Today’s readings reminded me how liberating innocence is. You know how you go to confession weighed down by the guilt of a litany of sins, and you leave that confessional like a prisoner leaves jail once he’s served his time? You feel lighter and your spirit shows, almost like a suit of light. It’s called being in a state of grace. The innocent wear it like a suit of armor. Nothing can harm them as long as they keep it intact.
That’s the state Adam and Eve enjoyed before they committed the original sin. They didn’t know they were naked because they were clothed in light. That’s what God’s grace did for Isaiah in today’s first reading. He seems to bellow with the courage of his innocence. In fact he seems giddy with grace:
“Who will bring a case against me? Let us appear in court together! Who has a case against me? Let him approach me! Look, the Lord God is coming to my help! Who dares condemn me? Look at them, all falling apart like moth-eaten clothes!”
When you’re in a state of innocence, goodness comes naturally, and your bearing equips you to inspire others through the grace God gives you. You don’t need words to show your innocence. Innocence shines forth in your deeds, as James writes in today’s second reading:
“It is by my deeds that I will show you my faith.”
Of course none of us is perfect and we must continue re-inforcing our suit of light. The only perfect example of innocence was Jesus. His perfect faith in his divine innocence gave him the courage to face the cross. He inspired his followers to put on their suits of light, knowing that such innocence protects the soul, even if the body dies. As he said in today’s gospel from Mark:
“Anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.”
That’s how history’s greatest heroes summoned their courage when they needed it most. They put on their armor of faith that they were doing the right thing. That’s why I pray to God every day, “Give me and my family the wisdom and courage to know and do your will.”
When He answers that prayer one can get a taste of Isaiah’s giddiness.