Every sacramental reconciliation helps to build us up.
We are in this together.
I have incessantly hollered that no initiative of renewal (New Evangelization, etc.) will succeed if we do not revitalize our liturgical worship. (Thank God and Pope Benedict for Summorum Pontificum.)
This means, principally, our liturgical worship which is Holy Mass must be revitalized. However, to participate at Holy Mass with the culmination of active participation, which is the reception of Communion, we must be in the state of grace.
Therefore, the Sacrament of Penance must be revitalized.
Use of, celebration of the Sacrament of Penance, is a liturgical action, a form of worship of Almighty God. The Sacrament of Penance must also be revitalized if any other effort to renew Holy Church is going to succeed.
Check out this story from CNA:
Vatican City, Mar 9, 2012 / 04:20 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Confession and true conversion of people’s hearts is the “motor” of all reform and an authentic “force for evangelization,” Pope Benedict XVI told a gathering of priests and deacons March 9.
The Pope reflected on confession in an address to 1,300 participants [Holy Cow! This course has grown over the years. I took it several times. Repetita iuvant.] in the Apostolic Penitentiary’s annual course on the “internal forum,” a technical term for the area of personal conscience and judgment in the priest-penitent relationship.
In a novel speech, he connected the New Evangelization and confession, saying that the effort to spread the Gospel draws life from “the sanctity of the sons and daughters of the Church, from the daily process of individual and community conversion, conforming itself ever more profoundly to Christ.” [This is precisely what I have been talking about in regard to revitalization of our liturgical worship, especially of Holy Mass.]
“Thus each confession, from which each Christian will emerge renewed, will represent a step forward for new evangelization.”
Priests are also able to become collaborators in the New Evangelization by hearing confessions, the Pope said. They have as many possible “new beginnings” as sinners they encounter, he noted, because those who truly experience the mercy of Christ in confession will become “credible witnesses of sanctity.” [What I have been shouting for years is that we need a revitalization of liturgical worship in order to know who we are as Catholics. If we don’t know who we are, we have nothing of value to contribute in the public square. Our words and deeds won’t have the authority of being authentic, of being channels as it were of Christ’s own words and deeds. Christ has no hands and feet on earth but ours. This is also why I have been hammering away at the need to restore the Sacrament of Penance to its proper use.]
Pope Benedict also reflected on what happens spiritually during the sacrament of confession. The repentant sinner is “justified, forgiven and sanctified,” thanks to the divine mercy, which is the “only adequate response” to humankind’s need for the infinite, he said.
The forgiveness of sins has a direct impact on efforts to spread the Gospel, he explained, pointing out that only those “who allow themselves to be profoundly renewed by divine grace can internalize and therefore announce the novelty of the Gospel.” [There it is!]
The Pope also had some words for priests who hear confessions. He stressed the importance of spiritual and canonical preparation, [CANONICAL! Get that? We priests need to know the law well and know how to have recourse to proper authority when certain cases arise.] and reminded them that priests must be the first to renew an awareness of themselves as sinners who need sacramental forgiveness to renew their encounter with Christ. [My Jesus, mercy.]
He finished his talk by urging his fellow priests to always make “novelty of Christ” the focus of their priestly lives so that others will see Christ in them.
Reverend Bishops, Brother Priests… for the love of God and neighbor and for the sake of your future and impending judgment before God’s face, hear confessions, preach about confessions, make your own confessions.
A few final points.
- In the Sacrament of Penance Christ Himself, through the priest who acts in Christ’s own Person, forgives your sins.
- The Sacrament of Penance is the ordinary means of forgiveness of sins which Christ Himself intended for us all to use.
- There is no sin that we little mortals can commit which God, in His infinite power and mercy, cannot and will not forgive if we are sorry, we confess it, and we receive absolution.
- In the Sacrament of Penance, our sins are taken away. They are not just covered over or set aside. They are gone, removed, eradicated. We will remember them and we need to do penance out of justice in reparation for them, but they will not be held against us in our judgement.
- You are going to die one day and you will be judged. This life is your time to prepare for that and the Sacrament of Penance is how Christ Himself wanted us to approach Him for forgiveness. That is why He instituted the Sacrament of Penance: so that we would use it.
Bishops and Priests:
- You are sinners who need to use the Sacrament of Penance. Go to confession often.
- You were ordained to say Mass and to forgive sins. Hear confessions according to the offices you have been given.
- You were ordained to help as many people as possible avoid hell and get to heaven. Hear confessions. Teach about the sacrament.
- You are going to die go before your Judge not just as any ordinary person, but as a priest, forever. You will remain a priest in heaven or in hell and your reward will be proportioned to what you have been given, how you have used that gift, and how you have loved in response to God’s gift. Hear confessions.
- If you don’t willingly hear confessions and teach about the importance of the sacrament – according to the mandate you have been given – your judgment will be harsh. Hear confessions.