Feeling still too ill and out of it (after successful surgery Friday) to make it to mass today, I read the Scriptures at home. What stood out to me most was the first line from the first reading:
The Lord said to Joshua, "Today I have removed the reproach of Egypt from you."
What was that "reproach of Egypt"? I think it was the deep shame of having been slaves.
We are used to thinking of repentance in terms of a turning away from sin and pride. And it is that, definitely. But it's also a standing up from subordination, a getting away from degradation—not only the degradation of what we've done, but of what we let be done to us.
Anyone who has been in an abusive relationship or caught in a cult, say, understands this intuitively. She understands the deep mortification and corrosive self-reproach that comes with the awareness of having been mistreated. "How could I have let that happen? Why didn't I stand up for myself?" She is familiar with that seemingly ineradicable interior stain, that horrid sense of impotence, failure, and unworthiness.
That too, God heals. He "lifts up the lowly" and raises up those who were bowed down. He puts rings on our fingers and crowns on our heads. He sets our feet on the high places, surrounding us with glory and honor. That's His will for us. That's what pleases Him.