A Time of Preparation
Today marks the beginning of Advent and the start of a new Liturgical year. During Advent we look toward Christmas in joyful anticipation. There is a sense of getting everything in order for the Christmas celebration. For our social lives, this may mean decorating for Christmas, cleaning the house, and shopping for our loved ones.
In our spiritual lives, we prepare for Christmas by orienting our days and our lives to Him. As I write this, I am preparing to clean out one of our sacristies. Over the years they accumulate items that aren’t used and get cluttered. Unfortunately there isn’t room for essential supplies and you can’t easily find what you are looking for. When a room is a mess there isn’t room for new growth and you can’t find important things.
The same is true for our souls. When our souls get overcrowded with sin and other concerns, we can’t find Jesus in our lives. When sin clutters our souls, there isn’t room for spiritual growth. Our souls need to be cleaned up.
One of the great ways to clean our souls during Advent is to go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. If we make a good confession and thoroughly confess our sins, the Lord is able to clean up our lives. Like cleaning a room, after going to confession, we should keep our souls tidy. You don’t want it to get messy a couple days after cleaning. Similarly we should try to keep our souls clean for as long as possible and not let it become messy again.
Making a good confession takes preparation and follow through. We prepare for confession by examining our consciences and sometimes making a list of all of our sins. It is important to prepare because we are offering the worst parts of our life to God. He wants all of our junk, not just some of it. After going to confession we should live differently. After receiving the gift of God’s mercy, we should be converted. We hear the words that Jesus says to the woman caught in adultery, “Go and sin no more.”
During Advent there are extra opportunities for confession. There will be an Advent Penance service on December 1st at St. Lawrence in the evening. Immaculate Conception will host a Day of Grace on Wednesday, December 9th from 6am to 10pm. The Day of Grace at St. Joseph will occur on Tuesday, December 22nd. Near the confessional doors there are small guides to help prepare for Reconciliation.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation prepares us to receive our Lord in the Eucharist. Just as cleaning the house prepares us to receive a guest, confession helps us to receive the guest of our souls.
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Sean Wilson