When I was a kid, I was allowed a soda a week. One night, though, I indulged in a contraband Coke. Anxious to complete my crime, I drank deeply and with vigor. I hastily half-crushed the can and hid it behind the television. My dad found it, and I was caught. I was ashamed. And, I got a stomach ache.

It’s hard to be honest, and to admit when we are wrong.

Still, we are not held captive by even the worst things we’ve done. They do not define us. We need not be ashamed of our faults and failures. We must remember instead that the Lord hears us in our brokenness, and offers to mend our hurting hearts. But, in order to be heard we must speak; we must cry out. God will respond with a different cry, the cry of the Christ child who brings us peace.

—Eric Immel, S.J. is a Jesuit scholastic studying philosophy at Loyola University Chicago. He also serves as a Jesuit vocation promoter and is a prolific author.