Friday, January 12, 2007

It's all about Grace

Adoration tonight, 7-8 pm, SAA Church. All are invited.
Last month, I posted on the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Here are two comments from anonymous bloggers:

1) "How frequently are Catholics required/expected to go to Confession?"

Required: Once a year
Recommended: As one priest’s father told him when he was young, “when it’s time for a haircut, it’s time for Confession”

2) "While I don't think going to Confession should be traumatic, I don't object to a little bit of 'You did what?' or a brief lecture on how and why your sins are wrong and should be avoided. Sometimes I confess things that the Church says are sins but which don't seem to me to cause a lot of damage to anyone (getting drunk, missing Mass). It helps me get turned around to hear someone with authority, other than words in a book, tell me that I have to knock it off. Also, in my Confessions, I have not left feeling like I really nailed it because I do not feel I really put words to what I am doing that really keeps me away from God. It's not specific acts or omissions - it's just a general failure to stay Christ-focused. Should that be confessed?"

Yes, it's a good idea to mention this to the priest that you have that general feeling, but keep in mind that you've just told him specifically how you failed to be Christ-focused. If you've examined your conscience as well as you can, and confessed as much as you can remember and as specifically as possible, then you don't need to confess a general failure. God knows we are all sinners, and we all fail in general. The Sacrament clears up the specific ways that we fail.

Also, and this is probably more important, Confession is not about what we's about what God does! In other words, we don't need to make a perfect Confession for God to forgive us. Yes, we do our part, and examine our conscience and confess what's on our minds and hearts. But, it's all about the Grace of the Sacrament! Each of us makes an imperfect Confession each time; none of us "really nails it". The only thing we nail is our sins to the Cross. Christ's perfect sacrifice on Calvary washes them clean.

At this morning's Mass, we heard the beautiful Gospel story of the paralytic man (Mk 2:1-12) who is lowered down through the roof of a house by his friends to be healed by Christ. What good friends! The urgency of this man's friends to get him healed has always struck me. Their faith struck Jesus immediately. Do we have the same sense of urgency with our friends or family members who are paralyzed by sin to bring them to Christ for healing? Do we encourage them to come to Confession, even though it has been a while since they've been away? Do we invite them to join us for Mass or Adoration? If we truly believe that Christ can heal them through these two sacraments, then we will follow the example of the paralytic's friends and bring them to the Divine Physician.

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