Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Reconciliation of a Penitent

The purpose of confessing our sins is to receive absolution and the assurance that God loves us and forgives us. The Anglican Church has a rite similar to the Confessional. Indeed, some Anglican church-buildings have confessional boxes.

There are various ways to receive forgiveness and reconciliation with God. The most familiar are the General Confession (aka – Confession and Absolution [pg. 191, BAS]) and Baptism. We also have prayers for forgiveness as one of the petition in the Prayers of the People. The Lord’s Prayer also asks, “forgive us our sins (trespasses).” And we teach that the simple act of receiving Communion is an act of penitence.

We mustn’t forget our personal prayer is perhaps the most effective way of receiving absolution. Simply saying, “God, forgive me!” And it doesn’t even really need to be with words, it could be a thought or a feeling. It is in that moment that we are to be assured that God does forgive us. Period!

Then there’s the Reconciliation of a Penitent, an act of confession made to a priest. The instructions say that confessions may be made at any time and in any suitable place. But I have found that it can take place in my office, people’s living rooms, in hospital rooms, at a funeral home, at the mall and even in a taxi cab.

The liturgy for the Reconciliation of a Penitent (Page 167 BAS) is for all who desire it and is not restricted to time of sickness. The service is private. Absolution is restoration to full fellowship in the Church. The priest declares the forgiveness which Christ commanded.

On April 11, 2017, (Tuesday in Holy Week) the chapel will be open and I will hear confession from 1 – 3 in the afternoon and 7 – 9 in the evening. Come in if the door is open and don’t linger afterwards. The service ends with a request that the penitent: Go in peace, and pray for me a sinner.

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