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Have you gone to confession this Advent? If not, you are missing an integral part of being Catholic: the ability to receive sacramental forgiveness of your sins.
The first weeks of Advent emphasized the immediacy of the Second Coming of Christ. He will come to judge the living and the dead, as the creed tells us.
But “when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?” Jesus Himself asks in the Gospel. Will He find even a small remnant faithful to His Word? These are the questions the Church strives to answer in every generation.
But being faithful has nothing to do with being sinless.
Recall words of St. John: “If we say, ‘We have not sinned,’ we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”
One offshoot of modern culture is the loss of the sense of sin, leading people to develop a self-righteous mentality. Christianity then becomes a set of rules that we either follow, or easily excuse ourselves from. The Sacrament of Reconciliation then becomes irrelevant.
Instead, the universal call to holiness that every Christian has the right and obligation to pursue, inevitably passes through the personal recognition of our faults, our sins and our weaknesses.
Many find it quite embarrassing to confess sins. But there are many graces that come through confession. For one, it allows us to examine our consciences and challenges us to strive to choose good and avoid evil, in short, to convert everyday. Also, it helps us to understand the faults of others. How can you forgive if you do not feel forgiven?
St. Paul reminds us of God’s words, as related by the prophet Isaiah. “In a favorable time I heard you, and on the day of salvation I helped you.”
With St. Paul we encourage you in this time of advent to take advantage of this “second Baptism,” as tradition defines the Sacrament of Penance. “Behold, now is the favorable time, now is the day of salvation.”