Living in the Two Hearts

My Spiritual Insights and Musings

Reconciliation, Part 1 continues…

Posted by Anne Elizabeth on September 10, 2008

to bring oneself to accept

In this sacrament, the sinner, placing himself before the merciful judgment of God, anticipates in a certain way the judgment to which he will be subjected at the end of his earthly life.

to make compatible or consistent…

For it is  now, in this life, that we are offered the choice between life and death, and it is only by the road of conversion that we can enter the Kingdom, from which one is excluded by grave sin.  In converting to Christ through penance and faith, the sinner passes from death to life and “does not come into judgment.” ~CCC §1470; see also 1 Cor 5:11; Gal 5:19-21; Rev 22:15; Jn 5:24

The Lord Jesus Christ, physician of our souls and bodies, who forgave the sins of the paralytic and restored him to bodily health, has willed that [His] Church continue, in the power of the Holy Spirit, [His] is work of healing and salvation, even among her own members. This is the purpose of the two sacraments of healing: the sacrament of Penance and the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. ~CCC §1421; cf. Mk 2:1-12 (emphasis added)

My Grace comes to YOU through the Sacraments.

 

In the post PREVIOUS, we established the “What” of Reconciliation.  In this Post, I hope to establish firmly the “Why” Reconciliation is necessary.  The answer was briefly touched on at the end of last week’s Post with the reminder of needing to empty oneself of one’s own sins in order to be available to receive the Grace that comes as a result of receiving a Sacrament- and in particular the grace that comes from the Sacrament of Reconciliation.


Let me ask you a question:  Have you ever done something that caused someone else a lot of discomfort or pain?

For instance, a good friend of your asks you a favor and you agree to fulfill that favor.  However, in the process of fulfilling it, something comes up that prevents you from completing the agreed upon task.

Umm..yeah...sure...

 

Overwhelmed by new circumstances, you drop your friend’s favor and continue on with your own life.  When your friend asks you if you completed that favor, you answer, “Yep, it’s all done”, figuring you’ll get to it later.  Later, of course, never comes and you figure your friend will never be the wiser because the favor was just a small trifle anyway.

 

Later that week, your friend comes to claim that favor, the one you said you did but actually never got to.  Your reaction?  You lie, again, claiming you’ve misplaced the favor or something else has since happened to it.  Your friend is obviously disappointed.  They believe you, accept that the favor has vanished, and no further questions are asked.

However, a few days after your lie, you discover your friend has now asked that same favor of a mutual friend, who promptly performs the task.  Your friend never broaches the subject with you again, nor do they ask you of another favor.

Why?

Is it possible they knew you had lied?  Is it possible that they figured your life has become too busy to complete the task, so why burden you again?  Or has their faith in you been shaken to the core that they do not trust your abilities or sincerity when saying you will do something for them?

How about all of the above?

We are a complex species, and so sin can never just be a “one-word” answer:

Sin is an offense against reason, truth, and right conscience; it is failure in genuine love for God and neighbor caused by a perverse attachment to certain goods. It wounds the nature of man and injures human solidarity. It has been defined as “an utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law.” ~ CCC§1849; cf St. Augustine, Contra Faustum 22: PL 42, 418; St. Thomas Aquinas, STh I-II, 71, 6.

Can I trust you?

 

The relationship between you and your friend has been damaged; and if care isn’t taken to reconcile between you both, then the chasm created by this sin will only widen and deepen until you both drift apart.  But if you were to go to that friend and acknowledge before them what had happened, any true friend, would be quick to forgive, so long as you made that admonition with a truly  penitent heart.


 

So is the same for us when we go to confession: Whoever confesses his sins…

“…is already working with God. God indicts your sins; if you also indict them, you are joined with God. Man and sinner are, so to speak, two realities: when you hear “man” – this is what God has made; when you hear “sinner” – this is what man himself has madeDestroy what you have made, so that God may save what [He] has made. . . . When you begin to abhor what you have made, it is then that your good works are beginning, since you are accusing yourself of your evil works. The beginning of good works is the confession of evil works. You do the truth and come to the light. ~ CCC§1458; St. Augustine, In Jov. ev. 12, 13

The confession (or disclosure) of sins, even from a simply human point of view, frees us and facilitates our reconciliation with others. Through such an admission man looks squarely at the sins he is guilty of, takes responsibility for them, and thereby opens himself again to God and to the communion of the Church in order to make a new future possible. ~CCC§1455

I am forgiven... Amazing Love! How can it be...?

 

 

Could there be any other explicit reason for desiring Reconciliation?  When we go to Confession with a sincere and open heart; when we confess our sins without holding back our guilt; when we lay our disastrous choices at the foot of the Cross, coming before our Lord in the person of the Priest, we are telling God and ourselves: I’m ready, Lord, to begin a new life by receiving Your great mercy and forgiveness for what I have done against You and against my neighbor.  Pour out Your Graces on me by emptying me of my sins!

Next Post – Why do I have to confess to a priest?  Can’t I just tell God in my heart I’m sorry?

Quick question: Has your life been changed when you’ve done that, or do you find yourself still in the familiar pattern of sin?

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