one that looks fresh, clean, and beautiful, worthy of the fragrant conditioner it contains. But on second thought, I took a brush and tried, with no clear hopes, of brushing the dirt away. And to my surprise, it proved that the black spots (that almost filled the entire bottle) were super easy to remove! In no time at all, and without even much effort, the once ugly, ready-to-be-thrown-away bottle was looking brand new!
Now, isn’t that the same with our souls? Sometimes, we feel so ugly because of the dark spots of our sins and bad experiences, that we just want to throw our lives away. We forget that our real identity is the fragrant perfume of a beloved child that God created us to be. Sometimes the Devil wants to trick us that these spots are impossible to remove, that God cannot forgive us. But when we get the courage to approach God in the Sacrament of Confession, it’s amazing how easily He can cleanse us. It is so surprising, that such a little effort of approaching the Sacrament can truly renew us and make us brand new.
When I was brushing away the dark spots of the bottle, I felt that it was like God cleansing me every time I return to Him. He can truly make me brand new. Then I can forget my old ugly self and claim my true identity as a beloved child of God. Of course, conversion can take so much longer than cleaning a plastic bottle. But I also realize that majority of the work is in God’s hands. It only takes our cooperation and our willingness to allow Him to work in us. Indeed, when we surrender our hearts to Him, He will not fail us.
Written by Mary Grace Fernandez. Grace is a Pure Heart volunteer since 2022. This post was originally published on her personal Facebook page.