“Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets long ago.” (Acts 3:19-21)
Can Marie Antoinette be relevant to you?
You know Marie Antoinette, the infamous queen of France beheaded during the even more infamous “reign of terror.” Marie had a laundry list of sins to her name, and the French people largely hated her. Stripped of honor and wealth, her husband executed, her friends murdered, and her children taken from her, she had good reason to be afraid, ashamed, and bitter as she approached the guillotine.
Yet I just recently read her last letter, written to a friend after her condemnation. It shines with a strange contentment as well as a clear confession of faith in Jesus Christ. “I sincerely implore pardon of God for all the faults which I may have committed during my life,” she wrote. “I trust that, in His goodness, He will mercifully accept my last prayers . . . to receive my soul into His mercy . . . . I pardon all my enemies the evils that they have done me.” Eyewitnesses say that she approached her death with the same sort of serenity.
Marie Antoinette, who may seem to have nothing to do with you, knew what St. Peter described: times of refreshing that come from the presence of the Lord to those who repent. There’s freedom in being the wrong one, especially when you’re loved by the Wronged One. Risen, He is present to you and for you, having taken away the sins of the world.
LET US PRAY: Forgive me, Lord. Forgive even my poor repentance. For even as You have pardoned countless souls besides me, I trust that You have pardoned me, shedding Your own blood for my sake. Buried in those wounds, I confess Your mercy. Give me Your saving help again, and teach me to find the greatest joy in Your greatness alone; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God forever. Amen
Pr. Steven K. Gjerde