Wednesday, April 8, 2009

On the Sacrament of Peace

A good friend and I have been sparring via email for several weeks now. It's been (mostly) friendly, though, admittedly, I did get a little heated about a week and a half ago. She's been struggling with the age-old question so many Catholics (and Christians) struggle with: Why is the Sacrament of Reconciliation necessary? Why can't I just confess my sins directly to God?

Our conversation has challenged me on several levels. She has a deep, true faith in the Trinity, and a deep love of the Catholic Church. She is not placated with simple explanations or references to the Catechism. She is looking deeper, for Truth, in all it's permutations.

In the process of arguing different points (and believe me, I argued them all), I lost my focus on the reason why I love this Sacrament so much: the Peace... in no other way, in no other experience, do I so fully come to know the Peace of Christ.

When I seek out the Sacrament, it is purely out of love... not guilt, fear, obligation or an over-focus on sinfulness. I go out of love.

I love Jesus. I love God. And I want to be the best person I can be. Loving God makes me want to do better, be better, love better. I've experienced this Sacrament in a lot of different ways (too often, not often enough, face-to-face with the same confessor, anonymously behind the screen, and any combination of the above). And the plain fact is... I love this Sacrament.

It fills me with such peace. It really does help me grow into a better person. And I don't believe that I am overly focused on "sin" ... but on where I want to be... how I want to live... and I go to the Sacrament for help in getting there, for gentle support when I am falling short, and for guidance in how to grow ever closer to God. I go for forgiveness, yes. Of course. But also for peace.

And because I find this sacrament to be so peace-filled, so joyful, so loving, I want everyone to experience it. I am a bit of a confession zealot, because it fills me so clearly with the Love and Peace of Christ.

Today is the final day of Lent. The Triduum begins tomorrow... the three holiest days of the year, leading up to the most beautiful and joyful day of the entire year: Easter... the celebration of the Resurrection of Our Lord.

If you haven't had a chance to experience the peace and love of Christ in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, there's still time. Many parishes still have Reconciliation times today. Why not seek it out?

May God grant you pardon and peace...

May you have a very Blessed Triduum!
image source: SQPN

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