My Dear Friends,
The mercy and kindness of Jesus are so amazing. We experience the mercy and kindness of Jesus through the awesome Sacrament of Confession. What is sin? The Catechism of the Catholic Church gives us a concise definition. “Sin is an offense against reason, truth, and right conscience; it is failure in genuine love for God and neighbor caused by a perverse attachment to certain goods. It wounds the nature of man and injures human solidarity. It has been defined as an utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law” (CCC #1849).
Scripture tells us that actual sin is divided into two classifications: mortal sin and venial sin. “There is a sin that leads to death.” (1 John 5:16). “Every kind of wickedness is sin, but not all sin leads to death” (1 John 5:17).
Mortal sin is forgiven through the Sacrament of Confession. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches: “Confession to a priest is an essential part of the Sacrament of Penance. All mortal sins of which penitents after a diligent self-examination are conscious must be
recounted by them in confession.” (CCC #1456).
Just like all the other sacraments of the Church, Jesus instituted the Sacrament of Confession. The Church has always understood the Scriptural reference for the Sacrament of Confession to be John 20: 22-23: “Receive the Holy Spirit. For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained.”
What an immense gift we have been given! The Sacrament of Confession is an enormous source of interior peace. The priest raises his hand, and then with a blessing pronounces those amazing words: I absolve you from your sins. At that moment, we know that God has heard our cry for forgiveness, and we have been pardoned of our sins.
“God, create a clean heart in me, put into me a new and constant spirit, do no banish me from your presence, do not deprive me from your holy spirit” (Psalm 51: 10-11).
Every time we go to confession we encounter the merciful and kind Jesus. The repentance of our sins and the forgiveness that we receive allows us to experience true peace. Do not be surprised and do not be discouraged by the fact that the spiritual life is and always will be a
continual battle. Embrace your own inner poverty. Here is where true humility lies. It is by recognizing our own sinfulness and our own inner poverty that we are able to allow Jesus into our lives. Excerpted from a writing by Father James Farfaglia, a contributing writer for Catholic Online.
Father Patrick V. Kirsch, KHS