“NOW is the Day of Salvation”
The above quote is from St Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians, 6:2. Lent is a real season of grace – a time for purification and conversion when we want to grow closer to Our Lord and leave sin behind. Has it been a while since you made a good Confession? Our Lord warns us many times in the Gospel that we must be on our guard – this means keeping our souls in the state of grace, because we never know when He will come. This applies not only to His Second Coming at the end of time but also to our death. There are certain sins that kill the life of grace in the soul. It’s what we call “mortal sin”. If we die in that state we will be eternally separated from God. This is why the Church has always urged upon us frequent confession of our sins and especially of any mortal sins.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church has this to say: “According to the Church’s command, “after having attained the age of discretion, each of the faithful is bound by an obligation faithfully to confess serious sins at least once a year.” Anyone who is aware of having committed a mortal sin must not receive Holy Communion, even if he experiences deep contrition, without having first received sacramental absolution”(#1457). While Baptism washes away all sins and their punishment, Our Lord gave us the Sacrament of Penance for the forgiveness of sins committed after Baptism. His power of forgiving sins is exercised through a bishop or a priest in the Sacrament of Penance.
Forgiveness of serious sin only happens in this life. Purgatory is where we pay the debt of temporal punishment for those sins which have already been forgiven in the Sacrament of Penance. Mortal sins are not forgiven in Purgatory. Mercy is now, and it’s available now in such abundance. We would be mad not take advantage of it. But to access that mercy we need to humble ourselves and confess and repent of our sins.
Making the effort to go to Confession and confessing our sins to a priest (remember a priest must go to Confession too) can be challenging, but the feeling of liberation after is overwhelming. When we have made a good Confession and confessed all the serious sins we can remember, and we hear the priest say over us the words, “I absolve you from your sins…”, we have the guarantee of Christ that all our sins have been forgiven. Our Lord literally draws us out of the pit and makes our souls beautiful again. What peace of soul this gives! The scheduled times for Confessions at St Mary’s are Saturdays 10-11am and 5.30-5.55pm and Sundays 10.30-10.55am. But you may ask a priest for the Sacrament any time.
Fr Paul Gillham, IC