The Sacrament of Forgiveness
John 20:22-23 “And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you Forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” Jesus Christ, King of the Universe established his church with Peter. He also gave the apostles the authority to forgive sins. This authority has been passed down from Peter to your local priest. The hands of a Priest are blessed. Since they act in “Persona Christi” they have the blessing from the Bishop when he laid hands on them to receive the Holy Spirit and now has the authority of The Roman Catholic Church to forgive sins or retain sins.
“It is called the sacrament of forgiveness, since by the priest’s sacramental absolution God grants the penitent “pardon and peace” When you confess your sins to a priest, yes you see the man, but he is acting on behalf of Christ. He is a representative of Christ. The devil tries to poison the people by trying to hide certain sins. Maybe you feel ashamed to tell the priest of a sin. Or maybe you feel so embarrassed, that maybe he will look at you differently from that point forward. But don’t hide anything. If you have a bad confession, and you receive the Body and Blood of Jesus unworthily, then you now have a double mortal sin. The sins of having a sacrilegious confession because you think you can cheat God and then receiving Jesus sacrilegious is enough to send you to hell if you died in your sins. St. Paul says “So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment. Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world” (1 Cor 11:27-32) CCC 1456 “When Christ’s faithful strive to confess all the sins that they can remember, they undoubtedly place all of them before the divine mercy for pardon. But those who fail to do so and knowingly withhold some, place noting before the divine goodness for remission through the mediation of the priest, “For if the sick person is too ashamed to show his wound to the doctor, the medicines cannot heal what it does not know” People have been freed of evil spirits, or very deep torments when they fully acknowledge their sins before God. This is the first step toward healing of the whole person. Some people are healed in one shot, some take time and maybe even years. But God wants all of us to be free. He desires all of us to enter his kingdom.
St. Ambrose says of the two conversion that’s in the church, “There are water and tears; water of baptism and the tears of repentance” CCC 1429 Jesus Forgave Peter for denying him three times. Jesus look of infinite mercy drew tear of repentance from Peter and, after the Lord’s resurrection, a threefold affirmation of love for him. Jesus gives us another sacrament of healing. It’s known as the anointing of the sick. James 5:13-16 “Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” Along with the Sacrament of Forgiveness, people have recovered physically or given the spiritual strength to prepare to go from this life into the eternal life.
“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” God making his appeal through him and pleading: “be reconciled to God” CCC 1450- “penance requires the sinner to endure all things willing, be contrite of heart, confess with the lips and practice complete humility and fruitful satisfaction” In order to confess your sins, you must visit a church or a monastery, find a priest and then tell him the truth. Tell him everything that is bothering you. Tell him all your mistakes and what you could have done better. The serpent just bit you with sin, so in order to get the poison drawn out, you need to tell everything to Jesus. Jesus loves you. He loves you so much and understanding the weakness and needs of men, is the reason why he gave the Church certain tools and gifts to help the flock. It is the most beautiful sacrament behind the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. These are the two powerhouses that you need in order to help yourself in the journey to get to heaven. If confession is hard to do right now, or you know someone who has gone to church in 30, 40 or 50 years. I recommend that you pray the Rosary or the Divine Mercy. Because Mary is the Mother of the Living God, she has been giving the graces and authority to help bring us closer to her Son. Who best to help you know Jesus than his loving Mother, who gave birth to him and watched him die on the cross. “even if you have one foot in hell, one rosary can save your soul” This is from St. Louis de Montfort “The secret of the Living Rosary” He gives the explanation that was given to St. Dominic and Blessed Allen on how we can pray the rosary for our salvation, to make a good confession and with the Help of our Heavenly Mother, bring us directly to Jesus Christ.
When your done confessing your sins. The priest will give you a penance to do. Please do the penance or else your confession is not valid. These are the most powerful words that a priest can say when he is ready to give you absolution. CCC 1449-
God, the Father of mercies,
through the death and the resurrection of his Son
has reconciled the world to himself
and sent the Holy Spirit among us
for the forgiveness of sins;
through the ministry of the Church
may God give you pardon and peace,
and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
When I hear these words, I truly feel in my heart of hearts, that Jesus is the one speaking these words through the priest. How grateful I am with the freedom that is received from this mighty sacrament. Father in Heaven, we thank you for your Son, Jesus for giving the gift necessary for our salvation. Just as you forgave St. Peter and Paul and established these two men to bring the Gospel to the world, may you forgive us our sins and lead us into new life. We ask through the intercession of the Queen of Peace, the Blessed Virgin Mary, who your graces flow through her, help break the vice in the most harden sinner, so that he/she may receive the calling to confess their sins and lead them into everlasting life. We ask God the Holy Spirit to reveal all sins, so that we may make a true and honest confession and be free of all evil. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Peace and Good Tiding,