Last Sunday at the 8:30 Mass 14 of our young people began their preparation for celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation. They will spend these months whether here at St. Agnes grade school or PSR classes and at home with their parents to study the sacrament and Christ’s great love for us.
St. Mary Magdalene, is called "The Penitent." She was given this name because, after Jesus cleansed her of her seven demons, she felt penitent concerning her past life. She confessed her sins and became one of Jesus' closest followers during his ministry, witnessing the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus. Mary Magdalene loved Jesus and was much loved by Him; she was one of the first people He showed Himself to after His resurrection.
What I take from Mary's life is that repentance is a strong step on our way to conversion toward Christ and living in His heavenly kingdom after we die. Repentance can be scary, as we all know. Something inside each of us tells us that we shouldn't tell anyone about a sin we have just committed. We're scared because we might be ridiculed or vilified. This is the work of Satan. He knows that if we don't confess our sins to a priest, we can never be truly penitent and be reunited with God. He wants us to fall into Hell with him for spite—spite toward God.
So why is it that when we get to church for confession we may still feel nervous? We might be embarrassed that we failed to follow God again or that the priest might say, "What? The same sin again?" We say to ourselves, "If I confess this particular sin to the priest, he may never look at me the same way again. He might shun me socially because of something he heard in the confessional." As a confessor I forget almost as soon as the penitent person leaves. It sounds like a sort of heaven-sent amnesia so that the priest doesn't feel overburdened hearing everyone's sins!
Here is another point of view: Think about how you feel after confession. Do you instantly feel better in some way? Maybe you feel lighter, happier, or more joyful after you come out of the confessional. Maybe a smile comes to your face, knowing that all things are right and you are once again square with God in the soul department. I know that after confession I feel right as rain; these feelings and knowing that God and I are back on the best of terms just makes me feel saintly, at least until I stumble again.
What I'm trying to say is that confession is an awesome gift that God has given us! He knows that we are not perfect and that we all fall short in following him. However, through His Son who died for our sins, we are able to return to God. Why wouldn't we want to always be as close to God as we can? Therefore, "Be Not Afraid!" The sacrament of penance gives us the opportunity to become closer to God. Our schedules are busy, but God is always available, waiting to forgive and take away our sins so that we can joyfully continue on our journey toward Him. Mary Magdalene is a beautiful example and guide in our lives as Christians.
Thank you to the Knights of Columbus Council for their work in trimming and cleaning up around the Cathedral.