See that soft peaceful smile stretched across her beautiful face? That peace, happiness and serenity came from God! Anna, my 9 year old daughter, just made her 1st Reconciliation; the sacrament of God’s forgiveness.
In the Catholic Church the sacrament of Reconciliation has undergone many name changes. It was once called Confession, then Penance and now Reconciliation. Reconciliation, reconciling (restoring friendship) oneself to God. We confess our sins to an understanding, kind priest acting on God’s behalf, we are compassionately given a penance to help us to sin no more. Then we are absolved from our sins through the presence of the Holy Spirit in the priest’s outstretched hands and we are forgiven by God. We are made clean and have a fresh start on life once more. Reconciliation can be very therapeutic.
Anna and I talked about her experience. I told her I have a difficult time looking the priest in his eyes when confessing my sins. She said “so do I”. It is never easy to admit our faults especially the ones we did full well knowing we were choosing wrong. However, when we are able to admit it the burden can be lifted and when given to God our hearts are lighter. She said “I can’t stop feeling good!” I replied “I know when I leave from Reconciliation I want to lock myself in a bathroom so I can’t screw up and sin again, because I feel so good and pure!”
Not much can compare to the feeling of being forgiven by others. But being forgiven by God for your sins is more than uplifting. It is a way for us to feel closer to God. Sin is defined as anything that moves us away from God. I don’t want to be far from God or hidden because of shame or sin. I want to be as close to God as possible. God lifts me up, encourages me, guides and loves me unconditionally. I don’t want to do anything to hurt our relationship. Reconciliation gives me and my family a way to become closer to God in the here and now. If you open your heart to it God will change your heart and fill it with His eternal Grace.