02/19/2014, 00.00
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Pope: seek forgiveness of sins in Jesus through the Church, even though "we are ashamed"

Francis, "concerned about what is happening these days in Kiev" invites "all parties to cease all violence and to seek harmony and peace in the country". “We can not forgive ourselves” because "the forgiveness of our sins is not the result of our efforts" but a "gift" that "derives directly from the paschal mystery".

Vatican City ( AsiaNews) - "We can not forgive ourselves" because "the forgiveness of our sins is not the result of our efforts" but a "gift" that "derives directly from the Paschal Mystery" thanks to which "when I go to confession is to be healed, to heal my soul , heal my heart because of something that I did and that is not good". The Sacrament of Reconciliation, and in particular the "need to humbly and trustingly confess our sins to the minister of the Church", although "we are ashamed" was the topic of Pope Francis' audience today. 25 thousand people were in St. Peter's square on a very windy day, among which the Pope toured as usual, blessing, kissing babies , exchanging his skull cap, taking a sip of mate.

The weekly meeting was also an opportunity for the Pope to he say "with a worried soul I have been following what is happening in Kyiv in these days" and to express his "closeness to the Ukrainian people". "I pray - he added - for the victims of violence, their families and the injured. I call on all parties to cease all violence and to seek harmony and peace in the country".

Earlier in his catechesis, that was for the most part improvised, Pope Francis said that "through the sacraments of Christian initiation, Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist man receives new life in Christ. Now, we carry this life "in clay vessels", we are still subject to temptation, suffering and death, because of sin, we may even lose our new life. This is why the Lord Jesus has willed that the Church continue his work of salvation even among its own members, especially through the sacrament of Reconciliation and the Anointing of the Sick which can be joined under the name of the Sacraments of Healing".

Reflecting on the "most profound dynamic that is contained in this Sacrament," Francis noted "first, that the forgiveness of our sins is not something that we can give ourselves, I can not say I forgive my sins, we ask forgiveness of someone else, we ask it from Jesus.  Forgiveness is not the result of our efforts, but it is a gift, a gift of the Holy Spirit, who fills us with cleansing mercy and grace that unceasingly flows from the heart of the Crucified and Risen Christ. Secondly, it reminds us that if we are reconciled in the Lord Jesus Christ with the Father and with our brethren we can truly be in peace. We have all felt this in our heart: when we go to confession our soul is burdened with sadness and when we feel the forgiveness of Jesus, that peace that only He can give us".

Over time, he later recalled, the celebration of this Sacrament passed from a public form to the personal and confidential form. "But this should not make us lose the ecclesial matrix, which constitutes its vital context. Indeed, the Christian community is the place where the Spirit carries out this action, who renews love of God in our hearts and makes all brothers one, in Christ Jesus. So why not just ask the Lord's forgiveness in your mind and in your heart, instead of trustingly and humbly confessing our sins to a minister of the Church? One can say I confess only to God, you can you say God forgive me and say your sins, but our sins are also against our brethren and the Church, and for this we need to tell our sins to a priest. You may say,  Father I am ashamed, but shame is good, because when one has no shame, in my country we say he is shameless, but shame is good, because it makes us humble and the priest receives this confession with tenderness and pardons in the name of God. Even from the human point of view it is good that we get things off our chest with a brother. When we are in the queue for confession we feel these things, even shame, but when we emerge from confession we emerge free, forgiven, great, beautiful, clean and happy. And that 's the beauty of confession".

"I would like to ask you, but do not answer aloud. When was the last time you confessed, two days ago? Two weeks ago? A couple of years ago? 20 years? 40 years? But, we should all take count, and say to ourselves: when was the last time I went to confession. And if it's been a long time, do not waste one more day: go on, the priest will be good to you. Jesus is there, and Jesus is better than any priest, and Jesus will welcome you. He will welcome you with so much love. Be brave and go on, go to Confession".

 "Celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation - concluded the Pope - is like being enveloped in a warm hug: it is the embrace of the infinite mercy of the Father. We should remember that beautiful, beautiful parable of the son who left his house with his inheritance money, wasted all the money and then, when he had nothing, decided to return home, not as a son but as a servant. There was so much guilt in his heart, and he was so ashamed. And the surprise was that when he started to talk and ask for forgiveness, the Father did not let him speak: he embraced him, kissed him and celebrated him. I tell you, every time we confess, God celebrates, He embraces us. Let us go forward on this path".

 

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