Lent seeks a change of heart that we may truly celebrate Easter. In preparation for this great feast many celebrate this “change of heart” in the Sacrament of Penance. Confession to a priest is an essential part of the Sacrament of Penance but what are we to do this year, when because of coronavirus, Church services are suspended and everyone is to stay at home? Pope Francis spoke about this situation recently and said that we should do what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says. The Catechism reminds us that the confessor is not the master of God’s forgiveness, but its servant. Only God forgives sin and God, who is the Father of tenderness, always waits for the return of the Prodigal and always welcomes with a loving embrace – God’s forgiveness is immediate! In our present uniquely difficult situation, when it is not possible to come to the Church for Confession, speak to God from your heart; acknowledge truthfully what you have done or failed to do, and with all your heart ask forgiveness with a sincere Act of Sorrow confident that God always forgives the contrite. Later, when coronavirus has released its grip, we can return to the Church and avail of Confession, and celebrate the forgiveness that has been so freely given.
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