Sunday, April 18, 2010

Encounter with Mercy

I've noted here before that I have a love/hate relationship with the Sacrament of Reconciliation a/k/a Confession.  Yes, I think it is a good idea.  Yes, I believe it is a gift from God to his Church.  Yes, I do think there is Biblical support for it.  No, I don't like going and yes, I generally feel great after I go.

Encounter with Mercy is a pocket-sized booklet sub-titled "A Step-by-Step Guide to the Sacrament of Reconciliation".  As it is only 60 pages, it can be read in an hour, and can be used as a reference guide thereafter.  It is easy to read, encouraging and yet challenging.  It includes stories about people whose lives were changed for the better by the Sacrament.  Ten reasons to go to confession are listed, as are ten things you can expect from confession.  Next listed, and described, are seven things expected from you in confession.  Since objections to the sacrament are frequent, seven of them are listed, and countered with scripture.  Folks my age missed out on a lot of the lists of things, like commandments, virtues, fruits of the Spirit, works of mercy etc. when we were in religion class.  The next section of this book gives quite a few such lists that Catholics should know (or at least know of). The main preparation for the sacrament (and in my opinion one of the least pleasant part of the whole operation) is the examination of conscience, and the book gives seven of them.  Once you've done that, you are ready to approach the priest, and there is a six-step guide about what to do once the door closes.  Finally you are given seven ways to promote confession.

I received a complimentary copy of Encounter with Mercy from The Catholic Company.  It is going to take up long-term residence in my purse.  Perhaps having it there will encourage me to do what I know I should do.


  1. I've had my eye on this one for awhile. Glad to hear you thinks it's a keeper.

  2. Is reviewing this book one of the seven ways to promote this sacrament? lol
    It sounds very interesting...and very needed. Not to get on my soapbox...which I always keep handy...but i must say it disturbs me that you go to confession on a Saturday afternoon and there are a few people there..and yest EVERYONE receives Communion on Sunday. Am I the only person in the world sinning and in need of God's grace and forgiveness? I think not.

  3. Caite, of course you are the only sinner out there--not. Seriously though, I wonder if at least a little of the blame is the typical Saturday afternoon confession times. I know for me, its not the slightest bit convenient (and yes, I know part of that is excuse on my part, but when you are marketing something--and I think the Church should be marketing confession--you try to remove excuses). Typical confession times in this area are from 3-3:45 on Sat. afternoon. The 4:00 mass is often full, but it is usually old people, not people with families. Sat. afternoon is chore time, fun time, party time or sports time. Getting to church in the middle of it requires a lot of effort. I just have to wonder if more people would utilize the sacrament if it was offered after Sunday mass.

  4. At our downtown Cathedral, St. Joseph's -- the one right next to the Murrah Building which was bombed in 1995 -- they have Confession every weekday at 11:30 just before Mass (as well as week-ends) and there is always a line. And this in a city of less than 4% Catholics; we're Bible Belt here. I don't know what that means, but I offer it up for what it's worth.

    The more I go to Confession, the more I like it. It also helps to have a regular Confessor, someone who knows you. Fr. John, my Confessor calls the sacrament a 'spiritual shower'. ☺


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