Meditation is an ideal way to pray. Using God's word (Lectio Divina) allows me to hear, listen and reflect on what the Lord wants to say to me - to one of his disciples - just like He did two thousand years ago.
The best time to reflect is at the beginning of the day and for at least 15 to 30 minutes.
Prior to going to sleep, read the Mass readings for the next day and then, in the morning, reflect on the Meditation offered on this website.
I hope these daily meditations allow you to know, love and imitate the Lord in a more meaningful way.
God bless you!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Mt 3:1-12 They Acknowledged Their Sins

Mt 3:1-12 They Acknowledged Their Sins

(Click here for readings)

In today’s Gospel passage, we read how people came from all over - from Jerusalem, all Judea, and the whole region around the Jordan. They were coming from afar to acknowledge their sins and to be baptized in the Jordan River. I have said this before but the Sacrament of Baptism and the Sacrament of Confession share a common physical sign: water. In Baptism our sins are washed away with water. In Confession, our sins are washed away by our tears. Both are cleansing. Both are extremely healing.

“They were acknowledging their sins.” There is something inside of us that seeks forgiveness. I want to be forgiven. I want to be able to tell someone what I have done wrong. But who? Who can I trust? Who can I open my heart to? Who will not judge me or condemn me, but forgive me? I am terrified!” I am scared.”

Are these not the typical comments I hear all the time when I approach the subject of Confession? And yet, the Sacrament of Confession remains for me one of the most beautiful sacraments in the Church. Truly, second only to the Eucharist, for I know what to expect: God’s presence - his love and mercy. It is the ONLY PLACE in the world where I can open my heart, say it like it is and reveal my innermost feelings and turmoil. It is the ONLY PLACE in the world where I will not be judged but loved. It is the ONLY PLACE I have no fear of my life being revealed to the world on Facebook or Twittered or gossiped around and tossed about.

There is something that we all desire in our lives: TO BE LOVED! Yes, I have said it before and I will continue to say it again. We cannot allow ourselves to settle for any counterfeits! That is, to allow sin to hinder us from our greatest desire. Love includes forgiveness. One of the greatest expressions of love is to forgive. Is it not always a welcomed guest, a great surprise, a wonderful gift? And yet, I am afraid to ask for forgiveness because I am afraid of being hurt, of being rejected. Of my heart being torn by someone who is greater than I, in a position of authority or who has power over me. For this reason, I believe the greatest prophet dressed like the greatest buffoon!

St. John the Baptist dressed with Camel hair and ate locusts and honey for breakfast. Who would dare invite someone like that to come dine with them? His clothes, his manners and his behavior spoke volumes to his audience. He cried out, Look at me! Reduced to nothing! Reduced to shame! Reduced to ridicule! Reduced to you! What do you think of me now? What are you worried about? You have nothing to fear! Go ahead! Acknowledge your sins. Seek conversion! Take a step forward and live once again!

Today, let us ask the Lord to truly open our hearts in welcome. Remove all the things that hinder us from receiving Christ with joy, so that we may share in his life and freedom and reach the great desire we all seek: TO BE LOVED - to be one with Him, to reach Heaven, perfection and happiness. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.


  1. You are a completely different person in confession. I KNOW it's Jesus in there!!!

  2. Fr. Alfonse,

    I had a few minutes at work tonight and decided to look at your blog. I was a little confused because I read the "Children's Meditation" first, and then decided to read this one. And I'm glad I did!

    I see you are talking about 'asking others for forgiveness’ instead of just forgiving. ;)

    This is a BEAUTIFUL meditation on confession!!! It is so hard to be humble enough to say things as they are! And to trust that God is truly working 'in persona christi'.

    I always tend to be as vague and general as possible in confession (I think because I save a little of my sinful pride that way...)

    TO BE LOVED....That is our innermost desire. And you say that confession is the one place we should feel we can say EVERYTHING and know we will be forgiven, and loved. I want that for my confessions...You have given me a renewed desire to approach this sacrament with humility, and confidence in love.

    I do have one question, if you have time...I wonder how 'specific' one needs to be when mentioning one's sins. Doesn't God know our sins? And He will forgive us no matter what, as long as we are sincere...I guess it may help to be specific because than the priest give specific advice. But his advice is just his opinion, not the dictum of God. He's only 'in persona christi' when he actually is administering the form of the Sacrament, right?

    Anyways, Thanks again! Have a great week!

  3. Your meditation today made me re-think confession. I have never thought about the confessor, only that Jesus is there and I know that is the most important thing. But as I think about it, the way I understand what you are pointing out is that humility in the confessor is ideal. When the priest is humble, (outside and inside the confessional) it would be easier to trust, and more open and comfortable completely expressing my sins. I’m not saying that an arrogant priest or one that I do not see as humble is not trustworthy or less qualified, but more difficult to be at ease with and completely open with without reserve.
    I have personally always preferred face to face with someone I knew because it seems to be easier to open myself to someone I know cares for me, or I believe cares for me personally. But after reading your blog, maybe I should re-think that and look for a confessor that is truly humble, that I will not be intimidated by because it is always so much easier (for me) to be open with those I feel are on my “level”, and true humility, humility that is apparent, not just talked about would help me be more humble myself allowing me to be more transparent in confession. I guess I need to look for a new confessor.

  4. To Anonymous #1 You are right! Because I will say something I never thought of or said. I even have a hard time remembering what I said. The Holy Trinity is present in full force. Also, Confession is not just a conversation. It is very different. How often do we go through the entire mourning process: fear, then guilt, then relief, then joy. Even the priest gets emotional in the confession. His presence is abundant and overwhelming.

  5. I am anonymous #2:

    Dear Fr. Alfonse,

    I don't see how you are a 'completely different person'. You are acting in the person of Christ. Like an envoy of a particular state acts on behalf of that state. If a priest is more in tune with the Holy Spirit and willing to let the Lord guide him than, no doubt, the confession will more closely resemble an actual encounter with Christ. But if he is not living his life united to Christ than what he says, outside the form of absolution, may not actually reflect Christ's own desires.

    As long as the priest is a true minister of the sacrament though, one is still forgiven by the words of absolution. In the Byzantine rite for confession the priest says, "May the same God, who through the Prophet Nathan forgave David when he confessed his sins, who forgave Peter when he wept bitterly, the prostitute when she washed his feet with her tears, the Pharisee, and the prodigal son, through me, a sinner, forgive you both in this life and in the next and enable you to appear before his awe-inspiring tribunal without condemnation, he who is blessed for ever and ever. Amen."(CCC #1481)
    In this form it is clear that the priest, himself, admits he is a sinner and that he is not Christ; rather, that God is working "through" him.

    Anyways just my thoughts :)… And for as many 'bad' experiences I've had in confession, I have had far more amazing ones. And even the 'bad' ones were good, because I KNOW Christ forgave me...And he loves me.

    P.S. So perhaps I've answered my own question, in a way. The need (or lack of need) for 'specification' of one's sins depends on the gravity of them, and how much it will help the penitent...



Updated: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. Comments must be concise and to the point.Comments are no longer accepted for posts older than 7 days.