confession and mercy
One of the most intense and moving aspects of our friend Lindsey’s journey through the Rites of Initiation into the Catholic Church was his first confession. Granted, neither Karl nor I witnessed his actual confession on Good Friday, but Karl shared with me a little of their conversation that followed. And when I saw Lindsey the next day, I saw a man who had shed 32 years of guilt for indiscretions and sorrow for sins. Lindsey had been looking forward to confession and prepared by writing eight pages worth of sin; he didn’t want forget anything. He confessed, was contrite, and received absolution. ”This is what I’ve been looking for my whole life,” he told Karl afterward. He had been searching for mercy and forgiveness.
I was reminded of this when I came across a blog post by Kathryn Jean Lopez yesterday in which she writes about a homily given on Divine Mercy Sunday by Archbishop DiNoia regarding the Sacrament of Confession, which the Archbishop says “might well and truly be called the “Sacrament of Divine Mercy.”” He went on to say:
In what is itself an act of mercy, accommodated to our human nature, God has given a sacramental and thus tangible form to the bestowal of His mercy. Not only can we express our need for divine mercy in private prayer—hoping that it will be heard—but God has instituted a sacramental form through which to impart His mercy so that, by a sacred ritual comprised of words and gestures, we may speak to Him with unqualified assurance and, very importantly, He can speak to us.
Lopez has more quotes from the Archbishop’s homily. All of them are powerful, convicting, and full of sacramental beauty. Read the whole thing, and then run to the nearest confessional to partake of the incredible mercy that is available there.