Earlier this week I helped to hear the first confessions of our children at St Mary’s. This is the first I’ve done this, and what a sweet privilege it was! I was meditating not only on the privilege I had to hear these confessions, but on the advantages of first confession at a tender age. Here they are:
1. At an early age the child learns that he or she is not perfect
2. At the dawning of the age of accountability the child learns that he must be responsible
3. Right up front the child learns that God is loving and forgiving
4. The little child learns that when things go wrong forgiveness (not cover up) is the answer
5. The child steps up to the plate and does something difficult
6. In the self examination that is necessary the child begins the life long task of examining his life. (The unexamined life is not worth living)
7. He is introduced to the mystery of the sacramental life.
8. He begins to understand and accept the mysterious working of grace and providence.
9. The grown ups involved are reminded that unless they come like these little first communicants they cannot enter the kingdom
10. The little ones remind us that ‘little’ sins are not necessarily little in God’s eyes.
Fantastic post, Father!As a teacher, a catechist and a daddy, I appreciate the simple wisdom in your words. We rejoice when our children receive the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist for the first time. But I think we should rejoice even more as we help them to continue to receive those sacraments.My oldest daughter just celebrated her first reconciliation at the end of January. Her first communion is next month. It was awesome to watch her come out of the confessional… with a smile like sunshine! It really brought home for me the simplicity of the sacrament. I, too, need to become like those little ones!Later, at home, we had a party for her. Everybody was talking about her first confession, so I asked her when she was going to make her second confession. She didn’t miss a beat… We all went the following Saturday!Thanks again for a great post. God bless you!Jeff YoungThe Catholic Foodiehttp://www.catholicfoodie.com
I nearly wept at the beauty of this child… Especially when one considers the evil of this age. A sure sign of the coming hope to be fulfilled.As a catechist helping to prepare our own little ones for this great sacrament (along with my own son Gabriel),I join Jeff in the effort to help them continue in reception of the sacraments.With only 1.5 hrs. of CCD per week, I find myself thinking much about the lack of solid faith formation, not to mention my concern for lack of the same in the home.I suppose catechist’s must become guardian angels in these times as well.Thank you Father for this wonderful post. I will be sharing it this week. Pray for us.james mary evans
Excellent Post!I have been hearing “first confessions” for 11 years and have never reflected on it so well. I am going to put your top ten in my bulletin if that is ok
That is so sweet :-)Ya know, when I was Baptist, I always thought Confession was weird, if not mean. But now that I’ve made my first, I find myself more conscious of my sin/potential sin. I hold myself more responsible for my actions, because I know if I do something I will have to confess it, rather than just saying a lame little “Whoops Jesus–sorry about that” prayer and moving on. Catholic teaching has also made me realize that I hurt Jesus, not just disappoint him, when I sin. Gosh I love being Catholic! I can’t wait for Confirmation next week!!!
Great post, Father. I added my $.02 in a post of my own:For these advantages to be lasting requires follow through on the part of parents and parish leaders. Otherwise First Confession may seem like a special, one-time event. Take your children to confession with you when you go. This may require some effort and generally requires going during the standard 30-45 minutes on a Saturday afternoon offered by your parish. (Many adult penitents go during the week to parishes with reputations for generous sacramental service.) Catholic schools can play their part too. Our parish once excluded recent first penitents from student penance services, reasoning that “they’d already gone.” Thankfully, our new principal overturned this policy. And if communal penance services are the preferred way to offer the sacrament, then they ought to be held monthly — both during school hours and at times convenient to parents and adults.
My younger daughter is preparing for her First Confession. She will be doing a “dry run” with Father this weekend…Please pray for her…she has minor panic attacks:( Father has been wonderful and has helped her to understand the JOY of the sacrament!I loved your top 10.Pax Christi.
Jesus certainly knew us well when he gave the priest from the time of the apostles the power to forgive or retain and told us that we must become like children to be saved. When I read this post, you have to reflect how far we have drifted away from this first time long ago for many of us. This might be a good thing for adults to take with them as we return for forgiveness today.