The season of Lent is a time of preparation for Easter. We take this time to clean our spiritual house and to recommit ourselves to the Lord, so that we can experience the gift of Easter with greater efficacy and joy. Easter represents for us the gift of heaven, as our whole life is to be a kind of Lent, a kind of preparation for our encounter with God at the end of our lives. In this sense we could say that our whole life is meant to be a kind of preparation for a good death. What is a good death? Well, it is a kind of our own passion, our own Good Friday, which we must pass through before we can experience the Easter Sunday of our lives. Jesus shows us the way by walking that path first, and by walking it in the most beautiful and selfless way. What Jesus teaches us about preparing for a good death through his passion is that we must be united to God throughout our lives, so that we will be united to God in our passion and resurrection. One of the practices of Lent that is indispensable in our preparation for a good death (our Good Friday) is an experience of God’s mercy. I don’t know a better way of preparing for Easter than through the sacrament of God’s mercy, the sacrament of confession. This sacrament has fallen out of favour for many people, and I can understand why. After all, it is not an easy sacrament, it requires much of us, and is often quite uncomfortable. Much like exercise, no one likes to do it, but we all feel much better after having done it. Those who refrain from confessing sins in a sacramental way usually bring up some objections. First, they say that it is enough to confess to God directly. It is certainly good to confess our sins to God directly, even every day, but this should not be done instead of sacramental confession, but rather, along with it. The reasons for sacramental confession are both scriptural and historical. In the Gospels the resurrected Jesus tell his apostles: “Whoever sins you forgive on earth they will be forgiven in heaven, and whoever sins you do not forgive on earth, they will not be forgiven in heaven”. The Church points to these words of Jesus as foundational to the institution of the sacrament of confession. There is no such assurance of being forgiven by God anywhere in the Scripture for confessing our sins privately and directly to God. The Church recognized this from the very beginning, which is why Christians have confessed their sins in this sacramental way as long as the Church exists. It is good for us to go to confession before Easter. Please take advantage of this sacrament of God’s mercy. It is good for us, and it helps us to prepare for a good death, Good Friday of our lives.
Fr. Wojtek Kuzma