Children and Reconciliation

Have you made it to Reconciliation yet this Lent?  Our communal penance service is next week and I can’t wait to go!  Not because I have some huge sins to get off my conscience, but because it has become a family sacrament!  Now that my middle child has had her first Reconciliation, all but our youngest can participate in this beautiful sacrament!  I love watching my children go up to Reconciliation, imagining what small sins they must be confessing but still obtaining that beautiful absolution, knowing that their souls have become dazzling white (at least until the first fight on the car ride home!)

As a child myself, I dreaded Reconciliation. Not because my parents didn’t encourage it.  On the contrary – we went regularly as a family and I was more than delighted when it was finished.  But I was a little older when received my first Reconciliation because our family had moved to a different place and all the kids my age had already received it in the new parish.  So I was a bit apprehensive, studying this mysterious sacrament outside of a classroom setting.

reconciliation3It is our job as parents to lead our children to this Sacrament, breaking through any apprehension and replacing it with a sincere desire to remove what stands between us and the grace of our Lord.  We must instill in our children a love for that feeling when our soul is as white as snow, knowing that our sins will always be forgiven and that only he can help us keep from falling again.

We can do this by first helping them sincerely examine their consciences in a supportive and non-judgmental manner.  And in helping our children looking within themselves, we too can examine our own consciences.  Second, we can celebrate with them after they have received the Lord’s forgiveness, emphasizing how joyful it is to directly follow the instructions of Christ when he instituted this amazing sacrament and how incredible it is to receive the graces of the Holy Spirit.  And third, we can lead our children to Reconciliation by being an example and going to Reconciliation ourselves.  By our own purity are we able to bring our children to a purity in Christ!

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