Q: Father Thomas teaches with authority that God has forgiven our sins. But he also sometimes seems to say that we are stuck with “the consequences of our sins.” How does Father Thomas define “the consequences of sin”? If we can be healed, the dead raised, and our hearts changed, would not God remove other, mere temporal, obstacles or harm from our lives? I understand that God joins us in our suffering and even in our sin itself and that it is best to trust that God is with us, but is other help, for example, God’s intervention in personal and even world events also possible? It seems that I pray for these things often. Am I mistaken to do so? Can I pray with acceptance of “what is” or “Thy will be done” and also pray “let this cup pass”? Perhaps I am asking whether God intervenes, are there miracles that can free us from the “consequences of sin” or is this just my small self trying to control things?
A: Let‚Äôs go to the story of the curing of the 10 lepers. They were all cured on their way to show themselves to the priest for ritual purification. All of them experienced the cure and were declared publicly cured but nine still were in the consequence of their illness, in the sense they still identified themselves as former lepers. The one who returned to give thanks and threw himself on the ground before Jesus was asking for a new life relationship – a deeper cleansing from all the cultural wounds which he carried as a leper, asking to be free of the consequence of years of being a leper. Sin is our belief that we are separate from God. This leper believed he was separated from God and he wanted to change that immediately, thus returning to Jesus. So there are various levels of miracles, many of them as a result of our openness to allow God to work on us far beyond our wildest imagining. Our willingness to allow change on a much deeper level is an awesome leap of faith – like the leper we do not settle for an external change but yearn for internal transformation.