Confession - A Challenge for RCIA Students
Acknowledge Your Sin
You, my friend, are a sinner. Surprised? You shouldn't be. Don't worry, you're not alone. I have been anything but perfect myself. We all fall short. Since the days of Adam and Eve, mankind has found many new and creative ways to fall short of God's grace. Luckily, through God's grace, we can be forgiven of our sins, and it begins by admitting that we sinned in the first place.
"In order to put away past sin, accuse yourself bravely of it, let there not be one sinful act which you do not bring to light." -St. Francis de Sales
Through the Rite of Reconciliation, also known as Confession, we admit to the Lord that we have fallen short. We acknowledge that we ignored or purposefully broke His commandments. This is not an easy task. Admitting our mistakes and shortcomings strikes us deeply in the ego. No one likes to admit failure, but we must. Only by confronting our sins head on can we begin to move forward.
A Life Full of New Beginnings
When we participate in the Rite of Reconciliation, it is not enough to simply admit our mistakes; we must begin to take a new path. If you are lost on a highway, continuing to drive in the wrong direction will not bring you to your destination. Instead, we must turn around and find the road that leads us back to our Savior.
"Resolve to make every effort to tear up the roots of sin from your heart, especially this and that individual sin which troubles you most." -St. Frances de Sales
Every man and woman on this earth has their own strengths and weaknesses. It is our greatest weaknesses that keep us furthest from God. Instead of focusing on the smaller obstacles in life, try to tackle the sins that weigh you down the most. Attack the sin that continually separates you from grace. By loosening yourself from sin, you will find a freedom that you may never have felt before.
Continuing Christ's Mission
Before I became a Catholic, I had the same question that so many do. How can a man forgive us of our sins? In my mind, that was a gift that only the Lord can give. That's true, but the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults (USCCA) puts it beautifully:
"Only God can forgive our sins. But Jesus willed that the Church should be His instrument of forgiveness on earth." -USCCA
The USCCA continues on to quote scripture:
"(Jesus) said to them again, 'Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.' And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.'" -John 20:21-23 NAB
In this passage, Christ gives the disciples the mission to forgive the sins of men on his behalf. This mission has been passed down through the generations, and it is now the duty of the leaders of our Church. In this way, it is not the man who is forgiving you; it is the Father of the man that is forgiving you. Go and seek this forgiveness. Admit that you are a sinner. It's time to turn around and take the road that leads us back to Him. He's waiting for you.