FOR HIS GLORY
The Illumination of Conscience and the Father of Mercies
You came that weekday afternoon with Your only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, after You decided to grant me the illumination of conscience a few days after I completed the octave of purification and consecration to You. Never did I expect anything to happen when I decided a week earlier, on a whim, to do the latter; especially as I made it a point of making a general confession before starting the octave. But You had other plans.
Without prior warning as I was sitting quietly reading that afternoon, You suddenly appeared a couple of feet above me together with Your Son, to Your right; while Your Spirit showed me with immutable clarity, in a flash, all the sins I had committed since childhood and which I never confessed with sincerity. The anguish of seeing all my sins and understanding with fullness the subsequent schema of my life, with all their ramifications to both myself and others, was acute and profound. I was doubled over in pain. I had lived with pride and envy in my soul since about seven and a half years of age. But this was nothing compared to the anguish I experienced by both Your and Your Son’s silence due to the mortal nature of these sins – neither of You condemn us, in fact; we condemn ourselves – as You both stood looking at me with indescribable sorrow and love at what I had done; how I had lived my life. At that moment of inescapability in the light of Your divine Truth, if You had not held me with immense and merciful tenderness, I would have died on the spot.
Quietly but with similar rapidity, You then gave me a choice to make: either I accept Your mercy and return with genuineness to You or I remain adamant in my sinfulness. At no point in the process did You or Your Son pressure me to make the former choice. Your silence and graces, however, did more for me than any pressure would have ever made. I could not bear to see You for the first time in my life and know that You truly existed, feeling Your infinite love and great sorrow for me; while being aware that I would not spend eternity with You if I decided to make the latter choice. I fell on my knees right in front of You and begged You to forgive me with all my heart. At that, Your divine Son immediately raised His right hand as High Priest to give me His absolution, while You descended very close to me with Your Presence and showered me with such sweetness that I thought I was going to die, albeit this time from joy. I felt You kissing my soul and enveloping me in Your bosom with very tender, gentle love.
Minutes later You both vanished as silently as You came. But after that illumination of conscience, I decided to return to church and make a genuine confession, so that Your Son’s absolution would be ratified by one of your validly ordained priests, in accordance with the power of the keys You had granted to Your Church.
The above is a brief, experiential description – peira – of the love, tenderness and gentle mercy of God the Father for all mankind. It is also a narrative about the process of the illumination of conscience.