I was at Church and they were talking about Reconciliation, what used to be known as Confession. As they were talking I was thinking about all of the good parts of Reconciliation. About how God is there in a special way since it is a sacrament. How He is forgiving you and blessing the priest so that the priest can help you really know that you are forgiven. The three of you working together. About how just voicing it out loud feels like a weight off of your chest. About how the priest, no matter what you say, seems to act as if it is not as bad as you think it is. Some people talk to God and reconcile themselves to Him, and repent their sins because they have fallen short of what He wants for them. Some people do not, either because they forget about it or just don’t find the time. Whether you already do it by yourself or not Reconciliation is a great way for people to take the time out, reevaluate and reconcile yourself with God regardless.
Reconciliation. Good stuff.
They were then talking about the scheduled times and how many priests were going to be there, etc. And then! And then, this visiting priest says, “And don’t believe Satan when he tells you that you can just pray by yourself and be forgiven. To be forgiven you have to be absolved by a priest.”
I kid you not. He said that. Out loud. Right there. In front of God and everybody. I could not believe he just said that. I was just… I don’t know what I was just but I was just in buckets full!
Well, I don’t know what one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church he’s been going to but that is not true.
Jesus said, “The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand! Repent, and believe in the Good News.” Mark 1:15.
Not repent and wait for some person to forgive you. Yes, Jesus made Peter the first Pope when He said, that he was the rock on which Jesus would build His church. But that does not mean that you cannot have your own relationship with God. It never did! What it meant was Peter was the start of the Church. The start of getting the word out about how God Loved the World. About the Good News.
And yes, I have heard the argument about the Church as spiritual decedents of the apostles. I agree. The argument that whatever the church binds on earth is bond in Heaven. Sorry, that is not what that means. God does not follow whatever the apostles or their spiritual decedents say. It was for them to follow God and tell people what is right and what is wrong according to what God tells them, not the other way around.
This is where I believe at this visiting priest, was misguided about religion and what its role is. Religion’s sole job and purpose is to re-legion you with the Divine. Not to put itself between you and the Divine. If religion is not leading you back to God, it is not doing the job that God gave to the apostles. Religion is of man, faith is of God.
Seriously, say that a person is shipwrecked, trapped on a desert island, alone for the rest of his life. Does that mean he is going to Hell since there is no priest to confess to? That is how ridiculous that priest sounded to me.
People, let me make this abundantly, supremely clear.
DO NOT SET LIMITS ON GOD! GOD HAS NO LIMITS! HE IS GOD. HE CAN DO WHAT HE WANTS.
Now, all of that being said, remember that Reconciliation is a good thing. It helps. It is about how God is there in a special way since it is a sacrament. How He is forgiving you and blessing the priest so that he can help you really know that you are forgiven. The three of you working together. About how just voicing it out loud feels like a weight off of your chest. Do not let one man take this good thing away from you.
Peace be with you.