As humans, we like to categorize everything we can, right down to our life stages. There are the categories of childhood and adulthood, but even within these two categories, we break them down even further. For adults, there’s young adulthood, B.C. (before children), parenthood, A.C. (after children), retirement, etc. We prefer to have clear-cut lines of when things start and end, and how to differentiate between them.
Quite often, we forget that each “part” of our lives is not a separate book that we close after graduations or milestones, but rather a chapter in our book. Each second of our future builds upon the present, which becomes our past. It is nearly impossible to look at our current situations and not be able to trace the chain of events of how we got there. Be it by gifts from God or decisions we carefully thought out, our past is always with us. It is the foundation that we build ourselves upon, yet we often find ourselves trying to forget the past.
In today’s first reading, we read of the synagogue officials in Antioch asking if anyone has any announcements. Paul stands up and begins speaking to them of God’s mighty hand in their past and goes on to tell them about Jesus, the savior.
Sometimes we can blow our past way out of proportion and tell ourselves that we must forget about our previous experiences to be able to move forward. Instead, I think we should remember that our past has built us up. It is not the mistakes that we’ve made in the past that defines us, but rather what we do after that.
I understand that we might have moments in our past that we aren’t proud of, things that may be hard to revisit, but typically those mistakes and struggles have changed who we presently are. The more mistakes we make, the more we learn so that we don’t make the same mistakes in the future. Even if we do make those same mistakes, that’s okay. We’re learning. As children, we don’t fall off a bike and say, “Well that was a mistake. I’ll never try that again,” but instead try once more.
When you fall, what do you do? Are you ashamed of your past or do you use it as the foundation for better choices?
Thank you for the struggles that you have placed in my life.
Help me remember that each mistake I made was for a reason.
Thank you for giving me these moments to learn from.
Help me use these experiences to better serve You and Your people.
Thank you for showing mercy towards my sins.
Help me forgive myself and remove the burden of sin.
Veronica Alvarado is a born and raised Texan currently living in Michigan. Since graduating from Texas A&M University, Veronica has published various articles in the Catholic Diocese of Austin’s official newspaper, the Catholic Spirit, and other local publications. She now works as the Content Specialist in Diocesan’s Web Department.