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Dear friends. Many parishes are holding Advent reconciliation services in these days in preparation for Christmas. And although Lent is the main penitential season, there is an important penitential aspect to Advent too as the readings put before us this weekend. The prophet Isaiah urges us to 'Prepare the way of the Lord' and then all the people make their way to John who was baptising in the river Jordan, proclaiming 'a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sin'. Below are inspiring quotes from recent Popes about the gift of God's mercy that is always available in the sacrament of reconciliation.

"I ask you: have you ever thought that every time we go to the confessional, there is joy and celebration in heaven? Have you ever thought about that? It is beautiful … and fills us with great hope, because there is no sin to which we have stooped from which, by the grace of God, we cannot rise up again. There is no person who is beyond recovery, no-one is beyond recovery. Because God never ceases to want what is good for us, even when we sin!"

Pope Francis, Angelus, Sept. 11, 2016

“How good it feels to come back to him whenever we are lost! Let me say this once more: God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy. Christ, who told us to forgive one another ‘seventy times seven’ (Mt 18:22) has given us his example: he has forgiven us seventy times seven. Time and time again he bears us on his shoulders. No one can strip us of the dignity bestowed upon us by this boundless and unfailing love. With a tenderness which never disappoints, but is always capable of restoring our joy, he makes it possible for us to lift up our heads and to start anew. Let us not flee from the resurrection of Jesus, let us never give up, come what will. May nothing inspire more than his life, which impels us onwards!”

Pope Francis, The Joy of the Gospel, 3.

“In the Sacrament of Penance, the simple confession of one’s guilt is presented with confidence in God’s merciful goodness. It is important to do this without falling into scruples, with the spirit of trust proper to the children of God. In this way confession can become an experience of deliverance, in which the weight of the past is removed from us and we can feel rejuvenated by the merit of the grace of God who each time gives back the youthfulness of the heart.”

Pope Benedict XVI, 2nd May 2002.


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