Breathing on them, he said: "Receive the Holy Spirit. For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained." -John 20:22-23
Why Reconciliation? We need healing from the effects of Sin.
When Adam and Eve committed the original sin shame and uneasiness replaced openness and confidence. When we act contrary to our true selves, we too experience self-alienation and shame. Like Adam and Eve, when we sin, the nakedness of trust is replaced by a cloak of defensiveness. No matter how attractive and pleasurable sin may seem, it has a diminishing and disintegrating effect on our inner selves and impacts those around us. We all know only too well how self-centered behavior alienates us from family, friends and acquaintances. Sin is a subversive force in the community because it introduces division and problems.
Where did Reconciliation come from? Jesus gives us this sacrament.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation was instituted by Jesus on Easter Sunday, when Christ first appeared to the apostles after his Resurrection. Breathing on them, he said: “Receive the Holy Spirit. For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained” (John 20:22-23). For us, the sacrament begins with an examination of conscience. Our conscience is where we are alone with our God and where those monumental and not so monumental decisions we are all faced with in our lives are made. The aim of the examination is not so much to weigh our good and bad deeds as it is to reflect on how generous our responses to God and people have been. We are examining what we have done and what we have failed to do in our thoughts, in our deeds and words.
Christ brings us to healing through the priest.
We Catholics confess our sins to a priest who comes representing the Church which is the Body of Christ. Confession is psychologically healthy. By naming and confronting our sinful acts and habits they lose much of their power over us. The priest helps draw out those issues that are disrupting our relationships with God and others and assists the faithful in taking corrective actions to make up for the damage our sin caused the community.
Confessing our sins is a part of our prayer life in addition to the specific Sacrament.
When the faith community of Espiritu Santo gathers each Sunday as a community to celebrate Mass we communally pray “I pray to the Lord our God and to you my brothers and sister for God’s for all I have done and failed to do …..” Confessing our sins as a community is part of our preparation to embrace Christ in the scriptures and in the Eucharist.
Communal Reconciliation Services are held during the season of Advent and Lent and individual reconciliation is held each Saturday at 9:00 am and 3:00 pm. If you wish to schedule an appointment with a priest please call the Parish Office at 727.726.8477.