Visitors - Come on in and say hello!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Sacrament of Confession

Reconciliation. To become reconciled. To make amends.

In this the last week of the blessed penitential season of Advent, it's time to focus on the coming of Christ. It's time to prepare our souls and turn our focus (if we haven't already) to the Lord.

I love the sacrament of Confession. As much as I used to dread it, and as much as I used to shake in my shoes at the thought of it, I now approach with awe. I can't say that I especially like accusing myself of all sorts of things (of which I am definitely guilty), but I go.

I go even if I don't feel penitential. I go because I know I have sinned and I need healing. I go because if I stay away from the sacrament when I have done wrong, I will not learn and I will not encounter the grace needed to overcome my weaknesses.

I go because I am a sinner. God help me, I'm a sinner.

And I am in need of his grace.

And so are all of you. We are all in need of God's grace and of his healing. Maybe you're a random person reading this blog today and maybe you need to know that God's mercy awaits you...he is waiting for your turn of heart. He is waiting for you to admit that you have done wrong somewhere in your life and that you are in need of his grace.

Jesus is waiting in the confessional with outstretched arms, not waiting to condemn, but to express his joy at our reconciliation. To welcome us home and to wipe our tears.

I have experienced incredible grace through this sacrament. When I had been non-practicing for years and years (about twelve or so), I was terrified, tearful, and blubbering. I don't know what I expected....for God to reach out of the heavens and smack me with a flyswatter perhaps?

But just the same, I was fearful. I stood in line at an Easter penance service/ individual reconciliation, just looking for absolution. Looking for God. Looking for the faith of my youth. I stood there, terrified, but knowing it was time to admit that I had offended the Lord.

The priest did not look at me in shock when he heard my tearful confession but rather, he welcomed me home. He calmed my fears, and speaking in the person of Christ, he absolved me of my sins. I left that day a new person and my tears had turned to tears of joy.

Unfortunately, I didn't go to confession again for about 2 or 3 strong the world pulls us away, and I could not get over my own concupiscience...I could not make myself go to Confession when I knew I would sin again.

Finally, I went, and this time I had made a real firm prupose of amendment...and included in that was regular confession.

What I have begun to notice now, though, is that sometimes I doubt my own purpose of amendment, one of the necessary ingredients for true absolution.

Most recently, I went in to confession, still feeling somewhat defiant. I knew I needed to go, however, because intellectually, I knew that what I had done was wrong. I went in and set the scene to exlain my sin, and I confessed that I was not sorry. As I spoke, the tears came, the repentence came...and I felt crushed by the weight of my own sin.

I admitted to father somewhat sheepishly, "OK, I guess I am sorry..."

So often, I have recieved absolution, and I have questioned it. Am I really forgiven? What if I did not sufficiently confess? What if I'm not sorry enough?

But always, always, I know I am cleansed. I know that God has forgiven my sinning heart and he has wiped the stain from my soul...and that finally, I am free...and joyfully thank the Lord for this grace of the sacrament. The grace of God's forgiveness. The knowledge that God loves us all so much that he has provided a way for us to overcome our constant sins. To cleanse our souls.

We are so in need of God's mercy.

So today, if you have been away for awhile, find a confession near you. Make an appointment with your parish priest, and explain to him that Jesus is calling you to prepare for his coming. Explain that you are in need of God's grace and you need to come home to be with the Lord who loves you.

Don't be joyful, and come home.

May the grace of the Lord, Jesus Christ be with you, now and forever.

God Bless you and yours this Christmas season.

1 comment:

Kei said...

We indeed need God's mercy. Yahweh is the Truly Merciful, and we are simply not worthy to partake in His Grace, yet by the Love that He emanates to us, He grants us the chance to partake in His Everlasting Forgiveness and Divine Mercy.

If I could do that and cry for all the hurts that I have caused in this world and to God Himself. If only I could express the bitterness of my attitude towards external reality and its suppression of spirituality, and yearn for the longing of the Spirit to stir the hearts of many.

If only I can do that, that would be my true Penance to God.

Thank you for your little reminder, it was a blessing for me.

have a great day!