In this Year of Faith and especially during Lent we are encouraged to turn to God, express sorrow for our sins and open our lives to the power of God’s healing grace.
God understands how difficult it is to come to confession when we don’t have the confident assurance that his love for us is deeper and wider and higher than you can ever imagine. He wants to give us that confidence, that power to keep his commandments by embracing us with his unconditional love.
Jesus invites us to freedom from every sinful habit by looking at the price he paid: his wounds, his suffering, his death. Jesus died to set us free — free to love him with all our mind, heart, body, and soul.
He who created us out of love for the purpose of loving him invites us come to him in deep sorrow, contrition and with expectant faith. In the person of the priest, Jesus waits for us with open arms in the confessional, ready to embrace us and dissolve all our fears.
He is always ready to forgive, for he is compassion and love, slow to anger, and rich in mercy. He does not treat us according to our sins nor repay us according to our faults. He wants to restore our lost dignity, and to help us rediscover our true identity through his forgiveness. We are not our sin; we are his beloved children.
We can enter Reconciliation as we would enter the treatment room of a trusted heart doctor with joyous conviction that we will be made whole. We lay bare our heart and conscience to him. We show him our injuries and simply ask him to heal us. We prepare for by-pass surgery because of our clogged heart. Jesus uses our examination of conscience to reveal our sins to us like the doctor uses X-ray reflective dye in the patient’s veins to find the clogs. Confession is like the surgeon pulling the tiny balloon through the arteries and bringing out all the plaque-causing problems. Without our confession and his forgiveness our hearts cannot pump the graces and the gifts and all the love the Lord wants to give to us.
Jesus wants us to live a joyful life of sacramental grace. No recurring sin can survive the grace of the Sacrament of Reconciliation poured upon it time after time for here the Holy Spirit restores the likeness of God in us. By that resurrection power that raised Jesus from the dead, sacramental confession raises us from the spiritual death of sin.
What heart injuries are you ready to heal through Reconciliation?
More information on the Year of Faith is available online: www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/how-we-teach/new-evangelization/year-of-faith/index.cfm
(© 2013 Nancy H C Ward)