In many Christian Churches the phrase, ‘O happy fault’ is sung at the Easter Vigil. Think about it, during the holiest service of the year, we sing of a happy fault…what’s up with that? Are we celebrating our faults, our flaws, our sins? Are we supposed to be ‘happy’ about the fact that we just can’t get it right???
I think about my life without ‘faults’. I could be quite independent, couldn’t I? I wouldn’t need anyone to forgive me because I have no faults. I wouldn’t need anyone to help me, because I have no faults. I wouldn’t need anyone to teach me, because I have no faults. I might not need anyone at all, because I am quite content living without my faults.
However, the truth is that I can’t even know what my life would be like without faults because, I have many of them.
So then the question becomes….what do these faults do for me and why are they ‘happy faults?’ Well, they help me to recognize that I am not perfect, and that unites me with all of my sisters and brothers who are not perfect also. I am invited to walk with others, side by side, and to help pick them up when they fall, and to allow them to assist me when I do. My faults help me to learn humility. I know that I am not in charge, in control, I have to rely on God, who in his mercy forgives me. My faults help me to begin again and to try harder. Today is a new day, perhaps I can be a little kinder, a bit more gentle, a better listener, a more compassionate friend.
And, most important of all, my faults have introduced me to Jesus, our Redeemer…..
So, the words from long ago touch my heart once again, and I raise my eyes in gratitude:
O happy fault,
O necessary sin of Adam,
which gained for us so great a Redeemer!