I walked out smiling, mesmerized, and rejuvenated.
To really enter into this season of Lent and prepare myself for the upcoming Easter celebration, I arrived to Church early in order to receive the sacrament of Reconciliation before Mass.
As a Catholic Christian, I adhere to the teaching that God alone can forgive sins, which He does through commissioning Priests with the same call He gave to His apostles, to receive the Holy Spirit and forgive the sins of others through Him (John 20:22a-23; CCC 1439, 1485). In order to receive a renewed soul with God’s never-ending grace, I must examine my conscience, contritely confess my sins to a Priest, receive absolution, and fulfill a penance as restitution.
I try to go to confession at least a few times every year because of its importance to the maintenance and flourishing of my soul. I often get weighed down by the faults of my humanity, but God wants to give me abounding graces, so I’m going to take Him up on that as often as I can!
When I walked into Church and saw the little green light that signaled that the Priest was available for someone to enter into the confessional, my heart started beating quicker. I have been to Confession countless times and marvel at the beauty of this sacramental redemption, yet the human part of me still gets nervous when I think about admitting my failures and wrongdoings to another person. Saying them out loud. Owning them. No explanations or excuses.
I opened the door and sat across from the Priest wearing his purple garments, and began my confession. I stumbled through describing my sins, taking deep breaths as the reality of my offenses brushed past my lips and into the ears of the man sitting across from me in persona Christi (Latin for “in the person of Christ”). After finishing up, I looked into the eyes of Jesus through the Priest and saw something so extremely counter-worldly. I had just admitted the worst parts of myself, yet I deeply understood Jesus’ profound “I love you,” through the simple gaze of the Priest looking at me with the unconditional love and mercy of Christ. No judgment, no admonition. Just pure love.
Within just a few minutes of talking with me, the Priest identified and spoke to some of the most relevant struggles in my life currently. He spoke truth into my heart to counteract the lies I tell myself and the realities I find difficult to believe. God reminded me of His truth in a tangible, vocal way that I cannot possibly deny.
Heaven entered into that little room as the Priest held up his hands and Jesus wiped my soul clean.
Once again, God reminded me of His wonder in a gentle, profound, and glorious way. He knows me as an individual, and speaks to me in a way that He knows I will understand. He speaks into each of our lives in a unique way, with His breath flowing through the life around us, and His mercy reflecting through our daily interactions. He desperately wants to live in us and us in Him, and waits patiently for us to reach out to Him.
I asked, I reached, and I received. God wants to do that for you too.
In this time of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving, the three main facets of the Lenten season, the best way we can begin to serve the Lord is by allowing Him to wash us clean from anything that holds us back. The sins we cling to, the bad habits we don’t want to let go of, the material things that seem just too good to live without – all these hinder us from fully entering into union with Christ.
In writing this, I struggle to describe the beauty and reality of something so beyond the capabilities of our finite humanity, but my refreshed soul wants to shout out the glory of God, and wishes redemption for all souls weighed down by hurt, pain, and sin.
We are never too far gone to be saved. So long as we have breath in our lungs, we can ask God for forgiveness and receive a second, third, fourth, hundredth, and millionth chance. His love has no restrictions, and fortunately, Heaven is not bound to the limits of humanity.
When we attune to our inner desire to be in union with Christ, we no longer need the passing things of this finite world. We mess up, we make mistakes, and we sin. But we can receive God’s mercy over, and over, and over again. He’s waiting for us.
In Joy, Monica
If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing.
1 John 1:9