Advent Confessions
December 21, Wednesday from 6 to 7 pm or later as needed
Several Priests available including Spanish speaking

Bless me Father, for I have sinned”. When is the last time you said those words? This week you will have an excellent opportunity to do just that. Celebrating and receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation can be among the most blessed of human experiences. Yet, there are a number of reasons why we don’t take advantage of this Sacrament or we don’t celebrate it well. Fear, shame, bad experiences of the past, a long time since the last reception of the Sacrament or bad habits in celebrating it now are all possible reasons for
struggles with this Sacrament.

The solution is so simple. A simple understanding of the Sacrament and a small encouragement to give it a new try, with a new expectation, can literally change our lives and will certainly renew our faith. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is God’s gift to us.

It isn’t about our having to shame ourselves or face being scolded. It is all about letting ourselves receive the merciful and healing love and peace that only God’s love can give us. Of course you don’t have to wait to go to Confession for any reason. Some come to obtain the blessing – and receive the ‘Actual Grace’ of the Sacrament.

For some of us, it may have been a while. But ‘Be Not Afraid’ the priest will gladly walk you through it and will even have the ritual and prayers printed out if you need them. But there is some preparation necessary on your part. And, truth be told, some of us may have sins, heavy sins weighing upon our souls. What a great time to ‘let them go’.

What does sin look like? How do I examine my conscience? It is good to look in two areas: in what I’ve done and in what I’ve failed to do. For example, I might never have hurt my children, verbally or physically, but I might examine my conscience and recognize that I failed in my responsibility to raise them in the faith – the commitment I made at the time of my marriage and at their baptisms. However, I might judge that, though it is a serious matter, I didn’t do it deliberately and intentionally. In that case, I might examine this
situation in terms of my overall selfishness or failure to live my commitments – perhaps sins in the area of what I’ve failed to do, but for which I can ask for forgiveness and healing so I can do this better in the future, or receive our Lord’s peace, even if I can’t fix the past. This applies to all our other relationships as well. Including our relationship with God.

Our Sins Are Forgiven. We must never forget what happens in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Our sins are forgiven! They are taken away. The slate is wiped clean. We have a new beginning – a fresh start. We receive God’s mercy and are filled with God’s peace. And, once this total and complete forgiveness happens, deep and lasting healing can happen as well.

So, it’s a great idea to return to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and to receive a fresh start and to let the grace of healing begin. Most of us are ready to do that because we really miss communion with our God. We really don’t like division, conflict, selfishness, negativity, disorder, injustice or dishonesty. We long for integrity and a love which nothing but this Sacrament can offer us. Now, with all that being said, if you haven’t been for a while, don’t worry about the format – what to say and such. Again, we will walk you through it. We are happy to. All you need is a humble, contrite heart and a willingness to do better afterwards. God takes great delight in your returning to Him. You’ve carried your burden alone – far too long. Remember: there is no sin that cannot be forgiven – but we must ask. He waits….

Fr. Ron


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