The gospel on Jan 21 (St. Agnes’s day) is about being changed and renewed. Jesus says that one cannot sew a new piece of cloak onto an old tattered piece; one ought to not place new wine into old wineskins.
The sense is that Christ brings a new approach, a new teaching; yet if we try to place them into old ways of living, it will not function.
Case in point. So when I finally began to understand what God’s love meant for me; I had to confront a nasty voice in the back of my head that called me “stupid” whenever I thought I did something wrong. Not that I did not do stupid things, I did, but I would call myself stupid.
God’s love (and God’s justice) is not about that critical judgment of the person.
So I could truly do something stupid, but I AM not a stupid person. For some, this may sound like a small distinction, or an irrelevant distinction, but for me it was an eye-opening experience. So long I was so negative about myself, that this would translate into a lack of joy for life; lack of gratitude towards others; and a negativity about others. I was hyper-critical of any mistake that I made, obsessive about it. When mistakes were made, I would be devastated.
The new approach of Jesus; in his revelation of the meaning of Love and the power of love changed that.
BUT, I also had to start, and continue to live, to not give power to that voice that still exists within me. It did not go away, but it have been silenced substantially. I had to change my approach, my prayer life, and my outlook to accommodate this new way of seeing God.
There are other aspects too that are being changed. This is the process of life-long conversion.
I have witnessed these changes in others; seen the light go on in their eyes.
It can be painful, it is not easy giving up former ways of living, even if they were not particularly healthy ways. It is also painful waking up to our actions and to see them in a new light.
But, if we wish to experience the salvation of Christ, if we truly want to make a difference in this world for others, it is a necessary path.
It is the path of death and resurrection, the path of the paschal mystery. The Way of Christ.