Another lovely summer weekend has come and gone...
So my highlight of this past weekend? Was it the delicious fresh perch with a glass of pinot grigio wine? No, although that was a yummy dinner. Was it the time spent with friends and later curling up with some good books? No again. What made the weekend for me was when a young person I know asked me if we could go to Confession together on Saturday afternoon. Yup, that was it hands down....yeah I know, weird, maybe nutty to some. Oh well.
This 19 year old entered the Catholic Church this past Easter. I was honored and privelaged to be his Confirmation sponsor, and lead him through the RCIA (Rite of Christian for Adults) classes over the past year. It just really touched me that he made the effort to go to Confession, that he wanted to go.
The sacrament of Reconciliation a.k.a Confession is one of the bestest things (and there are many in my opinion ;-) about being a Catholic Christian. There is something to be said about the humility of confessing our personal sins to another fellow sinner, the priest sitting in front of you. The priest is not just some dude who is listening to what you are saying, but he is representing Jesus to us...the priest, with the power of Christ, absolves us (forgives) from all our sins. In this way, the loving mercy of our God can continue till the end of time. The mercy of Jesus is like a frying pan; He LOVES to constantly dish it out to us in abundance. So every time we go to Confession, Jesus is wiping our slate clean again, so we can continue to grow closer to Him without all that excess sin on our souls.
Jesus gave the power to absolve sins to His favorite 12 dudes, the Apostles. In John 20:22-23 the Apostles receive this power- there is explicit teaching here that the Apostles have the power to forgive sins. In Matthew 18:18 this theme is repeated; Jesus says what the Apostles bind on earth will be bound in Heaven, a clear reference to the fact that the Apostles have the power and authority (given by Christ) to forgive sins. Since Jesus gave this authority to the original 12 Apostles, it has been past down through the ages of the Catholic Church through today even to our current priest's. So the priest in the Confessional has a direct link to the orginal 12 Apostles and Christ himself; very amazing! Some other Scriptural references to the sacrament of Confession include: James 5:13-15, II Corinthians 5:17-20, Matthew 9:2-8, and the above ones mentioned. Catholics explain things like this with both use of Sacred Scripture as well as sacred Tradition, which has been passed down to us from Jesus and the 12 Apostles
All of us will admit we are a sinner; we cannot get around that fact. However, we have a great gift Christ left us to help us on our life of holiness to keep our souls from getting to nasty and dirty from sin. Our God is so amazing and loving, that He givesd us the privelage to constantly keeping coming back to the fountain of mercy. Whether you are Catholic or not, take an opportunity to learn more about this wonderful sacrament!
Start with this video I came across on youtube.......Yes, you may think it is cheesy or whatever, but it is concise and gets to the point:
Want to know more, check out http://www.catholic.com/ a great site that explains the Catholic faith.