Lately, with short days and schedule changes, making it over to the local parish for confession has been a challenge. Earlier this week, I thought I would do well to receive this sacrament again but didn’t know when the opportunity would arise. Our directives say that we receive it frequently and regularly (Constitutions 3:11). This difficulty was yet another little challenge to bring to prayer.
It just so happened that I was attending an event at the local Newman Center and Confession was scheduled shortly thereafter. Prayers are answered every day!
There is an area of weakness that has been a continuing struggle for me. Now that I’ve received yet another new beginning with this through this wonderful sacrament, I’m praying that I may persevere. (Unfortunately, old habits die hard and one sin makes it easier to fall again.)
I know I am weak…I know that, on my own, I’ll fall again into the same traps. I might barely make it home and be falling again!
That’s why I pray, “Please stay with me; hold my hand, or better yet, carry me, so that I don’t fail you again in this way.” (Drawn from Luke’s account of the Easter journey to Emmaus)
Over the last several months, after receiving a prayer card entitled: “Stay With Me, Lord,” this scriptural prayer has been especially powerful to me.
Now, as I beg for the grace to make good on my repentant resolutions, it is in my heart once again. I want our Lord to stay with me and support me that I may stay pure as he wishes, like the fresh new snow with which we are often gifted here in North Dakota.
Winter, as much as I get tired of it, has a dimension of beauty to it related to this awesome sacrament of reconciliation. The biblical image of white snow symbolizing restored innocence through God’s forgiveness has resonated with me for years, since the day of my first confession as a second grader.
Walking out of the church building that day, after receiving this sacrament for the first time, the snow on the ground spoke volumes. It was not just ordinary snow or dirty snow, stained by traffic. It was a dazzling white, sparkling like diamonds.
Come now, let us set things right, says the LORD: Though your sins be like scarlet, they may become white as snow; Though they be red like crimson they may become white as wool. (Isaiah 1:18)
As the Catechism, Christ calls us to conversion. However, we need his grace to carry on, day by day.
Jesus calls to conversion. This call is an essential part of the proclamation of the kingdom: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel.’…It is by faith in the Gospel and by Baptism that one renounces evil and gains salvation, that is, the forgiveness of all sins and the gift of new life.
Christ’s call to conversion continues to resound in the lives of Christians. This second conversion [after baptism] is an uninterrupted task for the whole Church who, “clasping sinners to her bosom, [is] at once holy and always in need of purification, [and] follows constantly the path of penance and renewal.” This endeavor of conversion is not just a human work. It is the movement of a “contrite heart,” drawn and moved by grace to respond to the merciful love of God who loved us first. (CCC 1427-28)
How blessed we are to receive such grace in the sacraments!