VALENTINE’S DAY: THE SACRAMENT OF GOD’S LOVING FORGIVENESS
With the beginning of this month of February, many people are focused on Valentine’s Day—a time to express love, friendship, care, and appreciation for special people in our lives. We may choose to give flowers, a special greeting card, a unique gift, a lovely meal together, a face time call, etc. As with many of you, I have heard people say that everyday should be Valentine’s Day, everyday should be a time to show unconditional love, understanding, patience, compassion, forgiveness, and mercy, especially to members of our own family, friends, and community!
As Catholic Christians, we are reminded that God offers us a spiritual Valentine’s Day each and every day of our lives. The Sacrament of the Risen Body and Blood of Christ in Holy Communion immediately comes to mind. We have all heard the Saints, such as St. Athanasius, proclaim, “Receive the Body of Christ, that you may be the Body of Christ!”
Jesus teaches through His Church that there is a close link between holiness and the Sacrament of God’s loving forgiveness. Many times because of fear, shame, or influences of the world telling us that we don’t need this Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession), we miss or underrate the importance of this Sacrament that is meant to be a Gift from God and fills us with God’s Mercy. We can so easily forget that the Sacrament of Confession opens the doors to participate in the feast of the Holy Eucharist and leads us into the holiness and grace that God wants to give us.
Many times people say, “I confess directly to God.” If you think or say this, please, then go to confession. This Sacrament is the safest way to confess directly to God. If you are not convinced, consider what you mean by “direct” and “indirect.” When I want to speak directly with someone, it is just not enough to have an inner and spiritual dialogue. I like going to see the person and talking with him or her face-to-face. I am more like those Greeks who said to Philip: “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” God knows how much we need this concrete and physical certainty.
This is why God the Son became flesh and dwelt among us. For this reason, Jesus instituted the Sacraments as visible, concrete, tangible, mediations. These are the real direct ways to let God connect with us!
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