Halfway to meeting our expected little one, I decided was the ideal time for room swapping in our household. The nursery which had become the youngest boys’ domain needed to be reclaimed. Fantasizing about picture perfect rooms, I mapped out my plan. Of course, my Better Homes and Gardens daydreams were balanced out by budget realities. So, rather than head to the nearest home improvement store, I descending into the basement to rummage through my ample cache of leftover paint cans. Score! Turns out we had two shades of blue paint, enough to renew the battered, old, pale yellow guestroom walls.
As my son assisted me in securing all the necessary supplies, I reminded him of the importance of preparation before commencing a project. Taking the time to map out the endeavor, counting your inventory and having your tools at the ready, all make the job easier.
First, the drop-cloth was laid. Then, we pried open and stirred those buckets of blue before pouring out the desired amount into the paint tray. Armed with the roller, my son’s assignment was to cover the interior of the walls; while I utilized my small brush to define the edges and corners.
With each stroke, the tired yellow walls began to revive. The scuff marks and smudges disappeared. Ugly imperfections vanished. By day’s end, the room felt new again. That’s why I love painting, in fact, because it allows me to recreate a space with minimal expense in a limited amount of time. Color, alone, can change the personality of our surroundings.
While listening to today’s gospel about the woman caught in adultery, I found myself pondering its parallel to our painting endeavor. The Pharisees dragged a sinner to Jesus as a means of putting Him to the test. Like the dirty, scuffed walls of our pale yellow cell, the adulteress was soiled by her transgressions. I can only imagine how impure and unworthy she must have felt standing accused in the center of those men. Her sin laid bare for all to see and judge.
But then our dear, merciful Jesus knew her worth, her inner beauty, her potential. Like a painter sees a picture while the canvas is still blank, He saw her heart. In His wisdom, He also read the hearts of her accusers and knew their deceptive motives. So He turned the test back upon them by instructing, “Let the one among you who is guiltless be the first to throw a stone at her.” Knowing no one of them was without guilt, they each walked away.
As Jesus gazed up again at the woman, He asked, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” And when she told Him no one had, He finished, “Neither do I condemn you. Go away, and from this moment sin no more.” Where moments before the woman was stained by her sins, she left the presence of Jesus cleansed and renewed.
Feeling Like A Dirty Wall
Many times I feel like that former yellow room, marked up with sin and guilt, ugly and unattractive interiorly. Sure I can live with those sins, silently carrying around that self-imposed burden, but like dirty walls my sin changes the perspective of everything.
In the Catholic Tradition, we are blessed with the great Sacrament of Reconciliation through which we can experience in a tangible way the renewal of our soul. We start by preparing. In examining our conscience, we map out our endeavor and take inventory of our sins. Honesty/accountability, sincere contrition, purpose of amendment and penance are the required tools.
Washing Away Our Trespasses
No matter whether our sins seem huge or minimal, sin is sin. Jesus washes away our trespasses with equal measure. As our roller and brush dispersed fresh color in our room renovation, so the priest’s words of absolution dissolve our iniquities. Jesus Christ paints us anew, saturates us with His mercy.
My little boys were amazed and excited by our one day recreation of their newly assigned bedroom. How much more we should be enthusiastic about the Sacrament of Confession’s ability to recreate us.
Of course in time, tiny hand prints and careless play will leave their marks on those freshly painted, blue walls; just as our careless words and selfish actions will leave their marks on our clean souls. But, the remedies are as easy as grabbing a paint bucket or heading to our local confessional.