Monday, April 13, 2009

THE VINEYARD KEEPER: Reflection 04/12/2009

At a Confession the Priest asked the penitent when was the last time he received the same Sacrament. The latter says, 2 hours ago father. Extremely astonished the priest raises his voice a bit and says, "What? Just about 2 hours ago?!" "Yes father and I'm coming back because something grave transpired in between!"

Our visiting French Priest last February, before leaving the Kingdom, had informed us that he would be returning in early April but had highlighted something very surprising. "I'll be coming back in April just couple of days before the Passion Week, but the first thing I would do is to extend penitential services to all communities instead of masses." Yes 3 days overnight confession was his important message. And that what exactly happened. Three separate overnight confessions with the CFC, Legion of Mary and other Catholic communities.

It just so amazing that of my 20 years in the Kingdom, (even in my entire Catholic life) that was the only time I experienced being stuck in a confession queue for an hour at almost in the middle of the night. (By the way, these are not done in the Church but in house-churches 'ekklesiai' as early Christians would call it because we don't have physical church structure in the place where we are now. 'Patago lang ang lahat na 'to mga kapatid.)

But the main thing that I'm trying to point out here is what made our priest encouraged us to go for a confession? Actually he's been coming back and forth for over a year now discreetly moving around conducting masses and baptisms in 'ekklesiai.' But you know what? I'm suspecting that through out his stay he'd noticed that hardly anyone comes to see him for a confession and had perhaps sensed that everyone just loved to receive the Holy Communition and thwarting what one's inner conscience dictates.

He is of course well aware of the peril that every community member had to compromise for we're in a place that strictly prohibits from exercising our faith. The fervor attitudes and pieties of community members are also not hidden from his very eyes and yet he's insisting the necessity of confession. WHY? Because he is also very much aware that our religious piety isn't the ultimate spiritual detergent that cleanses our soul. The principal means that purifies our soul is our connection with Jesus thru the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It's just like heeding His instruction to the lepers, "Go and show yourself to the priest!" (Mark 1:44)

Confession is a very intimate experience with Jesus. It's a supreme expression of our humility and submission to God's will. Since 'sin' does not only affect our relationship with God, but from other people and church as well, Jesus instituted this Sacrament (John 20:21-23) so that a sinner who reconciles with Him receives pardon and peace and is restored to the fullness of grace with God. What a lovely thing?

I've learned a great lesson from this priest! May we won't be deceived to think that by engrosing ourselves with religious pieties and prayer meetings we can already skip the Sacrament of Confession. As no one would take risk by not seeing a doctor if he's seriously ill, we 'must' deal the same treatment to our soul as well. We should seek to see a priest when something grave happened in between.

Be blessed.