40 Reasons Why It’s Cool to be Catholic #26 Reconciliation

Reconciliation.  What a cool word!   One definition is “the reestablishing of cordial relations.”  I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Reconciliation is the official name of the sacrament we used to call “confession”.  The same source defines confession as “An admission or acknowledgment that one has done something that one is ashamed or embarrassed about.”  I don’t know about you, but I know definitely prefer the first definition.  Reconciliation is positive.  Confession is negative.  Reconciliation sounds pleasant.  Confession sounds harsh.  Reconciliation sounds like fun.  Confession sounds too much like having a root canal.

Hopefully we don’t need to get into the nuts and bolts of the sacrament.  We all know what it is.  What seems to confuse some folks is how often we “have to” go.  I’d say if you’re thinking about the sacrament in terms of “have to” rather than “want to”, you’re missing the point.  How often do you “have to” reestablish cordial relations with God.  I suppose the answer to that would be you “have to” do that just once, right before you die.  Of course, the tricky part of that is knowing when that day is.

On the other hand, if you desire to maintain cordial relations with our Heavenly Father, then you can’t receive the sacrament often enough.

Maybe the last time you received this particular sacrament was years ago when most priests looked at the sacrament as confession!  You needed a suitable punishment for the thing that you were “ashamed or embarrassed about”.  And they were just the guys to impose it.  Today’s priests (at least most of them) are more into the reconciliation mindset.  You’ve come to reestablish a cordial relationship and they’re here to help.

Even though we’re in the middle of Lent, the season when many Catholics think they have to satisfy the requirement to make their annual “confession”, think of it as a time to establish a new habit.  That is, to be reconciled with God as often as possible.

Knowing that your sins are forgiven and that you have a cordial relationship with God is more than cool.

 

 

Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven,
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Today’s Gospel reading contains a key passage for our Catholic faith.  Jesus gives His apostles the power to forgive sins on His behalf; the sacrament of reconciliation.  What an awesome gift!

Face it, we’re all sinners.  We can’t help it.  We’re born that way.  We’re all burdened with original sin and a tendency to commit sins if we’re not careful.  No matter how good our intentions, we just can’t be 100% sin free.  Only one human being has ever been sin-free and we venerate her as the Mother of God.  You and me…not so much.

But there’s good news and bad news and more good news.  The good news is that we can pay a visit to the confessional and be washed clean of our sins.  God gave this power to His apostles and their successors.  Father Gary, just like every priest in the world, can forgive us of our sinfulness.  We’re washed clean, ready to start with a clean slate.  The bad news is that we all know that our state of grace is only temporary because we’re going to sin again.  More good news is that we can come back again and be forgiven again.  As much as we’re prone to sin, God has more forgiveness than we have sinfulness.  Like I said, it’s a great gift.

I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but don’t be a stranger to the confessional.  Far from being the scary place that we might imagine it to be, it’s there for us to visit often, to confess our sins and to have them washed away.

The days of the fire and brimstone priest are long gone.  There’s nothing that our priests haven’t heard before and they’re not going to condemn you for being human.  Check it out if you haven’t been in a while.