It seems that as we get older, and perhaps more accurately, as we get closer to death, we start to reflect on our life. (And if you think about it, no matter how old you are, with every tick of the clock, you are that much closer to death, whenever it may come.) Perhaps by God’s grace we even begin to sin less and love Him more. Often in these increasingly frequent moments of reflection, we look back on what might have been, or what we could have done instead. We might even wish we had avoided this situation or a specific sin or even an ongoing series of sins.
Even after having availed ourselves of the sacrament of confession, so often a lingering whisper can be heard. It is the evil one trying to deceive us into believing that somehow we aren’t forgiven or that even if we have been forgiven we have forever wasted our time or our talents. If he can’t succeed in tempting us to sin in the future, he at least wants to gets us to feel bad about the past.
You see, Satan knows that God exists outside the boundaries of time. He knows that all time is in God, not the other way around. What that means for us is that it is never too late to redeem our past. It is never too late to turn our past (and perhaps current) life of sloth, of pride, of lust, of greed, of deceit into a redeemed past. God takes the ugly that we give Him and turns it into beauty; our sin becomes salvation, our shame, His glory. But we must turn it over to Him so He can redeem it.
Saint Catherine of Siena says, “Let’s keep in mind how short our time is. Let’s redeem with holy sorrow and grief the time we have spent carelessly or lost, and in this way we shall regain the past.”
So the pop-psych cliché that it is never too let to have a happy childhood has some truth to it. By giving our life (past, present and future) to God, He is able to redeem it. In doing so we are able to regain and reclaim our past life of sin and become a new man in Christ Jesus.