Have you ever spent an inordinate amount of time setting up dominoes only to see them fall in a fraction of the time you spent lining them up?
When I was a kid, the first time I saw the domino effect in action I remember thinking it was the coolest thing ever. The thrill of seeing the dominoes fall one after another sparked excitement and was in a sense like an adrenaline rush! I become so awed by this short excitement of perfect synchronization that I would line up the dominoes just to see them fall down over and over again.
But let’s face it – after a while the domino effect can get really old. Sure the rapid fall of the perfectly synchronized dominoes caused by one effortless push is exciting to see, but the aftermath mess of having fallen scattered dominoes all over the floor to pick up and line up over and over again is not one bit of fun.
When seen in light of the life of the human soul, the “domino effect” has many parallels to the spiritual life. Similar to how the fall of one domino causes the others to also fall, everything we do in our life has an effect to our soul and the souls of those around us. We have the ability to decide whether we want this effect to be a positive one or a negative one.
In terms of the spiritual life, the “domino effect” can be translated into two categories – 1) the “goodness effect” which occurs when we choose to live a life of virtue and righteousness, or 2) the “sin effect” which occurs when we choose to a live a life of vice and wickedness. It is a choice we make day by day with our minds, bodies, and souls. (See Psalm 1)
In this short video, we find a young girl who is led from one sin into another. She reaches a peak of great despair after allowing envy to be stirred into her heart as she skims through a Glamour Magazine. Without the proper guarding of the heart and mind, this seed of envy sneaks into her heart and begins to take root in her life. (See Proverbs 4:23) This small seed of envy then starts to take root and grow leading her into an attitude of distrust towards God. Her self-esteem is then attacked by a spirit of fear, vanity worthlessness, hate, anger, and finally despair. This is how sin grows slowly but surely – it takes over all the powers of our soul.
This small seed of envy then starts to take root and grow leading her into an attitude of distrust towards God. Her self-esteem is then attacked by a spirit of fear, vanity worthlessness, hate, anger, and finally despair. This is how sin grows slowly but surely – it takes over all the powers of our soul. When this happens we are left broken, alone, guilty, and full of shame. Sins build on one another; they start off small then begin to grow into even greater sins. When we repeatedly choose a sinful lifestyle we fall into the danger of allowing our intellect to be slowly darkened.
Of course some people may argue that living a life of sin can be pleasing and satisfying, offering a sense of excitement but in the end the excitement that sin offers is fleeting – it does not last. It is temporary, and when the dust settles, our sin leaves us broken, fallen, and in disarray. Soon we will be left scattered, broken and fallen like the dominoes. The good news is that Jesus Christ loves picking up and fixing the broken and fallen, He is a friend of sinners. In Matthew 11:19, scripture tells us that Jesus was “friends with tax collectors and sinners” and in Mark 2:17, when asked why he eats and drinks with tax collector and sinner he answers by saying
The good news is that Jesus Christ loves picking up and fixing the broken and fallen, He is a friend of sinners. In Matthew 11:19, scripture tells us that Jesus was “friends with tax collectors and sinners” and in Mark 2:17, when asked why he eats and drinks with tax collector and sinner he answers by saying “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners”. In Him, we find great hope; he desires to have a friendship with us no matter how sinful or broken we may be.
Where sin abounds, even greater does his mercy abound. He is Emmanuel, the God who comes to meet us where we are (See Matt 1:23). He came for us – the broken, fallen, and weak to offer us nothing but to have a sincere friendship with Him.
God in His great wisdom left us the efficacious Sacrament of Confession; where we can go to renew ourselves humbly asking for His loving forgiveness restoring our friendship with Him. God knew we were fallen human beings with many weaknesses – the good news is that Jesus is always waiting for us with His arms wide open with his love and mercy in the Sacrament of Confession. He wants to forgive, redeem, and renew us into the saints that he has created us to be. The Sacrament of Confession is where we go to humbly show Christ that we can’t do it alone and we are need of his constant forgiveness and grace. Here we courageously spill our hearts out of the many sins we carry asking him to unite them to His Holy Cross washing our sins away and making us ever more new.
I invite you; if you feel like your friendship with God needs restoration do not be afraid to approach the Sacrament of Confession to renew your friendship with Him this week. God is patiently calling us to a deeper friendship with Him. Christ came to restore our friendship with God; He came to give us a new life and to help us live life in abundance. (See John 10:10)
“Confession is an act of honesty and courage – an act of entrusting ourselves, beyond sin, to the mercy of a loving and forgiving God” – Saint Pope John Paul II
A 7 Step Survival Guide for Returning to the Sacrament of Confession
If you’re thinking of going to Confession, but it has been a while, this post is for you. Going to Confession is never pleasant or enjoyable, but it is always worth it.