8.15.2007

Bless Me Father, For I Have Sinned

Reconciliation.... yes, that Sacrament with which many Catholics have a problem. I understand, completely. When I was in high school, college and even after entering the seminary (I am ashamed to say) I did not go to confession. Why? Well, the answer at the time seemed so logical to me -- now it just shows my ignorance.

The reason: I knew I was not a bad person, there wasn't anything that concerned me that much to cause me to avail myself to the opportunity. I hated the sacrament when I was a child, being marched over to the parish church for confession with my classmates, forced into a line of the priest I didn't want to hear my confession, then feeling obligated to make up sins so that I was considered a normal kid.

It wasn't until I got to seminary and had the class on the Sacrament of Reconciliation that my perspective changed. The problem I encountered was looking at my sin as personal. I failed to see the communitarian aspect of sin. Remember our first parents Adam and Eve and their refusal to live in God's love. Because of them, we inherited original sin. As their descendants, we need Baptism to bring us back to the existence we were to occupy from the beginning.

If we remained in that pure post-baptismal state, if we were not tempted, if we were not giving into sin, we would not need the Sacrament of Reconciliation. But we do sin and we need the forgiveness of the Lord. Each sin I commit, I hurt a relationship. The relationship can be with God, another or myself. God created us to be a community. Every time one of us sins we remove humanity from our rightful inheritance. Am I my brother's keeper? What do you think?