Heals, Strengthens and Sets us Free

By: Caitlin Bootsma

I don’t know about you, but it’s not even two weeks into Lent, and I’m already having trouble keeping my Lenten penance. This year, I chose to add something to my daily routine (Liturgy of the Hours), rather than to give something up, and I’m actually finding it more difficult, because I have to remember several times a day to set aside time to pray.

However, the fact that I slip up just serves to remind me of the fact that I’m not perfect, that I’m weak and always in need of God’s grace. The ultimate purpose of Lenten disciplines, after all, is to unite us more closely to the Lord and to rely on His mercy and His forgiveness.

Along with Lenten disciplines, one of the best things I can do for myself is find time to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I tend to put it off, not willing to be honest with myself about my failings. But, each time I go, I really do find what Bishop Loverde says in his video for The Light is On For You to be true, that this Sacrament of Mercy strengthens me, heals me and sets me free.

I don’t know any better way to prepare for Easter then to experience this mercy and forgiveness – to be welcomed back by the Lord Who loves me.

Along with regularly scheduled parish Confession times, every parish in the Diocese of Arlington and the Archdiocese of Washington welcomes you on Lenten Wednesdays from 6:30-8 p.m. Priests regularly say that through this Light is On For You initiative during Lent, they hear from penitents who haven’t been to the Sacrament in 10, 20 or 30 years.

The freedom I experience after the Sacrament of Reconciliation is a peace that I want to share with others. I encourage you to go to Confession sometime this Lent (no matter how long it has been) – maybe even invite a family member or friend to come as well. The Lord, priests and our Church family are leaving the light on for you each Wednesday evening during this Lenten season.

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