Sister Marie of the Trinity was one of the novices under the care and direction of St. Therese. She was known in the convent to be somewhat rebellious and headstrong. Therese often had to correct the faults of this novice with her usual patience and gentleness. “One day, Marie of the Trinity couldn’t accept an observation that Therese made to her. Shortly thereafter, when she acknowledged her faults, she saw how her companion’s eyes brimmed with tears: ‘If you only knew what is going on within me!’ Therese said to her. ‘No, I have never experienced so vividly with what love Jesus receives us when we ask him to forgive us after we have offended him. Hardly had you begun to express your repentance to me that I felt for you more love than before. If such is the case with me, poor little creature that I am, what must God experience when the sinner returns to him? Faster than I could do it – because HE doesn’t wait until the words come out of our lips – with the first movement of the repentant heart, not only does he pardon, forget and return his love to the sinner, but he loves him even more than before his failure. Ah! if I were alone, I would be sobbing. This is too much love!’ ” (Therese of Lisieux and Marie of the Trinity, p. 75-76)
This story is of course reminiscent of the Parable of the Prodigal Son. After the younger son squandered his portion of his inheritance on a life of debauchery, he returned to his father with a repentant heart. “So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and he was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him” (Luke 15: 20) This story in the Gospels and the story of Sr. Marie of the Trinity both teach us that God is extremely loving and merciful and will always forgive us when we are sincerely sorry for the wrongs that we commit. “My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn” (Psalm 51:19)
Can you remember a time that you owned up to a wrong that you had committed against another and were forgiven by that person right away?