Lent is a time for conversion. The word in Greek is metanoia, which means a change of heart. The Church invites us to experience the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the sacrament of new beginnings, healing and freedom. God’s mercy works in more powerful and incredible ways to make us change our hearts.
In the Sacrament of Reconciliation, our Lord Jesus touches us and heals us. In our Parish, the Sacrament of Reconciliation will take place on Thursday, 11 April 2019 at 730 pm. I strongly encourage everyone to participate in this and join in as a community to make a good confession this Lent. As we encounter Jesus through this sacrament, we will attain true conversion of heart – a new and clean heart, free from our sins.
Once a month, during the Monthly Priests Recollection, we, the priests have a session on self-examination and reflection, as preparation for our individual confession. As Christian Catholics, we should go regularly for confession, or at least twice a year especially during Lent and Advent. If we don’t do confession, we will be easily swayed or bullheaded with our own sinful ways. Confession will open our hearts and minds to God’s way and not our way. Have we been sincerely sorry enough to ask for forgiveness over and over again through confession and do penance in order to have a change of heart?
Why are we keeping our sins a secret for so long? Most of us are just afraid to go for confession because we feel guilty, embarrassed and shy. We rather live a hypocrite life and avoid it as long as possible or we make excuses. We feel shy to meet a priest and afraid that he will misjudge us. However, remember that no matter what terrible and sinful things we have done, the priest will not judge nor will he reveal your sins. Instead, he will assist you and set a new beginning in your life.
We should not let our souls remain contaminated with stain, dust and dirt because of our sins. All our mortal and venial sins, which have wounded our souls, need healing and forgiveness. Jesus is present in the confessional through the priest. When the priest gives you penance and says the prayer of absolution, the penitent’s soul completely heals at once. We walk out of confessional through the mercy of God, consoled and free from all our sins. The Lord will refresh our souls and we receive graces from Christ in order to live a holy life. The more frequent we go for confession, the more graces we receive from the Lord Jesus. God wants our ongoing conversion and for us to be perfect in His eyes.
The Sacrament of Recollection is a great gift of grace; a way to God, a way back to God and to our fellow brothers and sisters. Jesus will be waiting for you in the confessional in the person of the priest, to grant you his mercy in abundance. Do not let fear, guilt or embarrassment dissuade you as you come for confession this Thursday.
How to make confession? Please remember this simple step-by-step formula, as a guide, before going for confession.
- Go to the priest and begin with the Sign of the Cross.
- Then say, “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been ____ weeks / months / years since my last confession.”
- Tell your mortal and venial sins honestly to the priest.
- Then, listen to the advice the priest gives you and accept the penance from him.
- Say the Act of Contrition: “O my God, I am truly sorry for I have sinned against you. But with the help of your grace, I shall not sin again.
- The priest says the prayer of absolution and dismisses you with: “The Lord has freed you from your sins. Go in peace.” And you respond by saying: “Thanks be to God.”
Rev. Fr. George Packiasamy