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[Jesus] said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” -John 20:21-23

Conversion to Christ, the new birth of Baptism, the gift of the Holy Spirit and the Body and Blood of Christ received as food have made us “holy and without blemish,” just as the Church herself, the Bride of Christ, is “holy and without blemish.” Nevertheless the new life received in Christian initiation has not abolished the frailty and weakness of human nature, nor the inclination to sin that tradition calls concupiscence, which remains in the baptized such that with the help of the grace of Christ they may prove themselves in the struggle of Christian life. This is the struggle of conversion directed toward holiness and eternal life to which the Lord never ceases to call us. –Catechism of the Catholic Church 1426.

As we try to follow the example of perfection set forth by Jesus himself, we can’t help but fall through our weakness. So, God gave us a sacrament of mercy so that we can come to Him and receive forgiveness from our sins as well as His grace to go and overcome our temptations. None of us are perfect while here on earth and we need to entrust ourselves to the mercy of God and the Sacrament of Reconciliation is that opportunity to be forgiven.

We know that there are many fears regarding this sacrament, primarily to fear of confessing one’s sins to the priest. 20120302-_DSC0721-EditThis fear should not impede us as we confess to our loving Lord through the ministry of the priest and our confession is sealed never to be shared with anyone, ever. The shame we have for sins can be another roadblock and is not based in the truth of the sacrament, but in our imagined worst case scenario. Even when we sin we are beloved children of God and God calls us back to Him so He can heal us. He is like a father wanted to bandage his child’s skinned knees after falling. Therefore, we trust in God’s merciful presence as we confess our sins.