Dear Brother Knights,
I have been struggling with another Faith issue of late. Why can I not be the person I know I should be? I know about Jesus and his saving grace. I have accepted him as my Lord and Savior. Yet, I do not act like I have Jesus as a friend. I too often behave in ways I know will hurt either me or someone else. I have hurt my children, my wife, my friends, my fellow knights and my co-workers with my sinful behaviour over the years. How am I to cope?
I think St. Paul had some of these similar issues. “For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, there dwells nothing good… For the good that I wish, I do not do, but the bad that I do not wish is what I practice” (Romans 7:18-19). We cannot do it by ourselves. We need the help of the Holy Spirit to overcome our sinful ways.
12Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. (Romans 8:12-13)
This past year, I started going to reconciliation again after having shied away from the sacrament sort of on purpose over the past few years. “I don’t need to confess my sins to a priest! I can do it myself!” I lied to my-self. I was clearly failing to improve and worst of all, I felt more and more of my own self accusations. I had started to not like the imposter I had become. Holy and good on the outside but rotten to the core inside, full of envy and greed and lustful thoughts. I was not the man people thought I was (or so I felt).
This past year, I began feeling the need to return to The Lord’s Graces in the sacrament of Reconciliation again. At first it was hard. I wasn’t even sure I remembered how to do it (I did). I went last winter and simply spoke to the priest, talking about my failures, my ‘crimes’ and how un-Christian I was.
Fully expecting at least a tiny look of disgust to flash across his eyes, I saw only loving and acceptance from the priest. When he pronounced the words, “Your Sins are Forgiven!” I felt a weight lift off my chest like a bolder being removed. I could breathe again. I could feel love again and I truly felt like I could forgive and be forgiven again. I have returned again to reconciliation since then, most recently, Just before Christmas when our parish held a drop-in Reconciliation session in the Church. It was a joyous event and I was even able to suggest successfully that a friend also attend. I did note how scant the crowd was and I wondered how many of my fellow parishioners partake in this wonderful opportunity to experience God’s forgiveness in such a real, tangible way. Have you been to Reconciliation this season? It’s so easy! Just go to the priest and say “Hello Father, I haven’t been here for a while. Can you help me through this please?” He will, and you will never regret it.
As a bit of business, We will be holding a first-degree like we did this fall, at our regular meeting in March. Please use your new-found graces you received from Reconciliation to invite a friend to join the Knights. We welcome all who are interested in becoming a member of this faithful fellowship of friends.