The Sacrament of Reconciliation
CELEBRATION OF THE SACRAMENT AT ASSUMPTION:
Saturday 4:00-4:45pm and 7-7:30pm
And at other special times during Lent and Advent
While the son was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion: he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. Luke 15:20
Reconciliation deepens our friendship with God. It is a conversion of heart away from sin and towards God and God’s people. Forgiveness is not a once-in-a-lifetime celebration but rather a way of life; not an isolated event but something that happens on a weekly, even daily, basis between spouses, friends, colleagues, neighbors and within families and communities. Such conversion, also described as a continuous journey, “affects a person from within toward a progressively deeper enlightenment and an ever-closer likeness to Christ”. Reconciliation celebrates a particular facet of the journey, the recognition of sin and grace at work in us, and the mercy of God continually drawing us to repentance, change of heart and ever-deeper friendship with God.
“The hidden and gracious mystery of God unites us all through a supernatural bond: on this basis one person’s sin harms the rest even as one person’s goodness enriches them. Therefore, the sacrament always entails reconciliation with our brothers and sisters who remain harmed by our sins.” – A Mystagogy of Sacrament by Kathleen Hughes
“It’s relational for me,” someone said. “When I prepare for reconciliation I look at my relationships, my family, the people I work with, everyone I run into, and ask myself how I am doing. What am I doing to enrich their lives, not what can I get out of them.” Another said, “I ask myself not just what am I doing that’s bad; but what can I do to strengthen relationships in all areas of my life.”
Silence and an examination of conscience are suggested as ways of preparing to celebrate the sacrament. In individual Reconciliation, one approaches the priest for confession, acknowledges their sins, and receives absolution in conjunction with the laying on of hands. We are usually then given a penance, not because this enables forgiveness, but because we are being called to a change of heart. Forgiveness is indeed an unmerited gift. Committed to an ongoing process of conversion, we go forth with God’s help to begin again, and to deepen our friendship with God and God’s people.