Friday, November 5, 2010

Because the Sacrament of Reconciliation Can Happen Anywhere, At Any Time

It's not my intention to make my child look bad. Suffice it to say, one of our sons made a serious lapse in judgment the other day. He did something wrong and he knew it. My husband and I told him so and he was contrite. We've grounded him for a week. And then this morning, our son and I stopped by our parish after the 8 a.m. Mass so he could go to confession. I reminded him to lay it all out on the table, to leave no aspect of this unfortunate incident unsaid.

Our parish doesn't schedule confessions on Friday mornings. But one wonderful aspect of Catholicism is that a priest is available at any time and in any place to hear a confession. This tells us God's mercy is always available. My son and I walked up to our priest in the sacristy of the eucharistic chapel after Mass. "How are you doing?" he said to both of us with a smile."Fine," I said, drawing my eyes to my son. "So did you want to talk to me about something?" our priest asked our son. He nodded and they walked down the hall to his office.

The power to forgive a sin doesn't belong to me, or to a priest. It belongs to God alone. Christ told his apostles:

Amen I say to you, whatsoever you shall bind upon earth, shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever you shall loose upon earth, shall be loosed also in heaven. Again I say to you, that if two of you shall consent upon earth, concerning anything whatsoever they shall ask, it shall be done to them by my Father who is in heaven. For where there are two or three gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

About 10 minutes later, my priest and my son came down the short hallway from his office and my son went directly into the chapel to pray. As we were heading to the parking lot, I told him how proud I was of his humility and his bravery in making a confession. I told him now that he has apologized to his parents, and to God, we didn't need to discuss this incident further, unless he wanted to. I reminded him that confession is not a Get out of Jail Free card - that we can go ahead and sin and figure we can always confess - but when we stumble, and we will, we need to apologize to those we have harmed and to ask God for forgiveness. I told him God loves us always and God is always ready to forgive. 

And then my son and I went out for breakfast.