Despite my inability to actually write up a post each week, I am reading along. I have gotten a bit behind here and there but not so much that I couldn't easily catch up. I have to say, this book is perfect for someone like me. The chapters are relatively short and it's an easy read. It's packed full of great information, but presented in an easy to follow way.
That being said, I really wanted to write a post last week but simply ran out of time. Last week's chapter was on the sacraments of initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist). It really had me reflecting on the importance of these sacraments and especially on witnessing my own children's baptisms. I've still not shared pictures from either Baptism, and I have some really nice ones. I may still. One day.
But let's move on to the healing sacraments: Penance and Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick.
I have a love-hate relationship with the sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. My first one was in the second grade. For my second, I was in my mid-twenties, probably around 26 or 27 at the time. That's a long time to go without the graces of this sacrament. I remember how wonderful it was to finally go again. I had gotten to a point where I understood the importance of Reconciliation and knew that I needed to go again (after many years of poor catechesis followed by years away from the Church) and wanted to go, but was scared to take that next step. I ended up at a retreat and knew that was my time. I remember being a ball of nerves prior to going in and then feeling amazingly light when I walked out. I totally felt like a new person.
I thought of this when Paprocki says "that at our deepest core, we are unable to sustain ourselves." In other words, we need God's graces to survive in this world. I certainly felt this that day that I went to the sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time in 20 years. We are all sinners and we need Reconciliation to help us grow as Christians. We need to physically voice our sins and hear that we are forgiven. We are physical beings so it only makes sense that we engage all our senses in seeking God's forgiveness.
I'm still not very good about going to this sacrament, but at least I've gotten a bit better. It always takes me a while to get up the gumption to go, but once I'm there I'm always grateful that I made myself do it. It's been harder since I've had little children in my life. I'm pleased to say that my church is adding times for Reconciliation on Sundays, right before and right after the Mass that we usually attend. It's just once a month, but hey, better than nothing and it's very doable for both myself and my husband. I'm already planning on going at one of the next opportunities I have. Can't wait!
I love, too, how this is one of the sacraments of healing. I think we often forget that our soul needs healing as well. Even more reason to not take this sacrament for granted. We need to take advantage of the availability of it and try to go on a regular basis. And I'm talking to myself here too. As I said at the beginning of this reflection, I have a love-hate relationship with this sacrament. It's so hard to make myself go, and yet the wonderful feeling of forgiveness is unbeatable.
The Church needs to see a resurgence in people taking advantage of the sacrament of Reconciliation. Can you imagine how strong the Church would be if more people were receiving the graces of Reconciliation on a regular basis?
This post is being linked up to the Lawn Chair Catechism series on CatholicMom.com. Go check out the post for Week 10 HERE for discussion questions and more discussion and reflection on both the sacraments of Penance and Reconciliation and the Anointing of the Sick.