Friday, March 13, 2009

The Wonder of Confession

Yesterday, we had priests available for confessions for 12 hours from 7am to 7pm and there was a nice stream of people through the day. I am grateful to the priests from other parishes and ministries who came and sat in the confessional to be the source of God's healing and forgiveness for the people.

Sitting in a confessional is an extraordinary and humbling experience. Most of the time those who come to confession have not been "away" from the Church and their confessions are confessions of devotion. On days like yesterday, especially, I find that some will come who have been "away" for many, many years. Those confessions are just such an uplifting experience for the priest and when I ask, as I always do, "what was it that brought you here today?" the answer is always just very simple, "I came to the church to say a prayer and just decided that today was the day." That's the Holy Spirit at work!

The Second Station - Jesus Carries His Cross

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy cross You have redeemed the world.

As you look at this image, what do you imagine the soldier is thinking? He has probably done this a hundred times, hefting the cross onto a man, but this man is different, or is he? The soldiers seem to be the harshest in their treatment of Our Lord, certainly in the Mel Gibson film The Passion of the Christ they are brutal. In St. Matthew's Passion(Mt.27:27-31) and in Mark's(Mk.15:16-20) and in St. John's(Jn.19:1-3) it's the Roman soldiers. St. Luke tells us it was Herod's soldiers(Lk.23:11), but all the evangelists agree that he was treated badly. He was just another criminal. And yet after his death it is a soldier, a centurion, who proclaims "Truly this man was the Son of God"(Mk.15:39, Lk.23:47, Mt.27:54). The experience of Jesus's death leads to conversion - that is what Lent is all about.