What is the first step in our union with God?

Confession is the first thing we do to get close to God.

This is the first text of a beautiful journey that I propose to you. Let’s bring a study work and experience. In fact, it also ends up being a testimony of how the study can help us to advance in a journey of union with God. And the first step to this union is to know the sacrament of confession in depth.

What else could there be? Most of us Catholics are already accustomed to this practice.

Illustrative photo: Wesley Almeida / cancaonova.com

Knowing this, in me there arose a deep concern with many questions: why do not we advance in our spiritual life as the saints of the Church? After all, is not the invitation to holiness for everyone? Why, today, with so many Catholics in Brazil, do we not hear of signs and prodigies that are more forceful and frequent? Why does our prayer only revolve around a thousand requests for healing and deliverance ?

Looking at the history of the Church a few decades ago, there was a flourishing in the Church when people were sanctified in an ordinary life of living the sacraments and prayer. Where did that go?

As we pass the texts, we sincerely wish to make it clear to you how our generation has completely lost the dimension of sin , because of an intellectual and moral level as low as it has ever been seen in history. We also no longer know how to confess to the holy dispositions, never again, with the help of God, to fall into grave sins.

From the moment we confess rightly, we have reached the bottom of our spiritual path and sanctification . From there, what would be the next step?

Let’s go

The human being, being created, as we see in Genesis, was possessed of a very deep intimacy with God. He had a face-to-face relationship with the Lord. He was created after all things, and our God submitted everything to him (Gen 1:28).

This deep intimacy did not need the existence of commandments . Everything followed according to the natural law planted in the heart of man. God only gave the direction of not eating the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden of Eden, because he knew that if man ate it, he would die, that is, he would break this intimacy with the Lord (Gen 3: 16-17). In addition, the man knew what to do, how to behave in a way that was good God, for the other and for himself. Unfortunately, however, they were corrupted by eating the fruit of good and evil.

Distancing oneself from God
Time has passed and the human being has been distancing himself, more and more, from the Lord. He, however, wants them back. Then send the prophets to call them. These are, at all times, calling men to resume their broken relationship with God.

The whole Old Testament becomes a prelude to the coming of Jesus.
Recovering this relationship with God, broken with original sin, is possible! With the coming of Jesus and through him, we have the means to reestablish this intimacy through the sacraments: baptism , chrism, Eucharist , penance or reconciliation, marriage , order and anointing of the sick .

The sacraments are sensible signs (words and deeds), accessible to our present humanity, effectively accomplish the grace they mean by virtue of the action of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit . (Cf.CCC 1084).

The diploma does not make a person a doctor. What really makes it capable is the many years of study and discipline. The diploma works only as a sign of medical student approval.
The sacraments, on the contrary, in themselves, are symbols of what they represent. For example, baptism is the symbol of the bath, of a spiritual wash that the Christian must make of the filth of original sin. Baptism really does it! It cleanses us from all sin and makes us capable of attaining that intimate bond lost in Eden.

The Eucharist symbolizes the sacrifice of the Lamb for the atonement of sins. The altar is the place of sacrifice. At the same time, the altar is the table of the festive banquet of heaven. In fact, the Eucharist nourishes our souls.

The sacrament of Confirmation, or Chrism, brings the baptism of the Holy Spirit into the life of the Christian. 

The sacrament of matrimony symbolizes the covenant between God and men. This sacrament is to be lived, within a dimension of bestowal between the spouses, similar to the love and bestowal of God himself by the Church. He gave himself a sacrifice of love for her without reserve.

The sacrament of penance symbolizes a judgment. There, the defendant accuses himself of his sins; but this confession of the crimes committed, instead of leading to condemnation, causes Divine Mercy to be achieved. Heal us from the wound caused by sin.
The sacraments are the means, created by the Lord Jesus, to infuse the sanctifying grace in the soul of the person.

Restore the grace of God
They restore the grace of God once it is attained or create it for the first time in the heart. This grace of God works as a supernatural organism. The purpose of this organism is to bring us ever closer to the divine sonship, to the most intimate union between God and man. The image of the organism says well: they are, in their various parts, one depending on the other, in the various dimensions of the human being , drawing us closer to union with God.
There are various ways of working and increasing the grace of God within us, and one of these ways is the proper living of the sacraments.

One of the specific graces of the sacrament of the Eucharist is to increase love in us. It is a specific grace of this sacrament. To make our love grow supernaturally and become more and more perfect acts.

But the specific grace of the sacrament of reconciliation is to strengthen the penitent in the struggle against sin and to restore intimacy with God.

During the coming weeks, we will focus on the sacrament of penance. It is key to beginning any spiritual path that can lead us to union with God. If it is not well lived, the other sacraments do not operate what they can do in us. There will be no intimacy with God if we don’t deal with grave sins.

Roger de Carvalho

Roger de Carvalho, born in Brasilia, DF, has been a member of the Canção Nova Community since 2000. Married to Elisangela Brene and father of two children. He is a student of Theology and Philosophy.