This past November I had one of the most outstanding experiences I believe I have ever encountered. Every November we celebrate our Second Graders’ First Reconciliation at Saint Peter’s. They have spent approximately two months preparing for this sacrament and they were ready!
As I looked around the church, some with smiles as wide as the ocean, ran right up to get into line and waiting in happy anticipation. Others, a little more hesitant, sat back in their pews or huddled very close to mom and dad. The one thing they all had in common was upon completion all turned from the confessional, scanned the crowd for mom or dad, and were completely filled with joy!
This is how it happens every year, and although wonderful, it is not the outstanding experience I previously mentioned.
It is a family reconciliation where parents and other relatives are also encouraged to receive the sacrament. The beauty of the sacrament brightly shown this year through the eyes of the parents.
One parent, clearly as hesitant as the kids, was taken by the hand by their child and led to the priest- a child wanting their mom to experience the same “great thing” that they had. Two others were moved to tears during and after their confession by the power of the sacrament. Another who had recently entered the Church experienced tears at her “first confession” right along with her own child. Afterwards, she commented that it was “wonderful”.
Jesus died on the cross for the forgiveness of sins. As it is said, “No one can have greater love than to lay down his life for his friends.” This sacrament was given to us by Christ so that we might be able to always live in his love. It was a gift freely given to us for no other reason than to share God’s life with us.
When I think of pure love without any attachments it has to be the purity of God’s love. What a perfect sacrament, what a personal encounter with God. In this month of “love”, if someone were today to ask me what love is I would have to say the forgiveness of God!
Director of Religious Education and Youth Director