It’s that time of year again when the sunlight comes streaming through my windows at just the right angle, allowing me to see millions of dust particles floating through the air. At our old house this didn’t happen. So last year, when I first started seeing these flying particles, screaming out my great lack of ability to keep my house clean, I spent all my spare minutes trying to stay ahead of the dust. “My chore chart must be off”, I told myself. “Clearly, I need to be dusting much more frequently than the chart says, or I wouldn’t be able to see all this dust floating around”. No matter how often I dusted, every time the sun shone through the windows I would still see it floating everywhere. I started complaining to my husband. This whole situation was really starting to make me panic. I was about to give birth to our 4th living child. How was I going to care for a newborn, homeschool, and take care of the house if I couldn’t even stay ahead of the dust? So he bought new filters for the furnace and assured me it was probably just part of living in a newly constructed home. The weeks passed, the baby was born, and my obsession with the dust went away.
This summer I looked for the particles, but never saw many, and felt assured that it must have been the new construction. All was well, that is until this morning, when I looked in the bathroom mirror. Now, I haven’t been following my chore chart very well lately, and it HAS been awhile since I have dusted thoroughly, BUT there on my mirror, were thousands of dust particles, and the light streaming in through the bathroom window clearly showed a path of the particles through the entire room. My stomach knotted up a bit. I got out the glass cleaner and sprayed down the mirror. I dusted it, and looked again. I could still see all the particles flying around and the mirror really didn’t look that much better. The truth was out. The dust had never gone away. It was just hiding in the lack of sunlight.
In that moment I realized that the dust and the light from the sun are like sin and the light of Jesus. At night, or during different seasons when the sun is not shining so directly into the house, I cannot see the dust, just as when we are far from the light of Christ we cannot see our sins. As we move closer to Him and His light shines upon us we can suddenly see not just the big sins, but the little ones too. The closer we get, the more we can see how desperately we need Him to cleanse our souls. I was reminded that the longer I go between confessions, the less I recognize my sins. I try to go weekly or biweekly, and when I do, I have very little difficulty remembering all of the ways I have offended Him. However, when I needlessly put off confession and the days go by, I start to drift further from His light, making it much more difficult to see my sins. Eventually (I never let it go past a month) it gets dim enough that I am duped into thinking I don’t have all that much to confess, and the thought of going becomes a burden rather than a blessing. When this happens I know enough to know that I have wandered too far. I am in the dark. It is now more important than ever to run, as fast as I can, towards the light and into the confessional for thorough dusting.
Lord Jesus, shine your light upon my soul. Show me every area of sin and ugliness that needs to be dusted and cleansed. Never let me drift too far into the darkness, and only momentarily so that I can be reminded of my great need for your mercy and light. Dust my soul Jesus in your great Sacrament of Mercy.