The Sacrament of Reconciliation
The Catholic Church teaches that sin is
"before all else an offense against God, a rupture of communion
with Him." This sacrament repairs the damage and has three
essential parts, confession of one’s sins, the forgiveness of those
sins, and one’s reconciliation with God and the faith community.
Sometimes people hesitate to go to confession
because it has been a long time since they've been. Because they feel
they've committed unforgivable sins or are afraid they can't remember
everything they need to confess. Because they don't want to tell their
sins "outside the box" where the priest can see them.
Because, with all the changes in the Church in the last 30 years, they
aren't sure how they're supposed to go to confession now. Because they
can't remember the Act of Contrition.
Your parent may not even bring up the subject
of going to confession but may appreciate it if you do. It's good to
remind Mom or Dad:
● If it's been a long time since your
parent last celebrated this sacrament, then it's a great time to do it
again. The priest isn't going to scold him or her.
● No sin is unforgivable. Nothing Dad
says is going to shock the priest.
● Mom doesn't need to remember a
complete list of all the wrong she has done or worry about forgetting
something. For example: "There were times I was angry when I
shouldn't have been" rather than "On this day, I got mad at
this person. On that day, I got mad at that person" and so on.
● The priest, in Jesus' name, offers
forgiveness and peace. Offers God's grace. It can be wonderful to
receive that face-to-face.
● Dad doesn't have to worry about how
to go to confession. Again, the priest will be happy to gently lead
him through it.
● An act of contrition can be as simple
as "I'm sorry." Your mother doesn't need to recite the exact
prayer, word for word, she learned as a child.
In recent years this sacrament hasn't been
used much and that's too bad. Even if your parent doesn't want to
celebrate reconciliation, consider going yourself.
It's a source of grace—of spiritual
strength and blessing—that can make a tremendous difference in your
life, especially at this time in your role as a caregiver.
To read more about the Sacrament of
Reconciliation visit the United States Conference of Catholic
Bishops' site which includes an on-line edition of the Catechism.
Here is the link: