My youngest son is in sacramental preparation for Reconciliation. This is the year the Church designates that he is old enough to know sin, the make choices and to be responsible for his life. He is 7.
Â The amazing thing is that he DOES know the difference between right and wrong. He can identify sin and understand that his conscience makes him feel bad when he sins.
Innocence does not last long. SEVEN YEARS OLD.
The act of reconciliation is the literal turning away from sin. It means we recognize our faults and turn 180 degrees away and walk toward godliness. Our hearts should be contrite. We should feel that our sins mark us. Only through our faith and the love of God are we washed clean and made anew.
When Cameron made his 1st reconciliation 4 years ago, I hadÂ an ever increasing weight upon my conscience. I had not made traditional “confession” since high school. That is not to say I had not come before my Lord humbly and with contrition. Everyday, sometimes at the act of sinfulness, I ask for forgiveness. I am keenly aware of my waywardness. But…..I felt COMPELLED to make a traditional confession to a priest, a peer. There are few thingsÂ more humbling than to speak aloud my faults and sins to another person. Gods knows already all that I have done or thought. But to tell my peer that I have sinned, is a genuine act of contrition. I strip myself of all pretense and present myself….not for judgement but for the Lord’s forgiveness. Is it humiliating? Not at all. I felt cleansed. I felt God had made me new. I felt like someone had wiped the chalkboards clean……making room for all my new sins. (sad but true)
It helped to have a priest attuned to my situation. Fr. Ignatius encouraged me to make a “good confession”. We went down the Commandments and covered all the bases. After seventeen years, the soul is cluttered with offenses. I felt lifted up afterwards.
If you are Catholic, make a formal confession. If you have not made confession for a long time…..accept that you will fumble through it. Take notecards. Who cares! If you are not Catholic, sit somewhere and do an examination of your conscience. It is truly amazing and it is sobering. It may make you incomfortable; but, it will cleanse you.
Do we want to be coated in grime and filth? Do we like mold and mildew. That is how I imagine sin…..it is like grime. Examination, confession and reconciliation are basically a spiritual form of bleach. It stings a little, it smells really harsh, but after a few minutes….everything it brilliant and clean and decontaminated.
God loves us even through all the filth.