Sacrament of Reconciliation
By Cynthia Reyes
In facilitating adults as they prepare to make their first confession, the inevitable question comes to light, “How far back do I have to remember my sins?” For some, this may be disconcerting, especially if they are much older. This question is unavoidable when we take a wide-angle lens look at our lives. Some how, those sins remain upon the surfaces of our hearts until we hear the healing words, “I absolve you of all your sins…go in peace.”
For those of us who have gone to confession all our lives, we still struggle with statements such as these: “It’s been a long time since my last confession. I can never think of anything much to tell. I always seem to say the same old things. I don’t really feel any better afterward. It’s just become routine.” Or maybe, “I wish I could fine a way of making a better confession.” Perhaps the problem begins with relying in our shortsightedness and not asking for guidance from our Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit in our examination of conscience. In examining our faults, we may be blind sighted, and perhaps become forgetful on purpose.
But our Lord Jesus knows each one of us through and through. He loves us as we are: not as we could be or as we might be some day, but as we are now. If we examine our conscience on our own, we run the risk of seeing things only from our own point of view. We misjudge our faults and weaknesses, and even ignore some of them altogether. We confess our symptoms instead of a deep and hidden soul-sickness: a constant attitude of self-interest that has trapped us in habits of self centered behavior or a persistent weakness. (CCC 1849-1850,1505)
It’s in these deep down attitudes that we need Jesus’ help. Help in unmasking that which separates us from God. Calling upon the Holy Spirit guidance in revealing our weakness, being honest with God in how we have treated others and ourselves. I have found a great little gem by Con O’Connell O.F.M entitled, “A Deeper Examination of Conscience.” Perhaps it’s time to make a grown-up confession, and leave our child hood confession behind during our Penance Service on March 21st at 7 p.m. The beauty of this sacrament is that it’s ours for the taking. The only obstacle is us. Jesus and the Holy Spirit are ready and willing to help… We just have to ask. Repentance and renewal is what we are asked to do during this season of Lent to welcome our Easter celebration of the sacrament.