On Saturday, Andrew and his CCD classmates made their first Sacrament of Reconciliation in preparation for his First Holy Communion in April. Our Pastor, Sister Elizabeth and the second grade teachers did a nice job putting together a little ceremony. First there was a song, than the children were brought up to Father to be “received.” Then there was a reading from the Gospel, a very nice homily and an examination of conscious followed by the actual private confessions. Each child picked out a rock out of a basket that represented the heaviness and burden of sin which he or she handed to Father after confessing. Then after giving the absolution, Father gave each child a soft heart to represent having a clean or “new” heart now that they were reconciled with God. After coming out of the confessional, the child had his or her baptismal candle lit and walked up to the front of church were they pinned a lamb with their name on it. They were the lamb being returned to the Good Shepherd.
It is hard to describe in words, but the ceremony was quite touching and sweet. What struck me the most though, had nothing to do with the ceremony. It had to do with the children themselves. All of them were so full of joy and excitement to be going to their First Confession. And the smiles they had after coming out of the confessional was almost brighter than the sun!
Their joy really got me thinking, especially with Lent beginning next week. (Yes, next week!) I don’t know about you, but I don’t always go to confession with joy in my heart. Okay, to be real, I pretty much never go to confession with joy in my heart. I go pretty regularly because I know it’s what we should do as Catholics but if I could avoid it, I probably would. And I get frustrated with repeating the same sins over and over again. (When oh when will I get my patience under control!!) You, too, or is it just me?
Those children remind me and exhort me to look at the beauty of the sacrament, to rediscover the joy of be made right with God, to remember and accept His love and grace which is offered to me each time I make Confession. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is an amazing gift from God.
With Lent coming next week, I think I am going to try and not only go to confession a little more often, but also to try and rediscover the joy of the Sacrament.
What about you? How do you experience the Sacrament of Reconciliation? Is going to confession a joy to you? How do you bring joy in celebrating this sacrament?