My First Reconciliation

reconciliation

Today I did my first Reconciliation (confession) and received absolution for my sins, and the “pardon of peace”. This is a necessary step in  my entering the Catholic Church.

I can’t say much about the experience. Of course it’s very personal. But also, this being my first time, I was in a bit of a fog. Not to say I wasn’t clear-headed, but it was emotional and powerful, and I’m still pondering it a great deal, though I have no doubt about the sacrament. Fr. Francis lead me through the process. He is kind and gentle, and very encouraging. Like with so much of my first-hand experiences with Catholicism over the past few months, this was another occasion for me to say, “why didn’t I do this earlier?”

After the confession and absolution, the penance consisted, in part, of reading the following Psalm, which I find wonderful and beautiful.

Psalms 42 & 43

As a hart longs
for flowing streams,
so longs my soul
for thee, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
When shall I come and behold
the face of God?
My tears have been my food
day and night,
while men say to me continually,
“Where is your God?”
These things I remember,
as I pour out my soul:
how I went with the throng,
and led them in procession to the house of God,
with glad shouts and songs of thanksgiving,
a multitude keeping festival.
Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my help and my God.
My soul is cast down within me,
therefore I remember thee
from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,
from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep
at the thunder of thy cataracts;
all thy waves and thy billows
have gone over me.
By day the Lord commands his steadfast love;
and at night his song is with me,
a prayer to the God of my life.
I say to God, my rock:
“Why hast thou forgotten me?
Why go I mourning
because of the oppression of the enemy?”
As with a deadly wound in my body,
my adversaries taunt me,
while they say to me continually,
“Where is your God?”
Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my help and my God.
Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause
against an ungodly people;
from deceitful and unjust men
deliver me!
For thou art the God in whom I take refuge;
why hast thou cast me off?
Why go I mourning
because of the oppression of the enemy?
Oh send out thy light and thy truth;
let them lead me,
let them bring me to thy holy hill
and to thy dwelling!
Then I will go to the altar of God,
to God my exceeding joy;
and I will praise thee with the lyre,
O God, my God.
Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my help and my God.

Here are a couple of points on the Sacrament of Reconciliation from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

1441 Only God forgives sins. Since he is the Son of God, Jesus says of himself, “The Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins” and exercises this divine power: “Your sins are forgiven.” Further, by virtue of his divine authority he gives this power to men to exercise in his name.

1442 Christ has willed that in her prayer and life and action his whole Church should be the sign and instrument of the forgiveness and reconciliation that he acquired for us at the price of his blood. But he entrusted the exercise of the power of absolution to the apostolic ministry which he charged with the “ministry of reconciliation.” The apostle is sent out “on behalf of Christ” with “God making his appeal” through him and pleading: “Be reconciled to God.”

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