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The Ketchup Stain on my Soul

September 4, AD2013 4 Comments


Recently my son took me out to lunch. As we sat in the booth at the restaurant eating our hamburgers I looked down at my white shirt and noticed a small red dot of ketchup. I sighed. It seems that I always drop something on my shirt when eating, even when I am super careful. Garrett looked at me and laughed. There is a running joke in our family that if I don’t drop something on me there must be something wrong. I knew it wasn’t that big of deal but it was frustrating, especially in a white shirt, barely noticeable but there. Had I been wearing a colored shirt or a shirt with a pattern I’m sure no one would have been able to tell it was there, but here I was, in a white shirt, with a stain right in the middle of my chest.

As the day wore on I thought about that stain over and over again. The more I thought about it the more I realized that the ketchup stain, and consequently my ruined white shirt, was much like sin and my soul.

You see there are times when we sin {drop ketchup on our shirts} and the stain is so noticeable it stands out like a ketchup stain on a white shirt. We are uncomfortably aware of the stain, wondering if others are staring at it, and wishing we could wash our shirt {soul} immediately. Of course there are other times where the pattern of our shirt {life} easily hides the stain. And while others might not notice, we know it’s there. Because our sin is only known to us and others don’t notice, we may not be as uncomfortable or anxious to get it washed away. We are content to continue on with our day. The problem is our shirt, aka our soul, is still dirty and stained. It doesn’t matter that others don’t notice, it still needs to be properly cleaned.

Stains, as we all know, come in different varieties. Some are easier to scrub out than others. Some, no matter how hard we try to remove, can leave a permanent mark on our shirts. Sin is like this as well. Some sins (venial) hurt our relationship with God but do not completely break our covenant or friendship with Him. Mortal sins however do cause a complete separation from God. If left without “treatment”, much like a shirt that is never washed, they will ruin our souls forever.

Thankfully, while we are limited in ability to remove those stains from our souls, as Catholics we have been blessed with the Sacrament of Reconciliation. God has provided us with a way to wash away even the most terrible sins. When we go to Confession to tell our sins, have a penitent heart, and promise to avoid the occasion of sin we are forgiven those sins that stain our souls.

But, what about people like me, who, no matter how hard they try, continue to drop something on their shirt every single time they sit down to eat? God is compassionate and merciful. He knows that sometimes, no matter how hard we try, we are still going to stain our shirts. We are human and while called to perfection, aren’t perfect yet. If our shirts are like our souls then God’s grace and forgiveness are like the most powerful stain remover on the market, only much more effective! Unlike a shirt that goes through repeated washing and the fibers break down, my soul, when exposed to repeated “washings” through Confession, actually becomes stronger!

While I know this ketchup stain may not come completely out of my shirt I do know that all my sins can be forgiven in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. With my contrition, God’s grace, and Christ’s sacrifice my soul can be white once again. It can be free of the stains that separate me from God. More than likely I will need to utilize the Sacrament over and over again but that’s okay. God knows this, and while He is sad that I continue to sin, He also rejoices when I come to Him to renew our friendship and be forgiven of them.

Photography: See our Photographers page.

About the Author:

Michelle is a cradle Catholic, married to her high school sweetheart Mike for the last 24 years. She is an ecletic homeschooling mom of 11 children. In addition to her children on earth she is a mother to 13 saints in heaven. She is active in the prolife community and is dedicated to protecting all children, both born and unborn. Michelle is a regular writer at Catholic Sistas, a website dedicated to sharing the truths of our faith through personal stories and article that stress adherence to the teachings of the Church. She loves Apologetics and learning all she can about our beautiful Catholic faith.

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