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Father Muench Says...

Experience the immensity of God’s love

March 6, 2024

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

So, how is your Lenten program going? Here we are at the middle of Lent. This is a good time for a rededication, maybe even a new program for the last few weeks. Soon, it will be Holy Week. This is a good time for some special prayers as preparation for the holiest week of the year.

The middle of Lent is a perfect time to celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation, our Lenten confession. By this time of Lent, each one of us should be aware of the changes we need to make in our lives. Lent should make us aware of what would profoundly improve our journey on the road to becoming a saint.

So, today, let’s talk about confession. As I have mentioned to you before, I again encourage you to take some time to properly prepare for this sacrament. Penance is a sacrament of the Catholic Church. All of our sacraments present us with a unique opportunity to become closer to the Lord Jesus. This is a time of grace, a time to make our Christian life better. To prepare, good questions for us to consider are, “am I a good person?”, “ Does my life make a difference in this world?”, “Should I change?”, “How can I transform my life to live as Jesus asks?” and “Do I have a plan for my future with the help of my Savior?”

This time of preparation must include a time of quiet, a time of silence. I must allow Jesus to be with me, to guide me. I must remove the noise that keeps Jesus from reaching me. I must listen to constantly hear the Lord’s words for me. Then, I must have a plan.

Now, I am prepared to celebrate sacramental confession with the priest. I am ready to come forward before God and the confessor priest to humbly declare that I am a sinner. I urge you to make this formal ritual personal and honest. We come to this sacrament for forgiveness, anxious to realize God continues to love us and that God has not given up on us. We come to seek the support of our God, and we come to dedicate ourselves to change what must be changed in our lives. We are here to develop a plan. We want Jesus to walk with us.

The confessor priest brings to us the power of God’s love. We are challenged to make a change by realizing our failures and sins, whether great or small. The power of this sacrament calls us to turn to God in humility to seek forgiveness and loving support. The sacrament reminds us that this is the time for us to move ahead, now forgiven and ready to dedicate ourselves to live well in the grace of our God. Something powerful happens each time we experience this sacrament of penance: we experience God’s forgiveness.

After confession, what we call a penance – a time to remain with the Lord, a time for a powerful transformation, a time to realize just what has happened through the Lord’s forgiveness. This is a time for silence in the presence of Jesus so that we may discover the Lord’s forgiveness as Jesus leads us to a new life, a live of love and peace, a readiness to change.

The sacrament of penance is a powerful experience for every Catholic. We must all realize how profoundly great this sacrament is for us, for it is in this sacrament that we experience the immensity of God’s love. The Lord’s forgiveness will produce a transformation in all that we do and are, and we will know how to live in the love and peace of Our Savior.

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