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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Sacrament of Reconciliation

One of our Sisters lent me a new book. The title is With the Silent Glimmer of God's Spirit: A Postmodern Look at the Sacraments. It is by a Belgian priest, Lambert J. Leijssen, who is a professor of theology at the Catholic University of Leuven.
Each sacrament is considered as having its own grace. A brief history is given and then the current reality is faced with its pastoral implication for our postmodern world. The grace of each sacrament is a gift of the Holy Spirit that lights up our ordinary, daily life "with the silent glimmer of God's Spirit."

There is much to learn from the author's historical approach. For example, when speaking of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, he speaks of three periods and each has its own crisis. He asks, "In our postmodern age have we not arrived at the acknowledgment of a crisis in the practice of private confession, so that a renewal is urgently needed that can be designed with the basic pattern of Scripture and tradition as reference point?" He also say that we must not forget that the true meaning of the sacrament is that "God grants forgiveness to the sinner who exhibits contrition and a change of heart."
The fruit of reconciliation is "a new life in peace with God and one another."

The book is worth a read as one only understands the sacraments through the study of the history of each and I do think we are still in transition in finding meaning for our postmodern age so that the Sacraments are a silent glimmer of God's Spirit in our lives.

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