As always thank you Carol for leading this weeks Faith Friday and writing such a beautiful and though-provoking post on the great gift of Reconciliation.
It is the Friday before Holy Week begins. Naturally I have been thinking of ways to make Palm Sunday and the entire week a little more holy and God centered. One thing I’m planning on is receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation before Easter. It is a beautiful gift, that we are forgiven for our sins and reconciled to our God. Nothing can separate us from God’s mercy, but it is important to confess our sins once in awhile through the sacrament!
Several years ago, when I was at Saint Mary’s College, I gave a reflection during a Reconciliation prayer service. I would like to share those thoughts with you today…..
The week before Easter is the holiest time of the entire year. Holy Week is a time to reflect back on our journey through Lent as well as prepare ourselves for the Triduum and the celebration of Easter Sunday. I invite you to take a silent moment to think about the past weeks…how have you grown closer to God? What Lenten commitments allowed you to focus on Christ? Being faithful to Lenten promises can be challenging especially for college students. My own commitments for Lent were difficult to meet. I intended to spend some days volunteering in the South Bend community and commit myself to daily prayer in the chapel, but my academic, social, and extracurricular obligations filled up every spare moment. In my own reflection on this Lent, I realize how God can become an afterthought in the midst of our everyday lives. I feel some disappointment in myself for not placing Christ at the center of my heart.
The season of Lent has nearly concluded, but we still have time to grow in relationship with God. Tonight we come together to receive the sacrament of Reconciliation. The sacrament invites us not to repent for failing to keep our Lenten promises but for actions that weaken our relationship both to God and one another. What matters is not if I gave enough money to the Rice Bowl collection, but did my actions show a love and appreciation for all of my neighbors?
In his letter to the Corinthians St. Paul writes: “so whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come”. The old things pass away, signifying that our sins will be forgiven. God does not hold our sins against us, but offers a new opportunity as we go forward in our lives. Our hearts become new as we turn away from sin and devote ourselves to Christ. When we live fully in Christ, we become a new creation. The beauty of Reconciliation is that God extends His unconditional love and mercy to each of us. God overlooks all of humanity’s shortcomings and forgives our sins! As we make our confessions, let us be made new in Christ and embrace the remainder of this Lenten journey.
Have a blessed Holy Week!