Saturday, 7 March 2009

Ego te absolvo ...

This grace-filled season of Lent is the most appropriate time for considering how we receive the sacrament of Penance - each of the sacraments being a meeting with Christ; in the sacrament of Penance we meet Christ present in the priest.

When we make our confession we should make sure that Christ is the centre of this sacramental act. God's love and forgiveness is more important than our sins. We must keep our hearts and minds focused on God's mercy and compassion rather than our own sinfulness ..... God is ALWAYS the point of reference.

Confession is NOT about 'feeling good', however, if we 'feel good' afterwards that is a bonus. When we go to the doctor we don't always 'feel good' immediately, it may take a number of visits.

'Have mercy on me God on your kindness ... O wash me more and more from my guilt and cleanse me from my sins.' (Psalm 50).

St Josemaría writing on the Sacrament of Confession advises us that we should be;

CONCISE; CONCRETE; CLEAR; COMPLETE.

Concise:
We should confess with the words that are needed to say what we've done or omitted to do.

Concrete:
We should confess without digressing and the late Holy Father Paul VI said, the penitent will suitably indicate his situation, and also the time that has elapsed since his last confession and the difficulties he finds in leading a Christian life.' (Ordo - Poenitentiae 16.)

Clear:
At Confession we should make ourselves understood, stating the exact nature of the fault.

Complete:
We should never leave anything out or conceal a sin through a false sense of shame or through fear of appearing bad in the eyes of the priest. God knows and sees all things, 'even the depths of our hearts.'

God forgives us through the ministry of the priest in these beautiful words of absolution:

God, the Father of mercies,
through the death and resurrection of His Son
has reconciled the world to himself
and sent the Holy Spirit among us
for the forgiveness of sins.
Through the ministry of the Church
may God give you pardon and peace
and I absolve you from yours sins,
in the name of the Father, and of the Son
and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

2 comments:

Maurice said...

I prefer your take on the sacrament to Escriva's. He uses the word 'should' far too much for my liking. I wonder if his preaching was the same?

Cindy said...

I'm relieved to hear that it's alright to 'feel good' after Confession while I appreciate it is not the reason for the sacrament. I would rather describe the feeling as 'light-hearted' I find the 'burden' of sin really can feel like a physical burden and to be released from carrying that burden when I hear the words of absolution makes me feel as if I've literally been relieved of the heavy weight of sin.