At heart, we are a people who live in a covenant relationship with the Lord. In relating to us in a loving way, God always takes the initiative. Hopefully, we will strive to love the Lord in all aspects of our lives, both as individuals and in the groups to which we belong.
In His love for us, God offers direction for how we might respond in love to Him with all that we are and have. The directions in which we might respond to the Lord come to expression in the Law of God. The Scriptures offer us examples of Divine Law. Some of these are: the Ten Commandments, the moral teachings of our Lord in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5 – 7), the Golden Rule the two Great Commandments and others.
There is a sense of timelessness to the Law of God. The Precepts of the Catholic Church express the application of Divine Law in our day-to-day lives. The Christian life can be described as an on-going process of conversion, in which we strive to express our love for God in all aspects of our lives, both as individuals and as members of groups.
As an essential aspect of the conversion process, our attention is directed to the role of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. According to the second Precept of the Catholic Church as this is expressed in the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, we are directed to confess our sins at least once a year. This obliges in particular those who are conscious of serious sin. Regular reception of the Sacrament of Penance helps us both to prepare to receive the Eucharist and also to continue the process of conversion begun in Baptism.
If we realize that we have seriously sinned, I hope and pray that we will want to receive the Sacrament of Penance as soon as we can after we have this painful realization. Even if we are not aware of being in serious or grave sin, we are encouraged to continue to receive this healing Sacrament on a regular frequent basis.
Let’s see why this is so. As our relationships with other persons grow, we become more aware of seemingly little things that either upset or make the person(s) whom we love happy. Obviously, we will want to avoid the former and build upon that which makes our loved ones happy.
Let’s apply this insight to our relationship with the Lord. As our love for the Lord deepens, certain attitudes, words, actions and omissions that at one time didn’t bother us will start and continue to disturb us. Because these expressions of our mind and behavior or omissions are hurtful, we will want to do all that we can to rid ourselves of them. More and more, we will take to heart that Christ is counting on us to extend His loving Presence to persons in each setting in which we find ourselves. One of the fruits of receiving the Sacrament of Penance on a regular frequent basis is that we can see progress in working with the Lord’s help to root out of our lives that which hurts loving relationships and to embrace attitudes, words and behavior that express our Lord’s caring Presence. The intent of the penances that we receive as we celebrate this Sacrament is to direct us to develop in ways that deepen God-inspired relationships with ourselves, with others, with the environment and with the Lord Himself.
Regular, frequent reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation enables us to experience that which comes our way in the mind and Spirit of Christ. As this continues to happen, we will be able to relate in a proactive manner to all that is before us. Hopefully, as a result of being around us, others will want to experience for themselves with us that love, joy and peace for which we all yearn and of which our Lord is the Source.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Fr. Nelson Beaver – Pastor