10 February 2011

The lifting of a burden...

Over the past few days, fifty-seven second grade students have made their confessions in preparation for Confirmation and First Holy Communion this Saturday.  Additionally, last night I heard about thirty confessions of adults and other children not in our school, who will also be receiving the sacraments on Saturday.  Others have come at various times, so that all 104 candidates will be completely prepared for the grace they will be receiving.  Hearing confessions is one of the beautiful privileges of being a priest, and some time ago I wrote this brief meditation about it:
Over the years of his life, a priest hears many thousands of confessions. It is one of the great privileges given to a priest, 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 at the time of coming 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 the waters of baptism flow once again over the sullied soul. In the confessional we are made young again. As a child is brought to the font, so the soul is presented to our Lord for Him to do His work. And when it is done, those happy words: “Go in peace, for the Lord has taken away your sins.”