Friday, October 09, 2015
Reconciliation: Its meaning and value...
Most of us are aware that sin destroys our relationship with God and that it also undermines our relationships with family members, friends and others with whom we come into contact. Reconciliation refers to that precise effect of Christ's redemption of the human race by His sacrificial death on the Cross which restores our relationship with God and breaks down the barriers of sin which prevent us from engaging in authentic relationships with others.
In the words of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, "Conversion is accomplished in daily life by gestures of reconciliation, concern for the poor, the exercise and defense of justice and right, by the admission of faults to one's brethren, fraternal correction, revision of life, examination of conscience, spiritual direction, acceptance of suffering, endurance of persecution for the sake of righteousness. Taking up one's cross each day and following Jesus is the surest way of penance." (1435).
In other words, our transformation in Christ, our daily conversion, is made manifest by such gestures of reconciliation by which we demonstrate our commitment toward the theological virtue of charity "by which we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God" (CCC, 1822). We are told in Sacred Scripture that a faith without works is dead (James 2:14-19). An authentic reconciliation, therefore, will show itself in a charity which embraces both God and neighbor. As Jean Jaouen so eloquently puts it, "..Christian compassion cannot be a cerebral, fleshless reality. It is completely impossible for one who loves people coldly to dissociate eternal salvation from the temporal well-being of a human person. A person is a whole. Time is eternity already begun yet still not completely visible. The conflict will be resolved if Christian apostles learn to live with their people while remaining present to the Lady who, with her Son, weeps over both the death of souls and the death of little children. 'Lady of heaven, empress of earth.' Through the Virgin Mediator and Queen, apostles will find a balance between the demands of heaven and those of earth." (Jean Jaouen, m.s., "A Grace Called La Salette: a story for the world," pp. 327-328, grassroots publishing international, Enfield, New Hampshire, English edition 1991).