St. Ambrose uses a farming metaphor to tell us about confession: you need to root out the weeds before you can grow the fruit you want. A perfect example, he says, is St. Paul, who sinned worse than almost any of us, actually persecuting believers for being Christians.
So let us not be ashamed to confess our sins to the Lord.
It’s true, we do feel shame when each one of us makes his sin known. But that shame plows his land, so to speak: it takes out the brambles that keep sprouting up, prunes the thorns, and gives life to the fruits we thought were dead.
Follow the man who, by diligently plowing his field, worked for eternal fruit: “When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become, and are now, as the refuse of the world, the offscouring of all things” (1 Corinthians 4:12-13). If you plow this way, you will sow spiritual seed. Plow to uproot sin and grow fruit. He plowed to destroy the last tendency to persecution in himself. What more could Christ give to lead us on to pursue perfection, than to convert and then give us as a teacher someone who had been a persecutor? –St. Ambrose, Two Books on Repentance, 2.5
IN GOD’S PRESENCE, CONSIDER . . .
Is shame keeping me from confessing some of my sins?
God of mercy, free me from sin and protect me from evil; for I know that I cannot be saved without you.
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