Lent. Time to go to confession. Or to be more liturgically correct, time to “celebrate reconciliation.” There is something to the change in the way we speak, and hopefully think, about this sacrament. Confessing is something that we do. We confess our sins. Nothing wrong with that, it is a good and salutary practice. It is just that it puts the emphasis in the wrong place. In the sacrament all the heavy lifting, all the major work, is not done by us but by God. God is reconciling the world to Himself through His Son, Jesus Christ. So calling this the Sacrament of Reconciliation, rather than “confession,” is just an attempt to recognize what is really going on and who the main player is.
We call it a “celebration” because God’s reconciling action is truly something to celebrate. We don’t earn it. We don’t deserve it. It is a gift freely and generously and abundantly poured out on us by God. We have to be truly receptive, that is we have to be truly contrite and ask for it. God is eager and anxious to reconcile us, and the whole world, to God’s self. And that is reason to celebrate.
So if it has been a while since your last
confession, I mean reconciliation, then I urge you to take
advantage of this holy season of Lent to celebrate this sacrament. We celebrate
the Sacrament of Reconciliation every Saturday from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.,
celebrated in the “reconciliation chapel” just off the south end of the foyer
of the church, which used to be the old baptistery. However, during Lent the
lines on Saturdays sometimes get pretty long.
We also have a Communal Penance Service, which has a little music, reading from Scripture, a short bit of preaching, and then the opportunity for individual confession and absolution. Several priests are always at these events so it moves along. Ours at St. Austin is scheduled Monday, March 23 at 7 p.m.
The University Catholic Center (UCC), located on 21st and Whitis, has there Communal Penance Service on this Tuesday, March 10, at 7 p.m. They also have Reconciliation on Mondays at 12:30 p.m. and Tuesdays at 1 p.m. Holy Cross Church has their Penance Service on March 25 at 7 p.m., St. Ignatius Martyr on March 26 at 7 p.m., and San José on March 30 at 10 a.m. and again at 7 p.m. So there are lots of opportunities to celebrate reconciliation.
Pope Francis has recently given some practical tips to prepare for this sacrament by an examination of conscience. He lists 30 key questions to reflect on. You can find a story about it and a list of some of the questions online at http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1500884.htm. Pope Francis is always concrete and challenging.
Also, Paulist novice Mr. Patrick Christ is giving a presentation on “Saying ‘I’m Sorry;’ The Power of Confession” two weeks from today, on Sunday, March 23 at 10:15 a.m., between Masses, just in time for our Parish Communal Penance Service!
Wishing you a blessed Lent!