The Beauty of Repentance

April 15, 2023
Saturday in the Octave of Easter
Readings for Today


When Jesus had risen, early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. Mark 16:9

The first person recorded in Scripture to whom Jesus appeared was Mary Magdalene. Notably, she was the one out of whom Jesus cast seven demons. Being possessed by seven demons has traditionally been understood to mean that she was completely possessed. Prior to Jesus freeing her, satan and His demons had completely taken over her will by her free submission to evil. And yet, it was to her, a woman with such a horrible past, that Jesus chose to give the honor of His first appearance. What an amazing fact!

Everyone has a past. Some have been grave sinners. Others, like Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, have never committed a mortal sin. Obviously, the beauty of a soul like Saint Thérèse is deeply admirable, and such a soul will be greatly rewarded in Heaven. But what about the grave sinner? What about those like Mary Magdalene who have lived horribly sinful lives? What does our Lord think about them?

The fact that Mary Magdalene is the first person recorded in Scripture to have seen the risen Lord should tell us much about how Jesus views a person who has greatly struggled with serious sin but has later overcome that sin and turned wholeheartedly to our Lord. Sin is demoralizing. When unrepented, it leaves a loss of dignity and integrity. However, even after one has repented, some people will continue to struggle with unhealthy guilt and shame. And for some, these struggles can become a weapon by which the evil one tries to discourage them from feeling worthy to serve our Lord with zeal and passion.

But the truth in the mind of God is that repentant sinners are true jewels and beautiful in the eyes of our Lord. They are worthy of the greatest honors. God does not dwell on our past sin. Instead, our past sin, when it has been repented of and forgiven, will be an eternal sign of the love and mercy of God.

How do you deal with your past sin? First, have you completely acknowledged it, repented of it and sought forgiveness from our Lord? If so, does it still haunt you? Does the evil one still try to remind you of your past and strip away your hope in the mercy of God?

Reflect, today, upon the most grievous of your past sins. If you haven’t yet confessed them, then do so as soon as you can. If you have, try to see your soul through the eyes of God. God does not see your past sins with anger and disgust. Rather, He sees only the depth of your conversion, sorrow and repentance. And, to Him, this is holy and beautiful. Ponder the beauty of your repentant heart and know that, as you do, you will be looking at your own heart through the eyes of God.

My most merciful God, You love the sinner and hate the sin. You love me in ways that are beyond my understanding. Help me to understand how deeply You love my heart when I completely repent. And help me to see my heart only through Your eyes. I thank You for Your love and mercy, dear Lord. Help me to love You all the more. Jesus, I trust in You.

More for Easter

Day Nine: Novena in preparation for Divine Mercy Sunday

Scripture Meditations for the Easter Season

More Gospel Reflections

Divine Mercy Reflections

Saints/Feasts for Today

Mass Reading Options

Featured images above: Christ Appearing to Mary Magdalene, ‘Noli me tangere’ By Rembrandt, via Wikimedia Commons