Pope Francis often has urged us to avail ourselves of the Sacrament of Reconciliation when appropriate, acknowledging that we are all sinners in need of God’s mercy. As reported by the publication “Catholic News Agency”, he stated that the Sacrament of Reconciliation is, “the efficacious sign that Jesus left to the Church so that the door of the Father’s house would always remain open and that the return of men to Him would always be possible.” He also noted that “We must always recognize the powerful action of grace, which is capable of transforming the heart of stone into a heart of flesh, of changing a sinner who fled far away into a repentant son who returns in his father’s house.”
Our Holy Father reminds us that Confession is meant to be a sincere time of conversion, an occasion to demonstrate trust in God’s willingness to forgive his children and to help them back on the path of following Jesus. He stated, “Every single confession is always a new and definitive step towards a more perfect sanctification; a tender embrace full of mercy, which helps to expand the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of love, truth, and peace.”
As previously noted, the Sacrament of Reconciliation is not here to punish us but rather to get us closer to the Lord who loves us. It is here to heal, not to condemn. It is important to remind ourselves that when we sin, it does not necessarily mean that we are bad people, but it does indicate that we are missing the mark spiritually. Our Holy Father has also challenged us to make a daily and thorough examination of conscience during which we freely acknowledge the wrong we have done as well as the good we have failed to do.
Pope Francis has called Lent a time for repentance, spiritual renewal, and transformation. During this season, we will offer additional opportunities for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Please check the parish website, the parish bulletin, or with the parish office for more information. We especially encourage those who may have been away from the Sacrament for an extended period of time to prayerfully consider availing themselves of the healing power of the Sacrament. Through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we can cleanse our souls as we prepare for the commemoration of the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
As we know, we live in difficult and uncertain times, due primarily to the sustained impact of the COVID-19 virus. During these trying times, we are challenged to strive to safeguard not only our physical health but also our spiritual health, as we continue on our journey of faith.