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Mar 302018
 

Quinta-feira Santa // AdoraçãoTHE PENITENTIAL RITE

Is every sin forgiven at Mass?

The sin confessed at the Mass helps us to celebrate the Eucharist better.
The Eucharist is the apex of the Christian life, for it is the memorial of Jesus’ sacrifice of love. Therefore, the man, who only finds his fulfillment in God, must celebrate this memorial with all love and zeal. For this, the penitential act collaborates and makes him or her recognize who s/he really is: a child who has sinned and needs love.

Illustrative photo: Wesley Almeida / cancaonova.com

Mass: union with Christ and forgiveness of sin
When the Christian participates in the Mass, he shares two tables: the table of the Word and the Eucharist. But just as before we do any meal we wash our hands for reasons of hygiene, the Christian is also called to “wash his hands” before attending this banquet, and this “washing his hands” is in the sense of asking forgiveness for his sins in the penitential act.

There is a motivation of the priest who says, “Let us therefore prepare ourselves to honor these holy mysteries with dignity, recognizing that we are sinners.” Thus, when the Christian recognizes that he is a sinner and asks for forgiveness, he washes the soul, celebrating with more dignity the mysteries of the Lord.

In the Mass the Christian is invited to join Christ more and to progress in his friendship with him. He is not destined to forgive sins, nor should it be confused with the sacrament of reconciliation (cf. CIC 1396). At Mass, God forgives our venial sins. Not that He is not able to forgive mortals, but as a father who does not give everything easy to the child, in order to educate him to true values, we must turn to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. For the Church teaches that “those who are conscious of a grave sin must receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation before receiving communion” (CCC 1386).

Sin: venial and mortal
Sin is a failure against true love for God and neighbor, because of a perverse attachment to certain goods (cf. CIC 1850). Venial sin is that act that does not deprive man of total friendship with God. Mortal sin, however, is the act by which man, with freedom and warning, rejects God. But “Christ instituted the sacrament of Penance for all sinful members of his Church, first of all for those who, after baptism, committed grave sin and thereby lost their baptismal grace and wounded the ecclesial communion. It is to them that the sacrament of Penance offers a new possibility of conversion and of recovering the grace of justification. The Fathers of the Church present this sacrament as the second tablet (of salvation) after the shipwreck which is the loss of grace “(CCC 1446).

Concerning mortal sin, St. John Paul II’s Encyclical “The Splendor of Truth” mentions the following: “Separating the fundamental option from concrete behavior means to contradict the substantial integrity or personal unity of the moral agent in his body and soul “(67). From this, John Paul II adds that some theologians say that “mortal sin, which separates man from God, would occur only in the rejection of God, made on a level of freedom that is not identifiable with an act of choice, nor reachable with reflex consciousness. In this sense, they add, it is difficult, at least psychologically, to accept the fact that a Christian, who wants to remain united to Jesus Christ and His Church, can commit mortal sins so easily and repeatedly, as would sometimes indicate the same matter of their acts “(69).

 

The meaning of the penitential rite
The Christian is invited to recognize his smallness, his limitation, his sinfulness in the penitential rite of the Mass. So God can come to meet you with His grace, for man is called to be the son of light. Saint Augustine affirms that “the confession of evil works is the beginning of good works, contributes to the truth and you can reach the light.”

In the Eucharist, man is raised to God and communion with him and with his brothers. The unity of the Mystical Body overcomes all human divisions: “All of you, being baptized into Christ, have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus “(Gal 3: 27-28).

 

Let’s not be afraid
There is also a rite of water sprinkling that replaces the penitential rite, because it recalls the baptismal covenant that is renewed at each Mass and recalls our commitment to baptized, accentuating our identity as a priestly people.

In the end,  in the course of history with sin, we always get our hands dirty; but do not be afraid to wash our hands, that is, our soul. Let us turn to the mercy of God, because at Mass we are forgiven of our venial sins and especially in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we are forgiven of all our sins. Thus, we partake worthily of the Banquet which He has prepared for us from the beginning.

Ricardo Cordeiro

 

Ricardo is a member of the Canção Nova Community. He Graduated in Philosophy from Canção Nova College, Cachoeira Paulista, São Paulo(SP). Bachelor of Theology from Dehoniana College, Taubaté (SP) and post-graduate in Bioethics at Canção Nova College.

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