Sunday, September 23, 2007

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).


Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post on reconciliation Paul. It's a subject which doesn't receive enough attention these days. Thank you & God bless you brother.

Anonymous said...

Mister Melanson, your post today is simply wonderful and its message is clear. They are nourishment for the journey. Thank you and keep up the great work.

Anonymous said...

Once again you have posted the Church's teaching in a clear and concise manner. I think the message of reconciliation is a timely one and one which our society so desperately needs to hear. Bravo!

Anonymous said...

Our Lady guides us all to reconciliation with her Son. If only we were to pray to her everyday for her maternal intecession. Our Lady of La Salette: Pray for us.

Anonymous said...

I love the message of La Salette. And I have always found inspiration at the La Salette shrine in Enfield, New Hampshire, especially at Christmas when they celebrate with lights. Americans need to hear more about the La Salette message of reconciliation. Sadly, there is very little said in most parishes about the need for penance. By the grace of God, that will change.

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