The Sacrament of CPR

Julie at Happy Catholic has a great quote on her blog about Confession: "Some people have a terrible guilt hanging over their heads even after they have been to confession. This robs them of the joy of the Lord and of receiving the Lord's forgiveness in a personal and conscious way. Not to be able to forgive yourself is pride. When we go to confession, we realize that we fell, but Jesus forgives us. That's the beauty of our good and compassionate God. -Sister Briege McKenna"

I wonder how many people consider it the compassionate thing for God to ask us to recount our sins. The Sacrament is known alternately as Confession, Penance, or Reconciliation; all three steps in that order are necessary for the graces to be received most fully. I call it the Sacrament of CPR because we don't often realize until we're kneeling there how very much we were struggling to Breathe, struggling to Be Alive. It restores us, rehabilitates our relationship with Christ, makes us ready to receive him in the Eucharist.

All of these expressions of catechetical fact seemed trite until I actually started going to Confession regularly. Now I know that they couldn't be more true. The key is to get a good confessor; you'll know one when you find him. And then you'll wonder where he's been all your life (or at least you will if you grew up like me, deprived of the Sacrament in its fullness).

To ask the Lord for mercy is to acknowledge your proper relationship with Christ: one who has knelt and wept, who has felt each wound, who has cried for mercy too. Our glory is in the Cross. Emmanuel is with us as we kneel and helps us rise. There is no greater Love~

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