“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; They are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” – Romans 3:23–24
In the Sacrament of Baptism, we die with Christ to our old sinful ways, and rise again with him as a new creation, holy and without blemish. However, God allows our human frailty and disposition towards sin to remain, so that we may exercise our freedom, cooperate with God’s grace, and struggle in virtue towards holiness. The readily available sacrament of reconciliation allows Christians to receive the forgiveness and mercy of Christ, each time we fall, and the grace to grow in purity.
“’For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!’ And they began to celebrate.” – Luke 15:24
Sin separates man from God, the source of life and goodness. Cut off and distanced from our Heavenly Father, by the effects of sin, we suffer spiritual death. It is for this reason, reconciliation is understood as a Sacrament of Healing. The overflowing mercy of Christ, who always responds to our cry for forgiveness, reconciles us with the love of God. We are spiritually resurrected and restored. This healing is never merely personal, but always a victory for the whole church, as the suffering of one is felt by the whole body of Christ.
“Happy are those whose transgressions are forgiven
whose sin is covered Happy are those to whom the Lord imputes no iniquity and in whose spirit there is no deceit”
– Psalm 32:1–2
As a Church we are at the same time holy, but constantly in need of purification. Regularly conducting an examination of conscience, and seeking the sacrament of reconciliation keeps us always on this path of penance and renewal. By making a habit of attending confessions, we stop seeing it as a duty, but rather a proactive step to be vulnerable and free in Jesus’s love, to stand before him naked and humble, asking for his mercy for the times we failed to love.
Jesus is gently knocking on the door of your heart and he stretches out his hand of mercy to you. Will you open your heart to him by receiving his forgiveness and love through the sacrament of reconciliation?