As her son prepares to receive the sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time, Nikki Lamberg contemplates how God shows mercy.
God is merciful. It’s such a short but powerful statement, isn’t it? I am reminded of the magnitude of this even more so now as my 8-year-old prepares to receive the Sacrament of First Reconciliation this Lenten season.
Our priest, Father Tim, gave us parents some suggestions on how to help prepare us, our children, and their hearts to receive God’s mercy and forgiveness. He reminded us that what our children confessed to him would be a conversation between them and God, and that was it. As part of their penance, he said he would likely suggest to them to do something kind for someone they may have hurt, or maybe it would be to come back to their pew and just simply give their parents a hug as a way to say they were sorry.
I must confess, the vision of that was so touching that it still brings me to tears to think about it. Not tears of relief that my child said he was sorry, but tears of love between a parent and a child. That unending forgiveness, mercy, and grace we will continue to show them, because how else will they be encouraged to grow and try again if we don’t? And isn’t that exactly what God wants in a relationship with us, His children?
During this season of Lent, I have found myself thinking more and more about God’s love for us as a parent/child relationship, and how profound and agape that love must truly be. So much so that we could never understand the depth of that love. And if we think about the love that we have for our children, how we would do almost anything for them, do we think that same way about our relationship between God our Father and our own self? It is pretty incredible to think that no matter what sins we have sinned, God will always forgive us. Disclaimer: this is not to say that we should go about life thinking “why not do this (insert sin), God will forgive me anyway.” The Act of Contrition clearly states we should say and believe that “I firmly intend with your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin.”
But ever since our meeting that day, I began to think about how long it had been since the last time I went to confession myself, and all the things I probably needed to think about to ask forgiveness for. Our sins can certainly be hard to admit, not just to ourselves, but more especially to God. The funny thing is though, we can’t hide our sins from Him, as He already knows what they are. He knows what we have done and what we are going to do. He knows everything from those “little” sins like telling our child their favorite cartoon character is taking a nap because we can’t possibly watch another episode, to those “big” sins like trying to help our own hearts forgive someone else, and everything in between.
During the act of confession, God is asking for us to acknowledge those sins and through his mercy and forgiveness, He will cleanse us of them. 1 John 1:9 says: “If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleans us from every wrongdoing.” God knows our hearts; he knows our intents. And while He knows we are humans and will always be sinners, He also knows that we are trying to be more like Him. For He has made us in the image and likeness of Him, and His love and mercy will endure forever.
Copyright 2021 Nikki Lamberg
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About the Author
Nikki Lamberg is a born and raised Catholic, full-time working, wife and mom of three young children. It brings her great joy to read, write and help others as she can, especially when it comes to infertility and raising young children.