Why Go to Confession? (Part 3)
Pastoral Letter of Archbishop Bruno Forte
CHIETI, Italy, FEB. 22, 2006 (Zenit) - Here is the third part of a pastoral letter, written by Archbishop Bruno Forte of Chieti-Vasto, a member of the International Theological Commission, on the theme "Reconciliation and the Beauty of God."
* * *
5. Stages of the encounter with forgiveness
Precisely because it was desired by a profoundly "human" God, the encounter with mercy that Jesus offers us takes place in several stages, which respect the seasons of life and of the heart. At the beginning, is listening to the Good News, in which you hear the call of the Beloved: "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel" (Mark 1:15).
Through this voice the Holy Spirit acts in you, giving you docility to consent and believe in the Truth. When you are docile to this voice and decide to respond with your whole heart to Him who calls you, you undertake the journey that takes you to the greatest gift, a gift that is so valuable that it leads Paul to say: "We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God!" (2 Corinthians 5:20).
Reconciliation is precisely the sacrament of the encounter with Christ who, through the ministry of the Church, comes to help the weakness of the one who has betrayed or rejected the Covenant with God; he reconciles him with the Father and with the Church, he re-creates him as [a] new creature in the strength of the Holy Spirit.
This sacrament is also called of penance, because in it is expressed man's conversion, the way of the heart that repents and comes to invoke the forgiveness of God.
The term confession -- used normally -- refers instead to the act of confessing one's faults to the priest but it also recalls the triple confession that must be made to live in fullness the celebration of the reconciliation: the confession of praise ("confessio laudis"), with which we remember the divine love that precedes and accompanies us, recognizing its signs in our lives and thus understanding better the gravity of our fault; the confession of sin, with which we present our humble and repentant heart to the Father, acknowledging our sins ("confessio peccati"); the confession of faith, finally, with which we open ourselves to forgiveness that liberates and saves, which is offered to us with the absolution ("confessio fidei").
In turn, the gestures and words in which we express the gift that we have received will acknowledge in life the wonders realized in us by the mercy of God.
6. Celebration of the encounter
In the history of the Church, penance has been lived in a great variety of ways, communal and individual, which nevertheless have maintained all the fundamental structure of the personal encounter between the repentant sinner and the living God, through the mediation of the ministry of the Bishop or the priest.
Through the words of the absolution, pronounced by a man who is a sinner who, however, has been chosen and consecrated for the ministry, it is Christ himself who receives the repentant sinner and reconciles him with the Father and in the gift of the Holy Spirit, renews him as living member of the Church.
Reconciled with God, we are received in the vivifying communion of the Trinity and receive in ourselves the new life of grace, the love that only God can infuse in our hearts: The sacrament of forgiveness thus renews our relationship with the Father, with the Son and with the Holy Spirit, in whose name we are given absolution from our faults.
As the parable of the Father and the two sons shows, the encounter of reconciliation culminates in a banquet of tasty dishes, in which one participates with a new robe, a ring and shoes on one's feet (cf. Luke 15:22f): images that express all the joy and beauty of the gift offered and received. Truly, to use the words of the Father in the parable, "let us eat and make merry; for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found" (Luke 15:24).
7. Return to the Father's House
In relation to God the Father, penance presents itself as a "return home" (this is in fact the meaning of the word "teshuva" which the Hebrew uses to say "conversion"). Through becoming aware of your faults, you realize you are in exile, far from the homeland of love: You feel ill at ease, sorrow, because you understand that sin is a rupture of the Covenant with the Lord, a rejection of his love, it is "unloved love," and because of this is also source of alienation, because sin uproots us from our true dwelling, the Father's heart.
It is then that we need to remember the house in which we are awaited: Without this memory of love we would never have the necessary confidence and the hope to make the decision to return to God. With the humility of the one who knows he is not worthy of being called "son," we can decide to call at the door of the Father's house. What a surprise to realize he is at the window scrutinizing the horizon because he has been waiting for a long time for our return!
To our open hands, to the humble and repentant heart responds the free offer of forgiveness with which the Father reconciles us with himself, "converting us" in some way to ourselves: "While he was still at a distance, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him" (Luke 15:20). With extraordinary tenderness, God introduces us in a renewed way in the condition of sons, offered by the Covenant established in Jesus.
[To be continued]
Please visit Pauline Books & Media to purchase your copy.
Pauline Books & Media
50 Saint Pauls Avenue
Boston, MA 02130-3491 USA
tel: 617.522.8911 x 4424
The Daughters of St. Paul are women religious at the service of the Church whose mission is to spread the Gospel and uplift culture with the means of communication.
http://www.catholic.org CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000
Confession, Mass, Forte, Forgive, Reconciliation
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718
A Recession Antidote
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, November 21st, 2017 HD Video
- Daily Reading for Monday, November 20th, 2017 HD Video
- The FBI may investigate Planned Parenthood
- Has Pope Francis violated the 8th Commandment, speaking out against ...
- Pope Francis calls for end of life care to acknowledge mortality
- Daily Readings for Saturday, November 18, 2017
- St. Rose Philippine Duchesne: Saint of the Day for Saturday, November ...
- st paul
- pictures of saints
- john the baptist
- saint anne
- hail holy queen
- saint elizabeth
- saint paul
- saint christopher
- st mary
- nicene creed
- our lady of guadalupe
- saint francis of assisi
- young children
- Saint Nicole
- st. michael
- The Catholic Miracle. Become part of our incredible mission HD
- Daily Reading for Sunday, November 19th, 2017 HD
- Did Pope Francis blast 'perverse attitude' of climate change deniers? HD
- Scientists warn: The end of life as we know it is near HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
The California Network
Inspiring streaming service
Learn the Catholic way