Through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, a sinner is restored back to good standing with God, our Creator. Will you heed His call today?
Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
There are some who believe that they never need to ask for forgiveness. In fact, when Donald Trump was a candidate for president, he mentioned uncertainty about ever asking God for a pardon of his actions.
Truth is, our soul demands forgiveness for wrongs committed. Without being reconciled to our Creator, how would we know His abundant mercy?
As Catholics, we have the amazing benefit of having the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It’s the normative way we receive forgiveness of sins.
Yes, we can go directly to God for forgiveness. However, the objective assurance we receive from the priest in persona Christi, in the person of Christ, gives us confidence that our sins are truly forgiven.
We received this sacrament of grace from Jesus himself. Before he ascended, he told the disciples:
“Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so, I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained (John: 20–23, RSVCE). ”
Forgiveness is such a high priority. Without the clean slate, our souls are tainted masterpieces.
Think of the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo. It’s a marvelous but grand design of beauty that took time to arrange, compose, and make awe-inspiring art. Despite being over 500 years old, it has collected grime and dirt over the centuries and had to be restored during the 1980s and 1990s.
We are similar to this: We have the imprimatur of God by virtue of being created in His image and likeness. In addition, we receive a double portion of goodness by being adopted as sons and daughters of God, a king.
Though we have his His image and adopted into a divine royal family, we can accumulate sins, venial or mortal, that either weaken God’s friendship with us or severe it completely. As a result, we need to be restored, or reconciled, back to God.
Now, some would say “all sin is sin” and this is true, but Saint John clarifies a weaker sin versus a deadly sin:
“If anyone sees his brother committing what is not a mortal sin, he will ask, and God will give him life for those whose sin is not mortal. There is sin which is mortal; I do not say that one is to pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin which is not mortal. (I John 5: 16–17). ”
Even though weaker sins don’t lead to death, over time if left unregulated and accumulated, they can pile up.
Similar to a snowball going downhill. This snowball starts off small and innocent but gradually develops into a huge ball.
Our sin can do this too!
Smaller offenses like sarcastic comical quips can develop into full-blown attacks on our neighbor’s character and dignity.
Since our soul demands forgiveness, what are we to do?
Well Catholics, you need to embrace redemption in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Hearing the words of absolution is like being released from bondage: It’s freeing and restores us to God’s grace and good standing (CCC, 1468)
Before I converted to Catholicism, I had no objective assurance of forgiveness. I prayed and prayed but only felt more turmoil internally which lead me to wonder if I had truly been contrite in my confession.
I’ve heard many converts share the same thing, but that’s the greatness of the sacrament: you can know when you leave the confessional that you’ve been reconciled!
Any torment afterward is just the devil playing mind tricks!
My desire is that Catholics would go embrace the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Have you been away from the Church? Have you committed grave offenses against God and neighbor?
Go to a confession today!
“Today, when you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts (Heb 3:15).”
Indeed, God is calling you back home with open arms, how will you respond?