15 November 2012

The Sacrament of Reconciliation


Over the years of his ministry, a priest hears many thousands of confessions. It is one of his great privileges, to pronounce the words of absolution which free a penitent from those chains which have bound him. There is perhaps no other time that the priest feels so deeply the sense of that fatherhood which gives him his title.

A child of God speaks the words, “Bless me, father, for I have sinned…” and in the quiet of the confessional the power of Christ is stirred for the renewal of the soul. That which was broken is healed. What was so heavy is lifted. It is its own magnum mysterium as new birth is once more imparted to the penitent. The Divine hears through the human ear. The fruits of Calvary are applied, and it is as though the waters of baptism flow once again over the sullied soul.

In the confessional we are made young again. Just as a child is brought to the font to be cleansed of the stain of original sin, so in the confessional the soul is presented to our Lord for Him to do His work of forgiveness. And when it is done, those happy words: “Go in peace, for the Lord has taken away your sins.”