Over the last hundred years, companies have learned the benefits of creating a brand, something Catholics have known for 2,000 years. One of the most important aspects of creating a brand is developing a mission statement—a concise statement of the company’s beliefs and how it will accomplish its mission. Sound familiar? It should. That’s what Catholics do every time we recite the Nicene Creed.
And just as companies need employees to buy in to the brand in their daily work lives, so does the Catholic Church. If the employees don’t buy in to the brand, it falls flat.
But be encouraged: Unlike employees in a company who get just one day of brand training, Catholics get a lifetime of brand training. In addition, we have a helper, the Holy Spirit, who gives us the strength, knowledge, and power to be who God intended us to be. All we have to do is be willing. If only all jobs came with powerful help like that.
Forgiveness is spiritual balm. If we hold on to resentments, we lead a life of anger, hatred, and retaliation. This results in endless emotional pain and bitterness that prevent us from living as God has planned. When we forgive, we’re healed from the inside out, and our personal Catholic brand shines bright with the love of God for all to see. The healing of my marriage began when Shannon forgave me. If she hadn’t, we would have been stuck within the ice-cold confines of anger and shame.
We must also forgive ourselves. Often the person I hold the most resentment toward is myself. I feel shame and guilt over my sins. Like St. Paul, who called himself the foremost of sinners, I need to admit I’m a sinner first. Once I acknowledge my sins, especially in the sacrament of reconciliation, it opens me to the grace of forgiveness from God. If simple human forgiveness heals the spirit, imagine the effect of heavenly forgiveness.
Sometimes I find myself taking out the worn-out bat of shame and guilt, beating myself up over past sins. No one is harsher to me than me. I must remember that God came to earth as a man to pay the price for my sins.
If I’m truly repentant and seek forgiveness through reconciliation, who am I to hold resentments against myself when God has already forgiven me?