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Reparation


"My sin is always before me," Ps.50

By Barbara Kralis

©Barbara Kralis 2004
Catholic Online

In the face of spreading agnosticism and relativism, the term 'reparation' is most unusual. Moreover, not only is the term unusual but also is its theology.

We witness today the loss of the meaning of penance, prayer, fasting, confession, and reparation. The modernists call it change when its real name is decay.

In a culture where sin is no longer considered sin, why should anyone make reparation?

How many today remove the body of Christ from the Crucifix and look only at the empty cross. If we Christians have a Crucifix before us, instead of an empty cross, we cannot forget about sin and reparation. "Paccatum meum contra me est semper." [1]

To understand 'reparation,' we first have to understand what St. Paul was teaching the Colossians about our cooperation in Christ's sufferings. The following is part of what the Church calls the 'paschal mystery.'

Christ's perfect Sacrifice was accomplished when He said, "It is finished." [2] The objective redemption is a 'fait accompli.'. However, St. Paul said that there is more to it.

Therefore, here comes the difficult part.

St. Paul explained, "Now I rejoice in my suffering for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of His body, that is, the Church...." [3]

What in heaven's sake is St. Paul saying?

St. Alphonsus [4] summarizes this statement as follows:

"Can it be that Christ's passion alone was insufficient to save us? No. It left nothing more to be done; it was more than sufficient to save all men. However, for the merits of the Passion to be applied to us, according to St. Thomas Aquinas, [5] we need to cooperate (subjective redemption) by patiently bearing the trials God sends us, so as to become like our head, Christ."

This is called 'reparation.' It is a theological doctrine of the Catholic Church. Reparation is the foundation of many confraternities and pious associations [6] – to make reparation for our sins and for the sins of mankind.

That infinite merit of Christ's Passion and Sacrifice on Calvary enables us to add our daily prayers, labors, trials, and sufferings to those of our Lord. Thus, we become actually co-redeemers with Christ, sharing in His suffering.

Suffering, more than anything else, makes present in the history of humanity the force of the Redemption. [7]

Why should we make reparation to God? For two reasons: 1) to repair for our own offences against Him, 2) by virtue of the Communion of the Saints, we can also make satisfaction or reparation for the sins of others.

However, we first need to see ourselves as we really are so we can properly intercede for the souls of others. We do this through frequent Confession. [8]

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, n.2412, n.2487, n.2454, n. 2509 teaches that every offense committed entails the duty of reparation, even if its author has been forgiven.

The greatest offering of reparation is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

So that we might join with Christ, He commanded his disciples at the Last Supper "Do this in memory of me."

Since Holy Mass is the representation of Christ's infinitely perfect Sacrifice of Calvary, it is one of the best means of ...

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