Intentions of the Holy Father for April

Ecology and Justice. That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
Hope for the Sick. That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.

The Communion of Sinners

So, I've had this thought bouncing around in my head over the last few weeks.  Lining up for the confessional, I bumped into an acquaintance of mine.  Since I mostly make my confessions at the same time and same place each week, it's actually not that odd for me to bump into people I know in line at the confessional.  A smile or a nod passes between the two of us.  The smile or nod means a lot.  It means, "Hi."  It means, "Glad I'm not the only one I know that uses this thing."  It means, "Hey, another sinner.  That's great!"

 In Line for Confession
Well, clearly it's not great that we are all sinners.  What is great, though, is that it's not just one of us.  Wouldn't that stink?  Literally, one person would be to blame for all the world's mess.  It would be easy for the rest of us to feel self-righteous, especially toward that poor slob, but I do not believe that would be a good thing.

Instead, we have the situation of all of us needing Jesus.  Our sins may be different in "species and number," and even in gravity, but not in essence.  In essence, our sins are all affronts to the will of our Creator and against our own dignity.  We are called to live in the communion of saints, the strong bond of those redeemed and sanctified by Christ.  For the time being, while we haven't left sin behind entirely yet, we might as well get on with the work of building up a strong bond of those being redeemed and sanctified by Christ.  This communion will only grow among us to the extent that we admit what we have in common: that we are all sinners.  There's no use pretending, acting like we don't see each other in line for the confessional.  Instead, it's probably best to admit to ourselves that we are sinners, and in very specific terms what sort of sinners we are.  We should also admit to each other freely, easily in general terms, that we are sinners.  We can do so, if in no other way, by making an appearance in our local parish's confessional line.  To the extent that we can safely do so with people we trust, it might not hurt to share with each other in more specific terms the ways we sin.  In fact, it might heal to know that we are loved, not only by God, but by our brothers and sisters... sins and all.  Confessing our sins to our priest and, when prudent, to each other can only build up the communion of sinners until, hopefully, one day we enter perfectly into the communion of saints.

Oh, wait a minute.  You weren't in line for the confessional?  Oh.  I see.  Well, I suppose there's one thing more priggish than a person who sins and then tries to act like he's perfect: someone who doesn't even think he sins.  You do sin, don't you?  Then 'fess up.  Join the confessional line, the communion of sinners - so that you can be made worthy to enter into that other communion line.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I loved this post.

I got a huge hug while waiting in line for reconciliation last week. From an older man in my Bible study. It was awesome. I should write you more about it.